Recap: Looking Better

I exercised five times this week.

Five times.

That’s crazy for me. I mean, this is coming from a girl who flat-out didn’t like going to the gym and really didn’t want to move if unless it involved goggles and chlorine. Any mention of running and suddenly I had a strong desire to do homework.

But that’s changed. And it didn’t happen abruptly, either: gradually I worked from doing a Yoga for Dummies DVD in my room every so often to “running” on the elliptical machine twice a week to… to this. A week in which I made three very different and fulfilling gym trips and ran from my house to Davis’s twice. (that’s 3.5 miles, by the way.)

And I feel better too. I feel like I look good. I caught myself staring me down in the mirror yesterday thinking I looked beautiful. My stomach is still a little squishy, but there’s muscle under there now. And I’ve been told that others can see a difference, too.

I’m glad it’s no longer a battle to exercise now. A lot of that I attribute to my friend Mat, who has literally been kicking my butt into shape this quarter. I’m so appreciative of the efforts he’s put into making me look and feel good – he’s paced with me while I’ve run (rather slowly, for him) and been my spotter as I’ve attempted various weightlifting exercises. He hasn’t given up on me – on the contrary, he’s made me feel awesome. So Mat, if you’re reading this, thank you 😀

I feel like I’m really making progress at improving myself this year. I hope I continue down this path for a while… 🙂

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The Power of Music

Sometimes I just get one song stuck in my life. It’s like being stuck in my head, but not quite. Instead, I have this inexplicable need to listen to the song over and over and over again. Every word, every note just sounds so perfect, just what I need to hear. Some aspect of it grabs me and holds me there, until I’ve listened to it enough and open my doors to the rest of the musical world again.

I love these songs. I mean, I love music in general, but I especially love these, because when I hear them again afterwards, I snap back to where I was when the obsession took hold of me, if only for an instant. I think my favorite favorite is “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay. I couldn’t stop listening to it on the plane over to Europe this summer. I’ve always loved the line “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes” but I felt like it was especially applicable there, because quite literally, I was hurtling through the air from my safe zone to the complete unknown, hoping I’d grab hold of it and swing into life at full force again. Even now, seven months later, I flash back to the dark plane and feel the bubbling excitement within me every time that song comes on.

This week it’s been a country song: “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton. Everything about it is just so wonderful. I wish I could aptly express the emotions it stirs within me, but… I can’t. It makes me so happy. I feel the gratefulness I have for Davis in my life when I listen to it. Because really, God gave me him for the ups and downs, for the days of doubt, for everything the song says. I’m so appreciative to him for looking out for me and supporting me during life’s small rough patches. The song inspires me and reminds me that he’s there and he loves me. I feel like my description didn’t do the song or my emotions justice, but… I tried. *sigh*

Tonight it shifted a little bit to “Love This Pain” by Lady Antebellum. I’m having a tough time explaining why – I don’t think it’s relationship-based, because I’m quite happy with mine – but the song just sounds so good. Anywho…

Other songs I’ve had this happen to (and their links):

I know there’s more, but I can’t think of them now. And the ones I mentioned today:

Isn’t music awesome? 🙂

Good Life.

Today was awesome.

It was just one of those days in which everything was great. I mean, I should preface it, I guess, with the fact that life is still moving: I still have a midterm tomorrow (one which I really need to get studying for) and have to pack to go home this weekend. I’ve got a to-do list that feels as long as Santa’s, though not quite as fun: read up for my Shakespeare test next week, plan next quarter’s schedule, complete a lab for my Inventory Control Systems class, work on my yearlong project… it just goes on and on. But life is still really good, you know? More than that: it’s kind of fantastic. Little wonderful things just kept jumping out at me everywhere.

Like the kindness of some people, the enthusiasm they have to help others. Or the power that music has to make me feel wonderful and alive. Or how, strolling through the town’s weekly street fair, I saw my (hopefully) future wedding coordinator selling produce from her family’s ranch. Or the moment when my wonderful fiancé texted me to ask me to dinner to the restaurant that I was standing in front of. Or how our Shakespeare presentation went so incredibly smoothly, I think we really wowed our teacher and our classmates. Or how I was completely on top of and participating in our discussion in one of my classes today. Or how the Electric Cello Guy at the street fair started playing Coldplay as I passed.

