Heads up: This has nothing to do with lululemon and everything to do with me and my life, because at the end of the day, there is actually a human being behind this crazy little blog. 🙂
The Pickle Jar Project
Once upon a time in late 2013, I stumbled across a great idea on Pinterest. Every time something good happens in your life, write it down a slip of paper, and stuff it into a jar. On New Year’s Eve, open up that jar and read them all back, realizing that despite any hardships you may have experienced, you have a quantifiable pile of bright spots sitting on the table in front of you. Throughout 2014, I scribbled things down on Post-It notes and jammed them into a pickle jar. (I had not yet bought the crap ton of mason jars that I own now.)
At this point last year, I sat down and read a dill pickle-scented pile of notes detailing a bunch of unforgettable business trips I’d gone on (Aspen! Austin! Augusta!), along with CrossFit PRs and the general feeling of being fortunate enough to have the $ to splurge on a big purchase here and there. It also proved itself a nice social experiment to see what your perception of the ‘good’ things in life is.
I regrettably dropped the ball on the 2015 jar early on this year, and have made the vow to pick this project up again in 2016.
Because I don’t have a pile of notes spilled out in front of me, it’s time to reflect on this past year purely from memory. 2015 was not as much of a gem for me as 2014 was. Let’s just get on with the bad things first, so I can eventually wrap this up on a high note.
2015 in Review: The Lows
I went through (and am still experiencing) some growing pains at work. I was on the receiving end of some harsh feedback recently, which had nothing to do with my job performance and a lot to do with others’ perception of who I am as a person. It wasn’t the best week ever.
More than a few times I asked colleagues for pointers on how to improve, as I’m trying to learn and grow in order to get to that next level. I’ve received praise and positive comments in response, only to hear the disheartening news that some of the same people I looked up to for help and advice have told my management a conflicting story. Until this year I could say I’ve never cried at work, but not anymore.
Life in General
There were the weekly visits to my grandmother in the nursing home, where all the family could do was helplessly watch her health deteriorate in hospice care until the time she passed away after 96.5 years this August. RIP.
Because I’m in my 30’s, haven’t been in a relationship for the better part of the last decade and am verifiably off the wall, older family members surely have begun to wonder if becoming a cat lady is my destiny. I’ve fielded countless inquiries of “have you tried online dating yet?” from parties who consider the fact that I’m single as a liability in life. (Fun fact: It’s not.)
While I don’t allow if I’m in a relationship or not to ultimately define how satisfied I am with my own life, I will admit that MAYBE it would be nice to find a nice gentleman who is as equally off his rocker as I am mine. 🙂
So, I swallowed my pride, pushed my self-esteem issues to the back burner and gave it the old college try. After multiple awkward dates and 6 months of daily laundry lists from Match.com listing all of these men who could possibly be THE ONE, online dating has proven itself to be tedious and exhausting.
Some of my best friends have moved on with new jobs, engagements, growing families, and I don’t see or hear from them nearly as much as I used to, if at all. I’m sure that many of you out there can relate to that unfriendly feeling of being left behind.
After a 2014 full of kickass travel took its toll on my workout schedule, I hustled my way back into shape at CrossFit. Back in April, I PRed my Clean & Jerk for the first time in 2 years (155#, woo!) only to injure my wrist the first week in May. Not a day has gone by that it hasn’t hurt since. It’s been almost 9 months.
While the pain is down from a consistent 8 and my thumb is no longer popping out of place when I do something as innocent as brushing my teeth or washing my hair, I’m still not 100%. I’m recovered enough to get back into CrossFit again, but the amount of strength I lost over a 6 month hiatus is both astounding and discouraging.
Insincerity, injury and loss. Sounds like 2015 was a real winner, huh? Thankfully, there are 2 sides to every coin.
2015 in Review: The Highs
Because of the aforementioned bumps in the road, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m open to constructive criticism, and am working on becoming more resilient. When something doesn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I’ve learned to take notes instead of taking offense.
I’ve learned to say less and observe more. I make mistakes, but I don’t make them on purpose. Sometimes you’ve got to get knocked down a few rungs before you resume the climb up the ladder. Sometimes professional growth takes a little bit of personal reflection too.
Aside from that, when I travel for work, I get to meet new people all the time. I get the chance to reunite with people who I don’t get to see all that often. You run into friends in random airports. You never know where and when you’re going to make a new friend along the way, and I’m extremely grateful for the new people I’ve connected with in the past year.
