Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014: Plans & Passes

Lately, I have been constantly thinking about my plans for the remaining months of 2014. Probably because, having competed twice last year, I am torn between competing again in 2014. On the one hand, if I decided to, my potential prep start date would be August 30, the Saturday following my birthday. That would be with the intention of competing in late-October/November so as not to interfere with the holidays. Sorry, but I'm not one to let competition prep interfere with family holidays-- I cannot be that selfish. I have kept in decent shape, and well within a nice range from stage weight (probably indicative of some muscle loss-- tear, tear), so it would be doable. But do I want to?

Having fallen into the world of competing a few years ago (although I did not actually decide to compete until last year), I have become a frequenter of a multitude of different fitness blogs, including several fellow competitors. I have noticed two common trends: there are those that live to compete and those that figure out that competing does not let them live. I do not quite know where I fall-- somewhere between those two categories. I cannot say that I will never compete again, but I cannot say that I will compete this year either.

If you had asked me earlier in the year, I would have told you I planned on competing at the end of June. However, I started a new job, my dog was having separation anxiety leaving me feeling obligated to trade gym time for puppy playtime, and the icing on the cake: I parted ways with my trainer when it became evident that that particular association would do me much disservice. Needless to say, any competition plans by then were in shambles, so I scrambled for a tentative Plan B, which kept taking the back-burner to enjoying summer activities. And while I can tell you that I've enjoyed a normal summer (which I didn't have last year), I still cannot tell you that I've forever given up competing. So what's it going to be?

After much deliberation-- and now the reputation of being a bikini competitor (i.e., all the comments and questions coming from friends and acquaintances that come with it... unfortunately leading to feel like I'm letting down those around me)-- I am saying PASS to any plans of competing in 2014.

There are several reasons behind my decision, and I still have a lot to figure out. Truth be told, I am in a much different place in life this year than I was last year. I am a lot happier but with more commitments. And with more commitments comes less free time, which is not a bad thing. I've experienced a lot of change over the past few months, and I still need to settle into my new life. With that being said, I have a tentative plan to compete in early March 2014, assuming there are NPC/OCB shows around me at that time.

So since I'm not competing, I've decided to focus on other plans for the remainder of the year. What do I want to accomplish? What matters most to me in the 4-1/2 months left of 2014? I took this opportunity to reflect on my 2014 goals, which I created in place of resolutions. While some have fallen by the wayside, I'm doing phenomenally with others. Let's assess.

  1. I set a goal to read one book each month during the year. Over time, I have tweaked this to mean: at least 12 books during 2014. So far, I have read 10 or books (I lost count, but woohoo, ahead of schedule!), and I PLAN on hitting at least 20-- maybe 24 (an even 2 per month). That doesn't count the stacks of magazines that I've been catching up on dating back to early-2013...
  2. I set a goal to, in so many words, generally be more pleasant/patient. My mom was a huge fan of this one. To date, I like to think that I have stuck to this. I try to ask her opinion on this every so often to make sure I am in check. I PLAN on not only keeping this up, but trying to keep judgement of others down... because those are not attractive qualities.
  3. I told myself 2014 was the year I was finally going to apply for the Junior League of Charlottesville (JLC), so I wrote it down on my goal sheet. The application process opened in the beginning of June (or something like that), and I put mine in that first week. As I was flying out to Las Vegas two Saturdays ago, I received a "status update" email from the girl in charge of the new Provisional Class-- I got into the JLC! I PLAN on making the most of this opportunity by going to all the volunteer and social functions that I can and bonding with the numerous other girls that share in my interests. It definitely helps that my friend (and neighbor) Emily applied and got accepted as well-- we were laughing and stressing over the application process for several weeks!
  4. I had every intention of building during my off season, especially my lower body. While this off-season has turned into an off-year with me saying PASS to competing in 2014, I do PLAN  on still building a lower body that will keep me competitive. This should hopefully be much easier now that I have a workout partner.
  5. I PLAN on taking advantage of the weather every opportunity I get by spending more time outdoors. This summer, thanks to the boyfriend, I have been able to take up several new interests, including wakeboarding, cycling, and stand-up paddleboarding (although I am nowhere near great at the former two; I can definitely hold my own on the SUP though). I know once the weather turns cold, my time outside will be limited, so I must make the most of the sun and warmer temps now.
  6. Looking back at my 2014 goals, many revolve around personal development. This was a crucial, because I foresaw some of the changes that were coming my way in the first few months of the year. I am taking this one step further and really making sure I am maintaining my health. With that, I PLAN on really making my health a priority and making a conscious effort to take control. I've already taken several steps, making the most of my excellent health insurance by participating in biometric and skin cancer screenings in the past couple months. More on this later.
  7. Unlike last year, where I practically revamped my workout attire collection, I am putting a PASS on the frivolous spending. Having been laid off from the pharma industry, there was a lot of uncertainty, especially financial. While I was never in dire monetary straits, it was still unnerving knowing that at the end of my "administrative leave" (during which they left us on payroll without any work requirements), I would get X amount of dollars then be left to fend for myself. I was lucky in that I received a generous severance package-- as did all 400 or so employees that were let go from my business unit alone-- and I have since set this aside as my emergency-and-then-some fund. I come from a family that does not fully know the meaning of financial responsibility, so it is very important to me that I start off financially secure early on in life/my career. Now if only I could alleviate those student loans sooner rather than later...
While this is by no means the be-all, end-all of my plans and passes for the remainder of 2014, it's a start. I have more written down in the confines of my desk drawer, but I'm hoping that by sharing them, this will help hold me accountable. So maybe I should add that I PLAN on making more of an effort with the blog...

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