humor

Dear Life: Now What?

Dear-Life-Now-What_Go-Jules-Go_Title-graphic_14NOV2018

Now that I’m essentially done with my Masters degree, that dreaded question has reared its ugly head.

You know the one.

NOW WHAT?

I recently listened to a book by Mike Dooley, Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life’s Magic, and he repeated this phrase often: Don’t get caught up on the “cursed hows.” (<—Totally worth the 5-minute read.) What he meant by that was: figure out what you want and visualize the end goal, then let the universe decide how it’ll deliver.

If you want to be a published author, for example, spend a few minutes each day picturing your books already on the shelves and, most importantly, feel how it’ll feel when you achieve that goal. Yes, also put some pen to paper today (“do what you can with what you have”), but don’t spin your wheels wondering about how to get a publisher or whether your idea has already been “done before.”

If you want a romantic partner, don’t get hung up on a specific person, just picture the kinds of things you’ll do with your dream mate and how you’ll feel when you’re together. Yes, you can add specific details like what you’re wearing -and please do!- but if you decide it’s got to be Gary from accounting, you might wind up butting heads with the universe, who’s working overtime to get you stuck in an elevator with Pete from payroll, the perfect guy for you.

When I picture where I want to be in a year, I see an active, fit, social butterfly who’s swimming in creative projects and opportunities, brave enough to say “YES!” when it counts – and “NO!” too.

While I’m trying not to get hung up on too many hows, I know it’s important to work with what I’ve got at my disposal today. For starters, I signed up for a half marathon in May, despite it having been two years since my last run. I even recruited two of the most inspiring “accountability partners” I could dream up, spanning New Jersey to Oregon, to help me get in gear:

Janeen-hiking
Meet East Coast A.P.: Remember Janeen? The one who says yes to everything? I may have used that little fact to my advantage…
Dakota_Rock-climbing-Hells-Canyon-limestone_Oct-2018
Meet West Coast A.P.: Vegan Retreat Unicorn #2, Dakota, a.k.a. Superhuman Freakazoid and author of the blog that will make you either hide in a corner or decide to start CRUSHING IT!!!!

To show them how compliant I am, I joined a gym…

Jules-joins-gym
“Y” U NO LIKE 2 RUN, JULEZ?

…made Google docs outlining every aspect of my ideal life, started logging daily exercise, water and caloric intake…

img_20181113_145430728

…and shed immediate poundage via purging more joyless belongings from the tiny apartment

I’ve even acquired new confidence-boosting crystals and signed up for a week-long “past life therapy training” with She’s a Maineiac at Omega Institute in July.

img_20181110_082317341
Because I’m crazy now, in case you’ve forgotten.

I’m trying to up the ante in every area I can think of, breathing life into “November 2019 Jules” in ways that feel tangible yet exciting.

img_1261
2016 Jules, breathing life into another exciting vision.

As for creative projects, I’ve been keeping a list of fun blog post ideas and researching marketing courses and products. So far I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of top choices:

  1. Campaign Monitor  / My Emma – I think they can help me get my newsletter game straight with their sleek designs and impressive customer roster, plus a really reasonable Basic membership fee ($9/month)

    “Email acquisition best practices”? I’m definitely going to need some help… Photo credit
  2. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – this one comes recommended by a financial independence blogger I really like, Millennial Boss, but with a $197 price tag, I’ve been hesitant to take the plunge

(If anyone has any recommendations or experience with either, please leave a comment!)

I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling antsy. Maybe I should stop with the hows and go tinker with my Google doc some more.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 3.15.51 PM
Actual screenshot from my “ideal life” Google doc. …DON’T JUDGE. Okay you can judge. I still love you. …Do you know anyone single?

~*~*~*~*~

Do you believe in the power of creative visualization? Do you get hung up on the “hows”?

~*~*~*~*~

DISCLAIMER: This post contains sponsored links.

Everyone Loves a Braggart...Right?

I Tried My First GU! Oh And Ran A Half Marathon.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long, but I wanted you to believe running my first half marathon last month actually killed me.

Entirely possible.
At least I lived to see BaconFest 2014.

Actually, it did something far, far worse.

It hooked me.

Me. The blogger with a penchant for vodka and chocolate-covered bacon everything.

Dependency? Moi?
Dependency? Moi?

This is my life now:

Note the deodorant-looking stick, Anti-Chafe. Its street name is "Chub Rub."
Note the deodorant stick, Anti-Chafe. Its street name is “Chub Rub.” This is seriously a thing.

Oh and see those little silver packets on the lower right? Those are GU brand energy gels. I don’t even like Gatorade, let alone creepy pudding packs with space-agey Nutrition Facts.

Finally, though, I listened to the advice of 10,273,047 seasoned runners and tried one during a recent training session, around mile 8, when I felt particularly sluggish. I went with the least offensive flavor I could find: Tri-berry. (Named so because GU berries run triathlons. Obviously.) Sure enough, 20 minutes later, I felt a sudden pep in my step that lasted the entire remaining 5 miles.

