Hey friends! It’s currently 10:51pm on this Thursday night. I just got back from watching Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again, with my best guy friend, Ted. Overall, the movie was cute, with a few really great musical numbers, but I gotta say, my heart still sings for the first film, made ten years ago. SPOILER ALERT: I was really sad when I found that they killed off Meryl Streep’s character, Donna Sheridan. The entire movie was sort of an homage to her life, starting from when she graduated at the top of her class from Oxford in 1979, to when she had her daughter, Mia. I really enjoyed Lily James’ (she played young Donna) performance; she has the prettiest smile and the most angelic voice!
It’s strange. At 9:30pm, when the movie ended, I really didn’t feel like going home quite just yet. In the past, I would have relished a quiet night spent at home, where I’d engage in constructive activities like writing or reading a book, or treat myself to a face mask while listening to classical music, before heading to bed early, ready to recharge for the next day. However, tonight, I really just wanted to get out of the house and go clubbing; release my inhibitions; lose myself in reckless abandon. How different I have become, since coming to college.
I don’t know if this is a good change or bad. My instinct is to scold myself for becoming like this. Where did the old, obedient, disciplined Belicia go? When did she turn into a party animal? I guess I just discovered my inner wild-child side when I got to college, where I had the freedom to explore. Unlike my mother, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with going out with friends once in a while, having a few drinks, and killing it on the dance floor. However, anything done to excess is a bad thing. Tonight, I found myself begging my best guy friend, Ted, to go out to the clubs with me (I mean, what fun is it to go out alone?), after having just watched a movie. In the past, I would be the one who’d need convincing to go out! Ted was tempted, but alas, he exercised his willpower and better judgement and decided to stay in and hit the hay early, as he was exhausted from a long day at work.
Seeing myself in this newfound position of the partygoer makes me slightly uncomfortable. I’m actually glad I ended up staying in tonight, as it gave me a chance to step back and reflect on the path I’m going down. Shouldn’t I be spending every minute of each day working to better myself? I’m glad I picked up the new hobby of figure skating, as it has given me new goals to strive towards, and definitely has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Earlier today, however, there was a Bruin Toastmasters meeting that I had been meaning to go to, but at the end of the day, I chickened out. I knew that going to the meeting would mean that I’d need to get up in front of everyone and speak. I tried to justify my not going to the meeting by telling myself that I’d gotten over my fear of public speaking, and that I was comfortable enough to not need to go to Toastmasters. But who am I kidding? I am not at that point yet. I need to practice more, which is why I am making it a goal of mine to attend each weekly meeting, from here on out. I know that, had I gone to the meeting today and faced my fear head on, I would have felt so fulfilled and gained a couple confidence points after I had done it, regardless of whether I was super eloquent, or stumbled all over my words.
In the realm of self-growth, I’ve also been reading a lot of self-help books, like The Willpower Instinct by Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal, and How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald. The former book delves into the science of willpower and how to increase it. The latter is more of a sports psychology book, and examines how athletes– particular athletes in endurance sports, like long-distance running– are able to batter down walls through sheer power of the mind. It’s all very interesting, and I’m glad I’m educating myself through reading these books.
Exercise-wise, I haven’t quite gotten into the flow of a regular routine. Before I fell ill a week ago, I had been swimming every morning, which comprised the majority of my daily exercise. Then I got the flu virus, and all my progress went downhill, which was disheartening. Now, I’m in the middle of the long and difficult process of getting back on track, which has been tough. I go ice skating almost every day, which accounts for my rapid improvement, but beginner-level skating doesn’t really challenge you endurance-wise. I’ve seem to have hit a mental block when it comes to pushing myself athletically. As as gymnast, physical pain was my normal, and I never cowered from it. Now, however, being as out of shape as I am, I dread the physical and mental pain that comes with pushing yourself to your limit. This mental block has hindered me from even trying to hit the gym, which is quite disappointing, because I’ve never identified as a quitter. As the famous Nike logo states, I gotta “Just Do It”. Don’t think or rationalize too much. Just get myself to the gym, and do what I need to do to get my body back in shape. The mind is interconnected to the body, and I know that getting back in shape will strengthen my willpower and, in turn, make me more happy and fulfilled with my life. That’s why I look so fondly upon my gymnastics days– despite the physical and mental abuse, I was on my A-game, and every aspect of my life was on track (besides relationships, of course, which I proudly renounced in the pursuit of my goals). I’ve seemed to have lost a lot of my direction and drive since falling out of competitive athletics (I haven’t been dancing at all for the past few months). And I see it negatively affecting my day-to-day behavior. Partying too much. Being unable to commit to things (like Toastmasters today, for instance). Feeling depressed.
