Life Rules

I read this post last night, and this morning a few of these “life rules” were stuck in my head. Primarily:

#2. What others think of you is none of your business

and,

#4. Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 

Now, I know these things to be true and I sincerely believe them and want to live this way. However, I can’t help but think that so many of my thoughts and concerns lately revolve around whether or not I’m “fitting” into someone else’s preconceived notions about who I’m supposed to be or what is considered “normal”.

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I think most of the reason I’ve been thinking this way is out of uncertainty of what I want out of life right now. I’ll be 25 this Sunday and I’m feeling a little “stuck” in grad school, so perhaps I’ve been overcompensating by trying to “find myself” in other ways. I’m having a hard time accepting the “long-termness” of my situation right now, so I constantly look to “what others would do” for inspiration on what I could or should be doing.

But I am going to stop and remember that (1) I can’t worry whether or not other people think my choices are normal or right, because there is no such thing as normal or right and besides, these are MY choices! And (2) there is never any point in comparing where I am in my life to someone else because no one is exactly like me, it’s like comparing apples and oranges!

Phew, deep on a Tuesday, but I’d like to thank my birthday twin, GlidingCalm, for the thoughtfulness!

Off to work I go….

Thursday Thoughts 4/25/13

1. Words can’t express how happy I am that tomorrow is FRIDAY. It’s time for a much needed break.

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2. I’m celebrating my 25th birthday next Friday with a gathering of all of my friends and family. It’s Cinco de Mayo themed (since I’m a May 5th baby) and I’m SO excited!!

3. And I really want one of these

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4. Running a 5k this weekend. It will likely be my last “official” one of the season because, damn, those things get expensive!

5. Great 15 miles on the bike this afternoon with a friend. I don’t usually have time to ride on weekdays, but in honor of finishing the first draft of my dissertation aims, I decided I could stand to leave work a little early and hit the trail.

6. I’m currently indulging in a little bit of Real Housewives of OC…ahhh trash reality TV, I can’t quit you!

 

Relax

 

 

Me and my buddy went for a little walk this afternoon.
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It was much needed after a long day on campus. My head is still spinning with research-oriented thoughts, yet my brain feels like it’s headed into a shut-down mode. The walk helped. I listened to music and then started taking pictures of the scenery.

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Spring in Mississippi can be quite lovely. It’s green EVERYWHERE and the temperature is just right (aka, not yet 200 degrees Fahrenheit like it will be in a few weeks).

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I focused on the green on the ground, the green in the trees, the breeze in the air and the slowly setting sun shining through trees like this one. And then, I decided to look straight up and this is what I saw:

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Now if that’s not a de-stressor, then I don’t know what is. I came home with a clear(er) head, and a bit more relaxed than when I had first walked through the door. And I know someone else appreciated the quality time outside too.

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He’s my motivation for getting outside after work most days. Just one more thing I love him for.

Time for a bedtime snack and then actual bedtime!

**I need more tips for relaxing and setting aside time to actually do it!!

 

Mind Warp Monday

Oh Monday. I can’t say it’s been a bad day, just a mentally taxing one. I’m eyeballs deep in literature right now, and I’m having trouble focusing on one idea at a time. Every sentence I read draws me off on yet another tangent. This is supposed to earn me a PhD, or something.

Luckily, I had a wonderful weekend that was FULL of fun and activities (2 bike rides!) in beautiful weather, so I can’t complain. I work hard, I play hard. Sometimes the other way around.

So, I’ll leave this Monday with some positive thoughts and inspiration for the rest of the week:

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And here’s what I’ll be doing–

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Thursday Thoughts 4/18/13

1. Sometimes, when I’ve been listening to Pandora radio a lot, I’ll want to “like” songs when I’m listening to the regular radio, would be cool if it worked like that. #FirstWorldProblems

2. This drink: 1 oz Tanqueray Ten gin, juice of half a lemon and finish off with champagne….so good, but don’t have more than one! I learned that the hard way 🙂

3. Tuesday night, I had an impromptu sushi and wine date with my mom. It was fun and delicious:

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4. Meeting with my mentor today to go through the list of “ideas for my dissertation” that I’ve compiled over the past week…fingers crossed it’s productive.

