Wisdom from a quarter of a century

May all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. In memorial today of all those who gave their lives for the freedom we have in this country.

Quarter of a century! Which means I’m closer to being 30 years old than I am to being a wee high school grad. Before all you 30+ year olds start coming after me, I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this! We all go to die one day ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

a recent photo of my unmasked face, in case you were wondering

I have not done one of these “things I’ve learned” posts in a while, so to celebrate turning a ripe but fresh 25 years old today, here are 25 things, both serious and jovial, that I have learned in my 25 years of life:

  1. Vulnerability is extremely powerful, for better or for worse.
  2. It is very possible to be great friends with people who vehemently disagree with you on important topics.
  3. If you squish a grain of white rice between your fingers enough, it feels like you’re making a mini mochi cake.
  4. Your brain really is still developing a LOT in your early twenties so chill o u t and remember that you still have a long way to go.
  5. The music you listen to on a daily basis really does shape your daily disposition, for better or worse.
  6. In the words of Olaf the snowman, “I like warm hugs!”
  7. No human person is immune to any certain emotion, sin, circumstance, or bad habit except by the grace of God.
  8. The voice message feature on iPhone is very useful for when you have a bunch of things to explain that are too much for just texting but you don’t want to alarm the person by *gasp* CALLING during the daytime.
  9. Aligned with popular practice but contrary to what I used to prefer, a hot cup of tea in the silence of the morning is quite peaceful and is now one of my favorite things.
  10. I have an issue with procrastinating going to sleep on time because I am not ready to start the next day, which really starts when you go to sleep the night before.
  11. Motor learning principles help with SO MUCH in the realm of movement, strengthening, skill learning, rehabilitation, and honestly just life. Specificity, intensity, frequency, feedback, external focus… all of it.
  12. It is possible to become significantly stronger and to improve functional motor patterns using one kettlebell for a whole year.
  13. The weather really is a hot topic, no pun intended.
  14. Communication is one of those things that is mighty scary until you do it enough that it isn’t… but then you have to remember that it’s still scary for some people.
  15. Dancing is one of the best gifts I have received; it brings me so much joy.
  16. Taylor Swift, by many objective measures, has very well-done music, but I still don’t love her music.
  17. No matter what age a person is, there still always exists a sense of “what in the world is going on?” regarding SOMETHING.
  18. Talk to someone in person before you assume literally anything about what they are trying to say on social media. And really speak to them with clarity and respect, because it’s easy to keep assuming what they are saying even after the conversation starts.
  19. It is possible and rather helpful to ask God for the grace to be humble enough to ask for His help.
  20. That “real quick” thing will always take longer than I think it will.
  21. By the same token, it is really impressive what you can get done in an 8-hour period of time when you’re really under pressure.
  22. Say the motivational quote or cliché that you think everyone’s already heard before, because there is chance that the person who needs to hear it may not have heard it before or may have just never applied it to their life sincerely.
  23. Simple does not mean easy.
  24. Keeping a clean beach towel in the car is helpful for at least 5 different types of emergencies, not to mention a helpful backrest for ergonomics.
  25. God is faithful, He is enough, and He the answer to everything. I honestly could not fight those statements even if I wanted to.

That list was hard to think of, but fun and good to make! Hope you learned a thing or two, no matter what age you are. Would love to learn from you as well! Drop a piece of wisdom you’ve learned in your years thus far 🙂

Have a wonderful week, friends. Thanks for being here. ♥︎

Love and Lent

And I guess it’s President’s Day in the United States so….Love, Lent, and…Lyndon B. Johnson?

a wagyu beef burger I had a couple weekends ago 😀

Love

I am typing this at the very end of Valentine’s Day — such a GOOD day! I love seeing people celebrate their relationships. One of my friends (hi, Kelsey!) got married yesterday too. Many of my friends are also in flourishing dating relationships, and I am HERE FOR IT.

