Dear 2017, You have been a year of joy, challenge, pain, fulfilled dreams, and unrealized dreams. The challenges and disappointments you have sent my way make me want to throw you in the garbage and forget you ever happened, but deep down I know that […]
My family alternates celebrating either Thanksgiving or Christmas together every year. 2017 was a Christmas year, but we decided to all get together for a week in Scottsdale, Arizona in January rather than spending a few rushed days together on the actual holiday. My parents […]
I grew up hiking, and have always loved spending time in the “great outdoors”. My dad is from Washington state, and our family used to make an annual “trek” from Oklahoma to visit the Puget Sound area every August. The cool, Pacific climate offered an ideal respite from the relentless Oklahoma heat, we watched ferries cross the sound from my grandfather’s kitchen, and the Nordstrom anniversary sale was always on—needless to say, I looked forward to the trip every year. But the highlight was always the hiking that we went on.
Unfortunately for this Oklahoma girl, the hiking options in Oklahoma are rather limited. That being said, there are some local places to go, and I make an effort to find trails when traveling to locations such as Asheville, North Carolina, and Phoenix, Arizona. Hiking is a pastime that will be incorporated into the life that I am working to manifest for myself. Therefore, my recent experiences hiking in Arizona this past week provided hope that I am making progress towards this life, and also illustrate the impact that nourishment, rest, and time can have on physical strength and personal experience.
I had just submitted applications for residency and was anxious about the next step in my life. I was not confident that I would be successful professionally, valued in my relationships, or what I wanted from my life. This stress manifested in my regimented eating patterns, which were not sufficient to fuel my active daily life, let alone the exercise this outdoor-loving girl would want to do on vacation. While in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl, I decided to hike Camelback Mountain, which is known for its wonderful views and rocky terrain.
The experience on the mountain reflected the emotions and sensations of my day-to-day life at this time: cold, dejected, afraid, and weak. The weather was unusually cold and misty for Arizona on this particular day, and my body lacked the reserves to keep warm. The terrain was slippery from the rain, and I frequently slipped and lacked confidence in my balance. I could not envision what the view would look like at the top of the mountain or believe that it would be worth it, just as I could not envision what life after graduation would look like. I struggled frequently, but was too proud to ask for help. In contrast, my climbing partner was physically fit and excited for the views from the top of the mountain. While I completed the hike, I remember commenting afterwards that I “would never do that again” and that I was “afraid of rock climbing”.
I am a month in to recovery. My physical activity has been limited during this time, but I have gained reserves and strength. I no longer define myself as solely a pharmacist or by my ability to restrict and overexercise. I have no idea what exactly my future will hold, but I know my future will be good. I know that I want a life of strength, perseverance, and gratitude. And I am happy to say that my January 2018 hiking excursions reflect this new mindset.
One day, I went on a 0.5 mile “kids hike” with my brother, sister-in-law, and their two kids. The trail had 12 stops with signs describing plant and animal life in the Sonoran desert. Rather than stressing about “getting a workout in”, I was able to focus on the physical beauty of the mountains in the distance, the genuine curiosity of my 5-year old nephew, and the pleasure of warm sun in January.
The first “traditional” hike I went on was a 2 mile out-and-back trail at Pinnacle Peak. The conditions on this day mimicked those of my hike on Camelback one year prior. The difference? I could withstand the cold and rain. I was actually…wait for it…warm. While the conditions prevented our group from seeing better views, I was grateful for the rain because it showed how far I have come since last year. I followed the path with confidence, and although I did become fatigued at times, I knew I could complete the journey, that the more difficult moments were temporary and the experience would be worth it in the end.
When I finished the hike, I felt strong, empowered, and proud. I have further to go in my recovery journey, and similarly, a goal to complete more difficult hikes in the future, but that does not preclude me from being present and joyful now.
Finally, I re-visited Camelback Mountain. This year, it was warm and sunny. The terrain was still rocky, steep, and difficult, but I was sure-footed and strong. I knew I could complete the journey, and that the view from the top would be worth it. I had no difficulty being vulnerable and asking for help when I needed it. I am so glad that I got over the rock climbing fear that had manifested last year.
