Digging Out of a Hole

April Fools Day is kind of a weird day for me. My blog FueledByLOLZ would cause you to assume I’m the queen of pranks and funny jokes today.  Believe it or not, I’m not. I debated even posting this but at the end of the day, April 1st is like any day.  It’s a memorable day for some and a day that gets pushed away by others.

I also have a lot of personal friends that read my blog, and I wondered what they would think reading this post about my struggles.  Many knew me throughout my highest anxiety points and had no idea.  Many friends had an idea but never said anything.

On April 1st, 2014 my husband proposed to me.  We had been dating for a while, lived together and even moved together.

engagement photo 3

We began dating during an already turmoiled senior year of college.  Then maintained a year and a half of long distance and eight months of living together.

Living together only reinforced our relationship. I made the decision in 2013 to move from New York to Texas, and I had no idea what to expect.  I’ll never regret my choice.

The day after I moved in, I got a knot in my hair.  It took over an hour to get the knot out but instead of remaining calm, I was in hysterics over a trivial knot.

Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge....
Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge….

He asked, why don’t you just cut the knot out?

I still think that could be a front runner of the most dramatic moment of our relationship.  It caused me to panic immediately and get more upset.  But of course, he remained calm and helped me work through the knotty situation. An hour and bottle of conditioner later…it was over.

Since then, he has been the calmer half and voice of reason.  I panic and get upset, and he calms me down.

A long time ago, I blogged more about social anxiety and depression.  I dealt with depression more in college and social anxiety after college.

Between working in Oswego, NY as well as living in Texas, I found myself isolated.  I felt as if I was always moving and making new friend groups.  After I had moved to Texas, I was more stressed and anxious because I had no family or friends, no job and nothing to do.  We were 180 miles in the middle of nowhere. I had blogging, of course, but you can only enjoy blogging for a certain amount of hours, and you can only apply for outside jobs for so long…

There is a real world outside of the computer screen…

Even harder about the military lifestyle is if you aren’t married, you don’t receive the same benefits as a spouse who is.  The city we lived in Texas is centered around the base, so there were a lot of obstacles we faced.  Obstacles that added more stress and anxiety into my life and in turn, Tim’s life.  Unlike where we live now, the base was the only thing to do.

And run to the border of Mexico...
And run to the border of Mexico…

However, I chose to move to Texas.  I wouldn’t have learned so much along the way without.  I did, however, notice old tendencies from college slowly creeping back.  I began sinking into depression and with more anxiety than I had felt before. 

When we found out we were moving to NJ
When we found out, we were moving to NJ

When we found out we were moving to New Jersey, it was a relief.  I’m sure I would have found my way in Texas, but NJ is a short drive to our immediately friends and family.  It is a much better fit for us.  September-December of 2014 flew by, and the change was good for me.  I assimilated well into the Garden State and had so much on my plate with unpacking; I didn’t have time to breath.

moving box meme

Then the Garden State Honeymoon period wore off.

I had a very successful but often gone boyfriend; I couldn’t find a sustainable job, and I was struggling to make friends.  My depression and anxiety began to creep through the cold winter months.  I made friends through (the then small) Oiselle team  I had a solid two friends, but that didn’t help finding a job.  I applied to things in my field (public health) and outside of it (running stores as well as a couple of hospitals).  I sent follow up emails but went weeks without hearing anything back.

Anxiety is different for everyone.  Someone might struggle in overwhelming social settings like parties, but someone else might struggle with mental and personal thoughts.  Personally, I battle with second guessing everything I do.  Not in an average way but a way that can lead to panic attacks.  A way that I have received help throughout the years.

Even when jobs weren’t calling me back, my husband reassured me I would be fine.  We were financially fine, and I was making a small living, but I found myself spending weeks isolated.  Maybe that’s when I made the goal of traveling New Jersey to go to every diner, but I can’t be sure. 

It’s odd to look back and say “my boyfriend” but he supported me throughout everything.

He supported me through anxiety ridden meltdowns to even telling me: no, don’t work there, you will be miserable (and that was most definitely true).