Bottom line is, it is high time for me to get back into the groove. I should pick up dance again, and find new inspiration. Continue my growth as a figure skater. Meditate. Instead of parting, I should stay at home, and write, like I’m doing now! Yes, definitely keep writing. Remember when I had the lofty goal of writing a book? Well, maybe it’s time to revisit that project! More importantly, I need to get my sleep schedule back on track. Commit myself to one goal, and stick by it no matter how I feel. Prioritize what needs to be done, like studying for the GRE.
Today’s post was a brutal look within. You may not always like what you see, but that is EXACTLY why you need to check in with yourself periodically and see if you’re going down the right path. Self-reflection begets self-growth.
I’m gonna set my schedule for tomorrow, right here and now.
8:00am– wake up / eat breakfast
10am-12pm– study at the rink
12:30pm-1:30pm– take a jazz dance class at Millennium Dance Complex (famous dance studio in Hollywood)
5pm-6pm– read a book
6pm– eat dinner
7pm-8pm– work out
rest of the night: either write, read, watch Netflix, or go out to the club (the last option is unlikely, as I’ll probably be too exhausted from the long day to go out).
12am– bed time
In the past, I’ve made ambitious schedules like these, but failed to follow through, which I am very ashamed about. I need to prove to myself, just once, that I can do this. That I can commit to a goal and follow through. Once I make it through tomorrow, I’ll gain confidence in my ability, and the momentum will begin. It’s hard to look back and see the person I used to be– so very disciplined in every aspect of my life– and see how far I’ve fallen. But such is life… we can’t always be at our A-game every second of our journey. It’s a process, rife with ups and downs. But you must always have faith that things will get better. I’ve been trying for a long time to gain back that momentum and structure I had as a gymnast, but have thus far been unsuccessful. There was a brief period of time, when I really committed myself to dance, that I felt the drive to wake up each morning with a purpose. Then, two things happened: 1) I burned out. 2) My goals shifted, and thus my life was thrown once more into a state of uncertainty, just like it had when I quit gymnastics. But I overcame that uncertainty once– who’s to say I can’t do it again? Perhaps skating is the thing that’ll get me back on track. I know committing myself wholeheartedly to something I enjoy doing has always helped me stay motivated and inspired. Perhaps it’s my newfound interest in sports psychology. Whatever it is, I need to find a new inspiration, or inspirations. I’m a person who can’t function without passion. And I don’t want to give up on dance. I want to prove to myself that I can commit to something, and not give up before my dreams come to fruition. I’m definitely in a rut with my dancing, but I recently found a potential amateur partner, and we’re having our first lesson this coming Saturday. I’m hoping that being in the studio, surrounded by other passionate dancers, my love of ballroom dance will somehow be rekindled. I mustn’t give up… not before I have a chance to reach my potential… or at the very least, commit myself to continual growth as a dancer.
Alright. Enough of this. I need to put all my plans into action. What a great dose of self-reflection this was. I hope you all also engage in some form of self-reflection– doesn’t have to be through writing. I just happen to find writing the easiest way to reach deep into my soul and express all those pent-up thoughts and emotions in a concrete manner. Others like to clear their head through exercise, or meditation, or playing music, or dancing. Anything that gets you into that special flow state of clarity, will stimulate that self-reflection.
Hope you all have a great night!