Spring Has Sprung (and other life updates)!

So, I’ve been a bad blogger. Like, really bad. I love the idea of being a blogger. I love reading blogs and keep up with a good many, but when it comes to my own, I’m lacking.

Starting in a few weeks though, I will have one month off. No work, no school. Just a few speaking commitments, some interviews, and a jumble of doctor’s appointments. May will be a time of wrapping up life in DC and re-starting life in Baltimore and I couldn’t be happier.

Wait, what? Guys, I’m moving! After two years of working in Northern Virginia in fields that I can not envision myself enjoying in 10 years, I will be moving back to the city that I grew up in and the city I love. I’ve been accepted into a highly selective teaching program in Baltimore City (the Baltimore City Teaching Residency) where I will be teaching elementary education starting in Fall 2013. My summer will consist of long days filled with classes and student teaching as I fast track my way to the classroom.

I’ve always been the kind of person who feels best when helping others. It’s why I try to participate in as much advocacy as possible. It’s also why my most memorable experiences in life to date have been while helping others. I made a decision this past fall that I didn’t want to spend my life working in an office. I didn’t want to spend my life being good at my job without really enjoying it. I wanted to have a job that I felt passionate about.

I officially put my notice in at work today. This was a huge weight off my shoulders since I’ve known I would be leaving for almost two months now. No more being sneaky about what I did over the weekends or when I was going to start looking for a new place to live (everyone knew my lease was up). So here it is office friends and other friends alike:

1. Since February, my life has been crazy! I have had to take the Praxis I and Praxis II. They aren’t cheap tests. They aren’t easy tests. I studied a lot throughout the month of February and March. Sorry that work and life was put on the back burner, but not really. The tests were important. I passed the Praxis I and should hear about the Praxis II any day now. Just in case, I’ve registered again so my life might go on the back burner again.

2. I should mention these tests are extremely stressful to study for and take. They are also stressful because my continuation in the program will only happen if I pass. Any day now, ETS!!!

3. While I’ve told people that I’ve been looking for places to live in DC and Arlington, the fact of the matter is I extended my lease to May 1 and will be moving back in with my parents. I’ve slowly been packing my apartment up now, so when you ask what I did over the weekend, it probably included some packing that I didn’t mention. That’s also why I’ve been hoarding boxes in the storage room.

4. Yes, I just mentioned that I’m moving back in with my parents. Programs like Teach for America, the Peace Corp and the New Teacher Project (the program I’m in) are all about ‘giving.’ We all have to go through a training period before we are able to give though. That training period is not paid and while some programs provide housing. mine doesn’t. Luckily, I have parents who love me and are able to let me live rent-free through the summer.

5. I’m completely excited about this new opportunity! I’m excited about becoming a teacher. I’m excited to go back to Baltimore (peace out NoVa!) I’m excited to work with and help kids and make a difference.

This all brings me back to the fact that I will be moving in a few short weeks and will have a month off before starting my summer training. One glorious month! I have program stuff that I’ll have to do and I was asked to speak at my university, but other than that, the time is mine and I’m pretty excited about it! So I don’t become a lazy lump on a log and sucked into Netflix, I have set a few personal goals for myself. I’m putting them out there for all to see:

1. Find a gym and continue with fitness goals. Over the past two month or so, I’ve become really dedicated as far as fitness goals. I’ve lost about 8 pounds, but I’ve also gained muscle. I’m not a naturally thin person, so I don’t expect to ever fit my wider hips into a size 4, but being really toned is something I’ve never been… it’s a process and I’m finally ready to embrace the process. “Slow and steady wins the race” right?!

2. Blog. Every day I promise myself to blog about something. It will be my thirty day challenge that I can hopefully extend into something longer.

3. Read. I’ve been reading a lot of fun and frilly books lately while working out on the elliptical, but I have a list of heavier books that I’ve been wanting to get to.

4. Write the reviews I promised myself to write. Even though I have been reading a lot of nonsense, I’ve also read some really great books and gone to some really great events pertaining to diabetes. I want to share all of them!

5. Cook. Well, this is a given. I always cook. The difference is that I usually cook for myself. Since I have the month off and will be living with my family, I figured the least I can do is take that off their hands. I hope they are ready for the weird things I eat! I don’t think it will be a problem though since I’ve already converted them on a few things.

6. Prepare for the challenges that await me. I have not idealized my summer into thinking it’s going to be a cake walk. I know my days are going to be long and tiring, and that’s just the beginning. The hardest year for a teacher is their first, or so I hear from my friends who have been there. I’m ready for the challenge though, and I’m excited.

