Let’s Be Real

Let’s discuss some facts here:

  • I’ve gotten REALLY good at meal prepping. Like, it only took a month and it’s second nature now to pack all my meals ahead of time. While I’ve learned that I get sick of things if I eat them for a week straight, I’ve figured out a good cook-three-times-a-week system
  • I just celebrated a birthday! I was fortunate enough spend my birthday road tripping, experiencing a city I’ve never been to (Woooooo St. Louis) and getting to see TRAIN with Matt Nathanson and The Fray in concert!
  • The blog has gotten boring

The blog has gotten boring because I feel like I’ve hit a rut- not with writing or anything in itself but just a general RUT. Warning, rant ahead.

Exactly a year ago I was leaving to spend a month in Vietnam, teaching English and coaching soccer, without knowing a single other person there. I felt like a made a difference, even though I didn’t see how at the beginning, and I learned a ridiculous amount about myself and the world. After that I had my final year of college and college eligibility to look forward to- all the highs and lows and every glorious moment in between.

Currently, my life is working full time and working part time and working events on and off. While I comprehend how much I am learning in a professional capacity, and how fortunate I am to have an internship (and a job immediately following) right after graduation, I’m not feeling that spark of excitement and nerves. I’m feeling a mild buzz of excitement that accompanies wanting to do a great job and learn and excel- but am I really pushing my boundaries? Am I in a role that requires the characteristics I utilized in Vietnam, like thinking on my feet or simply adapting to my surroundings?

I find myself coming home from the office, day after day, and spending hours researching graduate programs, or international volunteer opportunities, or various certifications. I’m in all-in kind of person, and I’m struggling with finding “hobbies”. I don’t know how to “dabble” in things at all. If I run 3 miles one day I imagine training for a marathon. I’ve already made a spreadsheet comparing various Master degree programs, and yet another spreadsheet for international opportunities. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing unless I’m doing it 110%.

So I come home and I write about what I packed for lunch that day because I am too indecisive to write about anything else. Before all my spare time (outside of training and class) was dedicated towards job hunting and preparing for camp. Check and check. Instead of feeling relaxed that there’s less on my plate I’m finding myself scrambling, looking for ways to better myself or create something tangible. I get so frustrated that I don’t come home at night and am super productive but I don’t even know what I would be doing with my productivity. Side note: I complain to my boyfriend that my morning workouts aren’t as long as I want them to and that I wish I was writing more and cooking more in the evenings and he responses by asking me why I feel like I have to be productive from 5:30am-10pm?

Constantly I find myself going over the possibilities: I could train for a marathon which would be a real challenge because I suck at running. I could apply to graduate school if I ever decided on what school is a good fit (I’m pretty set on what program is for me at least) (and figured out how to pay for it). I could book a flight to somewhere half way around the world just to feel like I’m nervous about something again. Nervous about a performance or an outcome that I have 100% control over, like how prepared I am for a competition or how adaptable I can be in a new role.

To quote my own speech to the Athletic Department last February, “I’ve learned that I can do hard things. That I can do seemingly crazy things…Leap, and the net will appear. Just jump and you can figure it out on the way down.”

“I am saying yes, to every opportunity, and trusting that I will be okay”

I am an “all-in” kind of person, but what happens when I want to do everything? When I find myself standing on the edge of whatever opportunity I choose to pursue, and I simply can’t decide what to do because I want to do all. I WANT to say yes to every opportunity- sign up for races and write a book and start a business.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m bored, and I don’t want to “try” things. I want to find a thing, and throw myself into it. I want a goal, or an end point, and I want to struggle and complain and find a way to get there because as it turns out that’s what I love. Working 40 hours a work in an office and 20 hours a week retail has taught me that I thrive on the idea that success is entirely based on my preparation. I need a moment, or an event, where all the work can be displayed. Where all the work is apparent and the success of that venture is a direct result of your hustle and your commitment to the goal.

My entire life I have been in school or training for a competition or applying to jobs. I’m not feeling nervous about anything upcoming, and that is perhaps the most unsettling and unfamiliar feeling I could imagine.

Dreams QuoteEnd rant.

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Weeks 4, Maybe 5?

Whew I really fell off the blogging train for a bit. There’s been a billion things going on (isn’t that always the truth?) and I couldn’t be more thankful for the 3 day weekend. After camp wrapped up on Thursday, I took a four and a half hour nap and STILL slept for approximately 12 hours that night. For those who don’t know me personally, I’ve spent the past six months planning a five day dive camp that just wrapped- by far my largest professional project yet! 

With four weeks of my internship left, I can confidently say that I am in the swing of things in regards to meal prepping! They aren’t kidding when they say it takes 21 days to form a habit; the last week before camp felt like smooth sailing even though the stress was piling up pre-camp. I even tried new things- like protein donuts! Yes I paid $10 for a donut pan and I would do it again.

Not much to report this Sunday, besides just to let everyone know I am still alive, still meal prepping, and ready to step it up a notch :) My brain is buzzing with all sorts of new projects now that camp is off my plate- AND I’m extra inspired because my birthday is on Saturday!

