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Just Call Me Energizer Bunny

by TJ Sage about a month ago in goals

Three new adventures to help keep me sane

Daylight Savings Time is stupid. I don’t know a single person who likes it, myself included. In the fall, I love the extra hour of sleep, but abhor how the sun sets at 4:30pm and I feel like I’ve been plunged into a never-ending sea of darkness.

Humans don’t hibernate, so why do we turn the clock to act like we do? Instead we just get seasonal depression, which in my case, has you screaming profanities at the world when you drive to the store in the middle of a snow storm (and then you move to California as a result). And in the spring, I hate that I have to get up an hour earlier, but I love that the sun is back.

I don’t know what it is...maybe just humans’ inherent need for sunlight, maybe a personal thing, whatever, but when it stays lighter out for longer or later in the day, I get a spike of energy! Suddenly when spring rolls around, I want to do ALL THE THINGS.

Vocal

The most prominent addition to my life and daily routines is writing for Vocal. I was among the masses who were introduced to this platform because of a social media ad for the Little Black Book challenge, and though I didn’t place, I still had a ton of fun writing my entry, Sorry I Asked, and it sparked the writer in me again.

Since signing up for this lovely Vocal+ membership, I have committed to writing one weekly short story, typically published on Fridays. As my dad likes to say, “writers write.” And I hadn’t been doing that for quite some time, mostly out of laziness, but also because I thought I’d have to make a website or publish a book to get people to read anything I wrote, which just seemed like too much work at the time.

Vocal has given me that one piece that was missing: an outlet for my writing. And while I may not have a substantial amount of reads, that’s okay! The small number of readers I do have suffice to keep my writing drive going, and plus, “writers write”! I am a writer, so I am writing, and I have never really felt more like myself than I do now that I’ve introduced writing back into my life.

Another plus to this new routine of one weekly short story is that it keeps me very busy. I am 100% a homebody and a bit of a hermit who greatly enjoys alone time, but I tend to get restless on evenings and weekends when I’m not working. I am painfully aware of when I am wasting my days watching TV and doing nothing substantial. I would much rather do something that might make some sort of imprint on the world, or someone’s life than sit on my couch binging Netflix.

So thank you, Vocal, for allowing me this necessary outlet and a new sense of purpose!

CIZE IT UP

Another new but not-new thing I’ve reintroduced to myself is exercise! (Yes I know; a new year naturally means new exercise routines for lots of people, and I am henceforth a cliche. I’ve accepted it.) Now, I believe this activity is worthy of this article because I haven’t worked out since October (*gasp*). I also really truly feel like my relationship with exercise is highly unusual, and therefore worth sharing.

I’ve never met anyone who has such difficulty finding a workout method that works. For me, the conventional methods like lifting weights and running are akin to pulling teeth, so I don’t do them.

Finding my perfect exercise method all began my junior year of college. I have a family history of thyroid problems on my mom’s side, and I thought I had one too since I was tired all the time. I would get 8 hours, 10 hours, or 12 hours of sleep along with a nap and still be tired. I didn’t understand what the problem was, so it had to be something physiological, right?!

Wrong. A quick blood test at the campus clinic revealed a perfectly healthy thyroid, and GOD AWFUL cholesterol. The kind of cholesterol that basically means I was a couch potato who ate pizza for every meal, which I’m sad to say wasn’t far off.

By Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

That wake-up call was a very necessary catalyst to get my ass off the couch and find an exercise method that actually worked, something I had failed miserably at so many times before.

Eventually I tried one thing that seems to be an unpopular opinion: working out at home! I’ve heard from countless people that they cannot do that due to the lack of accountability. In my opinion, it’s easier, more cost effective, you don’t have to drive anywhere, and you can wear whatever you want!

At this point in college, I discovered Julianne Hough’s dance workout videos. I had taken Zumba in the past and had fun, so I ordered the DVDs and pleasantly found that these workouts were just the type of dance workout I was looking for. They take you through a legitimate dance routine that engages various parts of your body to give you a good cardio workout and tone your muscles.