7. Watch Netflix… ok, ok. I want to do all the other things I mentioned, but let’s be real here! Netflix has basically been my significant other for the past six months and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

So there it is! The biggest part of my life at the moment on blast. Now if only the weather would cooperate and actually be Spring-like instead of 90 degrees… but I’m not complaining 🙂

NHBPM- Day 19

“Write about: Life and Death”

To let everyone (all 10 of you) know what’s going on with my blog, I’m participating in NHBPM at my own pace since it’s already December. I have a draft of all the writing prompts and am trying to work through them when I can. Day 19 asks bloggers to write about life and death. Since this blog carnival is all about health, I know that we should write about life and death as far as our health is concerned, and I will. But first I want to share what I just found out after coming back from a great Friday lunch break with my co-worker where we chatted about silly boys, diets and weekend plans over a glass of wine and healthy entrees (living our life). I found out about death.

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut had a mass shooting this morning. Right before I went to lunch. While I was planning my lunch, children, 18 as of now, were being shot and killed. I hate to put it so bluntly because my stomach is in knots and I feel nauseous thinking about the terror that school experienced, but that’s what happened. Parents sent their kids off to school in what I can only imagine as high spirits with Christmas looming around the corner. Fridays were always my favorite day of the week while in school (still are as a working adult) and I’m sure laughter was in abundance at Sandy Hook.

I don’t know all the details. They haven’t been released to the public because they are still being gathered. As of now 27 are dead, 18 of those 27 are children. 18 children won’t experience Christmas this year. 18 children’s stockings will go un-stuffed and 18 children’s families will spend their holidays in mourning. But that’s not the extent of the damage. 27 families will spend their holiday thinking about the death of their loved one. Many more families will be affected by the shooting and thoughts about life and death will inevitably come up.

I experienced the panic that comes from knowing someone inside of a school that has a gunman. My brother started his senior year of high school this past August with a mentally ill child shooting up the cafeteria. The panic I experienced was unreal. I had never felt so scared in my life, especially when I didn’t know the details and didn’t know if my brother was one of the kids who had been shot. He wasn’t, luckily, but my thoughts lingered on how he could have been. My grief lay with the children who had been shot and the shooter himself.

To think so little of your life and the life around you that death is the only solution.

Life and death as it relates to me and my diabetes is something I think about as a very real idea. My diabetes has caused me to lead life in a different way. I try to appreciate the little things. I stop and take time to watch the sun rise and set. I find beauty in the small things around me that I never noticed before. I don’t know if it’s because subconsciously, I know I could die. I worry about death but don’t fear it, if that makes sense. I worry that I will have a low at night and I won’t ever wake up from it. I worry about diabetes complications. I worry about cancer. I worry about my health on a constant basis because that’s what happens when you have a chronic disease. You worry. All the time.

It’s knowing that I could die from something diabetes related either now or in the future that has helped me really live my life. I’m a much more laid-back person than I was and really try and do the things that are best for me.

My relationship with death is intertwined with my relationship to life. In a way, for me, the two go hand in hand.
It took me 23 years to come to terms with that relationship in my life. I wish those children had been awarded the same.

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome”

NHBPM- Day Eight

So, I’m a bit behind on my NHBPM posts. Are you surprised? I’m not. Especially with all the excitement going on this month since it’s National Diabetes Awareness month and World Diabetes Day. Doing stuff for that, combined with crazy things happening at work equals no blog posts. But, I’m back.  I also think I started lagging because I didn’t really have anything to say for the past few prompts. So instead of beating myself up over not writing an entry every day, I’m just going to write an entry for the prompts that interest me. Deal? Deal!

Day 8:

“Write a letter to your health”

or

“Write about how you choose to write about others in your blog”

I wrote a letter to diabetes on my diaversary in September, so I’m going to write about how I write about others.

I started this blog as an outlet when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and diabetes last year. Throughout the year, my blog has focused mostly on my diagnosis and daily life as a 20-something. I’ve talked a lot about my friends, family and boyfriend who gradually became my ex-boyfriend over the course of this past year. I try to speak very honestly about the people I talk about because in a way, this blog is a bit like my journal (with less nitty gritty details though).

While I do strive to speak honestly and in a positive light about those I write about, nobody is perfect. I’ve written about the fights with my mom, tensions with my friends and my heartbreak over breaking up. Those posts might not be the most flattering version of the people I write about, or even of myself, but it’s the truth. Writing is one of the few things I do with my guard down and I always strive to portray the people I write about in a great way but also a real way. I obviously wouldn’t be writing about them if they didn’t matter to me and my life.

