My college experience had a lot of ups and downs. Most of them due to the fact that I didn’t know and had to figure out how to financially support myself. However, one of the best things about college was visiting my favorite chain sandwich spot Quizno’s. Fast forward 11 years later and I now live around the corner from one of the last Quizno’s locations. So recently I found myself down a rabbit hole trying to find out what happened any why so many restaurants have closed over the years. The story is actually pretty sad. Apparently, the first restaurant was started in Denver (used to live there too) and then it grew and became a franchise opportunity. At the time, there was a unique take on the market because the sandwiches are toasted. It was something that had not been done before. This was also combined with sandwiches that bordered more on the gourmet side. They had it on lock for a good minute. However, apparently no one has a monopoly on a toaster and once Subway started offering toasted sandwiches without an extra cost and those infamous “5 dollar footlong” commercials. The financial troubles continued with the company going into massive amounts of debts and having a slew of unhappy franchise owners who were barely able to turn a profit. Apparently, the ingredients for the sandwiches were more expensive than most and the Quizno’s parent company also had a contract with the food company so they profited from selling franchise locations the equipment and ingredients. All this came to a dreadful head when a franchise owner decided to (very tragically) take his life due to his financial situation and the fact that the company allowed another franchise to open up close to his existing store. A recipe for failure. The company continued to tank and hundreds of stores started to close because the franchise owners couldn’t become profitable. Fast forward to the present where Quiznos is hanging on by a thread and most stores have closed. They needed a different strategy and unfortunately it was too late to pivot. So the next time you eat a toasted sandwich, think of the chain that made it happen.
Life comes with so many transitions and changes. I’ve been in a continual growth process and it’s been interesting to reflect back on how things have changed. Living in multiple states, changing jobs, and trying to navigate different professional goals has been challenging. My partner and I have been contemplating moving out of state for the past year, but now we finally have a timeline and a moving date. After settling in and getting used to having all my favorite stores and restaurants within a 15 to 20 minute drive, it’s time for another environment. I remember when I was always looking for something new and exciting and plotting the next place I would live. The feeling of contentment has been a foreign but welcome change of pace. Time for (another) new thing.
It’s rare these days that I watch a movie in one sitting and this one was no exception. I found myself watching it over the period of a few days in between my other work obligations. I was a teenager when I read Redeeming Love the book and it was a lot to sit with. I remember thinking that the parental/adult themes warning was legitimate even though it was a sold as a Christian book. Watching the movie reminded me of the whole idea of purity culture and the lack of options many women experienced during the early pioneer/Gold Rush days. The movie was an adaptation of the book which was a more modern day adaptation of a bible story about a man who was told by God to marry a woman of the night. Of course in the movie the “street” was a brothel but you get the general idea. In theory the idea was that the girl was rescued from a life of abuse and given a home in the country with a loving husband. However, she didn’t want to be there and wasn’t interested in any type of romantic relationship. The story had a “happy” ending with her realizing that she loved him and that he had never moved on from losing her. All in all, I can see understand the intended story of redemption but it came across in the movies as extremely manipulative. There was a lack of choice that was appalling because the main character of the story didn’t want to be a wife. She had no interest in the man but he still “bought” her and took her away from all she had ever known. Change can happen but you can’t “save” someone who doesn’t want to be saved and has no interest in what you’re offering.
It’s officially been two years since I started working out consistently and I finally see a difference. It’s been a journey of ups and downs and while the journey continues, I’ve finally established a habit. Working out every day and lifting weights has made me so much more mindful of what I eat. I’ve started to read more labels and identify the foods that give me the best results. Prioritizing sleep and being more balanced has helped a lot. I’m looking forward to more success in the future. It’s almost time to do some shopping for a new wardrobe.
I feel like days like this deserve a post and some recognition. It’s been six weeks and some change into the new year and with it have come some new developments. I’m still working through my list of quarterly goals and there has been some movement. Staying consistent is always a challenge but I choose things that made sense and could also be broken into smaller pieces. I see a lot of opportunities but I want to make sure that it’s the right fit for me. The organized and disorganized chaos of life can make the big picture foggy. Here’s to a successful quarter.