If you are single, dealing with heart break, or have lost your significant other, you might be like, “k bye.” But wait! Truly, you have a Pursuer, who delights in you greatly and wants to give you e v e r y t h i n g. I cannot overstate how important and freeing this is: God Loves you and wants everything that is true, good, and beautiful for you. *clenches fists and throws head back at how much I want you to know this*

But talk to Him about it, because I can only tell you so much about the One who actually loves you infinitely.

This year I have spent much more time alone with God, and I am so incredibly far from perfect in loving Him, but He has been the sweetest in every way He sustains me at work, allows me to see stars faintly at the end of a late work shift, allows me to see a stunning sunset when I get off work early enough, strengthens me through trials, and supports me through my loved ones from afar.

Seven(!) years ago I wrote this “Letter to My Future Husband,” and I also put a “p.s.” in there saying if my future husband doesn’t exist, then I’ll be a single person for Christ, and to be quite honest, the latter is not looking like a bad option, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lent

Not gonna lie, I am nervous for Lent this year! I am giving up all music, Youtube videos (my preferred streaming service), and podcasts EXCEPT for Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year Podcast, so that I can keep up with listening to the Bible from start to finish. But I usually listen to that first thing in the morning. The hardest part about this fast will be coming home from a long, stressful day of work (happens often) and being in silence.

I have prayed for weeks about this and knew a while ago that this was the move for Lent this year. I think it will help a lot with my sleep discipline, and it will also allow me to give more of my heart and my time to God, especially when I’m the most irritated/stressed/tired.

But dang, this will be so hard, good grief. There is nothing seems to be nothing like dancing to music and listening to other people talk about their lives on Youtube when I’m all wound up from work. I know there is something even better, but I’m sure it will take some grace to find out.

Moves and grooves

I’ve been posting a workout on Instagram stories every Sunday now, which I think is a good amount of Instagram for me at this time.

In other news, I’ve gotten up to 7 strict pull-ups on a really good day! I’ve gained a bit of weight so I’m generally pulling more weight than I did when I first moved to NY, but my back is getting stronger!

Hope you have a wonderful week, friends. You are loved!

So tell me:

How was this Valentine’s Day for you? Joys or sorrows?

If you observe Lent, what are you fasting from this year (if you care to share)?

What did you do this weekend?

Calling out the negative coping mechanisms for my stress without judgement.

pray.

…I would say that I should probably do more of this. Or at least do more silent, intentional prayer. I am definitely praying all throughout the day for my patients and for continual strength from God to do what I need to do, but to be with the Beloved in a quiet space is a rare occasion these days, and I know that it is in my control to change that.

What I think I really need to clean up is my night routine. The hardest thing these days is coming home exhausted and wanting to “turn my brain off,” so I turn to social media or talking to friends or watching an assortment of Youtube videos (other people eating or working out or talking about God usually). I KNOW THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. But I’ve been doing it anyway in an attempt to fill myself.

Guess what. It’s not working super well.

My face is broken out in acne; my cortisol levels shoot me up at around 7am even if I want to sleep in; my workouts feel really difficult; I sometimes find myself stress eating. None of this is first-time experience, and I know that the sources are a) stress from work; b) lack of quality time with God. One of these can be changed, for sure, if I really want it. And I do.

I am grateful that, at this point in my life, I can call out these negative coping mechanisms of mine without being hard on myself. I am also grateful for these seasons of stress and adjustment that remind me of my weakness and the need to rely on God c o m p l e t e l y.

Something that helps me with bouncing back from negative coping mechanisms is to “just say yes to the next good thing.” Whether that’s putting down the phone at 9:00pm, taking out the trash the night before instead of almost forgetting in the morning, turning off the TV Youtube while I’m eating dinner, etc. Say yes to ONE next good thing. Just one.

eat.

The best thing I ate last week was chicken saag with garlic naan and basmati rice from a local Indian restaurant. My brother picked it up for us + his girlfriend on Thursday night, and we had a lovely socially distanced dinner in the backyard. It made for two delicious meals, which is the best 🙂

move.

