Sometimes I can work myself into a mini panic attack with the thought that in order to stay alive I have to keep eating. I know this sounds strange, so let me explain. I distinctly remember a time during my senior year of high school when I suddenly realized that I was going to have to feed myself multiple times every day for the rest of my life. The thought terrified me then, and unfortunately I still have some lingering concern over the issue now. It is not that I don’t like food, or that I don’t enjoy eating, but cooking, nutrition, and preparing meals has never really come easy to me. My initial concern lasted for a few weeks; I would run my fears by my friends, emphasizing that it was an EVERY DAY requirement, but no one else seemed to be the least bit worried. I fretted that I would quickly exhaust all of my food options, and then what? It seemed obvious to me that after a couple decades of eating the same few foods every morning (cereal, toast, oatmeal, eggs) that I just wouldn’t have the appetite for them any longer. And what about lunch? How many slices of pizza, PB&J’s, or burritos could one person eat in a lifetime? And you wouldn’t even want to get me started on dinner. Chicken, salad, and rice can only be dressed up in so many ways. I felt limited, stuck, and overwhelmed.

Now fast forward 8 years. I still deliberate (and not in the good way) over every meal I eat. I wake up in the morning and part of me literally dreads the fact that I will have to find and prepare, or even worse – pay for, 3 meals in order to keep myself healthy and full. I have found that nutrition, taste, efficiency, and cost are nearly impossible for me to balance. Even when I think I got it right, I’ll happen upon a news article or hear a friend talking about why this-or-that item or ingredient is actually not so great for me. You can imagine my frustrations surrounding the gluten-free, dairy-free diets of many people these days. I believe that I probably WOULD feel healthier and more energized if I adopted a strict diet, but I struggle so much when I allow myself to eat everything that I just don’t see something that is so limiting (and expensive!) as a plausible option for me. I imagine the best solution for my problem is to cook more. Most people experience a lot more variety than I do…more raw ingredients, spices, seasonings, and mixtures. The issue is that I just don’t enjoy cooking. That, and cooking for one lacks some excitement. Even cooking up mac and cheese can really feel like a chore. But I have not given up. I still try on a regular basis to embrace food and mealtimes. Here is a sampling of my menu this week:


A cheese and veggie omelet I made for breakfast 2 days ago

PB&J, chips and salsa, and an apple for lunch yesterday

BBQ chicken, mushrooms and salad for dinner last night

I caved and had a frozen pizza for dinner tonight…

Well, at least I tried. What I REALLY need is a personal chef 🙂 Here is where food shows up on my lists…

Daily
Drink water
Take vitamins
Eat healthy
Meditation
Exercise
Birthdays
Make music
Read books
Recycle
Yelp
Project 365 (I’ll explain later)
Write blog post

“Other” Activities (Which is a nice way of saying…things I SHOULD spend more time doing)
Photography
Yoga
Reading
Music
Cooking
Travel
Volunteer
 

 

Alright, by the end of this post I legitimately expect anyone who is reading this to drop everything, call the American Red Cross and make an appointment to give blood. You’ve been warned.

I have always loved giving blood because it is a straightforward, selfless act of kindness. It’s free, it’s easy, and it just makes you feel good. Okay, admittedly the snacks, fruit juice, and sweet old volunteers that ask how you’re feeling every 20 seconds also add to the delight. Actually, my high school government teacher’s lesson on “enlightened self-interest” does come to mind when I really think about why I give blood. Sure I care about helping out fellow humans, but I suppose I get something out of it too; mostly that warm fuzzy feeling that assures me that I do make a difference and that I am important.

I have been a whole blood donor for years (ever since those blood drives in high school) but I have only recently committed to a more frequent and intentional schedule. The red cross in Portland does a great job. They are always friendly and efficient and make you feel like a hero just for coming in. A person can donate blood every 56 days, so I have tried to drop in every 2 months since I moved here for my donation. Each time that I go in I walk past a separate room with the word APHERESIS written in large red letters on the wall. Eventually I decided to stop by that mysterious room and ask some questions, and before I knew it I was scheduled for a 3 hour blood platelet donation.

Apheresis (the process of removing part of a person’s blood and returning the rest to their body) serves a specific population of people, takes longer, can be done every 7 days, and is NOT recommended for people with a fear of needles. My donation this evening was a “double-platelet” donation, which means that it yielded enough platelets for two transfusions, most likely for cancer patients in the Pacific Northwest. Overall, my first apheresis donation was a great experience. I was hooked up to the machine for about 2.5 hours, but I did get to watch “About A Boy” and a couple episodes of “How I met Your Mother”. Also, the nurses are constantly covering you with blankets, checking to make sure you feel alright, and bringing you food and drinks as needed. There are some strange sensations that you can feel during the donation (mild side effects from the anti-coagulant that is returned into your body with your blood) but you feel better after the donation than you do with whole blood because most of the blood is all back inside of you. I will need some time to figure out what I want my ideal blood donation system to be. The Red Cross would prefer that I be solely a platelet donor, but I am not yet sure of how often I’d feel comfortable going in for such a long procedure.

