Year of Reflection: 2020

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As we come into the last few days of the downward spiral that is 2020, I wanted to reflect on this year.

Did I achieve my fitness goals? No

Did I maintain my previous fitness? No

Am I in a better place then December last year? Yes and no?

Fitness Reflection:

To put things in perspective when I say this year was a fitness fail, January 2019 I decided to track and log my workouts and ended the year out logging 128 days and this year I only logged 75 days of working out…. as my former midwestern roommate would say….. OOFTA.

Rewind back in 2019, I was working out 2-3x a week and was consistently walking a few miles a day due to work and general NYC living. As a fitness goal in 2020 I was hoping to bump this number up to 3-4x a week (or 156-208 workouts) with my end goal being working out 4-6x a week and averaging 10,000 steps/day (I had been just shy of 10k). I posted a visual representation of this on Instagram from my bullet journal and one thing I mentioned is that fitness to me has alway been more then just the physical benefits. I work best around structure and routine. I really struggle to concentrate and I have a good amount of energy which turns into unproductive energy and affects concentration more when I don’t waste it. Aside from this, I am a relatively anxious person so fitness and working out have great affects in my physical, mental and emotional health.

Am I in a better place then 2019?

To put it bluntly – 2019 sucked and December 2019 was a major low for me. My life was in shambles, I was struggling professionally and had just cut ties with my former boyfriend who though we had been separated for a little over a year we never fully stopped talking/hanging out. We started dating the fall/winter after I graduated college which was such a pivotal point in entering adulthood. We cared about each other deeply and even after breaking up we where very much support systems for one another however come December we decided it was going to be near impossible to keep talking and move on so we cut ties permanently. When I face problems, I make myself busy to avoid them. I was doing fitness classes, aimlessly walking around the city or grabbing dinner with friends/family during the week and any day that I had nothing to do and felt myself about to break down, I would grab my guitar, throw on my headphones and take a yousician class. This allowed me to get off my phone and focus my attention elsewhere. I wasn’t dealing with my problems, I was hiding them and this was slowly working for me.

Enter 2020 things where starting to turn around. I had gotten a solid job, was getting back into fitness which greatly improved my mental health and though I am not a casual person, I had started very casually seeing this guy who proved to be a good distraction. I was also planning a birthday cabin trip with my closest friends and was seeing my best friend to go skiing every few weekends. Things where on the up and up for Lissa. Part of my job was representing my company at College Career Fairs at our target schools which is a extroverts dream. I was traveling and being social, I enjoyed the people I was working with and was getting closer to my career goals. I was so busy in February that I wasn’t where I wanted to be fitness wise and noticed I was getting a little stressed so decided to join a swim team towards the end of the month. As I have previously mentioned, I am a water person through and through. Being by the water brings me a deep sense of peace and one of the things I have always loved about swimming is the sensory deprivation element to it. It’s repetitive strokes I have done millions of times, the black line and my thoughts. There is no outside noise to distract me or things happening around which allows me to work through my thoughts. Outside of that, it was a really great group of people and they seemed to get along well and go out to drinks together and stuff so I was very excited for the social element of it since making new friends in NY is hard! Come early March I had quit New York Sports Club and joined US Masters Swimming as my main form of fitness. I was ecstatic!

This brings us to March 13th 2020, aka the day sh*t hit the wall. After graduating college, my mom moved from the town I grew up in to about 2 hours west of the city in the middle of no where. She would spend the week w/ my grandma and go there for weekends so I would often go up with her for the weekend after work. This particular weekend was her birthday so I was planning on going over directly after work to celebrate with her. Since I was there fairly often I have some necessities to last me a two days or so and just brought up my iPad, thinking if anything we may go into shut down for a day or so since we where in the talks about Covid-19. As the day progressed, things kept getting worse. We where informed by early afternoon that we where moving remote and spent most of the day working with IT to ensure we where all ready to work in a remote capacity. Come 5 o’clock – I was packed and ready to go when I was called into our office manager’s (and my interim manager) office and he had mentioned my job was made redundant due to Covid. It had nothing to do with performance and if/when things got better if timing was right on both ends they would be happy to have me back. When I joined the company, I had been offered 2 positions – the first was with an established team identical to what I had been doing and the second was closer to my career goals and I was very qualified to do this however it was an area of growth within the business where I would be helping develop this program from the ground up. Since it was closer to my goals – I took the latter position which had effectively been cut with the pandemic. I was both devastated and very mad at myself for choosing this versus the first option (I will say I was honored by the amount of referrals I received from said office manager and co-workers that I had only known for such a short time).