5. I’ve been taking Luc on 30 minute strolls around the neighborhood when I get home this week. It so good for both of us. And yesterday, I didn’t want to come back to my house until my head was cleared.

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6. Today is my grandfather’s 80th birthday. I’m so blessed to know my grandparents, because I know there are many out there that never get the opportunity.

7. Excited for a fun weekend which includes, but is not limited to: a beerfest at the zoo tomorrow night and an engagement party for a dear friend Saturday. AND definitely some bike riding in the mix with this gorgeous spring weather.

Happy it’s Thursday!

 

On Grad School: Part IV

Nowadays, I spend the majority of my days in one of three places: downstairs in the lab, upstairs at my desk or behind a microscope. When people ask me how I feel being done with classes, I have a pretty standard response: “It’s great, and now I’m finally doing what I came here to do!” Pretty generic, but also, pretty true. Sure, part of me misses the structure and predictability of the classroom, but I do NOT miss studying and taking tests.
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Getting a PhD is an odd life. I go from confident to completely stressed in only a day sometimes. It is a roller coaster of emotions that I never expected it would be. For instance, today, I’m having a good day. I felt productive, read informative literature and revised and sent a document full of ideas to my mentor. I’m mentally spent. But in a good way.

I felt like I’ve grown as a doctoral student more in the past year than I have in all 3 years in grad school combined. It was a struggle at first, I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know how to ask for help or guidance, and confidence in my abilities was at an all time low for a very long time.

I’m finally gaining some perspective and I feel like I’m scratching the surface of the type of scientist/researcher/person I want to be and it’s both exciting and intimidating. I’m lucky to have a wonderful mentor who can usually bring me back down to earth when I’m on a stress spiral.

My main task at this point is to work with my mentor in the development of my dissertation project. A dissertation project should be a large body of work consisting of a few different studies that have a common theme. So, I’ve been reading LOTS of literature on a particular topic and finding ways in which to expand and elaborate on it. This is DAUNTING. But I’m making slow, steady progress and that’s what counts in grad school…patience, hard work, consistency and a little bit of faith that things are gonna work out.

 

Why

When tragedies such as the one that happened yesterday in Boston occur, I can’t help but ask why? It is my nature to want to know the cause of something, especially something so devastating that impacts us all. The rational person in me knows that asking why doesn’t take it back, doesn’t change the situation, and the best thing we can all do is hope for comfort for those who lost loved ones yesterday and for those who experienced it firsthand.

I have been thinking a lot lately about perspective. Specifically, that I’ve been getting lost in my point-of-view lately and forgetting that there are others in the world fighting much greater battles than the one I have in my life. It’s when I talk to people…no wait, it’s when I listen to others, that I realize how important it is for all of us to step back out of our own problems and situations every day and think about the big picture. Our day-to-day worries are so minute compared to many other much greater issues.

This was a ramble, but it’s been on my mind. I truly hate what happened yesterday, but I am so thankful that there are people there who are self-sacrificing and able come to the aid of those in times of need.

Thursday Thoughts

1. I feel like I have been rushed every day this week. I guess this is a sign that I am over-scheduling myself. (But I have so much to do!!)

2. Bought new eye shadow from Bobbi Brown today and I’m really excited about it. Grad students don’t get to enjoy pretty things very often.

3. Luc had his ONE YEAR check-up at the vet today. I cannot believe it’s been an entire year! He clocked in at 63 lbs. and a clean bill of health 🙂

4. Did I mention I feel like I have too much on my plate? Because I think I do. I find myself wandering out of conversations with people because I Just. Don’t. Have. Time. To. Chat. That’s awful, I’m aware. I need to chill out.

5. Bf is coming to visit this weekend. And for the first time since I can remember, I’m not flustering around trying to clean and grocery shop and be perfect before he gets here. I don’t know why I ever did that to myself (Oh yes I do, because I’m a total Type A).