I’ve still been loving the outdoor KB workouts on Sundays hosted by @kettlebellgains_apparel. I didn’t go this weekend because I needed a bit of rest (aka napped too long and was a sort of too late lol) and wanted to catch up with family over video chat, but most Sundays I try to make it down there for awesome community and HEAVY kettlebell work!

Otherwise, my workouts have been mostly strength/mobility-based and pretty low key. I’ve been telling my patients, “I work out so I can do this [physical therapy]!” And I mean it.

groove.

On Friday night, I got home late so I ran up and down the stairs blasting uplifting praise and worship to sing, dance, and work up a sweat ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ whatever works.

On Saturday, I met up with my apartment-mate from last year, Yuka! She loooooves NYC, so I gave her a little tour of some of my favorite spots, some new-to-me spots, and some of her requested spots. It was a day of 29K+ steps, lots of carbs, and good friend time! Masked and outdoors only, of course.

It was fun writing a good old blog post again. This always helps to ground me. Thank you, as always, for reading along on this 7+ year journey.

So tell me:

Do you find yourself using “negative” coping mechanisms at times? How do you try to bring yourself out of those?

What are some things that ground you during stressful/challenging times?

Do you like Indian food? Fave dish? What is the best thing you did this weekend?

A Week in the Life of a Physical Therapist Vlog!

It’s been a long while since I have updated you guys on anything here, but I’ve been working hard [at work, of course, but also] on this vlog to give a peek into what my life as a full-time physical therapist looks like!

I obviously can’t really film any of my actual work as a PT (#HIPAA), but a lot of the video is my life surrounding my work hours and my feelings before/after work each day.

This is probably my most finessed vlog yet, so I’m excited to share it with you guys! Enjoy 🙂

Here is the link if the embedded video is not working.

Have an awesome week ahead, friends!

So tell me:

What are some of your routine things you do before and/or after work?

Do you ever get a little nervous heading into work?

What are some of your outside-of-work recreational/volunteer activities?

Power and Love and Self-Control

There are a million words yet no words at the same time. I’ll give this post my best shot, because it’s worth it.

Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd is an act that ought to be condemned. There needs to be justice for George Floyd, his family, and for all people of color who have been oppressed and, evidently, suffocated to the point of death under systemic racism in America since its onset.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I am not too shy about my views on life issues (i.e., divisive ones like abortion), and the issue of racism is one of those life issues.

This post from @rachel.cargle is striking. The actions we take and the words we speak in the Black Lives Matter movement are not to be in vain. This is what I am hearing from many black people, whether they are close friends or strangers. The gist is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Yes, this should be true for ANY life issue. Yes, this movement is getting a lot of attention right now. But major events that gain attention, despite the chaos, can stir up genuine good and necessary change. We are not forgetting other causes nor minimizing them, but for something as important, real, longstanding, and stifled as the issue of racism in America, there is a very clear need for action and tangible, expedient change.

It is easy to be complacent and tired of all of this, but if we can muster up a little bit of energy to, in some minuscule way, lay down our life for a brother or sister, please Lord, help us to help.

Act. It is not wise to “sign x, y, z because everyone is signing this and it’s probably good.” You have the faculties given to you to make an informed, conscientious decision about which petitions to sign, which organizations to support, or which posts to share.

Make the decision because you know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the implied WORK it requires you to do after you donate, sign, post, etc. Please be responsible, not just reactive.

Be honest in your research and be okay with hearing “both sides.” You might find a sense of good in both sides of the conversation. You might find discomfort or disgust in elements of both sides of the conversation. Ask yourself why. Talk to people with an open heart. Seek to understand.

In all of this though, the priority is to listen to those who are being oppressed (i.e., black people).