On top of everything as I said previously I was planning on going upstate for the weekend which turned to be 3 months. To re-iterate – I had necessities for roughly 2 days and my iPad. I haven’t fully lived at home since I was 18 and moved away for college and have been in a constant state of distraction and go-go-go since I was 13. In high school I was an honor/AP student, competitive swimmer, in clubs and had a job. In college aside from club swimming, nannying, and clubs (I was board member of our Hispanic Society and International Business club), I was a D1 athlete and taking a full course load. Shortly after graduation, I was working at an agency with young professionals and we would often go out to drinks after work and I had entered this relationship with a guy who loved to explore the city as much as I did. We would often be at museums or sporting events or checking out free things to do in the city. After the breakup I would distract myself being out of my apartment any way I could and all of a sudden, I had no job and I was stuck in rural NY without a car. Things SUCKED. All of a sudden I had to deal with everything I had been patching up with a bandaid and I was not in a good head space. I was snippy, anxious and felt like a looser being at home. I wanted to be back in the city where I had the mobility to walk around and not rely on my mom. I wanted to be able to sleep in my own bed, not the noisy loft directly connected to our living room, I wanted to walk to the park and see other faces. At the end of the day I know I sound like a spoiled brat with this but this was my reality. I was constantly giving thanks for the health and wellbeing of my family and friends. I was also giving thanks for roof over my head and little things that I did appreciate where privileges I had but that didn’t mean things where easy – they where by far easier then millions of people and I acknowledge and accept that but it was still difficult.

May/June of 2020 brought a small glimmer of light. After my roommates where symptom free from Covid for 2 weeks and numbers where going down in the city I was able to head back to my apartment. I had mobility again and my covid circle of 2 expanded to 6 (3 roommates + distraction boy). I was able to find ways to safely try and be in the city again by taking the ferry, riding my bike and could walk/bike to Randalls/Roosevelt island and near by parks. I was able to do workouts at the park, I had started a new job and gotten a car. I even able to see two of my closest friends and head to the beach. I was also slowly let back into the office!! Once again – things where on the up and up for Lissa but once again I spoke too soon.

Come October we had round two (luckily much smaller round) of anxiety central. Work began getting unbearably stressful where I was working 12 hours a day sometimes and still not finishing everything and my former roommate had gotten an incredible deal on an apartment that she had to jump on immediately and gave us two months notice that she was leaving. She moved out immediately and couldn’t totally afford paying two rents (not my problem!) so was sending us the craziest possible roommates and putting an immense amount of pressure on us to find someone. New York real estate sucks at the moment, we where heading into the holidays and the room we where looking to fill was very small which cause alot of temporary tension in the apartment. I had also gotten word that we where back to fully remote (my extrovert self enjoys being in the office). I was back to being stuck in my room, was working an insane amount yet never caught up and playing real estate agent. I was back to being a tiptoe away from a breakdown.

Yes as this shows – 2020 sucked but it was also a year of growth. Right now the perfect day would be traveling to a major city with my closest girl friends, taking a morning workout class where I can get sweaty and active without a mask, going out for a brunch and hang out by the pool/beach all day before going out to a crowded bar/club where we can gut laugh and dance the night away. I would do anything to be ringing the year out as originally planned on the beach surrounded by my extended family and being able to hug my grandma in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately none of this is possible at the moment but some lessons where learned this year. I learned to take a step back and relax. I learned to appreciate the time I spend with friends and family. I learned how quickly life can change. I learned that I am stronger than I thought. I have learned my love language is quality time, I strive on structure/routine and am a complete extrovert who gets my energy from spending time with other people. With all of this – this year was a major challenge but in the face of difficulty and adversity have only grown stronger. I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice and in times like this it is something we need to make a conscientious effort to find it and choose it each and every day.

Upwards and onwards to this new year <3

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