Happy holiday weekend everyone! I’ll be back with more details soon :)

Week Three, Part One.

Well if I learned anything from Week Three of meal prepping is that sometimes more is better and less is stressful.

I was SO excited to have work night off this week from my second job, and I could arrive home around 6pm every night with no other obligations than meal prepping, laundry, and working on my side job (I help run sport camps- nine days to go! Whaaaaat?). What was intended to be relaxing productive evenings turned into “Wow I have so much time I might as well sit and read my book for two hours”.

Spoiler alert. It didn’t work. I ended up being SO LAZY I might as well have been working for all I accomplished :( It’s like I NEEDED those extra hours of work to make the REST of my hours productive.

On the plus side? My workouts where were on POINT! My Monday lift went really well, and Tuesday I actually got to the gym early enough that I could run a full 3 miles and still get in a short strength training circuit before 7am! Wednesday was a quick lift, and Thursday was a rest day as I had an early morning chiropractic appointment- which was 100% worth the skipped work out.

One other benefit to the week? I’m getting in the habit of posting more pictures of my meal prepping to the @laurenelysecan the Insta! I love my food so much I created a whole new Instagram account…it’s like when people love their pets so much they have own account.

Why the abbreviated and early post this week? Well, today I’m taking a shift at my third (forth?) job at 5:30am, and then going out of town! I need the weekend away so bad, my stress levels have been through the roof with commuting and keep up with emails and such. Don’t get me wrong I love camp- after all I spent all of last summer working camps- but I’ve taken on such a bigger role this year it’s exhausting.

I’ll check in early next week to update you on the weekend! I plan on eating less meals out of Tupperwares and relaxing with my best friends for a few days. Happy Friday!!

Weekly Recap Two

Week two is officially over, and while it started SO STRONG things sort of took a nose dive towards the end of the week :( I definitely had a better handle on what the week would look like in general, so it was less of a shock to the system! My body is starting to recognize the early mornings, and even today after staying out last night I was wide awake at 6:15am (110% fell back asleep though- I’m not THAT eager to hop out of bed).

Compared to last week? This week was probably a solid B.

Like I mentioned, the week started on like four near perfect days! I was getting up even earlier as practice had been moved up a half hour, so I could work out then train a little 6:30ish-8am. Planning outfits ahead of time made life way easier- from work clothes to work out clothes to finally just keeping three different pairs of shoes in my car.

Friday morning was a bit of a speed bump for me, but I don’t regret it at all. I (intentionally) slept in Friday morning and worked out at around 6pm that day. Thursday night I had been caught in a massive storm driving home from my second job at 10pm and it took me twice as long to get home- and four times as anxious. I needed the little extra rest. Even though the gym is way busier at 6pm compared to 6am, I found a squat rack just fine and made it through my workout no issue!

Meals were so on point, to a point, this week. Monday-Thursday I was killing it- mixing up my salads, doing overnight oats, having more snacks on hand (aka the jar of peanut butter in my trunk next to all the shoes). Wednesday I had a planned lunch out with a friend so I didn’t even have to worry about anything that day! This week would have been a solid A with the early mornings and the better meal prep, but then Friday and Saturday happened. Friday I skipped my lunch of salad, sweet potato, and a granola bar, because it was our VP’s birthday and I had cake for lunch (honestly I don’t regret this decision much at all- go to Target RIGHT NOW and buy a cake. Best cake of all time). After seeing Jurassic World Friday night (GO SEE THAT WITH YOUR CAKE) I didn’t have much prepped so Saturday, which meant I was stupid hangry the majority of the day. I bought breakfast and lunch out between practice and work and on my lunch break, but the low quality of a chicken sandwich or a bagel left me so unsatisfied and hungry again an hour and a half later. 

Lesson of the week: PROTEIN with breakfast is your best friend. I couldn’t believe I difference I felt in the mornings when I included protein versus not. Yeah I might have looked like a bro with my protein powder in a shaker cup with water, but it was totally worth it.

Highlight of the week: was my coach telling me at practice on Saturday that I was looking really in shape- he knows my goals for the summer include a lot more strength training and just general “working out” so it was nice to hear after months of feeling “out of shape”!

Fun Fact of the week is that I started an additional Instagram account for the blog/meal prepping! I don’t post very often (yet), but it was created in order to help keep me accountable in regards to my meal prepping goals, and once the fall rolls around I’m hoping it will just be more of an extension of the blog!

Follow me on Instagram now @laurenelysecan

Weekly Recap One

So this summer, like last summer, and probably a dozen more times in my life, I put as many things on my plate as I could possibly handle. It’s like in diving when we say “heave and believe” (or another fond saying that rhymes with “___ it and chuck it”), I’m sort of just throwing myself into the process and hoping I come out alright on the other side.

My internship started June 1st (!!!!) and I went back to retail part time on June 2nd. Sounds innocent enough, until it sinks that I’m working 63 hours a week with a 20-45 minute commute. Uhhh. Whoops.