Life in General
The internet man-finding adventure yielded nothing but what I will dub ‘arranged awkwardness’. While the investment of time and money into it didn’t result in a relationship, I got a few life lessons out of it.
- Someone who stacks up ‘on paper’ may not be all that exciting in person.
- Ignoring red flags in hopes that something will come of it just because you’re tired of feeling alone is not a good idea.
- Don’t waste your time on mediocrity.
- Ghosting after 1 date is okay. Sometimes things don’t click, and that’s okay. Ghosting after 5 dates is not. Don’t be that guy who ghosts after 5.
- Keep an open mind. The odds are not in your favor.
- It’s quite possible that he’s just not that into you.
- It’s okay, because sometimes you just won’t be that into him either.
I’ve always felt that you don’t get to decide where and when you meet the right person. Online dating felt a little too forced for me. Having friends who have had great success in finding relationships online, I gave it an honest try. I can now say that by giving it a chance, it’s not for me.
I’m happily going back to living life on my own terms, comfortable in the knowledge that Mr. Awesome will find me where and when he’s meant to. It reminds me of this scene on How I Met Your Mother… just call me Schmosby.
The Ultimate Field Trip: the 2015 CrossFit Games
After years of sitting on the couch and wishing I were in the crowd, I stopped waiting to find friends who would come along with me, and decided to go to the CrossFit Games all by myself. Going along with the theme above about being totally cool with doing things on your own, I had an epic time. Started off with buying my tickets directly from Sam Briggs. Geeked out and selfied with Noah Ohlsen.
Leveraged social media to actually be SOCIAL in real life, and had a great time with L&TB reader Beth and her Huntington Beach CrossFit crew, which wouldn’t have been possible without this here blog! Same goes for meeting another IG friend, Everett, the man behind @paleofatkid. Thanks to him and the HGST Storage team, Beth & I ended up with 4th row tennis stadium seats for Saturday night at the Games.
It was unforgettable trip, and I really ought to start saving up for a repeat trip in 2016. You all should too. I want to meet more of my kickass readers!
As mentioned earlier, I hustled back into PR shape… and then got hurt. (Note to self: if you don’t hit a snatch PR within 20 minutes, save it and try again another day, no matter how close you are.)
Well, guess what. There’s a silver lining to being knocked way the hell off course. I finally put my sneakers where my mouth was, and was able to focus on a goal that had always been in the back of my head, but I was a bit too chicken to make good on. In 2015, I ran my first half marathon.
I ran 13.1 miles nonstop and I LIKED IT. Not being able to participate in CrossFit allowed me to focus on an alternate goal without guilt that I was letting my strength training fall behind, and push my mind and body outside of their comfort zone.
Also, I got into Seawheeze for 2016! I’m looking forward to having more than 5 weeks to train, and am hoping to finish under 2 hours. I should also start saving my extra pennies for all that travel and exclusive lululemon gear.
…sh*t. 2016 is going to be expensive.
Last, but certainly not least… Lulu & the Box was born!
In March of 2015, I decided that I missed blogging. I’d taken what was intended to be a short hiatus from food blogging, but missed having an outlet. I like to write. As you can tell by the obnoxious length of this post, it’s just something I like to do.
So, I decided to head back to WordPress and take a chance on a new, more lighthearted site where I could just ramble about CrossFit and any other lifestyle nonsense that came to mind.
Not going to lie, I went in blind with no content plan whatsoever. I just knew that I liked writing the Irrelevance of the Week on the Occasional Faileo more than I liked actually blogging recipes, so I wanted to expand on that.
I couldn’t have imagined that this snarktastic corner of the internet would catch on like it has. More people have visited Lulu & the Box in the last 7 days than in the entire months of March, April and May combined.
I am extremely grateful for those of you who gave this blog a chance, and continue to come back to both read and comment. While I sometimes can’t comment back right away, please know that I read and appreciate every one of them. 🙂
It’s become a quasi-tradition in recent years to go out to a local hibachi restaurant on NYE with friends. They launch vegetables at your face and shoot sake down your throat. It’s fun. Last night, I caught the projectile broccoli in my mouth on the first try. I’m taking that as a sign that 2016 is going to be a good one. Also because tiny hat.
Thanks for sticking with me throughout this year and through the end of this novel of a blog post. I appreciate your readership more than you know, and wish you all nothing but the best in the upcoming new year.
Now what the hell are you waiting for… GO AND START YOUR PICKLE JAR! 🙂