So, with all that said, I think so very highly of everyone I write about (unless I don’t) and your support and presence in my life has helped me become who I am today. Thank you!

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Hard Work Pays Off

Holla, blog world! Just wanted to let you all know that Nazy, my fellow marketing specialist and event planner extraordinaire and I successfully planned and executed out first meetup! And we looked great while doing it!

If you’re in the DC metro area, interested in anything tech or just like to come hang out and have a good time, check out #TechinMotionDC for our future events!

What an awesome feeling that comes from seeing great results from what you do! The event was more than a success in my books with close to 100 people showing up. Now, to work on topping this event at the next one…

Navigating Support Systems

A note about this post: This post began as one thing and ended up as a very personal look at my support system for the past year as far as my diabetes is concerned.  So, as a disclaimer, I would like to say that first and foremost, I believe everyone needs to find inner strength to support themselves, because as you’ll see in this post, support systems can crumble, but you’ve always got yourself. I do a lot of work to maintain my inner support system, from reading Buddhist teachings to practicing yoga. I try to do daily meditations, as well as run daily. I also get a lot of inner strength from cooking and the library. Whatever works for you to build your confidence (which is essentially your inner strength), do it. Everyone is different. With that being said, I also believe it is important to be able to turn to others for support as well. This post focuses on that aspect of my life.

Thanks!

This morning, I was catching up on some of the diabetes blogs I follow. I read one post in particular that hit home about support systems.

In case you didn’t know, I’m going through a pretty difficult period in my life right now. I’m not really sure about where I want to be or even who I am (at times). I’m trying to get my life back on track and to figure out what is important to me. As usual, I’m just trying to take things day by day right now, and my last few have been pretty great as I spent the weekend hanging out with my family, helping my parents host a party, enjoying the great weather and going for multiple runs in one day. My biggest support system is definitely my parents and my closest friends (who happen to live too many miles away, but are always there for me on the phone).

In the past year though, one of my biggest supporters was A. Out of everyone in my life, he was the one who supported me through blood sugar highs and lows on a daily basis (emphasizing “daily”, HI MOM). He celebrated the little victories with me, like having great numbers and then taking me out to celebrate with ice cream or chocolate (my weakness). He was right there with me when I was worried about the highs. He knew the signs of me being low and encouraged me to test. He knew me pre-diabetes, supported me through my crazy misdiagnosis and helped me navigate the ins and outs of learning how to live with diabetes by always asking me about it (all after barely meeting me). He was learning about the disease as I was learning about it, and often times, he would come to me with new research and studies, always hopeful for the future.

A and I broke up after almost a year of dating and a rough last couple of months. I’m not going to go into the details on this blog because I don’t really think it’s anyone’s business. I’m not sure I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t know how he’s feeling about it. I do know that at the end, we tried really hard, although we never really got on the same page at the same time. But sometimes, things just don’t work out. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason. I’m also a believer in what Bob Marley said and that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

I’m extremely sad (and sometimes feel like nothing will be alright), but ultimately know this is the best thing for me right now. I need to just be on my own. I haven’t been a single unit in a long time. Maybe ever since I started “dating” when I was in high school. So, I’m going to take my time healing from my hurt. It was a big love and I’m dealing with a big hurt. I’m going to take my time figuring out my own life as far as what I want personally and professionally. I’m going to spend a lot of time being with myself, as weird as that sounds. I’m sure I’ll dive more into this in later blog posts. I just know that for a while, emotionally, I’ll only be available for my friends and family and that’s perfectly ok with me.

Back to the original subject of support systems: A was a great support system. I truly appreciated every little thing he did when it came to me and my diabetes. I don’t think I will ever forget those scary weeks of not knowing my diagnosis and A taking me out to dinner, staying positive and telling me it was all a mistake. To finding out it wasn’t a mistake and A telling me about a diabetes walk we had to go do. The moments where I was low and he’d try to shove food/glucose tablets in my mouth so I would be ok. Of course, my parents and friends were a HUGE support during that time as well and I won’t ever forget their help then and continued help now. I guess it was a different experience though because I live an hour and a half from them.

The whole experience created a bond between A and I. Whenever a person goes through something traumatic, it is always the people right there with them, be they strangers or siblings, that become bonded because of that experience. I guess that’s what happened with A and I, and that’s one of the hardest things about this break up.