Fine, GU-lovers. FINE. You win this one.
Fine, GU-lovers. FINE. You win this one.

Speaking of winners, the rumors are true: I completed my first half marathon, The Wild Half, on Sunday, May 18th, in Wildwood, New Jersey!

Wild-Half-Wildwood-sign
I encourage you to caption this one yourself.

I chose the course because it ran alongside the coastline, i.e., it was FLAT. After 8 weeks of training, I still had no idea what I was doing, but my sister, a race veteran, was there to guide me every step of the way.

IMG_6715
Mostly we rode rollercoasters.

Her calming presence didn’t stop me from asking the obvious questions.

Wild-Half-Packet-Pickup
I can just hang it on the wall and say I did this? …Right?!

I was also careful not to disrupt my normal routine the day before the race.

Wild-Half-Hydration-1 Wild-Half-Hydration-2

The morning of, I lined up with the 10-minute mile pace group. My goal was simply to finish without walking, but I knew the faster I finished, the faster I could drink “celebrate.”

Stretching: More or Less Effective Than Vodka Shots? Discuss.
Stretching: More or Less Effective Than Vodka Shots? Discuss.

I programmed the 80’s cardio mix on my Pandora app and got ready to rock and roll.

I was feeling great until about mile 7, when the sun and endless stretch of pavement started to sear my soul. By mile 9, I hit the low point usually reserved for mile 10. Then, miraculously, I saw the mile 11 banner. I had missed the 10-mile marker altogether.

Wild-Half-thumbs-up
I was probably distracted by my sobriety.

Despite that mental boost, by mile 12, I was ready to stop running. Two of my oldest friends, shame and pride, pulled me through.

“But NOT finishing would make a much funnier blog post…”

With a stitch forming in my right side, I grimace-grinned down the home stretch.

The official finish line photo. I think I was disqualified for the rebellious-yet-jaunty placement of my race number.
The official finish line photo. I think I was disqualified for the rebellious-yet-jaunty placement of my race number.

I passed through a string of enthusiastic volunteers to claim my snazzy finisher’s medal.

Fried Twinkies here I come (thank you, Jersey boardwalk)!
Fried Twinkies here I come (thank you, Jersey boardwalk)!

So, not only have I become one of “those” people, I’ve also become one of THESE people:

Half-Marathon-bumper-magnet

To add insult to [inevitable knee] injury, what am I up to now?

Hamptons-Marathon-badge

If you were forced at gunpoint to run 26.2 miles, who would you drag with you?

chocolate-bacon***As promised, one commenter from my last post receives a Vosges Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon bar! The lucky winner is: WTF Elsewhere! Congrats, Lorien – I’ll be in touch via email to award your prize!***

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

humor, New Jersey is breathtaking, PSAs

I Ran 10 Miles And I’m Really Not Sure How I Feel About It.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging much lately, I’m here to confirm your suspicions.

I was abducted by aliens.

It actually wasn't bad. I love hats.
It actually wasn’t bad. I love hats.

After undergoing a series of surprisingly enjoyable probes, I returned to earth (well, New Jersey, so, debatable) a changed woman.

The type of woman I never, ever thought I’d be.

A…a… Oh god. Don’t make me say it.

A runner. I’m a runner now, okay?

I talk to people who I thought were my friends about hydration belts and minimalist shoes and something called GU.

Unless one of these is bacon-flavored, PASS.
Unless one of these is bacon-flavored, PASS.

I look at charts like this and pretend I understand.

Image courtesy of buildleaneatclean.wordpress.com.
Seriously. What the Fudge Stripes is a tempo run? Does listening to the 80s workout mix on Pandora while I run the dishwasher count? (Image courtesy of buildleaneatclean.wordpress.com.)

Perhaps most tellingly, I feel great! can barely move.

We're gonna need a clean up in aisle 6.
Clean up in aisle 6.

Up until 4 weeks ago, the farthest I’d ever “run” was 2 miles. The only race I’d ever completed was a 5K. 8 years ago.

So after managing to jog a whole 3 miles 3 weeks ago, I signed up for a half marathon on May 18th.

running-wild-half-logo
Because I never really loved myself.

That gave me 8 weeks to train. “It’s down the shore,” I said, using the native phrase for [describing] any part of the Jersey coastline. “It’s flat. I’ve got this.”

“Do the first two miles and it’s all downhill,” I huffed during my first long run.

That worked. Except when it was uphill.

“It’s all mental,” I puffed.

That worked. Except when my right calf went numb at mile 5.

I somehow hit 10 miles on Thursday. More importantly, so did my dog, Uncle Jesse.

running-UJ-Jules

May 18th is now less than 5 weeks away, and the one thought that’s genuinely keeping me going? “If I don’t live to see BaconFest [next weekend], pig heads will roll.”

Why else would anyone ever exercise?
Why else would anyone ever exercise?

So, have you ever lost your mind any tips for me? (Note: I’m especially interested in advice about carb-loading.)

~*~*~*~*~*~