Fast forward to late March 2014.  I was running again; I had just begun working at a local running store, and my anxiety was dwindling.  A long six months after moving to New Jersey my life was slowly coming together.   Even though on paper I should have been happy, I still felt as if I wasn’t providing enough or not doing enough.

On April 1st, I was in the midst of another meltdown.

Anxiety is funny that way; you can be happy, sad or somewhere in between.

You never know, and there is no way to predict it.  At the time I was crying my eyes out, sad…for what reason I can’t remember.  I had gotten over it by the evening, but I was still in a funky mood.  Was I going to go to bed sad again?  It never adds up either…my life was coming together.  I had a job; my running was going well, and I was making friends.  For some reason that is always unknown, I had anxiety.

Tim proposed me to that evening.  I was shocked, and it didn’t feel real.  It took me a couple of seconds to not be as shocked but of course, I said yes.

wedding 9

That was a great week for me.  I got engaged and ran a half marathon PR. 

The engagement wasn’t a band-aid to fix my anxiety.  It wasn’t a cover up to make everything feel better, but it was a turning point in my life.  For a reason, I can’t explain it was the start of building myself out of a hole that I had dug for myself.

Throughout the wedding process, my husband was there for me when he could be.  The wedding planning took up plenty of time, but it wasn’t ever that stressful.  Another interesting point of anxiety is that it can make you very Type A in a certain situation and laid back in certain situations.  The wedding was one situation I was laid back.

So where am I now?

I’m reflecting and thinking about where life has taken me in the last few years.  If you asked me three years ago:

Would I be living in NJ and loving it?  I would have laughed.

If you had asked me two years ago: Would depression be out of my life? I would have also probably laughed.

If you had asked me a year ago: where I see myself after one year of marriage…I don’t know what I would have said.  I would have laughed to buy time but, to be honest, I’m not sure what I would have said.

First dance

While depression is something I am currently not dealing with, anxiety is something I always will.  There are periods my anxiety is worse and periods where it is almost nonexistent.  I would not consider it a day of day battle but I also wouldn’t consider it over either.

My husband has been there for me throughout everything.  Throughout the good, the bad and the ugly.  Throughout trivial meltdowns that I can’t explain and the highs and lows.  Social anxiety will be something I will deal with off and on, but the major battles are thankfully in the past.  April 1st will always have a different meaning to me.

Our wedding Anniversary is on April 12, 2015, so I’ll have more of a story then. 

At the Sunset outdoors

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How to Make A Move Painfree

Moving can be tough. As most people know, I’ve moved several times. My move last month was unexpected but, to be honest, we found what we needed in a house. If we had known how the events of our previous house would play out, we probably would have kept looking last year.  My apologies for not giving an exact reason of moving.  We left on good terms with our landlords.  Unexpected but good conditions.

Life happens and sometimes you need to roll with the punches! We only moved 4 miles away from our previous house.

A lot of people have asked: how do you prepare for so many moves? 

tips for moving

The short answer is: Not accumulating a lot of junk.

But let’s look at the long answer.

Here is my personal step process for an easy and relatively stressless move.  Keep in mind this works for me but might not work for you!

Step 1: Clean out your current house.  Every move I use as an excuse to see what I’m not wearing or using. If I haven’t worn or used something since the last move, it gets donated. Someone else will use it more than I am! We have started cleaning and sorting about one month before leaving. We give away items we haven’t used in a year.

cleanest room ever...
From things….to no things…

Step 2: Take one room at a time. We conquer each room one day at a time. We have each room scheduled of when we are going to pack it. That way the move doesn’t get too overwhelming. We can also take our time figuring out what we need and don’t need. This process starts about two weeks before the actual move. Our previous house had eight rooms, and it took us about ten days. moving 3

  1. Important to note during Step 2: It’s important to make sure essential items stay away from the packed items. Personally, we have a lock box with our valuable items as well as passports, important documents, and extra car keys. You don’t want those to pack those.
  2. Also important to note is inventory everything. We label each box with the room it’s going. We also number the box and have a master list on the computer. The last thing you want it to get to your new destination and be trying to figure out which box went missing. moving box meme

Step 3: This is the part where you pack up everything and move from house to house…I have done a 4-mile move and I have done 3000-mile moves.  It’s about the same: Move all of your boxes from one house to the other.

