Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Art of Giving Back

I will be the first to admit.  I do NOT enjoy the CrossFit open. 

Five weeks of brutal workouts, that make your body more sore than you even knew possible,  and push you to a point of absolute complete exhaustion both mentally and physically no matter what level you're at… sounds like fun, right? 

It’s five weeks that, going to bed Friday, I know my body won’t feel good again until maybe… Monday night(?!) It eats me upside, rattles my brain, and shakes my nerves. 

I also am well aware that at this point in CrossFit, I am in no shape to even come close to competing at Regionals. 

So, after people hear me say this I often get asked… “Then why are you doing it?”

Good question - it’s because of the art of giving back. 

Over the past 4 and a half years CrossFit has truly changed my life.  It has introduced me to new people, challenged me in ways I didn’t know possible, given me the skills to help others achieve goals, provided me a mental outlet, created an aspect of my life that constantly holds me accountable, and provided me a summer I thought I could only dream of, learning from some of the best people I have ever met.  If you really think about it, that’s a tremendous amount…

Take. Take. Take. 

The CrossFit open is the one time in the year that CrossFit HQ truly asks something of you.  Each day, I walk into the box because I WANT to.  Because I know the benefits and rewards that come with it.  Because I am TAKING the opportunities that CrossFit is providing.  However, the Open is the only time that CrossFit asks you to show up some day between Thursday evening and Monday evening and push yourself to the ultimate limit. 

For all that I take, this is the least I could give. 

So I started to consider this in other aspects of my life and came to this simple realization.  For the things we love and find fulfillment in,  perhaps they will be even more fulfilling if we gave back to them.  Even if it is once a year, or the smallest act,  it is still appreciating our love in a different light. 

Yes, for the next five weeks I will take part in 5 brutal workouts, I will probably lose sleep the night before or shed a tear,  maybe I’ll even set some new PR’s… but this is just my simple way of saying thank you to something I love and that has impacted my life so much.

What will you give back to what you love? 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

An Equal Trade

“I can’t decide what color to color this circle.”

I recently was sitting at Starbucks, on the verge of pulling my hair out looking for jobs, thinking about my last semester of college, and being overwhelmed by various “adult life” things.  As I looked to my left, I saw a little girl, maybe 5 years old, with a Finding Nemo backpack.  She looked at me “I like your backpack”, I said.  She then sighed and faced me saying “I don’t know what color to color my circle” as she pointed to a coloring sheet in front of her and handed me a box of Crayola colored pencils.  I immediately had a huge smile on my face, while hers was still full of stress.

She is five with the stresses of coloring her coloring sheet. I am twenty-one with the stresses of the last semester of college. Different stresses, but all the same.  

Consider this…  We have two glasses of water, both being completely full.  One glass is 12 ounces, the other is 24 ounces.  Just because one glass is smaller, does that mean it isn’t full? No. One may be larger, however we would say both are full.  

PERSPECTIVE – it’s an amazing thing.

Life is made up of these highs, lows, anxieties, stresses, and turns. However, in the grand scheme of things we are all human and each of us have our own. Each being just as important – similar to the glasses both being full.    

Now, I am not entirely sure if this little girl noticed I was anxious and thought she would turn my day around or if she needed someone to confide in her problems with however she was the inspiration for this blog and she was the smile on my face that day.

How come when we are stressed or anxious, about anything, we tend to turn off from the world.  We are short with the waitress or barista, we don’t hold the door for the person behind us, we rush the cashier or even find every little thing we can knit pick about something we don’t like at the moment.

There is a quote out there that states “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle”. 

I’m not sure it gets truer than that. We’re all battling something but perhaps sometimes we forget. We get so wrapped up in our situation that we become blind to the rest of the world.  Our stresses, burdens, and situations create this “the world revolves around me” or “I’m going to shut off from the world, because I can’t deal with this right now” attitude.  However, maybe this perspective and attitude deserves to be shifted to looking at the world around us and seeing it as “How can the environment around me and I work together to create something better”. 

