Thanks so much for bearing with me during the last week and staying patient until this comeback post. If you were not following my last few posts, here’s a quick catch up: I went to Shanghai, China for work for one week, which was just barely enough time to adjust to the 12-hour time difference before jet setting right back here to Boston. Here’s some photographic proof that I (a) did indeed go to Shanghai and (b) that I do own non-athletic/athleisure clothing. 🙂
I really did have an amazing time in China–it was so different from anywhere else I’d ever been before, but I was able to do some really neat things: I explored the famous West Lake region in Hangzhou, hung out in some ancient Buddhist temples, went to the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center (8th tallest building in the world), and ate some DELICIOUS and funky local delicacies (if I could spell any of them, I would list each and every one…I promise!).
Almost everyone’s first reaction or question to my trip to China was “…but really, how difficult was it to get around when everyone speaks Chinese?!” or “…but aren’t there people, like, everywhere in China? How annoying was it to deal with all of the crowds everywhere you turn?!” and, lastly: “…I heard the bathrooms are disgusting–did you have to squat and go in one of those holes in the grounds??”
My mindset going into my trip focused on none of those things, though; instead, I was focused on how to see and do as much as possible to understand the culture and daily customs in such a short period of time. I was also pretty excited about unplugging from my usual, hyper-connected lifestyle.
You see…to me, traveling-even something as quick as a day trip-teaches you a lot, if you open yourself up to it. China taught me many things (yes, including how to gracefully squat in less-than-ideal conditions to go to the bathroom), but my biggest take away was patience. In a country with over 1.25 billion people, more specifically the city with over 14 million people, let’s just say there’s not much personal space, time to figure something out when you don’t speak the native language, or time to every really just be alone.
There were times, mainly in the airports of course, that I wished I could pause, drop all of my heavy baggage, stretch out on my yoga mat, clear my headspace, and then move along. I even longed for my Spoonk a few nights after being away from my own bed, and having hard time adjusting to the drastic time difference. There were other times that I wished that I could just lace up my sneakers and explore Shanghai while training for my upcoming race-severely poor air quality did not allow for me to do that one, though. And, as much as I enjoyed devouring all of the new foods, there were some mornings that I longed to make a protein smoothie to fuel me throughout the day. But those things are luxuries in my every day life that I couldn’t take with me on this trip–and that is more than okay.
Right before I travel, I like to re-read one of my favorite travel quotes by Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Trust me when I tell you that I could go on and on with inspirational travel quotes, but I know what you’re thinking…this is not a travel blog, where’s the usual health and wellness stuff? Don’t worry, I’m getting to it…
I believe that when you travel, you learn a lot about yourself…some would even say: “If you travel far enough, you meet yourself.” We should all take these opportunities in our lives to draw the lessons from the road. I took any and every moment I had, when I was finally alone each night, to form some kind of connection between the patience I was practicing throughout the day with others and myself and my overall health and fitness goals (currently: training for the B.A.A. 10k and aiming for a PR)–here are my top three takeaways that I wanted to share with you:
- Be patient with yourself. Way easier said than done, but great things do not happen overnight. You need to not only be in the right mindset to put forth the dedication and effort necessary to achieve your goals, but you also have to give yourself time to adjust and space to fail and grow. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated with myself-in any situation-I like to think of something my favorite yoga instructor always said during our practice: “Close your eyes-do not look around the room to others and where they are in their practice or how far along they are in their pose. It does not matter. Focus on you, in this moment, and how you feel. Now can you stay here, present, in this pose for another 10 seconds? If you can do that, what else can you do in life-outside of yoga-for 10 more seconds? How does that make you feel?” Hearing her tell us this always grounded me, brought clarity and perspective to my life, and gave me the drive to have patience with myself for just a little longer. I hope this helps you a bit, too!
- Be patient with your training/practice. It’s so easy to feel down and out or unhappy with your current state or progress, but if you stay positive and patience then I guarantee you’ll soon see the fruits of your labor and will be grateful for the times you had to struggle. And if you ever feel stuck, think of this: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” -Henry Ford. Soon you’ll be flying, too! 🙂
- Be bold with your goals, but patient with the time it takes to chip away at them. Be proud of the little victories you’ve achieved along the way: hitting your walking 3x/week goal for a month straight, running a mile or two without stopping, finally feeling strong in a new yoga pose, holding a plank for longer than you ever did before, running .25 miles further than you ever thought your body could, hitting a 20-second race day PR, etc. It’s great to stay focused on the big end goal, but do not push aside everything you’ve done in the meantime to continue moving forward-those have been your stepping stones to success. Stop every once in a while and show gratitude towards your body and yourself for everything you’ve done.
That’s all I got for now. Tune back in on Sunday morning for the latest Sunday Snacks edition. Last time I shared with you a quinoa dessert-style snack, so what could it be this time?! I’ll give you a hint: I’m back to sharing another quick and super easy-to-prepare Greek Yogurt snack, and this one has endless combinations and possibilities so it’s also a great and fun (read: delicious) experiment. So why do I keep sharing recipes that incorporate Greek Yogurt? Because Greek Yogurt is an easy and healthy swap for baking, cooking, and non-cooking alike…and because a simple, healthier substation can make all the difference in your life! If you’d like more proof, I highly recommend checking out FitFluential’s Guide for Cooking with Greek Yogurt.
In the meantime, I’m off to graduate with my master’s degree in advertising today–I already woke up at 7am from all of the excitement!! All of the time, energy, and hard work that I poured into this part of my life for the last four years (four years in total because I actually completed two master degree programs back-to-back) is coming to an end. It’s pretty bittersweet as I am closing the book on this thing that was a HUGE part of my every day life for so long-something that I was so passionate about and that, I felt, really defined me. I do feel lucky though, because to share with me in this special day are some special people: my mom and dad. They drove all the way up from New Jersey to sit through this third Boston University graduation of mine…bless them, their amazing parental love and support, and their patience to sit through all of these ceremonies! But anyways, more to come on life post-grad (I already read 3.25 books!) and my training schedule…for now, it’s time to celebrate!
Before I head off though, I’m curious; what about you–is there a big shift going on in an area of your life right now? How are you dealing with it and what health and wellness practices are you utilizing to work through it? Comment below or tweet at me: @meggielukes-don’t forget to use the hashtag #MegInTheMeantime for good measure!