Birthdays: A Time to Reflect and Renew


Today is the last day that I will be 31 years old, as tomorrow I turn 32! Having a birthday in mid-June has it’s ups and downs. You never know what the weather will be like. Many times it has been scorching hot for weeks leading up to June 16th, then will fall to the 60’s on the actual day. Other times, it has poured down rain or just been cloudy. Tomorrow’s weather forecast has changed everyday in the last week, so who knows what we’ll get!

Weather aside, I feel blessed to have a birthday in the middle of the year because it gives me a sort of “check in” point for the goals that I set at the beginning of the year. It’s kind of like a whole new New Year’s day. I get to look back at what I’ve done well and what I’ve struggled with during the year of my age, and what I’ve done well and what I’ve struggled with as far as my New Year’s goals are concerned. This gives me an opportunity to readjust my goals and strategies as well as giving me a renewed commitment to reach said goals.

During my 31st year, here are some things that I did well:

  • At the beginning of 2016, my goals were to focus on being more optimistic and honing discipline. Spring of 2016 was particularly hard on me, but I searched for and found a silver lining every day. Even when battling some severe emotions, I pushed through and chose to be optimistic. In terms of discipline, I became very good at not hitting snooze more than once on days when I didn’t have to be at work. I made it to daily workouts and weekly running / biking groups and became a faster, stronger athlete.
  • Made new friends who are supportive and help me grow
  • Audited my circle to eliminate some friends whose negativity was deflating or who  simply seemed untrustworthy. At the same time, I put in more effort to be with those who challenged me to by my best self
  • Left a job which, though I enjoyed, did not fulfill me or my career goals
  • Turned down multiple job offers because they were not quite what I wanted and didn’t want to take a job just because it was offered, as I feel that’s a good way to miss out on what you really want
  • Traveled for three months with four changes of clothes in a carry-on back pack through Europe in the winter
    • Stayed under my budget
    • Met tons of wonderful people and made lasting memories
    • Wrote in my 5 Minute Journal every day
    • Started a blog with no previous website or blog experience
  • Committed to a mindfulness and meditation program including yoga 2-3x/week, meditating in the morning for 5-12 minutes, journaling, and staying positive
  • Obtained an LLC for Cultivate Health, a private nutrition practice which I am still developing
  • Built a website with no previous web building experience

During my 31st year, here are some things that I did not do well:

  • Upon returning from Europe, I had finally lost the adrenaline-fueled energy that kept me going through the summer before and I fell into a mild depression. I would stay in bed til 9 or sometimes 10am and had a hard time readjusting to life back in America during the first two weeks home.
  • In the five months I lived in my apartment before leaving for Europe on November 1st, I used the kitchen maybe three times. I had lost my appetite during the spring and fell out of a regular eating pattern, my love for cooking was temporarily snuffed out (it’s back now, don’t worry)
  • IMG_0660

    The chefs knife which I treated myself to for my birthday

  • I took on too many projects to fill my time and was not good at keeping the deadlines set for myself on all of these projects
  • Did not disconnect from the world while I was traveling and stayed too plugged in to things that were going on back home in the states
  • Did not keep up with my reading and writing goals
  • Let priorities slip and got overwhelmed with being busy
  • Compared myself and my life too much to those of others
  • Ate too much foie gras in France (is that possible?)

Moving on to New Years goals…

The goals that I set at the beginning of 2017 are fitness related. I decided that I am going to keep working on optimism, kindness, patience, and discipline but those are now just everyday things for which I stay self-aware. Thus, I decided to focus on strength goals at the new year. Here is where I am now with those goals:

 Exercise Where I was Goal Where am I now
Back squat 145 200 160
Deadlift 185 270 220
Bench Press 100 130 110
Snatch 70 100 75
Clean 100 150 110
Pullups banded 10 3
Double Unders Nope Be able to do them 4
Hand stand push ups Nope Be able to do them Baby ones!
Hand balances (yoga) Barely there Be able to do them Can hold for 10 seconds

The progress on these goals has been a little slow, so now that I see it in writing, it’s good motivation to step up my game. Thus I have purchased a Workout Log to keep track of my workouts, body weight, how I’m feeling, etc. I am looking at my schedule and rearranging things so that I can make it to the gym every day and incorporate cardio, pilates and yoga in the mix of weight training. Six months is a lot of time, and if I can harness the discipline I had last year, I believe that I will hit these goals by Jan 1, 2018 in time to set new ones!

So, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what I want to focus on as a 32-year old woman. Some of these things of course are fitness related, as you can see that’s a priority for me. Others are related to developing relationships, promoting myself, and chasing what I think will be best for my future. Here are some short-first-draft highlights:

  • Plan, promote, advertise and get Cultivate Health off the ground
  • Obtain a space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood for a pilates equipment and mat studio where I will also hold nutrition related community events and counseling space
  • Focus on two writing projects (one will be highlighted on this blog and is pretty exciting!)
    • Blog post once per week on Thursday
  • Read 3 books/month (will get me to my goal of 32 books by end of the year)
  • Get morning routine down (I was good with half of these before Europe)
    • Don’t hit snooze
    • Make the bed (I have always done this)
    • Do a few rounds of Vinyasa to wake up
    • Drink a little apple cider vin dissolved in water to wake up the GI tract
    • Make coffee or tea
    • Meditate while said coffee or tea is brewing
    • Hang to work on grip strength and spine health
    • Eat breakfast (snack before workout and full breakfast after)
  • Work on evening routine
    1. Wash face and moisturize (I am terrible at this and will just sleep in my makeup)
    2. No electronics after 10:30pm
    3. Bed by 11pm
    4. Read for 30-60min in bed
    5. Don’t plug in phone near bed
  • Continue to learn how to garden and take care of a yard
    • Above ground planter + raised bed at the new house
    • Vegetable calendar
    • How to care for rose bushes

Alright. So obviously you can see that my mind has been all over the place, but that I’ve really been thinking about my challenges and successes. There are some hints in this post that I moved at the beginning of the month. I hate to make excuses, but collecting furniture for a two bedroom while living in a studio and also arranging the move while continuing all the other things that were going on… it was a lot. That’s mostly why I haven’t written since the beginning of May, when I found my new home. I am happy to be settled now and will be posting some pics as I start writing about gardening and growing vegetables.

As for travel, I’m headed to Denver on July 14th to visit my sister (she moved when she got home from Armenia) then to Vegas July 19th-23rd for the IDEA Fitness Conference. There are some other fitness activity and travel opportunities coming down the pipeline, so stay tuned on how I’ll integrate all this information. We’ll be covering how to prepare for travel, healthy food options at various airports and event spaces, how to prepare for fitness events, and other food, nutrition, travel and related topics. Thanks for keeping up with me! See you “next year” 😉


Highlight of last fall when I rode my bike with friends to Harper’s Ferry for a weekend of hiking and river floating. The bike route was 180 miles round trip, I hope I can do it again this year!

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