The End

Today is August 31st, which means that it’s the very last day of the #31WriteNow Blog Challenge.  With the inclusion of this current post, I’ve blogged a total of 24 days out of the month.  (Not too bad, huh?)  It was a difficult run, with many stumbles along the way, but I’m proud of myself for not giving up.

This challenge has taught me a great deal about personal discipline.  Early on in the month, I was suuuper motivated to write a new post everyday, but towards the middle, I was really dragging my feet about it.  It got to a point where doing almost anything else seemed more interesting or enjoyable than writing.  Even so, I pressed on and kept blogging (regardless of how short, weird, and downright dumb many of these forced posts would turn out).

Not only was this challenge good for me on a personal level, but it was amazing to breathe new life into my blog, which had definitely been falling by the wayside previously.  And because of this, my blog’s followership has more than doubled over the course of this month!  I’m really grateful for what I’ve learned and  gained from participating in the #31WriteNow Blog Challenge.  I definitely hope to continue blogging regularly, though with school in full swing, it might be on a weekly or possibly bi-weekly basis.

So, while this is the end of the challenge, I feel that the challenge was just the beginning of my journey to becoming a more serious and consistent blogger.  I do hope you’ll stay along for the ride!

In Class

It’s 8:05pm as I begin writing this post and I’m sitting in a class.  I didn’t think I’d be sitting in a class at this hour, but here I am.

There will not be a full post, but only because it’s the first day of classes and my professors should get the majority of my attention this early in the game.  So far, I’m pretty excited about my schedule.  I’m taking two writing  classes (Intermediate Narrative Writing & Screenwriting I), two Human Development (The Science of Social Behavior & Positive Psychology), and an Acting class.

This semester shall be an interesting one.  Busy, but very, very interesting.

My Estimate Was Correct.

It is, in fact, Monday and I am, in fact, writing another blog post…just not a full-length one.  I’m back at school, gearing up for the first day of classes on Wednesday and searching for a campus job.

Today was a long, rainy day and tomorrow promises to be even longer.  I’m tired, but excited.  By tomorrow, I should have the energy to tell a cohesive story.  Today, however, is just for kicks.

Yesterday, Today, and Up Until Probably Monday

…was, is, and will be a very busy time for me.  I have two final assignments to work on for my internship and I must pack and clean for my big return to campus this Sunday.  I also have a bunch of last minute errands to run and loose ends to tie up.

You can probably see where this is going.

I have lots to do in a limited amount of time, so, unfortunately, my daily blogging will have to fall by the wayside until my life returns to (relative) normalcy early next week.  I’ll definitely have quite a bit to write about by then, so no worries.  In my most impressive Terminator voice:

“I’LL BE BACK.”

My 21st Year

I wasn’t intending to write a post about my time as a 21 year-old until I was closer to becoming 22 (which happens in January), but after talking with my friend yesterday about how this year seemed to trump all others, I decided to push it up a bit earlier.

So far, 21 has been very good to me.  I got to spend the first 4 months of my 21st year being a world traveller, relieving years and years of pent-up wanderlust.  Afterwards, I had an obnoxiously long summer vacation, in which I had some of the most memorable experiences of my life and spent loads of time with those who matter most to me.  It was wonderful.

Though, apart from what I got to do and see this year, what makes my 21st year really special is how I came to feel about about myself.  I don’t know, but it seems like 21 has been the year of self-love for me.  I definitely feel more confident, open, and sure of myself than I’d felt even 1 year ago.  I perceive myself to be moving steadily toward a point where I’m becoming less and less bogged down by insecurity and doubt.  The way I dress, the way I speak, the way I carry myself: I feel like my whole demeanor is changing…and I love it!

How’d I get to this place?  I’m not really sure.  I feel that age and experience definitely play a role, in addition to my coming to the stark realization that the way I’d been living in fear before wasn’t particularly fulfilling.  Also, the strengthening  of my faith (reading in the Bible about how effortfully I was created and the amazing power that I’ve been blessed with and believing it) didn’t hurt, either.

With just 4 months left of my 21st year,  I’m hoping to continue to grow and change for the better.  I haven’t been on campus (save for 1 weekend) at all since reaching this milestone and I pray that a  return to college life doesn’t hinder my development.  On the contrary, I hope it propels me forward, so much so that when 22 rolls around, I can say that it’s even better than 21.

Tonight was another one of those nights…

…where I spent more time living, which left me with less time for reflecting.  My friend and I got to see an early press screening of a film produced by the woman I’ve been interning for this summer.  I can’t give any specific, descriptive information about the movie for PR reasons, but I can say that I really, really enjoyed it.  It hit me right in the feels.

Afterwards, over pizza in Times Square, my friend and I were talking and reminiscing about being abroad (She was in Italy while I was in the UK and we managed to meet up twice: once in each country.) and we came to the conclusion that, so far, our 21st year of life has been pretty amazing.  And because it’s late and I’m tired, I’ll be blogging in-depth about how the “twenty-something life” has been treating me tomorrow.  So, nighty-night!

Words

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I say.  Words are extremely powerful and people, myself included, can sometimes take that fact for granted.  Although I rarely intend to cause malicious harm to anyone with my words, I understand that even things said offhandedly or in jest can cause a profound hurt in people.  I’ve been on both the giving and receiving ends of this.

You never know what others might be going through and your unkind words, whether said seriously or jokingly, could be what pushes someone over the edge…  The tragic suicide of 29 year-old actor Lee Thompson Young (“The Famous Jett Jackson,” “Rizzoli & Isles”) earlier today just made this all the more apparent to me.  I don’t know what demons he may have been facing or what brought him to such a point of hopelessness that he felt death was his only option, but I wonder if someone’s loving, kind, and affirming words could’ve made the difference.

