2013 has been full of ups and downs like every year, but this one seemed to have the greatest of transitions than in years passed. The year began with this need to hold on to hope, then transitioned to a need to stop and take time to breathe; and then moved on to a need for change. I think this year I grew the most as a person. I've learned to stop, take a deep breath, and let go. I've learned that I am of no use to anyone if I don't take the time to take care of myself. I've learned that even though I'm a valuable part of my family that they are fully capable of handling tough situations on their own. And I've learned that it is okay to put me first. Since July, I've been busy accomplishing some small goals that I have been making excuses for not completing in the past few years. Moving helped me with this. It took me just far enough away from what I used as excuses. Now I have only myself to blame if I don't accomplish anything.
In July, I began running again and had signed up for the Surf City 10k as a goal to accomplish. I've run many 5k's with my best friend and I have run one 8k. I figured a 10k would be a good goal for me. It has been a long while since I had seriously run, so training wasn't quite as easy, but I loved it. I made it a goal to run a certain distance (2-4 miles) and then I would take my running shoes off and walk home in the water. Walking home was my treat for completing my task. I would collect shells, watch the birds run from the water, watch the surfers catch waves, and take in the beauty of living by the beach. I had fulfilled a lifelong dream of living by the beach.
As the summer began to wind down, I figured it was time to reclaim my body and lose some weight. In the past 5 years, I've done fitness kickboxing, running, hiking, yoga, and boot camp, but I never did them to lose weight. I participated in those activities to be active, to relieve stress, and to feel good. Plus, I really loved the environment I was in and the people who were there with me. But, it was time to change that state of mind. I stumbled across the Transformation Center. It's a boot camp like I did before, but this place does more light weight training. I signed up for the 6 week weight loss challenge. It was tough at first. I had cravings for things I never really ate like Red Vines. But by week 3 those cravings disappeared. I'm surprised how easy it is to say no to a lot of foods that are not healthy. I still struggle with saying no to Dr.Pepper. I just love it too much, but have managed to keep away from it. Luckily, I love drinking various green teas. At the end of the 6 week weight loss challenge, I didn't lose 20lbs, but I did lose 15. I've slimmed down and am developing muscle tone where I had none before. It has been such a great experience. And I'm still working towards losing more weight. It isn't going to happen overnight, but I am thrilled to see the small changes along the way.
Oh, and the 10k... well, I did better than I had anticipated. When I began my training at the Transformation Center, I found that I was too tired to go running and had stopped. I didn't run the entire 6 weeks before the race. My 10k was the last weekend of my weight loss challenge, but I felt I was in decent enough shape to do the race. My only goal was to finish it. Luckily, my co-worker/ high school friend decided at the last minute to join me. She bought us fairy wings and headbands to wear. Plus, one of my neighbors rode his bike alongside us to keep us company on the run. The race was a lot of fun. I was extremely sore for a few days. I don't think I'll be doing another 10k any time soon. I think I'll just stick to my 5k fun runs. But I am glad that I was able to finish it.
The great thing about exercising is how feelings of accomplishment transfer to other parts of your life. I was able to accomplish another goal I had been avoiding... I finally finished my dummy book. It isn't the best, but I finished it. The story has altered A LOT from the very first version I began writing. Now that I have that finished, I have another story I need to make a dummy book for. And I've decided my goal for 2014 is to look into self-publishing; just another step in my journey.
I ended 2013 showing my art with Orange County Creatives Gallery at their Santa Ana location in the Santora building. I like showing my art because it keeps me accountable for continuing to make new art and to not give up on my own dreams. Plus, it is such a great feeling to watch the expressions of strangers as they first experience the world of the Mizzles. I will not just be ending 2013 with Orange County Creatives, but I will begin 2014 with them as well. This time I will be in their new Laguna Beach gallery! I'm excited about this opportunity. I have no idea where it will take me next, but so far the adventure looks positive.