Love in the Time of Quarantine

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A few years ago my family lost someone very important to them unexpectantly. The loss came out of nowhere and we carried our grief for a long time. I had so many regrets swirling around inside of me about what I wish I would have said to this person. How I wished that they knew that I cared about them and believed in them. But it was too late and I couldn’t say any of those things.

From this loss I learned a really important lesson. Always say how you feel and always say “I love you”.

Brett and I have been together for almost nine years, married for almost three. He’s my person but sometimes he’s also the person who annoys me most in the world. Our marriage isn’t perfect but I learned the hard way to always, always say “I love you.”

Every morning when I leave for work I make sure it’s the last thing I say to him. That’s how we end every single phone call. He texts me that he’s leaving work and I text right back “Drive safe. I love you!” Those are the last words I hear before falling asleep every night. Even if we are mad at each other we always make sure to say “I love you” and mean it.

My family has always been very loving. Every phone call with my mom or my sister ends with “I luhhhh you, boo boo”. There will never be a question on if we loved each other or not.

In these scary times I think it is especially important to let people know how you feel about them. I am very aware of this and try not to take any day together or conversation for granted. We might not be able to leave our homes right now but we can still call, text, or facetime our loved ones and check in on them.

Have you told someone that you loved them today?

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

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Book reviews are some of my favorite posts to read and write. I love finding new books to add to my reading list based on the suggestions of other people. This is actually my first book review of 2020 even though I have read a few other books. The whole time I was reading How to Stop Time by Matt Haig I was thinking that I would without a doubt give this book 5 stars if I did a review.

Summary:

Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

Unfortunately for Tom, the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages—and for the ages—about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Review:

I originally bought the Kindle version of How to Stop Time in December but didn’t start reading it until March. I bought it during a Kindle sale and then forgot about it and I’m sad it took me this long to read it! Once I started I could not put it down. I needed to figure out how it was going to end.

I loved the different periods of time that were featured in this book. I feel like the author did a lot of research but I’m not an expert so some things may have been historically inaccurate. However, Tom meets so many figures from history that we all know about and it’s really interesting to see how his character develops over the centuries with the different roles he has to play in order to fit in.

One moment in this book really stood out to me though. In Tom’s first life he falls in love with a woman named Rose. I don’t want to spoil it but this is the time of the plague in Europe. This setting feels very similar to what we are currently going through with this pandemic. The thought of these similar situations has weighed heavily on my heart and my mind.

Favorite Quotes:

“Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.”

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don’t die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.”

“This is so often the way with life. You spend so much time waiting for something – a person, a feeling, a piece of information – that you can’t quite absorb it when it is in front of you. The hole is so used to being a hole it doesn’t know how to close itself.”

“And yet we had done what so often happened in the proud history of geographic discovery. We had found paradise. And then we had set it on fire.”

“Everything in life is uncertain. That is how you know you are existing in the world, the uncertainty. Of course, this is why we sometimes want to return to the past, because we know it, or think we do. It’s a song we’ve heard.”

My Rating: 5 Stars

I loved this book! Every page, every life, every story had so much meaning. I feel like I learned a lot about life and how to make the most out of bad situations which is incredibly important right now. How to Stop Time has been added to my top 10 books of all time that I’ve read. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to re-reading it again this week.

Have you read any good books lately? I think I’ll be reading a lot more now that I can’t leave my house.

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Five on Friday #17

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It’s finally Friday!

It has been such a long time since my last blog post and I have a million reasons why I haven’t been on here since. Today is my first day working 80% from home due to the Corona virus. I’ve mentioned before that I work in finance so you can imagine how scary and challenging the past couple of weeks have been as we have all watched the stock market tank.

I will still be going into work every day for about an hour and a half. Only a few other people will be there including security and our executive leaders. I am considered an essential role and there are a few responsibilities that I’m unable to do at home. I will complete those responsibilities in the office and work from home the rest of the day.

I’m sure we all have a lot on our minds so here’s five random things to lighten your Friday.

