Independent Bliss

For some, there comes a point in your life when you are blissfully happy with who you are and where you are at in this journey. This bliss is independent of people, significant others, children, work or environment: as in, none of the mentioned affect your happiness and relationship with the self.

You might not be where you thought you’d be, but you realize you are enamored with this leg of your journey. Every move seems beautiful, even if it isn’t the right one. Not everyone gets to experience this, and sometimes you have to work towards this bliss. And sometimes it comes after extreme heartache, struggles or a downfall. I believe you might even have to hit rock bottom to know it.

But when you do…when you can sit in a room and stare at the ceiling and be content with the life you live, you’ve reached it. You’re there. You know you have arrived and you are capable of reaching your goals and experiencing life fully. You are whole.

That’s my two cents.

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Inspired Documents

“howdoyoudocument” has existed in cyberspace as my blog’s namesake for a few years, even though I haven’t been diligently blogging for more than 5 months.  For me, blogging has been one of those things that I start out with good intentions; I’m going to maintain it and have engaging and captivating posts everyday that will draw in hundreds of followers that eagerly want to read my content, that, well, at least I find interesting.  And when I’ve been posting for two weeks and have a grand total of 3 followers, 2, which are those pesky “make your blog your business if you use my services”  followers…you know who you are…I get discouraged, and bored, and I also get busy with other things, or draft half-written, unorganized thoughts, and the blog suffers.

But this time around, I’ve been semi-diligent about keeping posts up to date and providing my 30 + followers with engaging content, and that’s if you consider my life experiences engaging.  I do.  Sometimes.

So you might wonder, where does the name of this blog, “howdoyoudocument”, come from? (or you might not, and in this case, you may want to be lame and stop reading)  Well, aside from all blogs being electronic ways to “document” our lives, passions and advice, I was initially inspired by one of my favorite rock opera musicals, RENT, and its namesake song – lyrics, by the late Jonathan Larson, below.

How do you document real life
When real life’s getting more like fiction each day?
Headlines, bread-lines blow my mind
And now this deadline, eviction or pay…rent

How do you write a song when the chords sound wrong
Though they once sounded right and rare?
When the notes are sour
Where is the power you once had to ignite the air?

We’re hungry and frozen, some life that we’ve chosen
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

How do you start a fire when there’s nothing to burn
And it feels like something’s stuck in your flue?
How can you generate heat when you can’t feel your feet?
And they’re turning blue

You light up a mean blaze with posters and screenplays
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

How do you stay on your feet when on every street?
It’s trick or treat and tonight it’s trick
Welcome back to town I should lie down
Everything’s brown and uh-oh, I feel sick

Where is he? Getting dizzy
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

The music ignites the night with passionate fire
The narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit
Zoom in as they burn the past to the ground
And feel the heat of the future’s glow

How do you leave the past behind
When it keeps finding ways to get to your heart?
It reaches way down deep and tears you inside out
‘Til you’re torn apart, rent

How can you connect in an age
Where strangers, landlords, lovers
Your own blood cells betray?

What binds the fabric together
When the raging, shifting winds of change
Keep ripping away

Draw a line in the sand and then make a stand
Use your camera to spar, use your guitar
When they act tough, you call they’re bluff

We’re not gonna pay, we’re not gonna pay
We’re not gonna pay, last year’s rent
This year’s rent, next year’s rent

Rent, rent, rent, rent, rent
We’re not gonna pay rent
‘Cause everything is rent

The poignant lyrics really hit a nerve for me; “Real life’s getting more like fiction each day…” And on a large scale, it really is.  It is so hard to digest the horrible things that happen in our world on a daily basis.  And it’s very easy to focus on all the “bad” in our world; the news is constantly documenting the negative, but maybe, just maybe we should decide to focus on documenting the positives.  Maybe we should stand defiant against the evils of the world.  You know, measure our lives in love, as the musical emphasizes later on.

Not to sugarcoat everything – a lot sucks in this world.  There are too many people living in poverty for me to say everything is sunshine and rainbows.  We just witnessed one of the worst mass killings of innocent school children in my lifetime, maybe even my parent’s lifetime, and we document that with politicians yelling at each other over gun control.  People aren’t allowed to love who they want – they aren’t allowed to stand next to their sick companion in the hospital because some stupid law over an antiquated institution does not allow them too…anyways I digress.

We learn that the past is hard and it has the power to affect the present, but we’ve got to try our best to keep our heads up and focus on the positives so that our hardships do not consume us.  This is difficult to do.  I am well aware.  The lyrics, “forget regret, or life is yours to miss…” have, I’m sure, gotten hundreds of RENT-heads through difficult times.

What RENT, the musical, ends up teaching us  is that, even in the worst of times, there are small things to be happy about.  And that we have to take a hold of our lives and live them fully.  Even though we might not be where we thought we would, when times get tough, we still have the power to make change to things within our power.  That everybody lives an important life.  It also reminds us to cherish the people we care about because we don’t know how long they will be on this earth…how long we will be on this earth…

…and this post has gotten a bit wordy…and rambling, I apologize!  I don’t even know where I’m going with this, except to say that RENT has been inspirational and this blog is an important way for me to express myself; having a medium to do that is priceless.  This blog, is how I choose to document my real life – a life filled with amazing people, food, travel and creativity.  A life of ups and downs.  Of course, when documenting, we have to learn to focus on living our life first…sometimes I get obsessed with the documenting (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that I forget to live.  So remember to live, and to live a life that makes you happy.