The profound contrast between fueled and underfed, rested and exhausted, regimented and “take it as it comes”, proud and vulnerable as exhibited in each experience is reflective of the contrast between living in the disorder and living in pursuit of recovery. Recovery is not easy, and it is a conscious effort and fight each day. However, I want to be able to hike and enjoy the outdoors and my family in the future with strength and gratitude. I want to approach life with vulnerability and confidence, despite the uncertainty of the future. Hiking is a lot like recovery: it needs to be taken one step at a time. There are more difficult moments, but they pass and lead to moments of respite. Stopping to ask for help is critical. The view from the top is worth it. And the best views come from the hardest climbs.
I’m traveling back to cold Oklahoma after six days in the Arizona desert today. The trip was a great mixture of family time, relaxation, and outdoor activities. Recap to come later–for now, here are some of the things I’ve been loving this past week! Prismacolor […]
Music has been a source of joy, comfort, and hope during this difficult season.
I’ve always loved Spotify for discovering new artists, checking out what my friends are listening to, creating playlists (it seriously got me through some difficult study sessions during pharmacy school and inspired several impromptu dance parties), and listening to various radio stations.
I recently created a Recovery Season playlist that features an eclectic blend of Christian pop, Acapella, “girl power” music, and songs with lyrics I find particularly inspirational.
1. “How Far I’ll Go”/”Go the Distance” by Scott & Ryceego
“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong”
2. “Stronger” by Britney Spears
“Stronger than yesterday“
3. “Wake Me Up”/”Hey Brother” by Anthem Lights
“Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start”
4. “This Will Be Our Year” by Smash Cast
“And this will be our year
Took a long time to come”
5. “Come As You Are” by Crowder
“Lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
6. “Greater” by MercyMe
“Greater is the one living inside of me
than he who is living in the world”
7. “Hakuna Matata” by the Lion King cast
“It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
8. “Roar” by Katy Perry
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!”
9. “More Time” by NEEDTOBREATHE
“We’re off to new lands
So hold on to my hands
It’s gonna be alright
It’s a whole lot brighter
So stand by the fire
It’s gonna be alright
Yeah, the road gets harder
But it’s not much farther
It’s gonna be alright
You know that it ain’t easy
Please believe me
It’s gonna be alright“
10. “Seasons of Love” by the cast of RENT
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife“
11. “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher
” You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You?”
12. “Bring it all Back” by S Club 7
“Don’t stop, never give up
Hold your head high and reach the top
Let the world see what you have got
Bring it all back to you?
13. “Something Beautiful” by NEEDTOBREATHE
“And the water is risin’ quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave your side, no I can’t leave your side”
14. “I’m Yours”/”Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Straight No Chaser
“Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true ooh oh”
15. “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters
“You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken”
16. “How Sweet the Sound” by Citizen Way
“You were healing in the pain
You were shelter in the storm
Hallelujah You restore my soul”
17. “The Longest Time” by Out of the Dawg House
“Now I know that happiness goes on
Happy Friday! My family is headed to Arizona tomorrow for a mini-vacay and I could not be more excited to escape the cold and hopefully have some outdoor adventures.
Here are some of my favorites recently:
Nike Free RN Flyknit Running Shoes: I discovered these last year. I had a purple pair that I wore so often a hole developed on the top. They’re stretchy and comfy-perfect for long walks or hikes outside, but they’re also stylish. I was disappointed they didn’t sell a purple pair like the ones I had last year, but I think my light blue ones are pretty cute!
OU Basketball: After a disappointing loss in the Rose Bowl in 2OT on Monday night, I remain loyal to my Sooners. We are currently ranked #7 and have Trae Young, a star freshman. I enjoyed watching the Sooners upset TCU in Fort Worth recently, and they looked pretty good against OSU last night. Should be a fun season!
Acapella Radio on Spotify: The upbeat and poppy songs that have been coming on this random Spotify playlist are seriously bringing a smile to my face. My favorites are “Some Nights/We Are Young” by Straight No Chaser, “The Longest Time” by Out of the Dawg House, and “Cups” from Pitch Perfect.
The iPhone 8: I had the iPhone 5c for about 3.5 years, so I was super excited to upgrade this week. I actually have storage capacity for the apps I want and the new camera is so nice!
New Specs: I got new glasses this week. They’ll be great for work when I go back.
Enjoy your weekend!
“You don’t deserve to eat breakfast without exercising first.”-actually no. I deserve to eat whenever I am hungry. How am I supposed to get through the day without eating a proper breakfast? I need the fuel for whatever my day may bring, which COULD mean […]