  1. My sister got married on March 7th in Maine! My family was able to fly out and be with her for 6 days to celebrate her wedding. It was a small gathering on the Naval base and I was honored to stand next to her as her Matron of Honor. I’ll share pictures soon!
  2. I got my Spring 2020 FabFitFun box and it was full of some really great products. I am became a FFF member as a birthday gift to myself and I have loved all of the boxes so far! My favorite product in this box was the packing cubes! I already used them for my trip to Maine.
  3. I fell off of the Keto wagon a bit during our trip for the wedding. I did really good up until the last day when I really just wanted some fish and chips and ice cream. I’m trying to get back on track but I’m still having lingering sugar cravings and headaches.
  4. Is anyone else looking forward to a chill weekend at home? We are always busy so it will be nice to just spend some time with Brett.
  5. I read an amazing book this week called How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I haven’t been super into reading lately but this book was addicting. It’s about a man who has a condition were he ages very slowly. The concept isn’t new but this book takes your through what was going on in history during his life. It was very interesting!

How are you feeling with this pandemic? Do you have any plans this weekend while you are social distancing?

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Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

The Body Image Struggle

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When I was in high school I dated this guy who was really tall and skinny. One day someone asked me “does it bother you that you weigh more than your boyfriend?”. The thought had never even crossed my mind before that moment and looking back there’s no way that I weighed more than him. However, that one question haunted me and I made it my mission to be smaller than this boyfriend.

I don’t want to get into all of the details about this point in my life but it’s been 11 years and I still think about this question all the time. The question sent me into a spiral of body image issues that I still haven’t been able to fully recover from. 11 years ago I lost 20 pounds very quickly and still hated the way I looked. I basically starved myself and still couldn’t look in the mirror.

I think that body image is an issue that most people struggle with. I gained a lot of weight a couple of years ago but have worked really hard to remind myself that my weight is not a measure of my worth. Most days I do pretty good but some days I’m taken back to when I was 15 and someone compared me to my boyfriend.

On Saturday I went shopping for my Matron of Honor dress for my sister’s wedding. I’ve lost about 12 pounds in the past 6 weeks by eating healthy and moving my body. I’ve tried to keep this health journey really positive but the sight of me in a bridesmaid dress sent me back to a really dark place and I’ve had a hard time pulling myself out of it.

I’ve made so much progress in my body image journey but this proves that I still have work to do. I need to make decisions based on what’s best for my body and not the number on the scale or the image that I see in the mirror.

11 years ago I was asked a question that dramatically changed my outlook on life. Let this be a reminder that the words you say matter.

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Six Years of Blogging!

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November 21st, 2019 marked six years since I began writing Life of Hayley! I can’t believe that this incredible journey began with one badly written post that I typed up in my sophomore dorm room.

I had just turned 20 when I decided that I wanted to blog “for real”. I had a blog the year before for my freshman English class and I loved it! I’ve always been a writer and had given some serious thought to being a journalism major in college but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. Having a blog has fulfilled my love of writing and has given me something to be truly passionate about.

I’ve come a long way in six years. I’ve learned to embrace being an introvert and all of the awkward things that come along with it. I’ve made some great internet friends and have enjoyed following along with their journeys. I’ve graduated from college, found a job, and have gotten married! I’ve lived in London and traveled all over.

The one constant thing in my life over these six years has been this. Sitting down and typing out my thoughts and feelings for anyone to read. Writing has been my therapy and you have been my friends.

Thank you all for an amazing six years! I’m looking forward to many more to come.

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Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

Living Life Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

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Last week was really hard. I went into 2020 feeling really confident and ready to take on the world. I was comfortable. But maybe I was too comfortable?

When I graduated from college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I felt pressure to find the perfect job and be the girl boss that I had always dreamed of being. I applied for at least 20 jobs in under a month but it took me almost six months and countless interviews before I landed my current job.

