You spend life fighting for your sanity

I’ve had three migraines in two weeks. They’re usually related to stress but I haven’t felt particularly stressed in the last two weeks, especially when I experienced two of those migraines on the same day. (The third was today and makes sense: I had a job interview last week that was postponed to a day later that week. I think we can agree that that would make for a very nerve-wracking situation.) Unfortunately, there is not much I can do: chronic migraines run in my family. The only action I can take is start keeping a daily log to see what triggers these attacks.

Sometimes, I hate my genes… But then I remember that no one is perfect and my situation could be a lot worse.

Lips stained red from a bottle of wine

Breville BJE200XL 700-Watt Compact Juice FountainI have to admit that I’ve fallen prey to the most recent health craze: juicing. After watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix, I was intrigued. I strive to include as many fruits and vegetables into my diet as I can but this movie made me realize how much more I could be doing. (Cooked fruits and veggies lose most of their nutritional value in the cooking process. Juicing raw produce allows me to get the most out of my fruits and vegetables, ensuring that there is little nutrient loss.) And, yes, the weight loss aspect of it is also very appealing to me.

At 5’4″ and 150lbs, I consider myself to be overweight. I don’t necessarily look overweight or even feel it but it’s a constant burden on my psyche, knowing that I weigh about 20lbs more than I did this time last year. I moved out on my own last September and I assume my weight gain is related to that fact. This was also when I started my first full-time job with a long commute so I was eating poorly, getting little (if any) exercise, and feeling stressed pretty much all the time. I’ve decided to finally do something about it.

That full-time job has turned into two part-time jobs, which drastically reduced the commute time and has erased almost all job-related stress. One of the libraries at which I work is within biking distance so I commute by bike at least twice a week, spending about 2 hours on my bike every week. I’ve also incorporated yoga into my routine. (Overall, I do about 1 hour of yoga per week with my DVD.) With more free time, I’m allowed to be more active than I’ve been in over a year. It feels pretty amazing.

Further, I’m also now trying to control my portions. I’ve always been a big eater. (Ask my parents: they love regaling others with anecdotes from my childhood, when I would practically dance at the sight of a pot of porridge.) But I’m trying to teach myself that I don’t need a lot to feel full. This will take time as I retrain myself to chew thoroughly, eat slowly, and stop shoveling food in my face when I begin to feel full. My old mantra was similar to comedian Louis C.K.‘s statement: “The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” No más!

I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks but I already feel better. My weight is down to 144lbs, I feel more alert and less lethargic, and I am just generally happier. This all totally feels doable, too, so I fully expect to keep this routine going and continue to feel its benefits.

There’s beauty in breakdown.

Due to technical difficulties, I had to start anew with WordPress. All of my previous posts and pages are now gone. However, I’ve learned to take a Buddhist approach to life.

According to the teachings of Buddhism, pain and suffering have roots in our desires for material possessions, power, and so on. Therefore, to reduce the amount of pain I experience, I no longer mourn the losses of my material possessions should I lose them accidentally.

For example, I recently wiped out my entire OS and, instead of freaking out and crying over the loss of information, I chose to let go. When I upgraded my iPhone‘s OS, I lost all of my data and I didn’t even flinch. So losing a couple years of thoughts and musings isn’t as big a deal as it would have been just a few years prior.

…This is why I now keep all of my important files on my 2GB flashdrive. At least it doesn’t have an OS that I can wipe out.

I don’t know exactly when my approach to life changed in this way. I remember being a very panic-ridden individual, being incredibly prone to anxiety attacks caused by stress. (I’m also a migraine sufferer, with headaches usually arising from stress. Needless to say, stress was a stressor in and of itself.) Sometime in high school, I think, is when I learned that when things are out of my control, I can’t do anything about it. If a teacher sprung a pop quiz on us and I wasn’t prepared, I no longer panicked. What would be the point? I would just be raising my blood pressure and making myself crazy. Meanwhile, the teacher would still hand out the quiz and I’d fail it anyway.

This isn’t to say that I’m stress-free these days. As a graduate student, I can’t escape stress. I have homework assignments, I have projects, I have papers. And then I have to worry about being able to pay for all of this stress! I’m slowly crawling into a $30,000 debt, hoping I’ll be able to dig my way out while keeping my dignity. (But with this economy, who can be sure?)

In the meantime, I’m taking deep breaths and learning to let go.