Now to actually move...
Now to actually move…

Step 4: Unpack in the new house.  If you’ve labeled your boxes by room, this makes it a lot easier.  You can quickly drop off items in the appropriate room.

Pack all things in giant penske truck
In this case: Drive truck or vehicle to new house.

It’s safe to say after three weeks of living in our new house we are nearly unpacked.  After I had taken a nasty fall the weekend we moved, I lost some motivation to unpack.  When you have a giant piece of your flesh missing, you seem to be more lazy than normal (So I’ve heard).  It might have taken us a little bit longer to unpack, but no move, training cycle or anything is that perfect.

Questions for you:

What advice do you have for people moving? 

What are the shortest moves and longest moves you have done?

For me, the shortest was now, and the longest was when I was a child from the UK to the US (but maybe that doesn’t count since mom did most of that).

Moving

We’ve been busy.  Really busy. 

It’s not a secret that Tim got back on October 9th. On October 10, we found ourselves meeting with someone about a house.  On October 11, we found ourselves signing a lease and then on October 18 we found ourselves completely moved.   Then on October 20th, Tim left again.  Move and dash, is that a thing?

I moved 4 times in 2013.  Living in four states last year was an experience I’ll never forget.

As most people know (because I have too much social media) we  moved because we found a house in a perfect location for us.  We ended up moving about 45 minutes west of where we previously lived (staying in NJ).  Unlike my moves from last year, this was something that wasn’t necessary for the military or for our relationship.  This was something we wanted and chose.  It was something we decided to do to better improve our quality of living.  Originally we had thought we would wait another year but when this house came on the market, we knew it would go very quickly.

And it did go quickly…but it went to us.   

My favorite part of the house is the retro diner kitchen.
My favorite part of the house is the retro diner kitchen.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind but we are moved.  It’s a beautiful area close to Philadelphia (on the NJ side).  It’s roughly a 10 minute drive to Philadelphia or 2 mile walk to the train station.  It’s very close to my work as well as a lot of other fun activities for us.

We absolutely love our house.  It’s in athletic friendly community.  Every morning I wake up and see dozens of runners lining the street.   I creep on all the runners, walkers and bikers. It’s absolutely fabulous.   The town itself is located on several park lakes.  One Lake Loop is 3 miles and another close by is 6 miles.  Most of the streets are also lined with sidewalks (which is something we didn’t have previously).

The Garden that overlooks the lake (hashtag cliche)
The Garden that overlooks the lake (hashtag cliche)

Positives of the house:

  1. It’s very centrally located to everything (From Philly, to other areas of NJ to work).
  2. Oddly enough it’s closer to both my parents house in VA Beach and Tim’s parents in central PA. It’s also located near the highway which means it’s closer to NYS and North too.  I just want to chant location, location, location.
  3. Diners…diners everywhere! Diners within walking distance….my house even looks like a diner.

Negative:

  1. Unpacking is hard.

Once I get unpacked I’ll upload some more photos.  (You’ll get to see my bookshelf dedicated to coffee mugs). I am excited to make our house more “homey”.  We both felt as if we never really moved into the previous house….we were just living there.

Questions for you:

What are some of favorite house decorations?

Where do you buy your furniture? 

Letting Myself Slide…Six months of Training Thoughts

It’s a very hard realization to make that you are nowhere near in the shape you were 6 months ago.  Letting myself slide with training, enjoying life and grabbing life by the horns as well as traveling have all played a major part in that.  6 months ago was around my birthday month in July when I was PRing in the 5k.  Oh how I wish I was back in that shape…but I’m not.

I can attest my falling out with running the day I broke my arm.  After being hit by a cyclist and breaking my arm I fell into a spiral of demotivation. Even though I only missed a few days of running and was able to run awkwardly with a broken arm, the real effect it put on me was mentally.