How do you document? 

Moving On

I moved!  I finally got out of the dreary dungeon basement that I had been sleeping on an air mattress in for the past four months.  The basement room was originally found on Craigslist and it also happened one of my coworkers lived in the house as well.  It wasn’t as bad as I make it seem, however, the basement was always freezing and I constantly ran a space heater to keep the temperature at a balmy 65 degrees F.  Living there was really noisy (it was located right next to I-66), the room had no real door (used a curtain), and I didn’t feel really safe living near a metro and having an outside door in the basement.  I also didn’t have a guaranteed parking space, and if I came back late at night, would have to park on the street or even at the metro and it was a huge hassle.

And as awesome as my housemates were, it just wasn’t the ideal living situation.  Because they were all guys, it was hard to relate sometimes.  Not sure if it’s like this for others, but where I live can have a huge impact on how I feel.  When I was living in the basement, I was in a huge slump.  I didn’t care to get out of bed in the morning because it was always so dark, I didn’t care to make myself look presentable for work…I just didn’t care and was in a horrible mood.  And when I finally moved, it was like a huge weight was lifted and I felt purposeful again.  But it’s situations like this where we learn how to overcome adversity and things we don’t like and move on from them a better person.

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My new room + real bed + cat

So now, I’m living “inside the beltway” off of Arlington Boulevard near Eden Center, which is like Vietnamtown in Northern Virginia.  I get to live in a highrise condo, with a secure entrance, my own bedroom and bathroom (with a  bathtub – score!), two friendly cats, and a great female roommate.  I can see downtown Arlington from the apartment, as well as the Washington Monument and Capitol Building in the distance.

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WM = Washington Monument C = Capitol Building (The other white dot in the sky is an airplane leaving Reagan Airport) – this is clearer in person

 The rent is the same, but includes utilities, so I am just paying for internet/cable.  And because the utilities are included, we turn the heat up – so I went from living in 65 F to 75 F and I love it!  And I finally have a real mattress (things we take for granted)!  And there’s parking, a pool in the summer, a convenience store, fitness facilities…condo living.  The only downside is my commute to work is 15 minutes longer (takes me about 40 minutes to get to work in the AM and probably 1.25 hours to get home).  I’ve been going to the gym after work though to avoid rush hour.

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Bathroom – so excited for a tub!

Because I’m stubbornly independent and have a skewed idea of the amount of “stuff” I have up here, I figured I could make the move by myself, super easy.  Well it wasn’t.  The one carload has turned into 3, and thankfully my new roommate has helped me move stuff in.  I know I’ve definitely downsized, but material items definitely add up.  I absolutely hate to inconvenience people, even my own family because I feel like I’m sometimes a burden.  So I like to do and deal with stuff on my own.  Next time, however, I will be asking for help!

Adventures in INSANITY

Fitness is a huge part of my life.  It really affects my overall mood and I don’t know what I would do without it.  In the Fitness tab, you can find my progress in workouts/race training/and nutrition.  And here I will start with my adventure into INSANITY.

I’ve discovered that working full-time and long commutes in the NoVa area leave me little time or motivation to make it to the gym.  I still love the gym, and still will be going because I’m a huge fan of Les Mills classes, however, I have been looking for an alternative workout routine that I could do outside of the gym.  If I go to the gym after work, I don’t get home until around 8 PM and after making dinner, it’s time for bed.  I don’t like doing this every day of the week.  I do like to have some sort of life outside of work and gym.  And I surely don’t want to wake up super early to commute to a gym, shower there and then go to work.

So after hearing some good things about INSANITY, a Beachbody program taught by Shaun T. (Who is Shaun T.?!?), I decided to give it a try.  I’m usually not a huge fan of fitness DVD programs (Are they gimmicks? Will I really see results?), but I figured I’d give it a try after one of my friends started the program.  Side note: I tried P90x with Tony Horton, but he kind of annoyed me!  P90x is probably a great program, but when your instructor annoys you…I digress…so as a positive, Shaun T. does not annoy me, he pushes you, but he’s really sweet and is quite attractive!

INSANITY starts with a Fit Test, which sets a bar for which you can improve upon every two weeks.  After doing the fit test, I was drenched in sweat, my heart rate was super high after the 3rd exercise (there are 7) and I had to take a break.  So I like to think I’m in great shape, in fact, I had a trainer tell me I was in better shape than like 99% of her clients.  I know I am in good shape.

If you are in good shape, INSANITY will challenge everything you thought about yourself.  It’s a lot of plyometrics and challenges you by elevating your heart rate to really high levels, which I guess builds endurance and burns calories.

After the Fit Test, I had Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit.  Let’s just say I’ve never sweated that much in 45 minutes, not even in cycle class.  The sweat was literally dripping off the tip of my nose.  It’s really challenging, especially the exercises you do in plank position; my wrists are really weak (I have really tiny wrists and pretty small bones), so I had to take a few breaks to stretch them out.

So yay! I’ve done two days of INSANITY and I’m looking forward to everything else it has to offer.  Just to note, even if you are in excellent shape, this will challenge you, you might have to take a few breaks, and that’s okay!

I’m hoping to track my progress weekly, and I’ll be adding some pictures of progress as I go.  If you’ve gotten into INSANITY adventures, tell me how you’re doing – I’d love to cheer you on!  WISH ME LUCK!

Happy Sweating!