That little girl and I could have completely ignored each other, shut off from the world around us, and all would have been fine.  Instead, we confided in each other and in the end it created something even greater.  I gave her a color for her circle, and she gave me a smile with a new prospective. An equal trade. 

Allow your prospective to shift – it may lead to something better than you could have ever imagined.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Exceptions.

Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle… everyone has some sort of title.  A title that is attached to a relationship they are naturally born into. 

But like some things, there are exceptions.

Exceptions for the people that mean so much more than these words and titles. You talk about them but can’t really seem to find the words you’re looking for.  We may find ourselves spending time and energy trying to puzzle more words together or find that perfect phrase to simply describe them. We even go to the extent of thinking that these words will express what they mean to us or how much we appreciate them.  Sadly, were often left empty handed because there are no words to sum it all up. Maybe it’s unfortunate that we can’t find these words, but maybe… just maybe… it’s a blessing we should be thankful for.  To have someone so exceptional that you are the only person that will ever truly feel their impact.

I have spent the past 21 years growing up, laughing, learning, and making memories with someone.  I have also spent these years finding new ways I appreciate them, cherish them, and when I talk about them … I am often trying to find that perfect sentence to sum up all they are to me.

I haven’t found that perfect phrase and I have come to terms I never will. 

I wont go into detail about our relationship, our experiences together or even how much she means to me. That blog would most likely turn into our inside jokes you wouldn’t understand, the fact that we think were hilarious, or the impact she’s had on me that no one else feels but me.  However, I will mention one of the biggest privileges I have had in life while growing up and that she has taken a significant part of. 

This privilege is… finding your people.

I often sit back and reflect on the impact individuals have had on my life.  I think about who I would be without these people, or the different experiences I have had with them.  I think about the laughs I would have missed out on if they weren’t around, or the lack of fun life would be if they weren’t so amazing.  However, when I recently had these thoughts it was the word “deployment” that kicked me to my butt with mixed emotions, juggled thoughts, reflection, and questioning.  

Something that I have zero control over.
Something that incorporates so much risk.
Something that takes truly special people to put themselves in this situation.
Something that will always make my mind unsettled.
Something that’s now going to be part of our relationship

Finding your people is amazing.  It’s having people that support you beyond means you ever thought possible. It’s having solid roots when you’re growing wild.  Its having people that remind you of who you are and what you are worth when you are completely lost in life. 

However, having people sometimes stings too.  It’s a state of being selfless and knowing that sometimes… they’re going to be set free, chasing a dream, completing a mission, or pursuing something different that you may have absolutely no say in.  In fact, you may serve as no part of the journey except to simply root for them the entire way.  You may not even know what it means to them, but you have faith that it’s what they need. You come to terms that those aspects of having “people” stings… but you wouldn’t have it any other way.    

I didn’t have to look hard to find one of my people.  Instead, I was blessed that she fell from the sky and landed as one of my family members. 

At the end of December she gets deployed to Iraq, and to say that I will miss her is an understatement but how selfish would it be for me to keep her here.  To hold her back from what she wants and a passion she is chasing with all her being. 

I will crave a hug, a laugh, and a random visit but to see an amazing person pursuing something that has been life changing for her… THAT alone, makes it all worth it. 

“Find your people”

These are people that have created an impact on us through lessons, laughs and memories that in the end no one will understand but ourselves.  You may find yourself talking to people, unable to express your feelings through words or expressing emotions that people will never be able to grasp but you.  However these are the aspects of life that should be cherished.  The aspects of life that words just cant seem to sum up.  No Pinterest quote, no title, and no Instagram filter can do it. Rather, it is a silent part of our life that only we will understand.  

