There is a thrill in discovery. Learning something new that gives you instant or gradual gratification feels absolutely incredible–no denying about that! A few examples? Finding out that you love surfing, you’re an amazing cook, or even entering a new relationship where the partner treats you like a million bucks.
Of course, there are several caveats to discovery. One of them is stagnation–the spark in this discovery dies out and you no longer gain the same excitement. Another is experiencing something that you would have rather avoided, such as injury or a breakup. Alternatively, there is addiction, whether slow or sudden. In this way, it is easy for many to become obsessed with working out all the time, eating as healthily as possible, and maintaining an extremely rigid routine that blocks them away from other aspects of life. If anything, whatever they’re addicted to is all they can see, because it’s safe.
Since discovering health and fitness, I became so enthralled by constantly changing my routines and constantly improving my progress that it took years to find a happy medium. My morning workouts and meal prep sessions were essentially attached to my calendar likes nails tightly screwed into the wall. It would cost an arm and a leg to yank them out. That is how much I adored being as fit as possible. As a result, I rarely ever tried junk food, missed a workout, and became a pain in the neck to hang out with. On top of that, I secretly dreaded my demanding regimen.
Eventually, the blog and the rest of my social media became my safety net. If I was uncertain about hanging out or attending an event, I wouldn’t take a risk and spend my nights on my laptop in a virtual world. Essentially, social media, as well as health and fitness were the two central aspects of my life. Everything else–work, school, friends, family, other miscellaneous interests–consisted of the leftovers.
Over winter break, I held back so many times and opportunities to film my food and my workouts in exchange for being present. I swapped out my time to edit videos and write more blog posts for hanging out with friends or even taking long walks outside. When traveling to Japan for nine days, I kept my cellphone in my pocket most of the time because it is disrespectful to walk or ride some public transportation services while looking on your mobile device.
At first, it was extremely tempting to take a picture or video roll of everything. With time, I started to question the significance of the action of capturing something in every situation I sought the opportunity. Do I want to remember this memory in such concrete detail that I need a visual depiction of it? Do I want to share this picture for likes or for nostalgia? Would I go back at this photo ten, twenty, or even thirty years from now? My answers determined whether I’d hit “record” or simply enjoy the moment. Eventually, similar questions became applied to other aspects of my life. Will I really regret not working out today? Will I ever get to try this dish again? What can I potentially gain from this new experience?
I’ve slowly been shedding new layers of myself, realizing that I’m not necessarily the girl that lives in Athleta or Lululemon leggings or can never get tired of kale salads. I find joy in wearing dresses and decorating donuts too! Of course, health and fitness are integral parts of my life, but neither are the entirety. Thanks to less time on social media, in the gym, and in the kitchen, I re-discovered that I adore listening to music, dancing, singing, writing, sketching, hiking, photography, crafting, going to the beach, watching “Black Mirror” (GASP! TELEVISION! WHAT?!), spontaneously hanging out with friends, being around animals, analyzing movies, learning about food science, talking about feminism and philosophy, and even playing a handful of video games!
When someone would ask me, “What do you do in your free time?”, I used to have trouble responding because all I could think of were exercising, cooking, and blogging. Now, I have the same trouble, except there are almost too many activities and passions that pop up in my head! But it’s a freeing sensation to know that I am defined by more than just two or three categories. If anything, I don’t really have to define myself as anything, despite this blog being strictly health and fitness. It’s similar to broadening your variety of lens colors when wearing glasses. Don’t just stick to a small handful of colors. Find the really obscure and peculiar shades and tints to have fun and learn even more about the world and yourself again.