Do Your Best + Let the Rest Roll Off

There are moments, moments that always feel far too frequent, when something shakes our world a little (or a lot), both devastating our hearts and creating pause.  It’s in those moments of pause when silence can become deafening, and all of the pointless chatter happening around us goes quiet so deeper perspective can take root.

This past week I followed on my Facebook feed as the community I grew up in, and a school so close to the hearts of my family and friends, turned itself inside out searching for one of their own. They came together as a community only to be rocked completely.  A 13 year old boy who was so distraught over overdue class assignments and an overly manufactured sense of failure left his home and took his own life.  And unfortunately, this has become far too common.

There are a million different things to speculate, to wonder, and on some level to even relate to, because we’ve all been in a situation at one point or another where it seems almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  What that light looks like and how we get to it is going to be different for all of us, and for some, especially those who have battled or known the despair of a deep depression, the end may be that light.  I know all of this, but I still can’t help but feel the extra weight of this tragedy today.  Today my mind kept coming back to a few thoughts I could not shake; things that I wish everyone not only was reminded of, but also deeply believed in.

1.  Outside of doing your best, nothing you do in school really matters.  Seriously, not really even college.  All of those years are meant to give you time to develop, to create context, and to allow you to grow — not to determine your lifelong potential.  Be open to learning, be open to exploring your interests, and of course working hard, but your whole job is to discover your own passion and hopefully start to live it.  Learning what makes you tick, what keeps you motivated, and what your strengths are will be more important in our life than any class, or test, or assignment in the world.

fuel sweat grow: you were meant for amazing things

2. Be open to failure.  Failure and struggle are the experiences that give our stories content, that teach us our most important lessons, and help us find the grittiness in ourselves that confidence can stand on.  Find any person that you think has succeeded and ask them about where they failed — believe me, they’ll not only have some good stories, they’ll also be able to draw a direct line from what they learned to all of their subsequent successes.

3. You have value.  Truly, you. are. valuable….invaluable really, so don’t you ever let anyone or anything ever tell you differently.  There’s a horrible epidemic of kids who grow up looking for their value in other people, in things, or in money, and as adults we have a responsibility to instill in them the confidence and understanding that value is inherent, and not externally found.

4.   Don’t take life so seriously.   Sure, life is a serious business, but sometimes it’s the ability to shake off all the unnecessary pressure and manufactured stress and enjoy the moment for exactly what it is.  Whether you’re in the build, the struggle, or the victory lap of your life, live through every moment and appreciate what’s available to you in that moment. Truly, if you’re alive and your heart is beating for something, you’re already succeeding, so find joy in the path.

I could go on, and I probably will at another time,  in several different installments, but for today, this is what I’ve got. So, thanks for letting me rant, feel, and write my way through what makes no sense and all the sense in one messy package.  And, most importantly, may that sweet boy’s soul rest in peace.

Welcome 2014: the year of coffee + anything you want

Welcome to 2014: the year of coffee.

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I’m pretty sure that’s not the official slogan of the new year, but if it went to a vote, I’d definitely support it.  I’ve  been getting more sleep lately than I have in a really long time, so I’m not nursing my favorite mud for any major reasons, but more for the comfort and warmth that it provides.

That’s kind of what I’m looking for this year: comfort and warmth.  So, if I can get a little hit of that each morning (afternoon, and evening…) to keep me on track, well, I’m going to take it.

The extended holiday season was something borne out of what felt like pure chaos, so for the last week or so I’ve been really pumping the breaks on 2013 to allow for a fresh and intentional start to the new year.

Fuel Sweat Grow: New Year

I think the hardest thing about pressing the reset button, or setting goals is, really, honestly, taking the time to figure out what you actually want.  We’re so programmed to want what we’re ‘supposed’ to want, what we think we ‘should’ want at whatever our particular age is, or what other people want for us.

I’m still working on the list of things I want to accomplish this year, but there are a few major things that I know I want to do for me, and either create or strengthen the habit(s) as a part of my forever lifestyle.   I used to break out my goals in terms of career, personal + health, but to change things up a bit (and because those aren’t easily decipherable categories these days) I’ve divided them into my three favorite life categories:

FUEL:

1.  Take a cooking class

2. [Better] Sunday preparation for the week of meals to keep things clean.

3.  Hydrate.  This means drinking 5-6 times the amounts, of water, that I drink of wine.  (This one is really a major learning and goal from the holidays, but I think it’s a worthy rule of any life experience.)

SWEAT:

1.  Master ALL of the MADabolic primal movements.  Or at least let myself believe I have for the length of time I need to KEEP MOVING during the entire interval.  (I can be an angry gorilla, right? right.)

2. Re-incorporate yoga + stretching into my life, 2-3 times a week.

3. Take a group class at a trampoline gym (and then buy a[nother] trampoline).

GROW:

1.  Take an art class.

2.  Take on at least three of the projects I’ve pinned to my Pinterest boards.  Even if just for the sheer entertainment of making the attempt.

