Why I Stopped Drinking Alcohol

I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol several weeks ago.   I didn’t really tell any of my friends or family, because I didn’t really want to be judged for such a silly and simple thing.  I also didn’t want people to think I was judging them for drinking. However now I’ve hit a bit of a wall and am having a hard time sticking with this no alcohol thing.  The goal was to not drink alcohol this summer – and I want to stick with my goal, so I figured if I finally shared what I was doing with others I’d be able to hold myself accountable.

Why I stopped drinking

I fell into a bit of the party scene here in China.  It’s very easy to, as that’s what it seems most other foreigners do.  To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot of westerners here who do much besides go to bars in their free time.

I found myself when I first got here going out a lot.  Every couple of nights I’d be out drinking with friends, and often times I’d stay out ridiculously late and not get home until the sun came up.  I was partying more here than I ever did in college.

As a fairly active person, I started realizing quickly that this was a huge problem.  I never went to they gym because I was too tired or hungover — and then by the time I felt better, I decided to go out with friends instead.   I never went for just one or two drinks, and not because I wanted to get drunk regularly, I just tend to drink any liquids quickly.

Somewhere along the way I decided I was going to run my second marathon this October — and I knew my habits needed to change.  I couldn’t skip runs/workouts in the morning because I was too tired or hungover — and I didn’t want my work performance to suffer because I wasn’t worn out by the time I got to work because of not enough sleep.

So I decided to stop drinking.  I don’t go to bars anymore to avoid the pressure, and I try to be home and in bed again at a reasonable time.

 

So Far, So Good

Besides the one beer I had with dinner the other night — I’ve been extremely good.  I haven’t had drinks in six weeks.  The beer I had the other night helped me realize I actually really want to stick with this, and want to cut alcohol out completely.  I really didn’t feel good afterwards.

The downside of not drinking — I’ve lost a lot of my social life.  It’s hard to make friends in a country where your language skills are seriously lacking — and I really haven’t met too many westerners outside of the bar scene.  This has been the biggest and only drawback of my decision to stop drinking. I don’t really know where to make friends outside of the bar — but I’m working on it!

 

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Setting Goals and Moving Forward

I found myself unhappy the other day.  I truly felt unhappy.  There was so much smog walking around outside was miserable, and the sun was nowhere to be found.

I had spent the previous day napping and watching movies, and I was finding that every little thing that wasn’t going correctly was making me irrationally angry.  I was incredibly irritable and I knew something was wrong.

This may seem to many like one of the stages of culture shock — but I don’t think it is.  In the past year I keep finding myself in these little funks where nothing seems to be going right. Thankfully, I’m able to notice them pretty quickly and I can work my way out of them.  I think they come on when I start falling short of my goals and start settling with where I am — when I know I can do so much more.

So it’s time to do something about it.  I’m working on my writing, working on making sure I go above and beyond for my clients — so I can keep a steady stream of freelance/ghostwriting while I’m here.  I’m trying to better develop myself as a teacher – trying to figure out what really works for me in the classroom.  Finally I’m focusing on my fitness.  I think this is what’s been hurting me the most.  I’ve been so lazy recently — and that needs to change.

I’ve decided to sign up for Beijing Spartan Sprint in, well, Beijing next month — and I’m planning on running the Rock and Roll Marathon in Chengdu in October.  These trips will not only give me motivation to focus on my running and overall fitness, but they will also give me an opportunity to explore new cities in China.

I’m more motivated than I ever have been since I’ve been here, and I look forward to what I can accomplish in the next few months!

The adventure begins

I’m sitting here in the Dallas Fort Worth airport trying to figure out how I’m feeling while waiting for my next flight to Beijing.  I’m still having trouble really believing that I’ll be in China in 17 hours.

My flight from Jacksonville to DFW was smooth, but uncomfortable. I was in a middle seat and I was so anxious I was worried I was going to get sick. Now I’m still a bit shaky but the nausea has subsided.

I’m excited for the adventures that lie ahead and I’m definitely sad about the life I’m leaving behind. I’ve built such amazing relationships over the past few years – it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye. However thanks to technology, we can still stay in touch.  So to all my friends reading this, please keep in touch.

Words really can’t even begin to describe the excitement I’m feeling.  My world is about to get turned completely upside-down (get it, because I’ll be on the other side of the world?) I’ve lived abroad before, but China is a whole new world.  I can’t wait to see what this adventure brings.

Why Traveling Solo is the Best Way to Travel

I recently took the first trip I haven’t done alone in years. While I had a good time, I realized that I’m much more comfortable traveling on my own.

Most of the time when I tell people that I prefer to travel on my own they seem confused. I get all of the common questions – don’t you get lonely? Is that really safe? Isn’t that boring? And any other critical question you can think of.