If you are not sure where to even start, here are suggestions:

  • For a concise, honest, and helpful understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement, watch this. Although I do not condone any sort of violence or crime, this video provides perspective on the deep, unspeakable pain that is yielding such actions. Additionally, I have seen and heard of many instances where black people are the ones preventing others (of various races) from destroying businesses and hurting others. There are riots, yes, but there are many necessary peaceful protests, where a majority of the protestors actually condemn any violence and destruction. Nevertheless, I am learning more and more that the riots and looting are coming from a place of extremely long-standing oppression and systemic inequity against black people (watch this). There can be an understanding of rioting and looting without condoning it. And most importantly, in understanding why it is happening, it has pushed me to realize the urgency and duty of addressing the “why” — to seek out true reform; to get dirty and serve underserved areas; to speak with my vote; and to empower young people of color with my time, energy, and money so that change can happen from the bottom up. In other words, I need to do what needs to be done so that black people do not ever feel that their only chance to be heard and loved is by rioting and looting. Who put them in such a position in the first place? Even if I did not ever personally place a black person in a position of poverty and inequity, to not do anything about it now is to do just that.
  • For my Catholic friends who are not sure how Catholics are responding or how they ought to respond, watch this and this and read this. Pray and fast for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for real upheaval of systemic racism (which will take a lot of time, so you’ll probably be praying for it for your whole life), and for respect for black lives. Ask God to shine a light on any prejudices in your own heart, and ask Him to uproot them. Pray about how God is calling you to act against racism, and follow.
  • For those who are wondering why the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be getting so much more attention and momentum vs. the fight for unborn lives (hint: the issues are not dissociated from one another), watch this (I have linked the particular part of the video that addresses this question).
  • For petitions to sign, organizations to support, and a plethora of other resources, go here.
  • For a history on police in America, listen to this.
  • For Boston friends who seek to support local organizations that empower young people of color, consider donating to African Community Education and Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester. One of my friends, who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that he believes real change will happen only if black people are in positions of power, and that starts with true nourishment and quality education from a young age.
  • Support local black-owned businesses (Boston list of black-owned restaurants).
  • Start a book club with friends. Be open to conversation, and remember that you can use the opportunity to LISTEN. Discuss what you agree and disagree with, but listen. My friends and I will read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also recommend Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

Systemic, but always interpersonal. Someone told me that change still comes down to the interactions that we have with the people in front of us. And this does not mean to shut out the world and live in one’s own bubble, because ignorance of the sufferings outside of one’s own immediate environment is part of the problem. But truly, how do you love the person in front of you today?

Does loving them mean having a tough conversation about the reality of racism? Does loving them mean reminding them of their worth, power, and love, so that they can go and pour out to others and be inspired to do something bigger than themselves?

And then after being informed about the the injustices and atrocities against black people in America, after honestly praying and educating yourself about the history of racism, how can you go to black people within your community and love them? Or at least donate to them? And if you are really not physically amidst black people, then how can you reach out beyond your community?

Look to those who do it well. I will share below some Saints who I know have worked against racism and slavery as Catholics. White people within the Catholic Church have indeed participated in racism in the past and some likely still do today. Please remember these people are imperfect and sinful human beings who act of their own accord. What is important, however, is that even their evil racism did not keep black people from the Love of Jesus Christ in the Church.

For example:

Above all, I find that Jesus Christ proves to be the answer to everything. He knows unjust condemnation. He knows racism. He knows judgement from others. He knows contempt. He knows poverty. He knows the pain of being brutally murdered for no reason.

Yet He, the Victim, gives Wisdom. He, the Victim, gives Mercy. He, the Victim, gives Power. He, the Victim, gives Peace. He, the Victim, gives Joy. He, the Victim, gives Love.

He is everything broken, impoverished, and slandered, yet He is everything good and triumphant.

My friends, my words here are not perfect. This is important though. And please, teach me more if you can, and help me to amplify black voices. Help me to love others more.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“‘Teacher, which are the two greatest commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

Matthew 22:34-40

Go forth in power, love, and self-control. Black lives matter.