3.  Make dates with myself.  I used to dress up in real clothes and take myself to coffee and shopping or a movie once a month.  I don’t know why I stopped, but I miss me.  I was pretty fun to hang out with.

The list goes on… and on, and on, but for now, that seems like a good start.

2014, I’m in this with you.  Let’s see OWN how this goes (coffee mandatory).

Welcome Back to Chicagoland

I can’t remember the last time I took a legitimate vacation away from work, constant internet connection, and phone dependency.  What originally was going to be a work-focused trip to Chicago with Dar quickly transformed into an extended weekend away with some great friends, and amazing weather – with business sprinkled in to the daytime hours.

Chicago: River + City

Despite the early flight time, long travel hours, and airport lethargy (I’d be great at traveling if it weren’t for the travel part) – we were there by 12pm on Friday, right in time for lunch on the river.

We sat right outside with a table RIGHT on the river, so close in fact we personally met all of the fine folks that were parking their boats and shimmying up to the restaurant for lunch and drinks.

lunch on the river

We were bought a round of drinks courtesy of one of our new friends, and had an extended conversation with the restaurants owner about Chicago, fitness, and his previous home of 10 years: Charlotte!

Friday afternoon drinks: Lunch on the River

After a long morning of travel, this was exactly what we needed.  After lunch, in the spirit of vacation, we did our own vacation rituals and listened to our own personal needs; Dar went to the hotel and took a long nap, and I adventured around the city and got my nails done (with a few extra turns and city street wandering).

edna ring

When I travel to different places I usually bring at least one special piece of jewelry that at one time belonged to my grandmother (my mom’s mom, Edna May).  She was always taking trips with her girlfriends, taking in new cities, cultures, and I think just space out of what seemed like a super static life.  I totally get that. There’s always something freeing about traveling to a new place and thinking about what could be, what additional experiences and communities could be built – ultimately helping to re-instire, direct, or even simply appreciate the life back at home.

This trip was a lot of that for me, and it was awesome to have a little piece of my grandmother there with me, adventuring and seeing my world from a different vantage point.

After my adventures around town it was time for dinner, and a little check in back with our Cville lives since Anita + Uday (two of our favorite bootcampers AND and neighborhood organizers) were in town to take over Chicagoland with us.   They organized a progressive dinner tour on Friday night with our first stop at Bin 36.

BIN 36: chicago

This first stop was the ‘wine + appetizer’ stop on the dinner tour, and it proved to be perfect for just that.

wine flights

I chose the ‘some like it sweet’ wine flight, which was awesome.  Dar was actually the only flight of reds, but we all chose different pairings.

table of wine: Bin 36

The second stop was David Burke’s Prime House (steak house), with more wine, and steak.

chicago: steakhouse

Huge steaks.

Prime House: Filet

And three amazing, enormous, sides of food for the group.

The asparagus was awesome: tender roasted w/a poached egg in the center.

asparagus w/poached egg

Spinach Gnocchi with a fresh spinach center and a cream sauce.  I dripped off a bunch of the sauce, leaving just a light glaze on top for flavor.  Unreal.

spinach gnocci

I also need to go back to the beginning and make note of the exceptional rolls that they have – like a sweet pastry puff with asiago cheese toasted on top.

wine and rolls

 

So, it’s pretty safe to say that the weekend started out with a little less health + fitness than normal, and a little more eating + drinking.

The trend only continued the later we pushed into Friday night with dessert at Sable (the gastropub at Hotel Palomar), and even more fun with the whole group.

dessert at sable

 

The top dessert was the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with bourbon ice cream, and the bottom was the Cookies and Cream Ice Box cake.

By 11:30 (or really 8:30, but who’s keeping track?) my eyelids were struggling to stay up, and despite being the youngest of the group I was the first to call it a night.  In my defense, it was really 12:30 my time…

So that’s the start to the Chicago adventure – and a great start to the sequel of last October’s epic Chi-town trip.  The rest of the weekend was even more eventful than the first half, which will be apparent in the next post!

Anyone else secretly (or not so secretly) want to live in Chicago, if there was no winter?  Seriously, if the winter were just half as brutal I think I would have to live there – since that’s not seeming likely I guess I’ll just have to work on my half-year plan to live there in the summer.

Sharing our eats + our sweats as fuel. sweat. grow

Welcome to fuel. sweat. grow.

This blog is a collaborative space where we will share the sweats, eats, and learnings from our fitness focused lives, with bonus shares from those we meet along the way.  We are runners, yogis, spinners, CrossFitters, Barre lovers, and all around athletes doing our best to live whole lives with whole foods & fitness.

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 We share everything from our favorite grocery lists, to our daily sweats (and everything in between), and invite you to read, share + connect with us through this open journal (and journey) of whole living.

Connect with us through what we share, and connect with us on our social channels so we can learn from your journey as well.