While, yes, it can be difficult to adjust to traveling on your own at first – I think you’ll find that it’s the best way to travel. So if you can get over the difficulty of not being able to rely on someone – here are some of the awesome things you’ll experience traveling solo.

  1. You do what you want. Your plans are your plans and they can change in an instant. Heck, you don’t even have to make plans if you don’t want to. I usually don’t make plans until I arrive in a new city.
  2. You save money. Unless you’re traveling with your family and getting them to pay for everything – your flexibility will save you money. You can stay in cheaper places (like hostels) and you’ll likely save on things like drinks and appetizers.
  3. It’s less intimidating to talk to locals. OK, while you may still be hesitant to talk to the locals — if you’re traveling alone the locals are less likely to avoid you.  If you want people to talk to, you have to converse with strangers 
  4. You get a different view of your destination. Traveling alone allows you to do the things that you want to do.  You might also find that without the distractions of friends or family you can really embrace so much more of the place you’re visiting. It’s easier to pay attention to the things going on around you when that’s all that you’re focused on.
  5. It’s safer than you think.   Okay, I can’t say that this is true across the board – but I have done a lot of solo traveling in Central America, and large cities in the US such as Chicago and I’ve never come across any safety issues. One of the perks of traveling alone is there’s just one of you. When you’re traveling with a group of three people, you look like tourists often times. When traveling by yourself you can make yourself fit in.

There are so many reasons to travel on your own – and I really urge you to try it at least once before you simply decide it’s not for you.

Do you travel solo? If not, what’s stopping you?

The 10 Things on my 2017 Bucket List

The idea of a “bucket list” can seem incredibly intimidating.  So instead of looking at a bucket list as simply a thought of things to do before I die – try to think of a bucket list in terms of years or other periods of time.

I personally like to make bucket list of things I want to do each year.  It makes my goals easier to see, and it’s nice to have short-term goals again.

Here are 10 things I will do in 2017.  Some I’ve already crossed off this year’s list, but I’ve updated them a little.

  1. Run a Marathon

      This was one of my initial “before I turn 25” goals.  I crossed it off early this year.  To update this – my new goal is to Run an ultra marathon (50k).

  2. Live in Another Country

    Thankfully, I’ve got this one already planned out.  Like I’ve mentioned a million times before, I’m moving to China sometime within the next month.  I’ve always loved to travel and to experience new places like a local – and I’m excited to move to such a vastly different country.

  3. Learn a New Language

    This is one of my major focuses when going to China.  I really want to make the most out of my trip, so I’d really like to be conversational in Chinese by the time the year’s up.  I think language is such a beautiful thing, and I’m excited to have an opportunity to learn my fourth language.

  4. Cut Down the Clutter

    The goal is to be able to live out of a few backpacks.  I have a nice big backpacking bag, as well as two GORUCK bags, and I hope to live out of the three of them.  There is no real reason for me to have so much stuff — and I’d like to cut down on the clutter and only keep what I need and use regularly.

  5. Have a Conversation with a Stranger Every Week

    I would like to have a conversation with a total stranger every week.  I want to focus on my social skills, and relationship building skills.  I want to be inspired by strangers, and hope maybe some can be inspired by me as well.  So far, so good.  Let’s see how the rest of 2017 goes!

  6. Read 50 Books in 2017

    This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  So far, I’ve read two books — so here’s to staying on track!

  7. Write for Myself

    This is part of the reason I started this blog.  I want to write for more than just those who pay me for it.  I really enjoy writing, and I want to make a habit of it.

  8. Become More Organized

    Anyone who knows me know’s I’m pretty much a disaster when it comes to organization.  I want to get better at organizing my time and my belongings.  I’ve started to bullet journal to keep track of my time and schedule.  Cutting down on the clutter will also help me be more organized as well.

  9. Treat Myself at Least Once a Month

    We should celebrate ourselves, for no given reason.  I’m going to treat myself at least once a month because I am a goddess and I deserve to be spoiled :).  We don’t need others to spoil us, and we don’t need a reason to celebrate.

  10. Pay off 25% of my Student Loans

    This one is incredibly self-explanatory.  I want to be financially OK in my future, and cutting down on my student loans will help that.  I also look at it in the idea that if I can pay off a quarter of my student loans every year, they’ll be gone within four years.  Super easy, right?

 

 

Here’s to 2017 being an amazing year.  What are you going to accomplish this year?

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Ten

An Invitation to Explore the World

You’ve been invited.

 

 

Put on your shoes, because it’s time to go.  It’s time to take a step that might be outside of your comfort zone.

How much of this world have you seen?  Probably not a whole lot, huh?  Personally, I like to thin Continue reading An Invitation to Explore the World