The day I broke my arm was the day I stopped doing speed workouts.  Since August I’ve only raced a handful of times and I haven’t done speed work by myself.  That is a major contender of why I’ve gotten out of peak running shape.  I know it is one of several factors.  While living in Texas I had very few racing options and I opted to log high mileage instead of speed work outs.

Moving on to the next major factor of my life, I’ve moved in with a significant other.  I don’t regret it and in fact I absolutely love it. I will always make time for him over my running time.  I’m not on my own personal schedule anymore and I’m okay with that.  I’ll always choose to go out to eat on a date versus staying home and cooking something.  I’m perfectly okay with that but it takes a toll on training.

It’s a hard realization to come to that you have both gotten slower in running and let your training fall through the cracks of life.  Breaking 20 minutes, a once easy task in the 5k is strenuous and difficult for me right now.  I don’t even know if I could break 1:30 in the half marathon.  Please don’t compare these times to yourself, imagine if you were currently struggling to run 90 seconds slower in your 5k or 6 minutes slower in a half marathon (probably more).  That is essentially where my training is at.

I know the last 6 months have not been conclusive to my running.  I’ve been enjoying life outside of running and enjoying doing other things that don’t revolve around blogging and working out.  However, it’s still a hard realization when running a race that I’m not the racer I was 6 months ago.  Quite frankly, it stinks.  All of that being said I’ve 100% enjoyed the last 6 months of my life and would never trade it for the world.  There is more to life then running, then blogging and working out.

I’m not making excuses or looking for sympathy I’m just objectively looking back at the last 6 months of training and realizing I have a lot of work to do.  Life isn’t all about training and I’ve come to learn that in the last 6 months.  I’ve come to enjoy that in the last 6 months.  It seems like a daunting task to get to where I want to be.  A task that I feel I might never conquer again.  I often wonder if I will ever PR in races again (silly worries).

With that there are exactly 98 days until the New Jersey half marathon.  Instead of making a PRing goal for myself, I’m going to make a goal to dig out of the run cave I’ve in and start training again.

For the next month I’m going to build consistent miles again.  After finding a base line February 23rd at the Lake Effect half marathon (granted the weather cooperates) I’ll reevaluate my training.

I needed a kick in the butt and that came this week when I got the flu and was unable to train or do much of anything.  I’m able to sit here and contemplate my life, my training and where I want to go with it.  While I have 100% enjoyed and been low stressed the last 6 months, I’m ready to get back into training.  I know it will take the better part of those 100 days to get back into shape but I’m ready to try to work back there.

 Questions for you:

Have you ever had a long lull in training?

Were you hit by the flu this season?  There is a lot going around!

July through December Musings

It seems like the second half of my year was far more exciting then the first.  I like to save the best for last right?  Actually after the marathon my life seems to have simmered down.

July:

I turned the big 23.  I’m an old lady now.

I finally ran a 5k PR that I feel I’m never capable of again (18:35).

Life is good!
Life is good!

August:

As with the rest of the summer I worked a lot between 50-70 hours and was really burnt out.

I ran an 8k PR and then was hit by a cylist who broke my arm.

YAY for no sling!
YAY for no sling!

I was accepted to run for Oiselle! 

runningoiselle

September:

I ran the Rock and Roll VA Beach half marathon with Laura and Heather.  It was awkward because I ran it with a broken arm.

lauraheatherandi

merunning1

I moved to Texas.

I ran another half marathon a week later in San Antonio.  1800 miles of driving, two half marathons back to back…only to go a few seconds faster in San Antonio and win a sweet Growler.

merunning4

megrowler

(one week later) I found out I was moving to New Jersey.

The night we found out we were Jersey bound
The night we found out we were Jersey bound

October:

I drove back across the country seeing Laura along the way.

Lauranandi

I moved back home with my parents (again!) for a few weeks before my marathon.

Kris and I dressed up like Pumpkins for a 10k that I missed my PR by 5 seconds.

krislandi

November:

I ran my first marathon.

menewyorkcity2

I moved to NJ.  After moving to NJ, I took some time off of running and just relaxed and looked jobs for a while.