Anyways, this blog isn’t to complain because I’m excited for everything thats going on, but I think I’m going to throw together a post every week to evaluate how I did in regards to workouts and meal prepping! Every Sunday this summer I’ll be writing about how the past week went, getting into detail about how committed I am to get back in shape- lifting heavy and running 3 miles like it’s nothing. I’m a big believer in you don’t find time you MAKE time, so even though I am never at home and don’t have a day off scheduled till July 3rd, I’m determined to make this summer one of the best yet.

This weeks result? Probably a B-

I am SO proud of myself in regards to the past week because I got up between 5:30am and 6am to get my workout done every single day (Monday through Saturday, six days total, Sunday rest day). My new lifting schedule calls for three days a week, so I lifted Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (I held off Friday because I wasn’t sure if a friend was going to join me or not). Tip for planning weekend workouts: Check summer hours! I got there for my Saturday lift at 6:30am only to find out the gym wasn’t open till 7 :( I ended up doing my whole warm up and jump circuit outside, which in retrospect was kind of nice, so that way I could be starting my squat set right at 7, BUT STILL. I ran Tuesday and Thursday, although Thursday I was running late and only made it through 25 minutes, and Friday I did the Stairmaster and some light lifting. Right now my schedule revolves around getting in the shower at 7:10am, stretching and foam rolling with the team while they get ready for practice 7:30-8am, doing hair and make-up, then walking out the door to drive to the office at 8:15am

Where I struggled a little bit this week was meal prepping. It’s actually a little comical, I’ve given up my normal lunch bag for a cooler I keep in the trunk of my car. I did a great job with cooking chicken, asparagus, baking blueberry oatmeal protein muffins, and washing/chopping raw veggies on Sunday. The only thing is I didn’t get around to was the sweet potatoes and zucchini, very aware I had no time to cook them during the week. Only one day did I not pack enough food and had to buy a meal out (Tuesday night, first day back at retail when I left the house at 6am and got back at 11pm), which is a bonus as I’m trying to not buy anything fast food this summer (not that I did much anyways, but I was guilty of picking up a granola bar instead of having one in my bag some days- I did stop for a Quest bar when I got gas on day as well!). The truth is I really just got bored with my food choices- while I was so excited to have cooked plenty on Sunday, by the time Thursday and Friday rolled around I was so bored of chicken, carrots, apples/bananas, and lame salads (read: greens, asparagus, and dressing) that I wasn’t looking forward to anything I packed. Thank goodness for that Quest bar on Saturday between practice and work at 10 or I would have been losing my mind!

Goals for next week: more variety in my meal prepping, and pick out CLOTHES for the whole week. The most annoying thing when I was getting ready for bed every night was having to pick out a gym outfit and an office outfit. I’m sure I could plan all of those out in advance as well, just like my food, and it would save me a world of annoyances.

Anyways folks, happy Sunday! Thanks for slogging through the long first week recap. If you have any great tips for meal prepping, comment below and I will take them to heart! I’m off to work from 10am-6pm today, and then it’s grocery shopping, cooking, and hopefully a load of laundry until I face plant into bed (ideally around 10:30pm- we’ll see!)

Sunday Quote

Sinking In

I’ve officially been a college graduate for two weeks now, and the whirlwind that was May is coming to a close. After all the flights, catching up with family, and one quick walk across the stage, it’s starting to sink in. I completed my undergraduate degrees! It’s a cause for celebration. It’s an accomplishment, yes, and an accomplishment I’m proud of- I was never the best student but always hovered around average or slightly above average.

I get that this is a happy time in my life…but does anyone else feel a small loss of identity? I’ve been a student since I was 5 years old. I’ve been pursuing (modest) educational pursuits for as long as I can remember, and now I’m a real person and I’m not quite sure what that means. I had to put “occupation” on a form the day after graduation, and I was completely at a loss.

I’m not a different person than who I was before I walked the stage, but it almost feels like I am. I’m unsure of how to fill my time without homework or studying, which admittedly I would experience every summer, but this is a forever kinda summer in my mind, pending potential graduate schools! I feel like my life is way more up to me. How I want to spend my time, how to fill my hours with things that I find fulfilling or productive. I’m feeling like I need to find a new “thing” now that school is out, like finally taking the leap and signing up for a mud run/obstacle course race or attempting a yoga challenge. I could take a cooking class or try CrossFit or run a marathon (lol) (can you tell I like to work out and eat). I feel like I have to DO something or create something or be something more than what I’ve been. It’s like a post-accomplishment lull, shrugging my shoulders and looking around, asking everyone who walks by “what now?”

This is getting depressing- that was not my intention! It’s more like a positive mindset: what can I tackle next? What is my life going to look like a year from now or three years or ten years from now? As sad as graduating college was, isn’t the prospect of doing anything you really want to exciting?!

Maybe I’m the idealistic graduate who is about to get punched in the face by the “real world” or maybe I’m the pessimist who feels identity loss, or maybe I’m both: the graduate that recognizes that graduating and joining the working world doesn’t make the past five years any less “real” than the world I’m entering now.

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