After years of waiting and hoping I finally got into a relationship with long term potential about a year ago and things are going well. The thing that has been surprising is how different my expectations were from reality. I work with black women who have educational and financial standards for their future boyfriend or spouse and honestly I used to be one of them. No one wants to be in a relationship and do worse financially then they were before. However, in the past year I’ve learned more about some of the intangibles that mean more than what a guy makes or his level of education. Women can easily get caught up in what a man does instead of evaluating who he is. One thing is significantly less obvious than the other. Dating a project isn’t about trying to rehabilitate a man but it’s not the same as supporting a man who has a clear path and plan for the future. Many times the past is a great indicator of the future. Instead of asking about a five year plan, it’s better to ask a man about a five year plan he’s has in the past and what year he’s in presently. It’s easy have aspirations but it’s much hard to put in the work to manifest them. If a man is serious his actions will show it. Giving you a girlfriend label doesn’t indicate he’s serious. Is he applying for jobs to move closer to you? Has he given you his timeline for moving in together? Is he introducing you to his circle of friends? These are all indications that there’s a good chance he’s sees a future with you. Women are quick to complain that a man has wasted their time but in reality they have wasted their own time because they weren’t being held hostage and they got committed too soon without verifying that the other person wanted the same thing. Taking inventory means that you understand where you are in your life and you intentionally choose to make decisions that align with your long term goals.
I’ve said a few times but it really is funny how quickly time goes by. I recently celebrated another year of life and I reflected on how much had changed since my last birthday. I brought in last year on a Caribbean cruise. I chilled on the beach in St. Maarten and took an excursion on St. John. This year was different. It was much more low key and consisted of great conversation, food and quality time with my boyfriend. I’m healthier than I was last year and overall I feel like I’m more balanced. My professional goals are still present but they are also better aligned with my personal goals and plan to improve my work life balance. This past year I traveled a little bit but most of my time was spent in the gym. I did a quick trip to Spain, continued doing some contract work and ultimately decided that I didn’t like the idea of a perpetual 40 hour work week. There’s been ups and downs but through it all I’m grateful for another year.
Making a lifestyle change is hard and there can be so many barriers and challenges with remaining consistent. Last summer I was challenged to change my mindset and lose the weight I had been procrastinating on addressing. Everyone has different levels of comfort with their body image and their weight but I knew that it was time for things to change. While you can be happy, self accepting, have high self esteem and be overweight, I knew that it wasn’t working for me. I was tired of taking long airplane rides to other countries and being unable to comfortably fit into the seat while being ashamed to ask for a seat belt extender. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I was over my clothes not fitting right and only being able to wear certain select items in my closet because I had “outgrown” the majority of what I had available but didn’t want to spend more money to buy more clothes. I believe in radical self acceptance but I also believe in changing your lifestyle and being healthy if that’s a goal you have for yourself. It was a long, long road that still continues but I’ve made progress. I started with a personal trainer (aka my boyfriend), made the decision to no longer be vegetarian, I got off medication (after consulting with a doctor), started weight training, and changed my diet drastically. It wasn’t an overnight change and it didn’t happen as soon as I would have liked but I lost 45lbs and I’m still working towards my goal. Last week was the first time I could pick things from my closet to wear that I haven’t been able to fit in over 5 years. It was an amazing feeling and having a supportive partner has been great. I still have some progress to make but it’s nice to finally comfortably sit in an airplane seat without being black and blue from the armrest digging into my thigh. I’m determined to remain consistent and to continue to make progress. After all, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
I recently realized how much my circle has changed. I’m not in close contact with many of the people I grew up with and over the years I’ve also grown apart from some friends I met during my college years. One thing I like about my current circle is the fact that everyone wants to do better. There’s intentionality around improving personally and professionally. One great quality of a good friendship is that you feel accepted as a person. You aren’t judged or made to feel like your friend is trying to change you. However, I’ve come to realize that the mark of a good friend is one that challenges you to grow—even if it’s an uncomfortable process. They aren’t trying to change you but they also realize opportunities for growth that you may not see so they challenge you to be better. Constructive criticism feels different when it comes from someone you know who genuinely has the best intentions for you. Instead of becoming more defensive, it’s easier to internalize what they’re saying. This type of a friend is rare to have and if you find one be grateful and keep them around.
Lately I’ve been spreading myself a bit thin. It hasn’t happened on purpose but my calendar has become crowded with various obligations. The rest of the month is filling up fast and my “do nothing” days are quickly disappearing. I’m mentally preparing to temporarily relocate once again and I’m already looking forward to August where I’ll deliberately chill out for a bit. The intricacies of juggling 5 jobs present a unique challenge. But I’m getting the opportunity to do some new things and also keep my clinical skills up to date so I’m glad about that. I’m learning the importance of prioritizing and also sleeping enough hours per night. I will be making more strides towards finding a much better balance. Maybe more cruises are in my future.