I was born 11 minutes after midnight. 11 minutes late. I was due on October 16th. Which is probably why, to this day, I hate being late. This year, at 12:11am, I was closing checks after a long, Friday night waitressing shift. But honestly, it turned out to be the loveliest of birthdays once I got home and crawled into bed. A morning run, brunch with my big sister, an afternoon nap that felt extremely luxurious, and dinner with Brent.
This past year has been especially life-changing. In tradition with years past, here are 30 things I've learned...in the past 30 years.
1. Never stop learning. I really do feel like a sponge right now. I am trying to soak up all the information I am learning in school, while also trying to find time to think critically about this information I am being given.
Look Mom! I made a thickened starch paste (lemon curd) and wrote a lab report on it!
2. Just when you think you know something, you realize - you know nothing. And then there's this. Many mornings I wake up and think to myself, there is so much more I need and want to know. I may know my flashcards, but that will never be enough. This feeling of knowing nothing is what makes me want to commit to a life filled with learning. Slash never go back to school again. Slash maybe get my Masters someday. Just not today.
3. Pay it forward. This is my life's motto right now. I think about a fellow student who graduated from my program last year, and has graciously taken her time to answer my random dietetics questions throughout the past few months. I think about Karen, a wonderful RD and mentor who allows me to volunteer for her, but also, to observe her motivating people in her weight-loss support groups. I think about a new friend I met who recently became an RD, and how she has taken her own time to give me advice. I am so grateful for people who are so generous with their precious time. Everyday, I remind myself to pay it forward. Whether that be helping another student by sharing notes, giving a friend a ride home, or sharing snacks. I am so grateful.
4. Take care of yourself. <-----This was the best advice I got from a former student on how to survive this traditionally difficult time during the RD program.
5. Take care of your loved ones, too.
6. Cultivate joy every day. For me, I find one thing, at least, every day to look forward to. This is most important to remember on those days when you feeling like nothin' is going your way. Sometimes it's a walk to a coffee shop, fresh flowers I've bought, or an exercise class. On the weekends, it's usually FaceTiming with our adorable two nieces. Brent and I have been FaceTiming with them once a week for over the past year, and it brings me so much joy to watch them grow and develop personalities.
Walking Lands-End with my amazing Mom
8. Invest in exercise that makes you feel happy and healthy. For the past few months, I've been enjoying a little more cardio and strength training, and I am officially obsessed with Barry's Bootcamp in SF. I know my yoga practice will always be with me, but it's felt wonderful to take Barry's classes. As I began Fall semester, I made a commitment to myself that I would prioritize exercise for well-being and stress-management. Though this is challenging at times, given my hectic schedule, I am fairly certain my workouts are responsible for keeping me sane and energized. And, I fall fast asleep every night.
9. Let thy freezer be thy friend. I hate wasting food, which is why I love my freezer. Currently, my freezer is taking good care of some end of the summer organic Strawberries, pumpkin puree, and lots of soup leftovers. I freeze the soups in bags - when I'm ready to eat one, I take it out of the bag, put it on the stove, and heat it up slowly.
10. You are more capable than you think. Truly.
11. FaceTime is a good time. When Brent and I got engaged, we FaceTimed my Mom. She was beaming, and it was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life thus far. Sometimes, technology just does it right.
12. You can't do everything. I'm still working on saying no.
13. Find the good in the challenge.
14. Always a have a firm handshake. Seriously though - nothing worse than a loose handshake.
15. Be an active listener.
16. Please be nice to your server.
17. But in turn, be nice to your customers. The restaurant I serve at has a wonderful customer base. However, sometimes, there may be someone who comes into the restaurant and isn't the friendliest. It happens. So, when it does, I remember that I don't know what this person is going through. Perhaps they just lost their job or lost a loved one. Show compassion, always.
18. Good manners never go out of style. Always say please and thank you!
19. And neither does the Vitamix.
20. Celebrate food with good friends, often.
21. Don't apologize for everything. I do this. A lot. I apologize for things and situations which are often out of my control.
22. You'll never regret a workout, especially if it's a workout you love. As I mentioned above, I have been on a Barry's Bootcamp kick the past few months. It's just what my body and mind are craving. In fact, I love it so much, I have had no trouble waking up at 5:20am to get to a 6am bootcamp. The endorphins are so worth it.
23. Don't compete with others; it will not serve you. In fact, I am pretty sure this will cripple you.
24. Enjoy the quiet moments.
25. Give yourself a little time each day to zone out. I like to take a few minutes to stretch while watching TV, do a headstand, or watch a little TV to give my brain a break.
26. When you need help, ask for it. If you have trouble with this, start trying to do it now.
27. Be present. Get off your phone. Enjoy whatever moment you are having. Quiet your mind, and be present.
28. Love fiercely. This guy - need I say more? I am so lucky.
29. Show up. How are you going to show up today? I love when my yoga teachers ask this during class. Are you going to approach this day you've been given with fear and dread? Or are you going to make this day wonderful?
30. Pay it forward. This is worth repeating.