Of course, I know I can find support all around me. Definitely from my parents and friends, from my co-worker whose boyfriend has Type 1, from a local girls meetup group sponsored by the JDRF (which I’m going to tomorrow for the first time!) and from new people who come into my life.

To be honest with you, if you’re still with me at this point, I’m not sure what the direction of this post is. It started out as one thing and turned into another. I guess I just have a lot going on in my life that I’m processing and it came out today after I read the original post about support systems. I started thinking about my own, and how right now it’s changing. Everyone needs a support system. It’s important to have people who care enough about you to help you in any way you need them to. I’m realizing it’s also important to be able to support yourself and be your own source of strength because sometimes your support system becomes broken. Sometimes your support system can no longer support you. Sometimes they just aren’t there anymore. Right now I’m relying a lot on myself to be my own support system in more ways than one and I’m feeling stronger every day. This is just life.

I’m confident I can handle it. And when I can’t, I’ve got my mom on speed dial.

Like, whoah!

Ok guys. I did something yesterday for the first time in about a month. Are you ready?

I went for a run!

Cool, Liz. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that for about two months, I seriously got into running. I couldn’t go a day without pounding out a mile, and if I did, I felt super guilty. I won’t classify myself as a runner. I was only up to two mile runs before I stopped, but I didn’t care. See, I’ve never liked running. I’ve never willingly run, so the fact that I had gotten into the habit of adding running to my routine was amazing. Yoga, weights, walking, all yes, yes, yes. Running was always a big NO.

I stopped running around the time I had a lot of crap hit the fan. They say when you’re depressed, have low self-esteem and are generally feeling down, exercise helps bring a person back up. I have to say that I was at that point of being really low and exercise was the LAST thing I wanted to do. The thought of putting on workout clothes and exerting all of that energy into a run when I was already feeling so drained just drained me even more.

Yesterday was really no exception to any other day this month. The only difference is that I was all of a sudden determined to get back to my old self, get my confidence back and start feeling happy every day all day again. So, without even thinking twice about it, I changed out of my work clothes, put on my tennis shoes (which haven’t been touched in a while), got in my car and went to the track. I walked a mile and ran a mile, with a few lunges and squats interspersed throughout. It wasn’t an extremely hard workout but it felt great and I’ve definitely been missing it.

I won’t say I’m a changed person today. I’m certainly not back to my old self, but I’m one step closer, especially if I keep this up. And that’s all I really want. To get back to the person I was so I can live the life I want to live.

“The End”

 

Sometimes, I wish life was like a book. Not for the impossible plots and imaginary worlds that help people escape from the daily grind. Not because I’m unhappy with my life even though it lacks vampires, perfect men and beautiful lofts that women my age can seemingly afford in the middle of New York City. I wish life was like a book because books have an end. Yes, I know life has an end too. That’s not the kind of end I’m talking about though.

The end I’m talking about is situational. Books are clear cut. A situation is over when the author wants that situation to be over. Often times, “the end” in a book comes with clear resolutions. There is always a clear end. And when there isn’t, frustration ensues. People demand sequels so they can find out the ending.

In life, some situations have endings. You go into your boss’s office to ask for a raise. He says either yes or no. The end.

You apply to a job. You either get an interview or not. You then either get the job or not. The end.

You follow a recipe, expecting a final product. The end.

Unfortunately, a lot of life’s situations don’t have such clear cut endings. Emotions are usually involved. Choices have to be made. I understand all of this. I understand that life is not black and white. In fact, I’m pretty sure the colors black and white aren’t involved in a lot of life events.

But that fact doesn’t make it less frustrating. Right now, I’m having a hard time coming to grips with “the end.” Especially since the end doesn’t feel like an end. It feels like a lot of unfinished gray area. It feels wrong and confusing. In a way, it feels a bit like tug of war in my brain.

I’m just searching, searching, searching for a resolution. I’m slowly realizing that talking about “the end” won’t help find a resolution. It might help make things clearer (that’s a HUGE might), but it still feels unfinished. Distractions work well too when dealing with an ending of something, but certainly don’t help reach a resolution.

I just don’t know how you know it’s “the end.” Is it when you resignedly sigh and make a choice to accept that it’s the end. Accept the feeling that the end could have been something other than what it is. Accept that maybe there can’t be a clear resolution. Accept the frustration that comes from all the gray.

When do you stop thinking about the alternatives and what ifs and accept that there isn’t a “to be continued”?

“Oh, oh won’t somebody show me that I’m not alone, not alone”