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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

Allow me to take a moment to update you, and mostly me, about my life.
I’ve made it a habit to write in a journal over the past 3 years despite my slight and lingering distaste for them and people who write in them. Call me a hypocrite, because I guess I am. But as of late, I’ve been really terrible about keeping up with it. I tell myself, and sometimes others when they’re interested, that I try to keep a log of my life so that I can always keep things in perspective.

I’ve found that the biggest epiphany I’ve had over my years of growing and changing as a person has been the drastic change in perspective I’ve undergone. I know that may seem sort of obvious to most, but to me it’s been a slow realization. I think as a kid I always thought the adult world was so static. I knew I was changing, but I assumed that once I reached a certain age—15, 18, 21—that I would suddenly realize who I was and my life would fall into place. I thought that my parents were a static entity and that they had developed as much as they were going to. CLEARLY I was a dumb kid because that is all far from the truth. Thus, when I hit ages 15, and then 18, and now 21, without reaching what I thought was going to be an inevitable feeling of “doneness”, I started logging a journal to keep my head straight.

I feel strongly about a lot of things and though I’m open to change, it takes a lot to really pull me to the other side of an argument. And whatever anyone thinks or says about that quality in me (some call it stubbornness…), I like it. I like it a lot. And I think it’s respectable to stick to your guns. Like I said, I don’t mind hearing a good argument for the opposition, but unless you really, TRULY believe in something wholeheartedly, I think it shows a lack of integrity to yourself and others if you change your mind all willy nilly. So I want to remember why I like and dislike things and how these likes and dislikes make me feel.

Sometimes when I read back over old journal entries I do, in fact, change my mind. I think “wow, you sound like a crazy bitch” and I reevaluate my feelings and assertions. Sometimes, it just reaffirms what I already believe in and I feel stronger and more confident in my opinions. I realize that I was, in fact, the one who was right (or sometimes wrong) and though I don’t advocate dwelling in the past, it lends a certain sense of comfort.

But wow I did not mean to go into my life’s philosophy in this post. I simply wanted to do a makeshift journal entry because I’ve been lacking for the past few months (both in my physical journal and here too, as you can see).

My life’s kept on the track it was on when I last blogged. It’s pretty awesome. I started classes, which all seem at least somewhat interesting and I’m excited that three of them are lab-based. No, I’m not looking forward to the insane stress that will come with writing 3 lab reports/week, but I haven’t done much hands-on work in the past 3 years and it’s a whole different kind of satisfaction you get when you can really put what you’ve been learning into a physical embodiment and say “AH-HAH! This is my creation!”

Speaking of creations, I’m probably most excited for my 102b Mechatronics project. The class is supposed to serve as a sort of “final project” class for fourth year mechanical engineers, but since me and my pal Neil are special materials science & engineering mechanical engineers (no that’s not a typo, just lots of words in my major’s title), we can do whatever we want and we chose to take this class now. My group is working on the prototype for a “Polaroid Toaster”. Basically, when it’s done you’ll hopefully be able to take a picture with a digital camera and have it toasted onto your breakfast slice of whole wheat! MMmm. Check out the little progress we’ve made thus far:

This is all a bit ironic because I’ve pretty much stamped bread out of my diet. Well, relative to how much I used to eat I guess. I’ve jumped on the wrap-bandwagon and started eating whole wheat, high fiber, low cal tortillas in place of their high-carb, high volume, low nutrition cousins. And you know what? Even as a former avid bread lover (and someone who still appreciates a good baguette from time to time), it’s really not that bad. I’ve also pretty much cut meat and dairy from my cooking. The meat was sort of intentional (why dabble with all the saturated fats, high calorie content, and high prices?), the dairy not so much. I’ve taken to eating lots of extra firm tofu, baked/smoked tofu, and …. DRUM ROLL PLEASE, seitan. Yep. I’ve done it. I’ve started eating “meat substitute”. SO SUE ME. Ya ya ya I know I’ve talked down on vegans for pretty much my whole life, but I guess the way I can justify it is that I don’t count it as meat. I eat it as its own entity, right alongside my weekly (or so) serving of actual meat (pretty much only chicken or beef these days, no pork). I start my day off with a hearty kale shake, eat a second breakfast of the most protein-rich granola at Berkeley Bowl, have a wrap for lunch with tuna and spinach, eat and apple or some other fruit for snack, and make an eggplant/tofu stirfry with brown rice or something of the likes (Indian spiced tofu, anyone?).

Ya it sounds pretty hippie ish, I won’t deny it, but the thing that keeps me on it is keeping on it. Really. With swimming and everything, I’ve gotten into a mindset of seeing how truly efficient my body can be. I don’t get stomachaches very often (I used to a lot), I haven’t been sick in recent memory, I feel better/more powerful in the pool, and I all-around feel good.

That’s more than I can say when I occasionally eat out or eat a processed snack. Really, I’m not about to become vegan or even vegetarian for that matter—I still love eating out at new restaurants and exploring other cultures through food too much to block out entire food groups. That just wouldn’t be fair to the food or to my stomach and tastebuds. I’m simply realizing that there are other ways of eating and living, and there are ways to mix different philosophies without compromising yours.

I guess the only other real development was my turning the big 2-1 exactly a week ago today.  I had an amazing party (minus the barf that was discovered on/in 3 pairs of my boots the next morning) with all the people I wanted there.  I had a couple really solid friends escort me to Kips at midnight on Monday night (troopers!) to do the obligatory midnight boozing. And, on Tuesday, Gina and Vicki surprised me at dinner with a cake from La Farine–my second La Farine birthday cake in a row! And for those of you who don’t know, La Farine cakes are just basically the best cakes in the world.  My friends know me too well (and I’m quite grateful for that!).

So there you have it. That’s my life’s update. Being 21 is whatever (I’ve only gotten carded like once out of 10 times…). And I haven’t even mentioned that I’m taking the LSAT this saturday because it’s become so constantly frightening I’ve kind of figured out how to drown out the nerves with other nervous thoughts about my schoolwork. And I’ve been eating really well, whether you want to agree with me or not.

MMMMmmMMMm life is so tasty. And so is kale.


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