December:

I haven’t (honestly) done a lot of note worthy things this December.  It’s been just assimilating into NJ and looking for jobs.  I hope I have something to report by the end of the year.  I guess I’ll work on that.

I took photos in the snow.  It counts as productive.
I took photos in the snow. It counts as productive.

I did run my first and only race since the marathon, The Surf and Santa 10 miler.

rareglimpselolz

Thoughts of 2013:

Although 2013 was anything but calm I truly enjoyed the year.  It seemed like it flew by and that I was happier then I have been, especially in the later half of the year.  It seems like I should have been more stressed being jobless and the 4000 miles I drove in 2 months but I wasn’t.  It was a really good year.  I have found the more stressed “I should be” is when I become less stressed.  Little stressors that shouldn’t stress me out often are the worst for me.

Anyways upward and onward to 2014 from here!

Question for you: Most notable thing of 2013? 

After College Changes…

I feel semi productive that I was able to write both posts and schedule them back to back.  I always get frustrated with cliff hangers on blogs that last for 2-3 weeks.  I know patience is a virtue but it is a virtue I am not blessed with.  My lack of patience is actually important with this post though.

Here is part 1 of my college growth.

My final semester of college I spent interning full time at a health office in Oswego.  Then I was hired there. (Spending close to another year in Upstate, NY).  Long story short I fully enjoyed my job at Oswego.  It had everything I learned from community health courses, great coworkers, it was what I wanted to be doing, close to Syracuse, Rochester..ect.  I made a lot of friends there.  I hated the cold and weather but that had nothing to do with my job.  There was obviously one large part of my life missing from Oswego and that was my long term boyfriend.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that was 95% I moved.

At the Walk to Save Lives Fall 2012
At the Walk to Save Lives Fall 2012

Until roughly May of 2013, I thought I had my life completely figured out.  After making the executive decision not to stay in Oswego I moved home with my parents for the summer while Tim finished up most of pilot training.

I planned to spend the summer either interning at a health center or working.  I ended up working two jobs to save money to move to Texas (neither having to do with my community health major in college!).  Last summer I felt as though my college career was again a waste.  I was working jobs I probably could have done without a college degree.  They were just that…jobs to pay bills.  I knew once the summer was over I would be moving down to Texas and finding a job similar to Oswego.

So I thought anyways.

Sadly the area I moved in Texas didn’t have those jobs available and I certainly didn’t know what I wanted if those weren’t options.  The closest community college was 2.5 hours away and it’s obvious I don’t even like five minutes of driving.

Oh texas...little did I know I would be here 6 weeks
Oh texas…little did I know I would be here 6 weeks

I knew two things about my community health degree and possible job choices.  I didn’t want to work in a hospital and I didn’t want to work with babies.

Past that I had absolutely no idea and it stressed me out.  (In fact it still stresses me out).  Here I am a year out of college and I couldn’t tell you my exact dream job.   Since my stay in Texas was short lived (6 weeks) it wasn’t feasible for me to find a temporary job let alone a full time job.  (Thank you working all summer).

While I lived in Texas I began to think about my future and my thoughts about pursuing a job when I moved to NJ.  What did I want to do?  Apply to a college and work on campus like Oswego?  Work at the Red Cross?  Work at a nursing home?  I had no idea…all of those jobs interested me.

Since this previous summer I have grown even more.  This past summer though I still worked, I had no idea what I wanted to do the rest of my life.  It worried me.  It frightened me.  It still frightens me.  Do I have to make an executive decision of my career choice right at this very moment?  No.  I have to find a job that I currently enjoy doing and pays bills.

It seems we are asked the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question since we can talk.  I’ve gone from marine biologist to zoologist, teacher to community health worker.  How do we ever know exactly what we are destined to do?  I have thought a lot about the definition of successful and happy.  What makes you successful?  Having a job from the major you chose in college?  Making enough money to pay the bills?  Being happy?

My personal opinion is that being successful comes from doing something you enjoy, not stressed and being financially stable.  Whether that takes you in a completely different route from where you originally started then it does.

