Monday, January 27, 2014

Reflecting upon Overachieving

I reflect upon who I am, who I was, and who I want to become often. In fact, if I could wake up every morning with a hot cup of tea in a big comfy armchair to just ponder life, I would. Sometimes, I honestly do because my mind won't let me go forward in the day if I don't. The ability to do this is actually one thing plant-based eating brought back for me. At one point, my brain fog was so severe, my mental capacities were limited to thinking about my bed all day. I am very thankful that I can get up in the mornings now and still have great thoughts and plans for my life (though this does decline through out the day). This is meant to be a health blog of sorts, but since I'm not there yet, a bit of contemplation seems appropriate.

I don't know if I've ever been an optimist, definitely a realist with hopeful undertones. I'm just as much in love with happily ever afters as I am tragic endings; both seem possible. I tend to be pessimistic at times about my health, but again, I stay hopeful. I'm not really sure if I will ever get to a point where I feel 100% the way I want to, and maybe no one does. As cliche as it sounds though, I am thankful for what challenges life has thrown at me. I have made a healthier version of myself, one that would have never evolved without this motivation to feel better. Even if I found a magic pill tomorrow that cured me somehow, I would continue what I am doing and still strive to do better. Would I have had this itch without my health slapping me in the face like this? I believe not. Americans really have a hard time defining what is healthy. Heck, I still do. At one time, I believed my health wasn't that bad. I wasn't eating fast food or absurd amounts of energy drinks (or any), so I seemed to be doing better than most college kids around me. Even now, I don't push people to eat like me because I know my point of view seems extreme to people that feel healthy.

OK guys, here's the part where I reveal my very large, everyone knows about me, secret... I'm a nerd:

I had a large contemplative moment while volunteering at a high school debate tournament this last weekend. I honestly don't have too many fond memories of debate except winning trophies and getting to go to Vegas for Nationals. Similar to judging, actually debating takes everything out of you. You spend weekends at a time poring your mind and energy into a competition that is largely subjective on how your judge feels that particular day. I remembered back to after my first tournament in the car ride home with my mom: my last debate round had gone so terribly, my self esteem had been shattered. I wept the entire way home. My mother, seeing how broken up I was, suggested I quit. I looked at her and told her I'd get better or get used to it. That's exactly what I did. I never became entirely skilled at debate, but was decent at some of the more performance centered events.

I've always been an overachiever of sorts. I was devastated when I wasn't the smartest person in the room. I soon had to get over this while being around debaters and AP students in high school. I had to get over this even more while being in college around pre-med students. And they are the worst breed of student, believe me. Luckily I went to a state school where no one was extremely pompous, but still some very high strung people that should have been taking chill pills daily. I learned very soon that I was not going to be the smartest, or even the top scoring student in classes. I was ok with that as long as I did my best. I do believe debate largely helped me relax and develop this mindset. Being continually judged and actually fighting for trophies made losing a recurring theme. I am extremely grateful that I learned to lose. It doesn't sound motivating, but letting go of failure makes you a better person. You still feel entirely comfortable with who you are and your efforts. Not being the best at something will not destroy you.

I believe these earlier experiences have taught me to deal with my current situation as well as I have. I've failed in many things I never wanted to. I believe my grades and MCAT scores would have been much higher without some of my struggles with fatigue and general malaise. Would I be in medical school right now had this not occurred? Possibly. Would that have been my best course in life? I cannot tell you. Nonetheless, I continue to strive for happiness. I am able to succeed in so many other ways. I enjoy life when I can and still work towards my goals. In fact, I was recently accepted into graduate school for a Masters in Nursing. I will be working towards doing what I want most in life: helping others. Nothing could make me more proud. Similarly, I'm not afraid of losing this battle with my body. It still brings me to great things and I know more are to come. Letting go of perfection is the best thing anyone could do. I'm excited to continue my slow going progress with plant-based eating whether I get to the finish line or not.

Meatloaf bites (made with kidney beans and homemade ketchup), brussel sprouts, and cauliflower mashed "potatoes"

Update on food: About the same as last time, but my chocolate intake increased dramatically during my period : / So still lots of work to go!

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