Despite going to one of the most highly-ranked party schools on virtually every list online, I was never much of a party animal in college.
My ‘going out’ phase hit me later, after I spent a year with no friends, living with my family after I graduated. Since I moved to Guam, I’ve spent almost every weekend out with my childhood friends.
I’ve also been eating way more than I used to in California — I can’t help it if all the food here is delicious and everyone offers food all the time!
Nine months into my new life back on Guam, my age is finally starting to hit me.
I’ve gained at least 6 lbs (and 3 or more inches on my waist), I look tired most of the time, I haven’t blogged at all, I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should, and I eat terribly (and eat way more than my fill).
I’m realizing I’m not 18 (or 22) anymore. I can’t eat cake for breakfast, candy and Hot Cheetos for lunch, and ramen for dinner like I used to in college.
I need to put in a lot more work to take care of my body, my health, my teeth, my skin, and my mental health. This is even more difficult working a high-stress full-time job (usually with a lot of overtime).
After battling a cold, a bout of terrible indigestion, and an even worse fit of vomiting and a hangover on my trip to Thailand this month, I’ve decided now is the time to finally get my life on track.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a vegetarian, cook my own meals, do yoga or another form of exercise regularly, and write for myself — I just kept thinking Future Chloe would figure this all out (when she’s in her mid-20s and has her life put together).
So here I am at 24, finally ready to embrace the transition from reckless invincible youth to Responsible Adult™. And it feels really good.
These are a few changes I’ve made over past weeks. I’m trying to stick with them while staying flexible and treating myself with compassion when I mess up:
I was notorious for canceling plans and staying home in college. I’d pick a night alone with Netflix over any party.
But when I got to Guam I wanted to take full advantage of my time here, so I made a point of pushing myself to go to everything anyone invited me to (also so as not to be rude to people who were nice enough to ask me to hang out) and I got used to it.
I still have a difficult time saying no now (which is largely driven by my overwhelming FOMO) but after a few times of turning down plans, I got more used to it.
Letting people down sucks, but most of the time they probably don’t care enough about whether you’re actually there or not.
Taking some time for rest and mental health is so important — even if it doesn’t make for a fun Snapchat story.
Although the Myers-Briggs test says I’m an extrovert, I still have introverted tendencies and need time to recharge alone in my room. Also I hate people when I’m around them too much, so spending a few nights in solitude is best for me and everyone around me.
Making time for my passion
As you can see on my blog, I haven’t posted anything since before I moved to Guam last year. I definitely have a lot of personal issues I could have posted about, but I find myself wanting to keep them private now that I’m older. I tried working through them by writing, but never felt like they were good enough to post.
I’ve decided I don’t care if it’s not good enough anymore.
My love for personal writing is too important to leave dormant.
If it means missing out on parties or hanging out with friends, this is the price I’ll have to pay for reviving a skill and a huge source of joy and satisfaction.
I’m usually too exhausted to write for myself because I write every day for work, but I’m determined not to let that stop me from keeping my own voice alive. I rarely get to write in the first person perspective as a reporter, which is my natural writing voice, so it’s difficult to maintain.
My writing voice isn’t the same now as it was in college when I first started Lovescrewed.
Maybe I’m a different person. Maybe I’m out of practice.
But I’m going to push through writer’s block and my uncertainties and create my new voice — even if I suck at first or it sounds unnatural. I’ll find her again eventually.
Not responding to everyone all the time
Every time someone messages me and I don’t respond, I feel terrible. Every single time. I carry that with me for days, but I just don’t have the time or energy to reconnect with every old college friend, family member, or acquaintance who reaches out to me through social media or texts (not to make myself sound like I’m oh so popular and turning away hundreds of messages).
I care about all of them, but I need to sacrifice some of these interactions and connections for my own mental health. I feel bad about it, but I hope they understand and I still wish them the best.
This life change is twofold:
1. Actually going grocery shopping – Instead of eating out every meal, I started buying frozen vegetarian/organic dinners at the grocery store for every day of the week.
It’s this lazy girl’s way of avoiding cooking but still eating healthier than fast food or eating out at restaurants. I know eventually I’ll transition into cooking healthy food for myself when I’m ready, but das not today.
2. Not buying shitty food – This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s actually hard not to do this! Ever since I started buying food for myself in college, I filled up my cart with chips, candy, and those Totino pizzas that cost $1 each.
Now when I go to the grocery store, I buy more fruits and veggies, healthy juice and kombucha (which I still think tastes like carbonated ass), and real cheese. This way when I inevitably get the munchies, I have nothing but healthy food available.
I still need to work on this. I’ve been swamped with work over the past few weeks and haven’t made time for exercise since I work early and come home late and exhausted. But my grandparents bought an exercise bike so I try to do a quick 5 miles, 10 if I have more time (and 12 for the first time today!).
Now that my work schedule has freed up a bit, I’m going to try to make time to go to the gym once or twice a week after work for cardio and light weights. I was dedicated to taking yoga classes every Friday from January to April this year, and I want to get back to it.
Drinking more water
This may be TMI, but when I came back from Thailand my pee was radioactive yellow for like two weeks. I think I drank too much juice and too little water (I hate paying for water and all they have available is bottled water there). It was pretty scary.
I try to drink two fills of my 32 oz Hydro Flask (I looked up how much water I need to drink every day to stay healthy). This isn’t always doable, mostly because I’m too lazy to get up and refill my bottle at the water cooler across the office space (hey, are most of my problems rooted in laziness?!), but I try to do it for the sake of clear skin and non-radioactive pee.
I’m #blessed not to have too many blemishes, but living on a humid tropical island leaves me naturally much oilier than I was living in California so I have to try harder to get a glowing complexion.
Drinking more water definitely helps. I also find my skin is better when I eat less sugary or fatty foods (what a revelation!), but those are the best!
When I have time, I drink a mix of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, sprinkled cayenne powder, a squirt of calamansi (lemon/lime), a little less than a tablespoon of honey (I’m trying to cut this down, but ACV tastes like ass, much like kombucha) and water.
This is supposed to help improve skin, along with a bunch of other health benefits, and I *think* it works for me. Or it’s the placebo effect, in which case I’m still happy.
Facial skincare routine
I’ve been sticking to a routine of washing my face with a mild Dove face wash in the morning before work, then applying combination skin formula Neutrogena moisturizer. Then at night, I use an exfoliating St. Ives natural scrub, put on the moisturizer, and apply tea tree oil to acne spots with a q-tip. I’m still experimenting with tea tree oil, but so far it’s been useful with minimizing tiny pimples.
I have a Nordstrom gift card so I’m looking forward to treating myself to some Fresh face masks. I got the rose petal mask sample a couple years ago and absolutely loved the smell and effects on my skin.
I also started using natural deodorant, so I wouldn’t have to use one with aluminum or chemical ingredients anymore and clog up my pores. I bought Schmidt’s rose vanilla deodorant at Simply Food on Guam for about $10 (which isn’t much more than they sell for on Amazon) and it smells heavenly! It smells like some kind of pretty rose oil and stays on all day, even when I sweat and work out.