Okay, now it’s time for you to make that appointment. Don’t act surprised…you knew this was coming. And while you’re at it, PLEASE go to BeTheMatch.org and join the bone marrow registry. You could end up saving someone’s life! Maybe you can’t cure cancer, but your donation of blood or marrow will mean the world to someone. Just one more way to live deliberately.

So where does all this show up on my lists? Ah yes, there it is…

On an Ongoing Basis
Groceries
Laundry
Wash car
Haircut
Eyebrows
Give blood

“Other” Activities
Photography
Yoga
Reading
Music
Cooking
Travel
Volunteer (More on this soon…)

 

How is it that I had never heard of meetup.com?? To be honest, I can’t remember exactly how I happened upon the website last night, but I do know that I proceeded to waste about 3 of my last 24 hours joining groups, browsing upcoming events, and reading about peoples’ experiences at past events. Turns out both my best friend and my mother have known about the site for years, but had never thought to mention it to me. So am I the only one who was in the dark? I love the concept of this website, and it fits for where I am in life. A place to make friends, invite yourself to cool events, and explore more of Portland.

This evening I had the unique pleasure of bouldering at a gym and then drinking beer with about 10 strangers from all different walks of life. It was an enjoyable night; great to get bouldering tips and have a group cheering me on at every problem, and nice to feel a part of a group at a local hip bar. However, I must confess that the realities of this unique social scene set in pretty quickly. First of all, it was almost all men at the meetup. I’m not complaining, but I was surprised and a bit intimidated at first. Second, these people didn’t know me so I felt I had to have my gameface on the whole time. The night was full of small talk, introductions, and polite nods. It was a great group of people…but friendship takes time, and tonight it was all pleasantries. Finally, it occured to me about halfway through the night that I had not completely thought through the types of people who might show up for a “meetup”. I mean, I was really excited about going to this event, and somehow I had assumed that if anything I would feel intimidated by all the cool people who meet up with strangers to rock climb, hike, camp, etc. I had failed to make the somewhat obvious comparison between “meetups” and online dating. I guess it makes sense that many people who show up to social “meetups” would be single like me, and potentially “on the prowl”. Again, not a deal breaker or anything, just something I had failed to think through. In the end, meetups retain a unique quality because anyone can, and will, show up; whereas we usually choose our friends and invite only those we know we like when we make plans to hangout. I still think they are a great idea, and I look forward to trying out more in the months to come.

Meetup.com was not the only website that I discovered between my last post and now. I let myself finally take a peek at pinterest.com this afternoon (I had been told it was addictive), and a friend’s blog led me to check out shelfari.com too. Mostly though I discovered that if I wanted to, I could fill every day by just reading other people’s blogs. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything the internet has to offer. On a daily basis, I try to imagine what my life would be like if the internet (and cell phones) did not exist. I literally can’t imagine it. It frightens me to think about how dependent I have become on something inanimate and how much it has altered the way I spend my time and view my world. This could be a very depressing thought, but I’ll try to stay positive. I want to appreciate the knowledge, art, and opportunities that I do experience through the internet, and not just bemoan that fact that I’ll never know or see it all. All this to say that I look forward to discovering and sharing even more than I had imagined through this blog.

Now for some related lists! (The firsts of many)

Websites I Visit Often                     
Gmail
Facebook
Wells Fargo
TED
Netflix
Hulu
Goodreads
Craigslist
Wikipedia
Groupon
Living Social
Yelp
Wordpress
Pandora
YouTube
Running in the USA

Websites I Want to Visit More Often
Friends’ blogs
PDX Pipeline
Meetup
Pinterest
StumbleUpon

Please suggest other worthy, interesting websites that you visit regularly! But please nothing news/politics/economics/recipe related 🙂 Thank you!

Today I had the privilege of cheering on hundreds of complete strangers at Mile 24 of the Portland Marathon. It was so much fun! And it completely reignited my love for all things running. Though I only started running after college, and I still only run 10 minute miles, running does show up in multiple places on my various life lists. “Run a marathon” is on my “Completed Bucket List” (I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2008), “Sign up for races” appears on my “Continuous To Do” list, “Exercise” is on my “Daily” list (and running is usually how I accomplish this), and “Running” is also on my “Activities I enjoy on foot” list. Also, “Portland Marathon”, “Lake Tahoe Marathon”, “Run an adventure race”, and “Compete in a triathlon” ALL show up on my “Bucket List”. Phew…clearly I hope to do some more running in my future.

