February 2018 Reflections, Hitting the Wall and the Privilege of Scars and Wrinkles

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February was a hard month for me. It’s so short and all those shiny new goals suddenly seem unreachable. How can two whole days make such a huge difference?

That’s why this February 2018 Reflections is coming a week late, which doesn’t feel awesome. Because all those bad feelings are now seeping into March and I’m playing catch up.

February Recap

In February I wanted to:

  • Develop pricing for sponsored blog and Instagram posts
  • Set prices for freelance food photography and styling
  • Get a media kit together
  • Start reaching out to brands to land paid sponsored posts

In retrospect, I’ve done or am close to being finished with all of these. I did decide to start pitching to brands in March though. And at first I wanted to write one email a day, but I’m deciding to do that on Fridays now. Writing emails takes a lot of time for me. Getting just the right wording is hard and I need to devote part of a whole day to drafting multiple emails.

Now that it’s out in front of me, I’m feeling a little better about February. But it was still a rough month.

Hitting the Wall

I’m on the sugar again

A lot of what was easy and invigorating in January is hard and draining now. Because I did so well in January on a modified refined sugar-free diet, I decided I wanted to try and continue it. Especially because it hardly felt like work and I had more energy.

But suddenly, not having sugar became hard and not so fun. I began to have upset stomachs again and was low on energy. I was really struggling so I gave up and got back on the sugar. And it really affected my emotions and digestion for a little while.

An emotional roller coaster of depression and anger

There was one day that really got me. I was completely fine while at work. On the drive home though I felt like I got hit with a wave of depression. It was awful and reminded me of the sudden mood changes I would get while on prednisone.

Walking used to help me so I went on one. But while I was walking, I got the notification on my phone about the Florida shooting. And that was it. I started crying and feeling like nothing can ever change.

And the news made those feelings worse and added anger on top of everything. The “our prayers are with the victims” phrase has made me angry for years. But now I can’t even stand to watch the positive spins the news tries to put on everything.

I do think it’s natural to focus on the heroics of everyday people when terrorism occurs. But it’s become a sad standard. And it feels like they are yelling at us to distract us: yes there was another tragic shooting BUT LOOK AT ALL THE POSITIVE AND HEROIC THINGS PEOPLE CAN DO WHEN THEY’RE SHOT AT.

I went to bed early and decided to not set an alarm. I woke up at 5:30 on my own and felt motivated again but still hopeless.

Emma Gonzalez sparked some fire in my soul. And while plodding along, trying to reach my own goals, I started feeling that even when the world around you refuses to change, you can try to change your own life. And maybe that eventually trickles down into the world around you.

On Turning 30

This may seem like a random change in topic, but bear with me. I’m actually going to turn 31 in May. But I’m a year older than most of the people I went to high school with. This means I can sometimes feel a delay in my reactions to turning a certain age.

My Facebook has lit up with notifications because most of my friends have been turning 30 these past few months. And turning thirty can do some nasty things to your self-esteem. People may celebrate with big “Dirty 30” parties, but it’s still an age that’s greeted with a mix of depression, apprehension, and worry.

At a 30th birthday party, someone asked what I felt when I turned the big 3-0. And I was a little surprised at my answer.

Two birthdays in a row: Me in May 2016 with a surgery care package and me in May 2017 ready for my first big outing in a long while

I responded without thinking: “I felt grateful”. I was grateful to be alive, to be out of the hospital, to be able to spend the day in San Francisco walking my feet off and getting completely roasted at a piano bar. Because honestly, there were a couple of precarious moments in 2016 where I questioned whether I was going to be able to make it to my 30th birthday.

Me being serenaded by the piano player at Johnny Foley’s Irish House for my 30th birthday…crude, rude, and hilarious

Now that everyone else is turning 30 though, I’m getting caught in the comparing game that I talked about in my January 2018 Reflections. But I’m glad I remembered that feeling of gratitude. Because getting old is a privilege.

Scars and Wrinkles

February 2018 Reflections: reflecting on physical and emotional barriers, depression and anger over the Florida shootings, and realizing that scars and wrinkles are everything that you should want in a life well lived. #reflectinggoals #goalsetting #intention #aging | www.megiswell.com

One question people asked me when they learned I was getting my colon removed was, “What about the scars? Are you worried how they’ll look?”

I was surprised by the question because it hadn’t occurred to me at all to worry about scars. And now my scars might itch or hurt as they stretch, twist, and bunch. But I’m proud of them. They are my triumph, my choice to live a full life with missing parts over an empty life with a whole body.

February 2018 Reflections: reflecting on physical and emotional barriers, depression and anger over the Florida shootings, and realizing that scars and wrinkles are everything that you should want in a life well lived. #reflectinggoals #goalsetting #intention #aging | www.megiswell.com

And now I believe I need to think of age and wrinkles like that too. Embrace each year and every wrinkle as a celebration of a life lived. Of experiences savored, of lots of laughter and wide smiles, of foreheads furrowed in thought and concentration.

I only started noticing my wrinkles a year ago. And I hated them. But I’m trying to take pride in them now.

You just have to remember the people in life who died young, robbed of their chance to get those scars and wrinkles to realize that they are beautiful and a privilege. And everything that you should want in a life well lived.

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