None of these are anything that significant – they never seem to be. They’re still awesome though. Absolutely incredible. They make me want to go around dancing to how wonderful life is, spinning in circles with a big grin on my face.

I hope life’s treating you equally as wonderfully today 🙂

Gaping at Life

You know what I love to think about? (and I seem to think about it a lot, actually…) Those moments where our lives drastically change and yet we have no idea of it at the time.

I’ve got one particular moment in mind that I ponder over and over: it was the night that I first met “the guys.” Way back in freshman year, when I was new to college and still actively making friends, I went to salsa dancing one Friday night with a girl from my orientation group. It was lots of fun, even though I couldn’t (and still can’t) dance at all. There were also a couple of boys there who I recognized as my next-door neighbors. We’d never talked before – I’d just seen them come and go. When it was “free dancing” time at the end of the lesson, Davis and I happened to choose each other as dance partners. I don’t remember it much, to be honest… it’s just funny to be sitting here, over three years later, reflecting on it.

But that’s not really the night I was referring to, originally. The one I’m talking about happened exactly one week later. Hoping to run into them again and invite them over for peanut butter brownies and seven-layer bars at my apartment, I ventured to salsa dancing again and was extremely disappointed when I didn’t see them there. That week’s lesson was even less memorable… all I knew was that I was bummed not to see them and had two dishes’ full of sweets sitting back at home, which I presumed that I was going to eat alone.

But upon getting back to my apartment, I decided (with the encouragement of Orientation Friend) to knock on their door anyway, see if they were home, and still invite them over. And when I did… that’s where the night really started. They were enthusiastic – they’d love to get to know me and eat my delicious baked goods, they said. I brought the food inside their apartment – everyone was settled in there already – and we began chatting. I remember talking to Jonathan’s parents (who had come up for the weekend) about my aspirations as a roller coaster engineer and confusing Nathan with James (and vice versa – they looked really similar, initially!). I also remember that the night was really short – I went back home kind of early and was happy to have met them, but sad that it was over so quickly. Until Jonathan, who had just walked his parents to their car and wished them goodnight, strolled by my window again. We started talking through it, then Nathan joined him, and I invited them inside. I propped my door open and we all sat down in my living room. Davis wandered in shortly afterward. I remember he was barefoot and in his gym shorts. He sat down in one of our couch-chairs and put his feet up on another chair from the kitchen. From there we talked the night away, until our advisors asked us to close the door (we were being too noisy, I guess) and we realized how late it was getting.

This event seems completely unsubstantial from an outsider’s perspective. But I can’t help but look at how drastically all of our lives changed that night. Those guys would soon become some of my best friends at school. I’d spend hours upon hours in their apartment, playing Guitar Hero with them, making dinner together, just hanging out. They’d invite me to Steak Night and I’d bring the dessert. We’d go hiking together, do homework together, go on adventures together. My future husband was one of them, the one that quite literally wandered into my apartment. I remember chuckling when he came in, along with everyone else. He seemed sleepy and kind of disoriented – mostly just confused, I think, at where his roommates had gone. But later that year, I’d fall in love with him. He would have more of an impact on my life than almost anyone else.

And at that moment, I had no idea.

There are other moments like this too. In that night, for instance, I think back to Jonathan’s parents. They too had no idea that the girl they just met would accidentally introduce their son to his future girlfriend. Or there was another night in which a couple girls and I were in a friend of a friend’s apartment and her roommate walked in, carrying her band uniform. I saw her for a fleeting second, but I remember it well. That girl would become one of my best friends at school, and I would become pretty connected to the school band too through her and other friends. And yet again, I didn’t have a clue about any of it.

I love how life does this. And it also makes me wonder what’s happening now that I’ll look back on in the future and marvel over, just as I’m doing now.