This morning I was reminded of just how powerful the “Runner’s High” can be. As I got out of my car and walked up to the curb where hundreds of dedicated runners were finishing their last leg of the race, my eyes filled with tears and I became overwhelmed with emotion. I could feel the energy in the air…their high was rubbing off on me! I was immediately transported to my own racing experiences, complete with hope, pride, excitement, envy, fear, and pure joy. I watched as people pushed their bodies, minds, and spirits to their very edge, and celebrated along with them as they discovered that they were indeed so much stronger than they knew. The tears came and went, usually brought on by a t-shirt indicating who the race was meant to honor or the simple love demonstrated through one runner slowing their pace for another. I made eye contact with hundreds of people and watched wide-eyed as my smile literally infected one exhausted runner after another. I was yelling, “Great job!,” “You’re almost there!,” and “Keep it up!,” but I know that what they heard was “You are able!,” “You are strong!,” and “Pain is only temporary!” Some life lessons are only truly understood when we are pushed beyond our self-imposed limits. Most people call all these emotions the “Runner’s High”, but those of us who run know it is so much more.

The fact is that running is one way that I live deliberately. It is something I want to do more of. Not only does it keep me healthy and strong, but it surrounds me with like-minded people and it brings peace to my soul. So with that in mind, I have done a little research. Today at the marathon I met a fellow cheerleader who mentioned that she was participating in “Foot Traffic University.” Then minutes later I was talking to a man whose daughter had just finished the marathon a whole hour faster than her first attempt last year, and he was giving all the credit to a running club she had joined. This got me thinking about group runs. I’ve always run solo, but what better way to make new friends and stay motivated then to run with a group! So here is a list of what I found in Portland. I’m sure I’m missing some great clubs and groups, but this is a good start.

Portland Running Company – Free group runs Sat-Wed

Foot traffic – Free group runs Mon-Thurs

Foot traffic University

Red lizard running club – Free group runs Mon-Thurs

ORRC – Free Tuesday night workout

NoPo Run Club – Free Thursday night group run

Team Athena – Must join for Tuesday night workouts

I look forward to checking some of these out this week, and I’ll let you know how it goes! Now I just have to hope I stay injury-free!

I have decided to start keeping a blog. On occasion I browse through old friends’ blogs and I am always struck by how interesting they seem. Even though I am reading about someone else’s life, I usually feel grateful that they are sharing it with me. I know that this blog is as much for me as it is for anyone reading it, and I have come to accept that as a beautiful and realistic aspect of blogging. This is my journal, as well as my soapbox, portfolio, agenda, and scrapbook.

While I appreciate the creative, unique, and often eclectic nature of posting on a blog, I do plan on developing a theme around living deliberately. In recent years I have found myself referencing my “bucket list” on a regular basis. I have always been a planner and have always kept lists, but this one list in particular has really seemed to find its way into my heart. I plan on exploring the origins and use of the “bucket list” in a future post, but for now I’ll say that if my blog inspires just one reader to get off the couch and cross something off their own bucket list then I will have met my goal.

I have found myself at a sort of crossroads in my life. I am (mostly) unemployed, living in a beautiful little duplex in a great part of SE Portland. I have a lot to show for my last 8 years of life (I am 26 years old) and yet I feel restless, lonely, confused, and bored. I have the feeling that I was meant to do great things, and somehow my days filled with morning jogs, hours of reading, and endless planning, cleaning, and “hanging out” aren’t seeming to cut it. I have learned so much, but what should I do with what I know? It always comes back to the same two questions, why am I here and where am I going. This is what I hope to explore through this blog, not just for myself, but for anyone else out there who also hopes to live deliberately.

I’ll say one more thing. I know that for me the answers to my questions lie in nature. I know that I feel more alive, healthy, and on track when I am hiking over a mountain, paddling a kayak, orienting a map, or doing any other outdoor activity than I do at any other time. So throughout this journey I’ll be referencing the wisdom of other naturalists who have gone before me. I will look to John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Kurt Hahn, and Paul Petzoldt, to name a few. I will search for women mentors too, beginning with Emily Dickinson and Catherine Freer. I am looking forward to this journey, and I hope that others will come along for the ride.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.”  -Yogi Berra

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About Me

- 26 years old
- Pacific Northwest
- Educator, adventurer, friend

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