With Julianne, I was able to get my cholesterol under control, but these DVDs only had a handful of very short dance routines. It got boring, doing the same routine over and over (this is one of the reasons I can’t lift weights). So I stopped. I got lazy again, all the way through to almost a year after I graduated from college - when the pandemic hit.

Picture this: lockdown had just gone into effect, I’m scrolling through Facebook and come across an ad for a virtual, at-home workout program, which was ever-so-popular as a way to get exercise when all the gyms closed. But this one was for a dance workout program - you learn a routine for every workout. I hadn’t seen another one of these since Julianne’s videos, which were produced circa 2010.

I looked into it further and was ecstatic to find something similar to Julianne, but with longer and more plentiful routines. Enter my weight loss with CIZE on BeachBody On Demand. It was perfect; only $39 every three months for unlimited access to not only this but a wide variety of other BeachBody programs.

I have never had more fun working out! The dances are fun and just complicated enough for me to need to pay close attention to the rambunctious instructor, Shaun T, who can be slightly annoying but is mostly funny. I’m so focused on the dance that I don’t realize I’m working hard, I just picture myself jamming out on a stage or showing off on some other dance floor.

Back to present day: I have been inactive since the start of winter. As soon as the mere scent Halloween Candy interrupted my good habits, I thought “meh, it’s the holiday season, everyone is pigging out!” And then Thanksgiving happened, then Christmas dinner, then New Years, then as January rolled in like a storm cloud it seemed like my active lifestyle was in the middle of a REM cycle, not to be disturbed.

With Daylight Savings upon us and my new surge of energy, it is CIZE that I am introducing once again into my sodden life of movies, wine, and DoorDash. I am once again following Shaun T’s lead to “CIZE IT UP” at least four times a week! My muscles hurt so good in that painfully (literally) refreshing and satisfying way that means I am couch potato no longer!

Photography

This really is brand new to my life - never before attempted, and was inspired by Vocal’s Before and After challenge.

I looked at the challenge and realized I had absolutely nothing worthwhile to contribute, resulting in my unfortunate lack of involvement. It got me thinking though...photography has always intrigued me, but I’ve never really explored it to see if it is something I might enjoy. So with my renewed battery life, I figured why not?

I did what any 20-something would do, and Googled “how to learn photography.” I discovered an online master class in photography: “A Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography” on Udemy. This class was very intriguing since it was described as very beginner-friendly, and could even be taken with just an iPhone for a camera.

“Great, I don’t need to buy a camera!” I thought, as I clicked the button to enroll while the price was down to $18.99. If you’ve read my past story, Indecisive Since the Womb, you’ll know that I, as a Gemini, am very impulsive by nature. So of course as I began the course and saw the instructors in the videos using high-quality DSLR cameras, I found myself on eBay clicking “BUY NOW” on a Nikon d200 SLR camera. So much for the iPhone idea.

I’ve had the camera for about five days at the time of writing this, and I have to say it’s one of the most fun $140 purchases I’ve ever made. It’s an old camera, released in 2005, but in my opinion, it definitely holds up and I am more than happy with the photos I’ve taken so far.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

With this camera and new photography knowledge, not only am I totally psyched to be able to shoot my own photos for my Vocal articles and enhance my Instagram game, but now I’m even considering going the extra few miles to become semi-professional and do some photography on the side to earn some extra cash.

This is what spring does to me - I am already naturally ambitious, but now all of a sudden I feel like I could add a new career to my life! That might take a few more master classes, but who knows?!

Exhibit C

Here Comes the Sun

With each of these new hobbies, lifestyles, routines, adventures, whatever you want to call them, I could not be more excited for spring, and especially summer! If I keep CIZING IT UP, I should be looking pretty good and able to take on some steep hiking trails that will lead to great photo opportunities, which I can then write about, weaving each of these three activities together.

I will also most likely write further about each of these new adventures in further detail farther down the road, but I will need a bit more experience with each one in order to do that. For now, I’ve only just woken up from hibernation but I can’t wait to dive into the deep end!

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As mentioned in the article, I write one short story every week, if you're interested, here is the latest one:

goals
TJ Sage
TJ Sage
Read next: The Deception of Instagram
TJ Sage

Not-your-average wannabe writer and author who's a sucker for a good story. New short stories every week!

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