39 Days In:
Today is officially my 39th day out here in Utah. It feels like a really long time in one sense, but also a really short time to have experienced so much. I’ve learned a lot since coming out here, so I just wanted to write some stuff down to remind myself of how much I’ve learned and done.
- Being alone. This is a huge thing, especially when you move to a new place, but especially when you’re only there for half a year. I mean, do you make friends or just avoid it so it’s easier to leave? I decided not to force OR avoid anything. My roommate is great and has introduced me to her friends, so that’s really nice, and I would consider the people I work with to be friends, but we see each other so much we’re not necessarily going to hangout outside of work.
So far I’ve attended an Asian festival, gone to a few soccer games, studied at coffee shops, and gone to the gym and hiked all by myself. It’s been sad at times, but also nice when random people come up to me and talk to me. It’s also been nice to be alone in general, so I can reflect more. Sometimes it’s lonely, sometimes it’s just being by myself. I’ll probably attend some Triple A baseball games, AHL hockey matches, and some concerts by myself, but that’s okay. Learning how to be alone is really important.
- Reading. My parents always stressed that I should read a lot of self-help books and stuff, but I ignored it because I was lazy and didn’t want to ask for help in the library. Even reading fun fiction books that are absolutely insane is good for you, I think. Imagination is good. I finally got a library card out here, and I’ve been reading pretty often. Mystery books, a bunch of dystopian books, fantasy, soccer books, and I HAVE gotten a few self-help books! I’m really excited to have re-discovered my love for reading again. I think it’ll make me understand other points of view more and just understand the world more which is so important.
- Budgeting. Okay, so I’m very low on funds. Essentially living paycheck to paycheck. It’s not something I want to do for the rest of my life, but it’s the intern life (I’m just lucky I’m getting paid at all!!). Luckily I’m setting up a second job and picking up odd jobs as an AT, so I’ll be okay. I’m basically only spending money on gas (UGH the mileage up here is awful), groceries, gym membership, and very occasionally treating myself. It’s actually been good, I feel good about myself when I do this.
It’s really good training for my future, and I 100% believe I needed this in order to grow up (financially, at least). I don’t want to need to rely on anyone when I get older. There are some things I’m getting help for though — I’m not paying for my own health insurance, my CSCS exam I’m taking soon, etc. My parents understand my money is tight, so they’re willing to help as long as I’m not wasting it. It sounds weird, but whenever I have to ask my dad for money I feel okay, because I know I’m not asking for way more than I need, and I’m not wasting it. Budgeting has also led me to eat better (check it out below), which is awesome.
- Free entertainment. Okay, this is kinda random but a library card is free, I get to attend USL matches for free with my media pass, most hikes are free (I have to pay for one canyon but it’s okay), I can sit in a coffee shop for free and study, but basically there’s a lot of ways to entertain yourself that don’t involve spending tons of money (besides Netflix).
- Health. This has been huge. I have a gym membership and I’m on a planned workout schedule. I also have been on a few hikes (okay, 2. I’m struggling a little), and I’m generally being very healthy mentally (giving time to myself), physically (food and working out), emotionally (talking to friends about my new life), etc. I’ve always been pretty self-motivated in terms of the gym, but this has been pretty good. I just want to make some gym friends, haha.
- Food/Cooking. Like I said, I’m budgeting, so I’m only grocery shopping and eating out maybe once every 2 weeks (crazy, I used to do it like 5–8 times a week). This means I’m cooking myself — I’m eating a lot of veggies, trying a new recipe each week, and it’s been pretty healthy. I learned very quickly to avoid Whole Foods on my low budget, and the best way to shop for me is to shop for every 4–5 days. I’m learning how to not over-buy and avoid spoilage, and what foods agree/do not agree with me. It’s been a great learning experience so far, and I hope to continue. When I get home next spring I’m going to learn tons of Chinese cooking/baking from Mom, and I’m going to keep those with me forever :)
- Cleaning. I’m either a complete neat freak or a slob, there is no in between. When I hit a certain amount of messiness, I just give up, and then I freak out one day and clean it until it’s spotless (aka my room). Out here, we wash our own dishes (and my roommate actually does hers so I’m motivated to as well!), wipe down counters, take turns washing the bathroom/taking out the trash/recycling. It feels good when everyone contributes, so I definitely know what kind of people I want to live with in the future.
- Listening. I’m the kind of person who thinks of questions to ask as my previous question is being answered, and I feel bad because I know it’s horribly annoying, looks unprofessional, and is just downright rude. I’m working on that, and I try really hard during work to slow down, listen, and really understand what they’re saying. I have to be more alert since I’m working with pros, and you have to be aware of everything at practice and games. So I guess awareness is a thing to learn too!
- Speaking/acting slowly. So I do the rude thing I said above, but I also speak really quickly, and I move too quickly sometimes — which causes spilling and stupid mistakes. Sometimes I feel like I need to hurry and I freak out, but I have to steady myself and remind myself that I just need to be brisk, but not frantic. I take deep breaths and physically slow myself down, no matter how hard my heart is beating or how quickly I want to move. It’s been a lot better, and I’m speaking a lot more clearly to my coworkers/athletes (but I do find myself mumbling sometimes, it’s just a habit I need to kick).
- Friendship. This relates a bit to being alone, but I’ve learned what friendship is. There are a lot of different kinds. Some people try to attach themselves completely all the time (sometimes me), while some people can seem distant but they’re there the whole time, they’re just the kind of person who doesn’t need to be talking to you 24/7 (also sometimes me). I’ve realized the best thing is to have a balance between the 2. You don’t want to be overly clingy, but also being really closed-off/unattached isn’t fun for your friends. Each to their own, but I’ve realized that’s what I want to be and those are the friends I want to have. I mean, I do have friends who I don’t talk to for weeks, but we can pick back up right from the last time. I don’t usually put up with that, but if they’re worth it, then it’s fine haha.
Something difficult is when you’re in different places in life. I have some friends still in Pittsburgh, still in college, in graduate school in Pittsburgh, going to graduate school in their home cities, and a few friends moving to completely new cities. There are very few people I keep in contact with from Pittsburgh, I’ll be honest, but I’m thankful for everyone that I still talk to. It’s definitely hard to connect still with my friends in different places, but this period of adjustment has been good for me.
- Self-encouragement: I don’t think this is the right term, but anyway. I’m on Chapter 17 right now of my strength/conditioning book, and it is THE hardest chapter ever. I’ve been going through every chapter of the textbook and teaching myself, which I guess takes quite a bit of dedication, so I’m proud of myself for sticking with it so far. I know I write about this a lot, but I’m really enjoying studying/learning right now and I LOVE it. I’m hoping to take the exam in 4–5 weeks, as there’s 22 chapters in this book, and some of the remaining are pretty simple. There’s a matter of re-reviewing (it’s a LOT of information!!), taking practice exams, and gaining confidence in myself about the topic.
Well, that’s been it so far. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t really think of stuff right now, I’m fried from studying and I also need to go back to it, but I have work tomorrow…I love not being in school, but the early hours can be rough sometimes!