Make Your Own Sunshine

Is it just me, or does summer seem to be slipping right on by? Summer is my happy place. I learned to appreciate summer a lot more when I started college – knowing that summer would be my gateway to freedom from school helped motivate me to push through all of the tests and papers. Now that I’m done with college, summer still seems to emanate freedom for me. But this year, summer has been a bit different.

I’m used to summer out in the country, where I have unlimited access to the great outdoors, fresh air, sunshine and a lot of bug bites! However, this year I’m getting to experience summer in the city, which if you didn’t already know, is a lot different than summer in the country. I’d be lying if I said it was an easy adjustment moving to Roanoke. Not that I’m unhappy – I actually love living in an apartment with my husband – it’s just different. Instead of being surrounded by green grass and animals, I’m surrounded by tall buildings, lots of cars and people. It’s actually a refreshing change, believe it or not. But I have found myself missing summers at my parents’ house.

I’ve come to realize that I tend to dwell on the past, sometimes too often. And you know what I’ve discovered? It’s great to cherish memories of time spent with the people you love and the places you’ve been, but it’s not healthy to spend all of your time and energy wishing you could relive those moments. Sure, there are times when we wish we could go back to how things used to be, or just spend a little bit more time in a certain stage of life. But the truth is, you’ll make yourself unhappy if you focus on the past instead of living in the present.

These past couple of weeks have been difficult for me for various reasons. I can be really hard on myself and I haven’t had a very positive outlook recently. I think a lot of major life changes just happened at once and it’s taking me time to get used to. Brendan and I have been living in our apartment for a little over a month now, so getting married and moving into a place of our own was a pretty big life event. And with that comes the adjustment of making our apartment feel like home, finding our way around a new city and adapting to Brendan’s work schedule.

The change in sleep patterns has been hard on my body too. I’ve recently gained some weight and have been feeling such low self-esteem. If you know me at all, you know that my weight and body image has been a big issue for me for the past few years. To make a long story short (I may do a separate post sometime that goes into more detail), I lost a lot of weight leading up to and right after my wedding. With all of the wedding planning, packing and moving, I had lost quite a bit of weight and was at an all-time low for myself. I hadn’t weighed so little since I was 15 years-old. However, I am short and have a small frame, so I wasn’t dangerously underweight. I actually felt good about my body and felt energized and healthy. But once we got moved into our apartment and my busy schedule came to a screeching halt, I ended up gaining the weight back. I know I’m no where near being overweight, but I just hate knowing that I gained weight. And it doesn’t help that I strayed away from my workout routine and have lost what muscle I had.

I KNOW that I should focus on how my body feels and not the number on the scale, but that’s still a challenge for me. I’ve spent so much time worrying about my weight and it’s affected my overall mood. Not good. So this past weekend, I made a point to make sure I start focusing on how my body feels instead of letting the number on the scale control my mood. I’ve been to the gym three times this week, went on walks through the city with Brendan and ate foods that nourished my body. I’ve been choosing to be happy with myself, and while that may not always be easy to do, it has been so freeing. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to take care of my body and treat it the way God wants me to. Hopefully I’m taking steps in the right direction.

At this point I still don’t have a job, which in some ways is nice and others not so much. It’s been nice having free time to get our apartment organized, practicing meal prep, learning how to grocery shop and cook for two (Brendan and I are almost complete opposites when it comes to meal time) and also just having time to read, journal and blog like I’m doing now. On the other hand, sometimes I think I have TOO much free time. I’m the type of person that thrives on a busy schedule. Sure, there might be times when I have a meltdown and just wish things would slow down, but at least I know I’m being productive and getting things accomplished. I like making to-do lists, I like seeing appointments and events written on my calendar and I work well under pressure (I guess I got that from writing for my college’s newspaper). So to go from having a hectic schedule full of wedding planning details at the beginning of the year, to just figuring out what I should buy from the grocery store next week, is a drastic change of pace.

I was honestly a little scared of searching for a job when we first moved here – I was worried that it might be TOO much for me to adjust to all at once. But now that we are comfortably settled in our new apartment, I think I’m ready to take the hunt more seriously. God has been good and has helped provide us with all that we need working with just one income. But I know it would be a great help for me to find a job, and it would also be good to put my free time to good use. Sometimes I like to dream about how nice it would be to do blogging as my full-time job, and maybe some gardening or something on the side. But for now, I’ll just keep taking the baby steps necessary to work my way up. I know that God has a job in mind for me, even if I don’t know what it is yet, and I know that He has blessed me with this time of not having a job for a reason.

The lesson to be learned here is that life requires a positive mindset for you to truly be happy. And the only person that can change that mindset is YOU! Happiness is a choice, so Β go for a walk outside, journal about your feelings, go grab coffee with a friend, whatever it is that gives you clarity of thought and brings you peace. You have the power to make your own sunshine, so get out and do it!

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