New Year, Older Yet Incrementally Better Me :)

Looking back at 2018 I’m extremely grateful for a lot of things that happened, and I’m excited to get to work building on them in 2019. Alix and I have a lot of potential to realize and I have my sights set high. I’m also looking forward to more personal development, more risk taking, and to stepping farther outside my comfort zone. I’m all about that growth!

I like the idea of setting resolutions for the new year to kickstart and/or revisit with renewed motivation the behaviors and thoughts that will lead to living our best life, but I try to avoid holding on to them too tightly. Discipline and commitment are extremely important, but if a resolution ends up feeling like the sharp edge of a popcorn kernel stuck in my throat I’m not going to force it. There’s a difference between challenging and a true lack of synchronicity, and if you’re in tune with your instinct it knows the difference between what is worth the effort and what is not.

If you have big changes to make, it will be hard, but it should feel right. One of my favorite phrases (I believe it’s from Glennon Doyle) is WE CAN DO HARD THINGS! I don’t know where this idea comes from that things should be easy, anything worth it takes work. My advice for challenging changes/resolutions is to start small.  Anything you alter in an effort to improve yourself needs to be sustainable and will eventually need to feel normal, after you’ve integrated a change you’ll need to view it as your new base line and then lean in some more. Over and over. Be patient with yourself. If you fall off the wagon, it’s ok, get back on no matter how hard you fall, it’s worth it. Truly loving yourself is treating your mind, body, and spirit in ways that will enable you to be as healthy as possible, but the journey to health is squiggly and never-ending.

My resolutions usually center on healthy eating (wah waaah), relationships, creativity, and learning. Each new year I double down on my eating habits, sometimes trying a new approach, as is the case this year. I’ve been intermittently intermittent fasting (four times a week) and thus far I really like it. I plan to do more research and continue following it’s guidelines into the new year. (More on this subject in a future blog post.)

I will continue to work on strengthening my relationships with the people who mean the most to me (my marble jar friends, for those of you who read Brené Brown). This, for me, means carving out time to spend with loved ones, even if I have to sacrifice my beloved routine to find it, and checking in when I don’t have the time to be there in person. I don’t know why, but that’s been hard for me my entire life. 

Creatively, I would like to get back to sewing. My mom taught me how to sew and it’s a pastime that makes me feel connected to her. I still have and use her sewing machine and I have piles of fabric waiting to be made into something fabulous!  And finally, I intend to be more disciplined when it comes to reading and writing.  I plan to do this by cutting out TV a few days a week, it’s amazing how productive I can be when I resist the suck of the couch and those bright flashing lights. 

I believe reading books is one of the single best things we can do for ourselves, specifically self-help books (pick up whatever speaks to you!), and books that can help us grow in our passions. I can’t imagine where I would be without the books that have landed in my lap! In conjunction, I find writing is one of the quickest ways to learn and gain clarity about yourself: what you think, how you feel, and what you really want. It’s also a creative outlet for me and I love sharing my thoughts on subjects for whoever is here to listen. 

Despite all of these “resolutions”, I’m not a big concrete goal setter. I believe in the intention to live your best life, in simply doing your best every day, and leaving the rest up to the universe. General goals are good, you need to know where you’re trying to go, but it’s important to be open to alternative routes and destinations. Life flows better and is more exciting that way. So my advice would be to set those goals, lean in, and work towards them intently, but hold on to them loosely and be open to interesting opportunities that come your way.

The one semi-concrete goal I am setting for myself, however, is to produce a weekly blog in 2019. I have fifty-two subjects selected, one focus for each week, which can be subject to change based on what is happening real time in my life. This is mainly a creative exercise I’m using to challenging myself, but if you’d like to check back in and read the fruits of this resolution you are more than welcome to do so! Thank you for reading the first one- blog #52, blog #51 is on it’s way! 

Good luck to you all with your resolutions and I hope you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!! 

Here We Go Again, Anew.

As the plane took off this morning for the Dominican Republic it marked the fourth time I will be attempting to qualify for an Olympic Games. It was one of those moments that unexpectedly fills you with the warmest gratitude. Each quad has been vastly different, as this one has been as well.

I didn’t know what would come of my partnership with Alix, I just knew she possessed qualities that I value, that her motivation was right, and that she’d work her butt off, which has all held consistent, and no doubt will continue to. But because Alix had zero points we started at the bottom, in the country quota, and didn’t know where we’d go from there. It’s been astonishing to see how much better Alix has gotten, and how quickly. It’s as if her learning curve is backwards, she just keeps getting better, faster. And it’s really rewarding for me to be apart of that. I always said after Rio I wanted to help someone new develop their game and one way or another it came to fruition and I am grateful for that (and I love how it proves how powerful the Universe can be).
We are now starting again, however. This tournament (NORCECA Championships) will be our first Olympic qualification event, followed by two FIVB 4 Stars; one in Yangzhou, China and one in Las Vegas. We’ve put ourselves in a good jumping off position, which was what the majority of this year was about, but now the hard work starts.
At the same time, the longer I play the more fun it gets. For a long time I played through doubt and stress and fear. I often felt like my life depended on success, that I would be an overall failure and let my partner and everyone around me down if I didn’t play well and win. This wasn’t a debilitating thought obviously, and I actually mistakenly believed it served me, driving me to perform, but WOW did it cause major burn out and fleeting satisfaction. So I made a commitment at the beginning of this quad that I would play for me. By that I mean I would strictly believe in myself and play with confidence, I would look at my mistakes objectively to learn the lesson and then move on (point by point, match by match, event to event), I would not let it affect how I thought about myself as a player or person. I made myself understand that at this point in my career I deserve at least that much. I surrounded myself with people I respect and love, to collaboratively create our #ATeam. I committed to viewing every event as an opportunity for our team to get better and just see how good we can be. It has made all the difference. There are still ups and downs and major frustrations, but I finally feel well equipped to deal with them and fully enjoy the highs. And I am happy.
As this process starts I am prepared for more ups and downs, but it feels great to be all in with my #ATeam no matter what, committed to learning, doing the best we can, and having fun. I hope you’ll join us, cheer for us, and follow along!

New York

I used to hate this place. I’ve visited periodically throughout my life, the first time in high school with my family for a vacation.  We stayed in New Jersey and took the train in to sight-see and did all the … Continue reading

#Goals

I know goal setting is a big thing right now, being that it’s early January, so I thought I would share my experiences with it. Every year I would make resolutions, but just recently I started setting goals in volleyball. … Continue reading