The first year was hard and I wanted to quit so badly. I told myself to give it a year and spent my free time looking at job postings. I was miserable in my role and my boss knew it. I made a change and started a new role that I loved right away. I joined this badass team of women who worked hard and really cared about each other. I felt empowered and impactful in my role. I was comfortable.

Sometimes the best opportunities are outside of our comfort zones but we are afraid to make the leap. Last week I didn’t make a leap of faith. Instead I was pushed outside of my comfort zone in the worst way. I was asked to move back into my old role temporarily while our team adjusted to some other transitions.

I cried more tears than I’m willing to admit because I love my team and was so comfortable in my role that I didn’t want to leave. I had finally established myself as a leader and was prepared to have the best year. I saw all of my dreams and career goals crashing all around me and I panicked.

We aren’t meant to live safely inside of our comfort zones. There is so much life to live but we are too scared to see it. I had so many negative feelings about the job that I couldn’t cope with the thought of going back to it. I needed to leave my negative feelings behind me and move on in order to fully become the girl boss that I want to be.

It’s okay to be scared of the unknown and to feel trapped or anxious. It’s okay to want to stay where you feel comfortable. But it’s also good to do things that scare you. This job scares me but I’m going to put in the work and become an expert. I’m going to prove to myself that I can do hard things and make the best of bad circumstances.

My life isn’t over because my plan didn’t work out exactly the way I thought it would. I’m learning to live my life outside of my comfort zone. I’m taking it day by day and learning to trust myself and feel confident in my abilities.

You can tackle any challenges that you are facing. I believe in you.

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Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

Keto for Migraine: 1 Month Update

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I have heard SO many negative comments about the Ketogenic diet and I completely understand. For your normal everyday person a low-carb lifestyle might not doctor recommended. The Keto diet was created for people with Epilepsy and works well for other Neurological conditions. I have chronic migraines and there is no “cure”. I was told that Keto may lessen my symptoms and it sounded better than trying another medication.

One month ago I started following the Ketogenic diet. This is my third attempt and I was really successful on my first two so I went in very hopeful. My other two attempts were more for weight loss so I didn’t track my migraines as much as I should have. This time I’m trying to only focus on my headaches and migraines.

How were my migraines this past month?

I actually had a really great month overall! I caught a nasty cold but I didn’t let that stop me from following the meal plan that I had created. There was no guarantee that Keto would help me but I’m happy to report that I am feeling better! I’ve known for the past couple of years that sugar is a trigger for me so it makes sense that not eating sugar would have a big impact on my overall health. I basically cut my migraine days in half so far!

One of the hardest parts of chronic migraine for me is rebound headaches which are also called medication overuse headaches. I couldn’t beat my headache cycle so I started taking ibuprofen or another type of over the counter pain medication every day to get me through. This constant use of medicine started causing rebound headaches and I ended up in a never-ending headache. By eliminating my triggers I am hoping to be able to end this vicious headache cycle.

Have I lost any weight?

Yes, I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds in a month. In reality I’d like to lose 30 more to be at my “normal” healthy weight. I wrote my weight gain story here if you’d like to understand more about why I say my “normal” weight. Most of the weight loss at the beginning of Keto is just water weight and I’m really not concerned about losing weight at this point. I am tracking it in my migraine journal but it’s not my main goal right now.

Has Keto been hard? 

Not really! I have found myself reading my cookbooks and looking forward to grocery shopping and meal prep. I’m learning new recipes and I feel more confident than ever in the kitchen. My overall mood has improved so much and I think a lot of it has to do with Keto.

My sugar cravings went away after about two weeks. I don’t feel deprived of anything though! I eat a square of my favorite dark chocolate after dinner and that keeps the sugar cravings away. I’ve also found substitutes for my favorite snacks like salt and vinegar almonds instead of chips.

Let me know if you have any questions about Keto! I am not a doctor so please ask yours before you start any new “diet” program. I hate calling this a diet and I only feel the need to share how I am doing for others with migraines who may find this helpful.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash