Isn’t it weird how as  you get older, birthdays seem to arrive faster? Actually, it’s not just birthdays. We dive into work on Monday and come up for air on Friday, weekends fly past and just when you start to feel like it’s finally summer, you look at the calendar and go “oh CRAP, it’s already half way through August!” That’s been me recently, hence my urge to gobble up tons of peaches and wear lots of sundresses before the warm weather runs out.

(As you can probably tell, this is not going to be a Fit Bit Friday post. But if you’re looking for a workout this weekend, I recommend this one from the archives.)

Not only does today mark the middle of August, but it’s also my big 2-6. Earlier this week on a lunch breaks, I ventured to one of my favourite office getaway spots (Starbucks), busted out my journal and got writing about some of the big life lessons I’ve learned. Maybe it’s just me, but birthdays always see to throw me into a self-reflective, deep-thinking sort of mood.

Because leaving these thoughts in my journal just wasn’t enough, I thought I’d do like Leo Babauta and Jason Wachob and share them online for all the world to see. There is still plenty of learning left to be done, but these are some of the lessons (many of which sound very cliche, but they’re true) I’ve learned first-hand:

1. Whether or not you have a good day is almost entirely dependent on your attitude at the start. You have a choice.

2. You can’t always cut negative people out of your life, but you can limit exposure to them and surround yourself with positive people as much as possible. If what Jim Rohn said about us being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, I sure want to make those some of the most fantastic individuals I know.

3. If you can’t turn your passion into your full time job, you can still find a way to live it a little bit every day. I’ve found that doing this energizes me in all the other areas of my life.

4. The best foods are the kind that come from the ground. The kind that don’t have packaging or labels, and if they did, there would be only one ingredient.

The Rainbow Vitality Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

5. Distance is no excuse for not keeping in touch. Many of my friends and family members live on the other side of the world and yes, time differences do make things difficult. But we live in a world with a plethora of online communication tools, from Facebook to FaceTime. Some of my closest relationships are with people whom I’m physically furthest apart from.

6. Friends an help you get through anything. I’m blessed to be surrounded with so many fantastic, supportive friends and want to do everything possible to be just as supportive in return.

lunch date at Thrive Juice Bar

7. Rest is a crucial component of training, whether that’s training for a race or just training for life. You need to push the reset button from time to time or else you’ll burn out.

8. Alcohol is never necessary for ‘fitting in’ in social situations. I enjoyed my fair share of it in my teens and early 20s, but decided a couple of years ago that it just isn’t for me. The problem was that when I’d go out to socialize with friends who wanted to enjoy a few beers (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that), I’d still feel awkward without a drink in my hand too. I used to feel the need to justify it with an excuse or reason why I wasn’t drinking on that particular night, but now I’m not embarrassed to say it’s just not my thing.

9. You don’t have to go to church every Sunday to feel close to God. 

10. Listening skills can always be improved.

live without pretending

11. If you love something enough, or if it’s important enough to you, you’ll make the time to make it happen. That goes for staying physically fit, preparing healthy food, spending time with loved ones, and any other goal you set.

12. Experiences are so much more valuable, memorable, and fulfilling than things. I feel blessed to have already experienced so much – both good and bad – all of which have shaped me into who I am today.

13. You have to walk your talk. When I first started out as a fitness instructor (around the age of 20), I was shocked at some of the lifestyle habits of other “fitness professionals” I encountered. They’d preach one thing, then turn around and do the complete opposite, and it bothered me that their class participants and clients still trusted them for advice. Witnessing this made me promise myself to always walk my talk, and this guides the decisions I make every day.

side lunge

14. Your passion isn’t something you search for – it’s something you’ve already got and just might not know it yet.

15. Embrace change. It helps you grow. Being the creature of habit that I am, sometimes change feels extra hard. But I have change to thank for my international experience, my career so far, my health, and all the wonderful people I’ve met in the process of making these changes.

be the change you wish to see

16. Know what inspires you. Have these sources of inspiration lined up and ready to turn to whenever you feel like you’re hitting a dead end. I turn to TedTalks, podcasts, friends, athlete role models, blogs, and of course, Pinterest.