That is why I’m making the conscious effort to be more thoughtful about the words I say and the kind of energy (positive or negative) that those words put into the universe.  I want my words to make people feel validated, special, and cared for.  I want to build people up and encourage them with the things I say, not tear them down.  I want to speak words of life and words of love because these types of words could very well be someone’s saving grace.

I end this post with the Facebook status I posted a few hours ago that sums up how I feel:

“I just want to take a minute to validate everyone on my Friends list. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want you to know that you’re special, you matter, you’re the best (and only) you on the face of the earth! Take pride in that and love yourself. Your life is a blessing, so use it to bless others.”

Senior Year Goals

In exactly one week, I’ll be back in Ithaca, NY, getting ready to begin my fourth and final year of college.  It’s crazy how quickly time has flown by.  It seems like just yesterday I stepped on campus for the first time, all wide-eyed and full of wonder.  Now, I’m sauntering back on campus, ready to knock ’em dead and finish strong (like a BOSS).  That’s why I feel that now would be the perfect time to make a list of my personal goals for senior year:  a little reminder of the things I hope to accomplish (or at least improve at) before I leave the arrested development that is college life.  Ba-boom:

  1. Grow stronger in my faith.  (Keeping God first is something I need to work on.)
  2. Make the Dean’s List at least once.  (I’m a very consistent “B” student.  That needs to change now.)
  3. Increase my GPA by 0.2 points or more.  (This kinda goes hand-in-hand with #2.)
  4. Get some of my creative writing published.  (I hope these literary magazines are ready for me.)
  5. Write an entire script.  (A feature-length screenplay would be ideal, but a TV spec or pilot counts, too.)
  6. Eat better and exercise regularly.  (A piece of lettuce and a spinning class once a month is not good enough.)
  7. Take more risks.  (Try more things that scare me: socially, personally, and emotionally.)
  8. Cut down on my tendency to overanalyze everything.  (Self-explanatory.)
  9. Enjoy the moment.  (Live.)
  10. Be kinder and more open.  (Love.)

Here’s to hoping I succeed!

Caught Up

I have to admit that while participating in the excitingly tedious process of reinstalling programs  and transferring files to my old new laptop, I got caught up.  So much so, that I managed to leave myself only 1 hour to write a new #31WriteNow post tonight.  Therefore, tonight’s post will consist of a single, solitary joke.  I heard someone say it once and I thought it was cute, so here you go.

“If you’re British in the kitchen and you’re German in the bedroom, what are you in the bathroom?”

“Euro-PEE-an!” (Get it?)

Bikram (Hot) Yoga

I couldn’t think of what exactly to blog about tonight, so I decided to take a peek at today’s NoBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) prompt to see if I could find some inspiration.  The theme of NaBloPoMo August 2013 is “hot,” so all of the prompts somehow relate to that.  And today’s prompt just so happened to relate to me, so here it goes:

Have you ever done hot yoga? What was your experience?

Yes.  Yes I have.  Here’s the story.

During my semester abroad in London, there was a Bikram (Hot) Yoga studio that I’d pass every day on my way to and from my internship.  The studio always had a steady stream of health-conscious, vegan types going in and out of its doors and the steam emanating from inside would fog up the windows until they were completely white and opaque.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  I wanted to try Bikram Yoga out because: (1) I hadn’t really been getting much (any) exercise in London, unless you count walking to and from various tube stations and (2) having new and exciting experiences abroad was a major personal goal of mine.

The Bikram studio had a promotion where new members paid £20 for a 20-day membership.  Though, the catch was that it had to be 20 consecutive days.  (There’s always something.)  After doing some mental math, I decided that this was still a great deal and resolved to begin Bikram Yoga one day after work.  The fact that I had never even done regular yoga before this (and probably should have) didn’t cross my mind once.

When the big day came, I made sure I ate no sooner than two hours before the class I was attending and drank the recommended full liter of water beforehand.  I went into the studio, signed up, and proceeded to get ready to get my yoga on.  I wasn’t sure what to expect:  I knew it would be hot, the website said the room would be warmed to 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit), and I knew there would be stretching  (That’s all yoga is anyway, right?), but nothing, I repeat NOTHING prepared me for what I experienced that day.

The room wasn’t just hot, it was an inferno fresh from the pits of hell.  And we weren’t just stretching, we were contorting our bodies into shapes and positions that I didn’t think were humanly possible.  I kid you not when I say that I had to sit down twice in the middle of the 90 minute yoga class for fear of passing out.  It took all of my willpower not to flip the yoga instructor the bird and walk the heck out of there.  I thought I was going to die.  Meanwhile, all the super yogis are all mind-and-body-are-one, with their six-packs glistening and the like.

As I stumbled back to the tube station for my long ride home, I could’ve kicked myself (if I had any real control over my limbs) for putting my poor, out-of-shape, non-flexible body through that torture.  Though, as I sat guzzling my water and waiting to reach my stop, I realized something: I FELT GREAT!  Even though I had been sweating profusely, I felt so much cleaner and lighter.  It was as if I had been completely detoxified.  I was actually excited by the thought of going back and getting to feel that way again, just not tomorrow…

I ended up going to Bikram Yoga about 4 more times within my 20 days, which means I wound up spending £4 per class, which wasn’t bad at all.  The second time I went, I didn’t have to sit down at all during the entire class.  The third time, the instructor commended me on my form for one of the poses. The fourth time, there was this gorgeous man/super yogi, whom I had never seen before, but I managed to fall madly, hopelessly in love with him during that one class.   The fifth time wasn’t very memorable (as gorgeous man/super yogi was absent).

All in all, I’m really glad I tried Bikram Yoga.  It was tough, but it was an experience that I’m certain I will never, ever forget.