Might as well be happy right?
Might as well be happy right?  Look a community health center that probably has a job I would like. I guess I’ll just stop the marathon now.

I wish college had prepared me for that.  I wish someone in college had said there is a chance even after four years of classes you won’t know what you want to do.  You still won’t have it figured out when we hand you (mail you) your diploma.  You will never have all the answers in your life. Do not stress about it and you will find the answer eventually.  

Spoiler: Incase you wondered now (and I owe a post about Jersey) but I am happier right now then I have ever have been.

Question for you: How do you define being successful? 

Whirlwind Month

At the beginning of the month I question how the month went by so quickly.  September is no different but it is the most whirlwind of a month I’ve had in my entire life.  Even just writing that out seems intimidating.  At the beginning of September I thought I would be moving to Texas for a lot longer than a month  My plan had been find a temporary job, unless we stayed here for four more years then I find a full time.  It sounded easy in theory. (I’m not saying finding a job is easy by any stretch but having a decent plan was not too difficult).

I did not actually write a post the first day of September nor did I make any goals because quite frankly with going into a move I didn’t know what to expect.  I still don’t know what to expect.  The move itself went well and the 1700 mile drive was actually not nearly as bad as I thought it would be (good for me since I’m doing it again in a couple of weeks).

Towards mid September I found out we would be going to New Jersey.  I tried to remain calm but truly it was not anything I was expecting and it was a huge shock for me.

After giving it a day to sink in I realized I was excited for the move.  A lot of people(both real life and blogging life) are surprised that I was and truly am excited.  It has never been a secret that I hated the cold in Potsdam, NY and hated the snow in Oswego, NY.  So it doesn’t quite make sense that I’m excited to move to New Jersey where we will get snow and it will be a lot colder than here?

In New Jersey, we aren’t going to get -30 degree temperatures and I’m also going to be with Tim.  It isn’t that I hated the town I went to college in but when running started to be a bigger part of my life, the town seemed to get less and less interesting to me.  By year four I had done all the activities that the town had to offer and bars were not my scene. I had outgrown the college mentality.  I had no problems sitting in most Friday and Saturday nights watching movies or hanging out.  When you don’t relate to going out and would rather road race, that get’s to be hard.  It is even harder when most road races are 2 hours away.

Here is a nice photo of me doing work on a Friday night.
Here is a nice photo of me doing work on a Friday night in college.  

The same was with Oswego, NY.  I loved my job there and if you could teleport it to where I am now I would be happy.  However, being the new person in town and not a college student I was not going to go out with college students (I already didn’t binge drink when I was in college).  Sure I could get a casual beer with friends but in a city based around bars and the college scene it was not enjoyable for me.  I loved my friends dearly and if I had lived in a bigger city (Rochester or Syracuse were about an hour away) I would not have minded living there despite the cold.  I didn’t hate the snow but did hate I was in a long distance relationship and had a hard time relating to people.  Plus when I say there was 2 feet of heavy ice and snow on the ground, it means I spent the entire winter running on the treadmill.

Because Firebirds love the snow.
Because Firebirds love the snow.

So with my tangents about the real reasons I was not truly happy in upstate NY, I am excited to go to New Jersey.  I will be close to major cities, the area has plenty of job opportunities for me, and also has plenty of road races.  Not to mention it isn’t far from my friends in NY, my friends in VA, Tim’s family and my family.  It is a very central location to do everything I want to with my life.  So yes I am very excited for New Jersey.  With anything I have heard both positive and negative thoughts about the state in general but each city and area has positives and negatives.  While I might not have cared for upstate NY towards the end of my career there, many people love it.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has reached out to me living in the NJ area.  We are looking to live somewhere between Trenton and Philadelphia.  If you live around there I would love to meet up eventually.  Hopefully I can say that with the thought process of I’ll be there for four years.

Questions for you:

What are the positives and negatives of your town or city?

Your favorite aspect of college?

My favorite part of college was the flexibility of class schedules and not having to sit still or be in an office for 8 hours daily.