6. Headed out to enjoy some new-to-Mississippi beer tonight: CHIMAY!!! It’s the best, seriously, ya gotta try it.

7. Goal starting RIGHT NOW: Take my time doing things, FEEL the moment, and focus on the present….

My Weekend…Instagram Style

In order to make this Monday less painful than it’s already been (I’m just dragging today), I thought I reminisce about the awesome weekend I had through words and pictures.

This past Friday was a long one (TWSS). In any type of animal research, there is a lot of work involved, and conducting research on drug abuse is no different. We had a full day of surgeries (on a Friday!) and therefore my weekend started with one of these…

Stoli vodka martini, extra dry. The only way to go.

Stoli vodka martini, extra dry. The only way to go.

I was in bed by 10:30pm Friday night and it felt fantastic. Saturday began with my usual ritual of waking up and taking my time with breakfast and coffee before heading to a favorite of mine: TRX/spin class! This combination workout kicks my butt everytime while simultaneously making me feel like a million bucks. Now tell me how that works?

Saturday also included an awesome 20ish mile leisure ride on the multi-use trail with a friend. And by leisure, I mean we plopped down in the grass for a 20 minute break to stare out at the reservoir and enjoy the weather.

I love my Trek bike and I plan to do a post dedicated to my road bike soon.

I love my Trek bike and I plan to do a post dedicated to my road bike soon.

 

Saturday night was spent grilling out at my parents’ house with friends. We have a great patio and there is nothing I love more than sitting out on it and drinking wine just as the weather is warming up. My dad grilled some grouper and red snapper fillets that my family caught this summer on a deep sea fishing trip in Florida. (Don’t worry, they’d been frozen ever since)

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Saturday night ended with me attempting to stay up past 10pm and drink wine and chat, but what really happened was this:

Covered in dogs. Best sleep ever.

Covered in dogs. Best sleep ever.

Sunday began lazily, but I went on a pretty challenging 25 mile ride with another group of friends. It was another great day for outdoor cycling and we were on some really nice country roads that make you feel like Lance Armstrong…at least when you’re going downhill.

 

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And of course, no Sunday would be complete for the next couple of weeks without a little GOT action…Am I right?

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And that is my weekend in a very small nutshell…now I know why I’m sad on Mondays…

 

One Month To Go…

Yesterday marked exactly one month until my 25th birthday. Honestly, I’m not one to think very much of age and growing older, I mainly look at birthdays as an excuse to celebrate and feel special for a day. Our culture tells me that turning 25 is a “milestone”…yea, like 18, 21, 30, 40 and all the other ones are. Culture also tells me that I am officially an adult now too. I think I’m pretty grown-up at 24 though. In fact, most of my habits are those of someone much more mature than I am. (9pm bedtime anyone?)

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Regardless of how this sounds, I’m excited to celebrate my birthday in a month (I’ll take any excuse to drink a margarita). I think it would be nice to take the next 30 days to focus on me and to focus on aspects of my life that are great and aspects that are not-so-great. Where can I make changes? Where do I want to stay the same?

I know for sure there are a few areas I can look at with a more discriminative eye:

  • Organization of schoolwork- I’m finding it difficult to organize my thoughts and create coherent ideas in working towards my dissertation right now. I feel like this is related to the lack of organization of information and research. So, every time I read something, I make a note about it. That way it’s not another useless fact floating around in no man’s land.
  • Taking my time- I’m the ultimate multitasker. And I mean that in the worst way possible. I rarely am just “watching TV”, I’m usually watching TV, surfing the internet on my iPad and thinking about other things. I’m going to try my hardest to do One. Thing. At. A. Time. I think it would help my always cluttered brain settle down a bit, and I just might feel like I’m in less of a hurry all of the time.
  • Communication- Because I am all over the place most days when it comes to work and life outside of work, I feel like I’ve lost a sense of healthy communication. Some days I can barely squeeze in time to take my dog out, much less human connection. This might go hand in hand with slowing things down a bit and taking my time, even if I don’t feel like I have the time. There is ALWAYS time to do the things I want and need to do for myself. I’m going to stop living by the clock a little bit and see how this effects my ability to give attention where attention is due in areas of my life.

Well, this post took a different direction than expected but that’s okay. Hopefully writing these things down will help me to take them to heart over the next month, and maybe turning 25 will be more than just another year older.