17. Physical activity can cure any bad mood, and many of life’s every day problems. Just check out Mizuno’s If Everybody Ran campaign for proof.

18. Traveling is one of the best things you can do to get a fresh perspective on the world and on your life. Although living in Bahrain certainly had its very difficult days, I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend 5 years there and strongly believe that it’s made me a much better person. But travel doesn’t have to mean airplanes. Drive to a cafe or restaurant an hour away from home, visit a farmer’s market in another city, or venture out to a park with some nice long trails and scenic views for an afternoon. Switching up the scenery, even for a few hours, can make it feel like you’ve been away for longer.

19. Be patient. This is a hard, hard lesson to learn and one I’m constantly reminding myself about. I’ve been faced with a few very attractive opportunities over the past year – some with potential to be very life-changing. For one reason or another, some of the biggest didn’t go through. While this was incredibly disappointing at the time, I have faith that everything happens for a reason.

everything happens for a reason

20. Some of the finest things in life don’t cost a thing and don’t require a power cord or wi-fi connection. Going for a long run or walk, a long conversation with a friend, being outside, growing a garden, reading a book (yep, an old school one with actual paper for pages) are some of my faves.

21. Childhood years are some of the best ever. Blissfully ignorant to the things adults have to deal with, I’d give anything to go back but since that’s not possible, I’m determined to give my future children just as great an experience as the one my parents gave me.

22. When you feel like life sucks, make a list of what you’re grateful for. It will instantly change your perspective.

if you want happiness find gratitude

23. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Have you noticed that some people wear the busy label like a badge of honour? Ask someone how they are, and it seems as though “busy” is almost as common as “good”. I love the busy, but know that too much of it too often makes for a very exhausted, unhappy Angela. Over the past year I’ve practiced saying no to a number of things that I couldn’t whole-heartedly commit to or just weren’t right for me at the time. Sure, there are often situations where we don’t get to decide (like work deadlines, family commitments, sitting in backed-up traffic), but aside from those, we have a choice as to how we spend our time. Being busy without being productive is like a bike with no chain – the wheel spins but you don’t go anywhere and just get tired trying.

24. Running and discipline it teaches spill into so many other parts of life. It’s not just a sport.

25. Don’t spend time worrying about things you can control, but always do your best at the things you can.

26. Your body will treat you well if you treat it well. You only get one, so move daily, eat well, laugh lots, get enough sleep and celebrate your achievements – even the smallest ones.

after my long run

At this time next week, I’ll be off to Vancouver, seeing friends and family, relaxing, and (hopefully) celebrating a new half marathon PR that I’ve been working hard towards this year. It’s kind of going to be like a 4-day birthday party, but I want you guys to have some fun too. So…

Eat Spin Run Repeat Vega Giveaway

…. let’s do a little birthday giveaway! My friends at Vega has graciously allowed me to send one lucky winner any 2 products of choice from the Vega line. I know I talk about my love them a lot, but among these reasons is that many of my 26 lessons (particularly those related to nutrition and being active) are in line with Vega’s philosophy. They’ve changed the way I think about nutrition and have been a big part of my life for the past couple of years, so I’m super excited to be able to share Vega’s products with you too.

Vega Sport Products

 

So here’s the deal: To enter…

  • Mandatory blog post comment: Tell me about one valuable life lesson you’ve learned related to your health, wellness, or lifestyle. Then check out Vega’s website and tell me which 2 products you would choose if you win.
  • Optional Twitter entry: Tweet about this giveaway, mentioning @eatspinrunrpt and @VegaTeam. Here’s a tweet I’ve written for you – feel free to change it if you like!
    Share one of your most valuable life lessons and win some @vegateam goodies from @eatspinrunrpt! http://wp.me/p1Y0xO-5M1
  • Optional Instagram entry: Follow me (@eatspinrunrpt) and Vega (@Vega_Team). Look for the image above in my Instagram stream and re-post it, tagging @eatspinrunrpt and @Vega_team. NOTE: I need you to tag me so that I can keep track of these entries.

This giveaway will be open to all Canadian and US residents until 10PM ET on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014. I’ll pick the winner and announce them in Wednesday morning’s post.

Good luck! 🙂