Written 9/1/22. As I talk to more people in their early-ish 20s, I learn that most of us are “figuring ourselves out.” We’re learning what we want out of a career, romantic relationships, friendships, and life in general. Each person is at a different place in the process, some further along than others--- Granted, I thought I had my life planned two years ago. Even though the particulars of what I had planned was wrong in every way possible, my goals and values remain the exact same.
Knowing which city you’ll raise kids in is not the same thing as knowing whether or not you want kids, and how you want to raise them. [In my opinion], it’s great to know what city you want to live in long term, but it’s far more important to invest energy in seeking out the backbone of life you want to live. By backbone of life, I mean understanding yourself and your personal aspirations. Even though I don’t know the next few cities I’ll live in, I’m extraordinarily confident in my values and whom I aspire to be, and have been since high school. As time goes by, I become more certain about these general principles.
Side note: Until my last post, I only hinted at my dating life. It’s not something I want to share with the internet, nor are specific stories mine to share. At the same time, dating is such a big part of my life. I love having new experiences, learning about others and myself. I’ll never share identities or say anything negative about someone, but I’d love to be able to share my general thoughts… so here goes with the trial run.
Someday, I’ll understand the factors that determine a person’s timeline and what it says about them, but I haven’t figured that out yet. I have an AMAZING life in Seattle. Honestly, I’m worried it’s too good, and that this is my peak, because it can’t get any better. (Separate post maybe.) Nonetheless, I’m still searching for the right person to share it with. There are plenty of great people to date, but so far, I haven’t met my match. I’ve met a handful of people that could be a great match, but that aren’t ready for what I want. Does that mean they aren’t the right person long term?
It feels like I’m in a waiting game. I’m living my life to the fullest and putting myself out there as much as I can, but I’m waiting to find the person. I’m not one to ‘wait’ around. If people aren’t ready yet, I’ll maximize the time I have to get ahead and become a better person for myself and my future family. Okay, hold on. Typical me, having an epiphany while writing this. This is why the blog exists.
As I started writing this post yesterday, I was trying to figure out how not to sound conceded. No matter which way I say it, it doesn’t sound right. Who am I to think that I’m ‘ahead’ of everyone else? As much as I want to be with someone, I’m having a fantastic time just being me (and going on dates and collecting stories). I’ve been afraid of a lot of things in life, but I’ve never been afraid of ending up alone. I’ll know when the right person comes along. There is no “getting ahead” either. I may have productive habits for exercise and work, but I’m far behind when it comes to educating myself outside of work and eating well. Regardless of how I got to these thoughts, I’m working on 2 things: (1) Exploring the world by reading and (2) Eating to optimize brain function.
I love writing. Anytime I have extra brain power, I write on my blog or in my journal. Writing allows me to explore my thoughts to the fullest and learn about myself. It me to actively think about what I want to say and how to explain it clearly. Reading takes someone else’s words, and doesn’t require as much thought or keystrokes (my hands must always be occupied). I know myself well enough to know that the greatest opportunity for self-growth is no longer in writing because I’ve done that work. I need to invest this time to learn about others’ ideas. They say you should listen WAY more than you talk anyway. Listening to an audiobook may be passive while I’m doing it, I spend time later actively processing the information and potentially changing my actions based on what I learn. I’ve only read a handful of books in the last year, but each one has been lifechanging. For example, eating to optimize brain function. 😉
Most people (especially guys) assume that I eat healthy based on my appearance and type A personality... I found a way to eat whatever I want while staying around the same weight. However, I know this isn’t productive long term, and this balancing act is the largest cause of stress in my life. Not to mention, I spend a ridiculous amount of money picking up dinner and/or ice cream most nights. When someone says “you look so fit,” I appreciate the compliment, but I can’t accept it. I feel obligated to immediately say I’m not fit because I eat so poorly. Regardless of how much I enjoy the gym, I have major impostor syndrome about being physically fit.
If I want to achieve all my goals in life – physically, but most importantly, in my career – I need every advantage I can get. If this is what I can do with poor eating habits, imagine what I can do if I fuel myself properly.
I’m most of the way through Grain Brain by David Perlmutter. The takeaway from his book is that by eating gluten, refined sugar, and high-carb diets, we severely inhibit our brain’s ability to function, and greatly increase our risk of brain dysfunction later in life. I’m not sure if I’m 100% onboard with the ideas and research the author cites about how truly terrible gluten and carbs are for the body, but I know that he has a point. As result of reading this book, I’m running an ‘experiment’ on myself to optimize brain function – NOT to lose weight. My unofficial experiment is to eat gluten free for 2 weeks, evaluate how I feel, and then lower my carb intake and remain gluten free for the following 2 weeks. This is unofficial because I’m doing this purely based off feeling – no hard data involved for once. I’ve been gluten free for exactly one week so far. Other than navigating the social awkwardness of it, finding gluten free foods is quite easy. Carbs will be much more difficult. During the week, I ended up eating ~80% unprocessed foods. I’ve never felt better.
I expected to go through sugar withdrawal or wake up in cold sweats, but I didn’t. I’m sure I will at some point, but at least I was motivated enough this week not to feel it. I haven’t felt a significant difference in brain function yet, but it’s only been a week. I can tell you that all of the ‘bloating’ in my stomach magically disappeared, even after eating an entire avocado in one sitting. I wore my tightest dress on Friday and felt fantastic. Cue the Instagram. Despite successfully making it through a huge weekend with friends as a gluten-free person, I caved on unprocessed foods and ate a ridiculous number of gluten-free Oreos and brownies after a stressful day, (mostly because I wanted to.) I immediately felt the difference for the next 3 days.
I felt the usual guilt from everything I ate, but I also felt bloated and lethargic like never before. The bulge on my stomach that I hate returned immediately. Moreover, eating a high volume of carbs made my stomach feel empty until I ate another large portion of carbs a few hours later. Exactly as the book described. Carbs are more addicting than any other food group, and food such as bread, wheat bread even, triggers more brain receptors than any other.
I never want to be the person that makes going to dinner difficult because of their dietary restrictions, nor do I ever want to make someone else feel bad for the way that they eat. I know it’s because I’m insecure, but I always feel bad about myself when someone else talks about how they eat healthy. In the long term, I think I’ll cook more for myself, limit gluten and drastically reduce my carb intake. I’m not sure if it will be practical to be completely gluten-free yet.