It’s the chills you get when you see them accomplish something
It the smile you get when they send you a stupid text
It’s the racing heart you feel when you’re waiting for big news from them
It’s the tears you cry when they’re hurt, because deep down its hurting a part of you
It’s the weightlessness you feel when they hug you and you feel home
It’s the clear mind you have when you’re finally together and everything feels right. 

It’s the exceptions.

So there we have it.  Find your people – and hold them close.  Not because they may be taken away, but because they may be doing badass things you will only be able to root for from afar. 

With leaky eyes, and a knot in my throat I’ll end with this…

The best things in life aren’t things. They are the exceptions.  The things that can’t be expressed with words or titles, and are instead just meant to be … felt.

Gretch, this ones for you
Love you & Always rooting for you 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I am not lost - I am on my way.

I have beaten myself up time and time again with this idea of being “lost”.

Not the kind of lost where you are physically out of place, with no sense of direction.  The other kind.  The mental kind of lost.  The kind of lost that you’re just wandering around in your head, having no clue where you’re going or in some cases… what you’re doing.   

With all the opportunities that we’re constantly swarmed with; college degrees, masters degrees, doctorates, internships I believe we have been  a little brainwashed with this terrible idea that when we don’t have a distinct point A to point B direction we are defined as “lost”. 

I think I have been on a mission since I was younger.  A mission to see all the world has to offer, and be passionate in each experience.  I have always said “Yes” to new experiences and opportunities. In fact, I am known in my family for the line “What did I get myself into?”.  I have always wanted it all.  To see it, try it, and experience it. 
To jump in, and see where it takes me. I may be a little older but my mind is just as wild.

These opportunities have taken me to new places, introduced me to new people, given me new prospective, and have planted within me a desire to pursue new things.  I’ll admit, my mind is a little hard to keep up with. 

When I returned from California, after my summer job with CrossFit HQ, I met with an old friend to catch up over a couple beers.  What was meant to be “catching up”, quickly turned into “let’s question all Hannah has done”.  

I got asked things like “What are you running from?” or “Can you identify yourself? Do you know who you are?”.  They questioned why I keep running, and where I intended on going?  They asked if I was looking for myself because I’m not happy with who I am.  To them, it was just questions.  To me, it was insulting. 

My responses boiled down to a simple answer… it’s called curiosity and passion.  It has taken me all over! 

There is beauty in curiosity.

There is also risk and uncertainty in curiosity.  However, why is this a bad thing?  Think of everything around us.  We are rooted to question.   It is tied to our tradition of being a human. Think about it. We now know the earth is not flat, we know why objects fall and are drawn to each other, we know vaccines that can prevent life changing illnesses, and everyday we are making more discoveries that are changing life as we know it.  But how? 

Questioning. Passion. Curiosity.

Discoveries start because of the people that have imaginations that are taking them all over the world.  It is because people see an opportunity and run to it.  It is because people see a problem and are driven to seek an answer.  It is because of minds that do not sit still and are on a mission to create. Minds that are not afraid of being considered “lost”.

So, I believe this term “lost” should be given a different phrase.  Perhaps… “Passionately Curious” is a better representation of it. 

As I sat and was questioned about “running away” and “trying to find myself”, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.  Ya see, this isn’t running away.  It is a journey of  pursuing my curiosity and passion, and it involves a series of checks and balance. 

I know who I am which is why I am able to leave home to pursue a passion.  I know my values which is why I am able to surround myself with new people everyday, no matter how different they may be.  I know where I came from which is why I am always ready to grow through each experience.  It is because I know exactly who I am that I am taking on bigger opportunities and have always sought more in everything I do.  Because no matter what the opportunity may bring, it will always take me back to my roots of who I am while teaching me along the way. 

So sure, maybe I can not tell you a specific direction I am headed and hell, my personal compass must of broke because I don’t even know which way I am going sometimes but I know for certain who I am, and what I am about.

I am Hannah Chesley.  I am a whole 5 foot 2 inch body compacted of enough passion and curiosity to move mountains and I am not lost – I am simply on my way.