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24: The Year of the Quarter Life Crisis

Turning over in bed, I notice the light beginning to seep in through the windows. I try to close my eyes tighter. As my room brightens, I give up on trying to sleep. As I slowly sit up, I hear every bone in my spine crack. I notice a dull ache in my right hip and stiffness in my neck. Getting to my feet, I stumble as I remember the pain in my left ankle.

I look at my freshly awaken face in the mirror. I see red veins through my eyes mapping out my exhaustion for all to see as hues of purple and gray pulse beneath the sockets. I press cold water on my face and sigh. No, I didn't get into a bad bar fight the night before. This is just how it is now. This is 24.

I've always known I had an old soul, but I didn't realize that maybe I was just an elderly woman trapped in the body of a twenty-something until quite recently. You see, turning 24 was more significant for me than I previously believed. It always seemed like a throwaway birthday. Nothing particularly exciting happens to you like it does when you turn 21. You just start to notice things, like the little crinkles beginning to form around your eyes or the fact that you can't run on four hours of sleep anymore like you used to. While those things have turned out to be true, I've also spent a fair amount of time reflecting on my life and the choices I've made. Some people claim to enjoy self-reflection, but honestly, it's only ever sent me into a downward spiral of existential crises (Am I weird? This has to happen to other people, right???). I find myself wondering what I'm doing. Am I happy? Do I enjoy the career path I'm on? Should I go back to school? Has every single thing I've done in my entire life been a giant mistake and now I'm a stuck as an insignificant speck on this massive rock hurtling hundreds of thousands of miles through space with no apparent purpose or understanding of the meaning of life??????

I'll be thinking about that last question a lot tonight when I go to bed.

While I think that people who enjoy self-reflection are either lying or have some superhuman power that I don't possess, I have been able to uncover some answers. First, I have realized that I do not have my life together whatsoever and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, in theory, I have many, many years left on this Earth and thousands of opportunities to start over and make changes, but do I actually? Second, I have come to understand that I probably (and by probably, I mean definitely) take much better care of my cats than I do myself. They don't see this as being a problem, but that's because they don't understand that without me, there's no one to give them canned food and scratch under their chins.

In light of that second realization, I've decided that it's time to try a little harder and get my health in check. 2017 started out to be a great year for that to happen. I wasn't working much and I had health insurance, so I was able to meet with doctors and keep a flexible schedule. As time went on, I lost my health insurance through a stupid turn of events and began working more. I feel like I'm right back where I started.

Although I don't plan on going back to Paleo this time around, I have thought of a few ideas that might help keep me motivated. The most important thing I've found through my many attempts at getting healthier is having a stellar support system and surrounding myself with people who want me to succeed. The second thing I've found to work for me is breaking things down into smaller goals. Focusing on one larger end goal gives me no smaller victories to celebrate. With nothing to celebrate, I get overwhelmed and eventually give up. This idea is one that I have discovered more recently and have been trying to incorporate into my life.

Last week, I decided to try something new with my goals. Every week, I want to give myself a new 'challenge'. It could be something like going vegetarian for a week to giving up caffeine (I think I'll probably have to work my way up to this one). After each challenge, I'll do a little self-reflection (my favorite!!!!) and see how I feel after the challenge. Although these may not become permanent changes in my life, I think it would be a fun little game to see if I can force myself to do it. Also, maybe this is my inner Scorpio talking, but I'm competitive as hell, and I have a thirst for winning.

If we're honest, I don't have many ideas of things to do, so if you have any suggestions, send 'em over, and I'll tell you if I think it's garbage or not. 😉

For my first challenge, I'm trying to go to bed by 10 PM every night, mostly because I'm a fool and it's too late to start my original vegetarian idea (Curse you, Vincenzo's and your meat-filled pasta!!!!!!). Considering my history with insomnia and my constant lack of sleep, I'm most excited to see how I feel after this week. The only problem is that I can't binge watch any shows or scroll longingly through Pinterest. Sigh.

Until next time, be well and make sure you get a full 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

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