Tuesday, February 6

The Underdogs

I think people think it's funny that I go to a university known for its dominant athletic program but my favorite professional sports teams are the ones that embody the underdogs, the not quite lovable losers. I've been a Philadelphia fan for almost ten years, and I didn't quite get the let down surrounding the sports for a while because the Phillies were good. What did it matter that every other team wasn't so good? The Phillies had just won the World Series and kept making runs, and frankly, I didn't really care about the other teams yet.

But then everything started to revert back to where it always was. Philadelphia was not good at sports. As the seasons changed, I put my hopes into the other teams. Once fall came and the Phillies were out of the playoffs, I put my faith in the Eagles. Then the Flyers. Then the Sixers. Then another year would come without a championship, and the cycle would continue. Phillies. Eagles. Flyers. Sixers. I think my dad would see the hope in my eyes when I would say, "Maybe *insert team* will be good this season!" He knew better than I that the chances of that team being good were slim.

The Phillies have two World Series. The Flyers have two Stanley Cups. The Sixers have three NBA Championships. The Eagles didn't have any Super Bowls. And I was only alive for one of these titles.

I quickly learned that Philadelphia leaned into the rough and tumble persona. My dad always told me that Philadelphia fans would be the first to congratulate someone but also the first to turn on a coach or player. I loved it. I complained about coaches and the teams, but when someone else tried to say something bad, I was quick to defend the city that I had only visited a couple times. People just didn't get it. I still don't really get it, but I know there are no other sports teams and no other city that I would want to support.

The Phillies and baseball have always been my favorites. There is just something poetic about the sport, and I find peace in baseball. But football has always been a close second. I watched the Eagles before I even watched the Phillies. I always wanted an Eagles jersey, but my dad told me to wait for a franchise player unless I wanted Brian Dawkins one like the rest of the city. I put my hope in a lot of players, but nothing really panned out. I called for the firing of Andy Reid and Chip Kelly like the rest of the city, and it hurt. Because no matter what players we drafted or how good a season was, nothing would fill the void of not having a Super Bowl. Not having that ring. 

In my opinion, the Eagles have always been the city's team because football is the city's sport. Philadelphia has grown a lot as a city in recent years, and its residents aren't as scrappy as they used to be, but they still identify with that mentality, and it fits with football.

This season exemplifies the city of Philadelphia perfectly. Once Carson Wentz got hurt, most everyone counted the team out including me. I told my dad there was no way we would win this year. I said we would make it to the playoffs, maybe win the first game, but no way we would win the whole thing. Too many major players were hurt for anything to happen. But the team took that as a rallying cry, and the city did too. The Underdogs. Something Philadelphia had always been. Disrespected and counted out. The lovable losers. It just made sense that this is how it would play out. 

Three hours before the game, I could have sworn I wasn't going to watch it. I was too stressed to even think about the game let alone watch it. But I did. When it was kick-off, something just felt right. Something I rarely feel in regards to the Eagles considering I had had stress dreams about them for a good month. At half-time, I was shaking. We were up by 10? Impossible. As the second half went on, I got more nervous. The Pats had too much time. I had seen this play out in a similar way last year with the Falcons. I prayed, pleaded for a turnover. Just one could help seal it for us. 

As I watched Tom Brady drop that ball, I screamed. If we could just score, it would be at least an 8 point game, and maybe just maybe we would win because if I have learned anything in the last year, the game is not over until the clock hits 00:00. 

The joy I felt when I watched the ball hit the ground is indescribable. I didn't watch the Phillies win the World Series. I was too young and not invested in sports yet. But I watched the Eagles win a Super Bowl. The first one ever in franchise history. I was still shaking, and I started crying. I never thought I would see the day the Eagles won a Super Bowl. Or even a Philadelphia professional team bring a championship back to the city. 

I called my dad after the game, and both of us kept repeating how we couldn't believe it. How it was one of the greatest games ever. The Eagles won the Super Bowl against all odds. On Monday he texted me, "The greatest story ever told. Why we love sports, when every so often, the impossible happens. And we realize that anything is possible." 

I don't know when I will get tired of saying it, but the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
xx, Julianna

Tuesday, January 23

Habit Tracking

I read a tweet the other day that talked about how the first half of January has felt longer than all of 2017, and I very much agree. Maybe it's because I still have yet to have a full week of school (this is my first full week) or because my days usually end around 2:00, which means I have all this newfound free time that I haven't quite figured out what to do with yet. However, because this month feels forever long, I feel like I have had time to work my goals for 2018, and I feel like I am working toward actual change.

At the beginning of the month, I talked about my goals pretty generally, which was definitely on purpose. When I got back to school, I broke up my bigger goals into smaller goals, so they were easier to tackle.

Instead of just figuring out how I wanted my typical schedule to look right away, I focused on waking up and falling asleep at a consistent time. I've been trying to wake up at 7 (or at least by 7:30) and be going to sleep by 11:15. Three things have helped me get into my sleep habits in-line, and two of them are apps. I've had Sleep Cycle for years after getting it for free from Starbucks one day. I like being able to see my sleep quality, and I love that it wakes you up at the lightest part of your sleep cycle. I have the Sleep Cycle data sent to my Apple Health app too. The advantage the Health app has over Sleep Cycle is that it tells you long you were in bed and how long you were asleep instead of just how long you were in bed. I love using them together.

Okay, so this might seem silly, but the other thing that has helped with my sleep habits is a simple sticky note. I wrote down a mini-calendar on a Post-It, and every time I wake up at 7 and/or am in bed by 11 I cross out the day. It's a nice, simple way to see how many times I have accomplished my goal. I got the idea because people who bullet journal love habit trackers, but 1. I cannot bullet journal, and 2. I only want to track a couple of my habits at a time rather than all of them.

In addition to tracking my sleep, I have been tracking my workouts. Now I've only gotten through two weeks of this, but I love the feeling of being able to check it off my list. Currently, my goal is to work out twice a week. I wrote down each week on another Post-It, and I have two space to mark that I worked out that week. Again, it's simple, but it helps keep me accountable because I hate seeing boxes go unchecked. I also write down in my agenda the day that I work out just to see if there are days I prefer working out and to find patterns.

My plan for this year is to track 2-3 things each month, so they become actual habits. I'll probably end up tracking working out every month this year just because I know that's one that I could easily stop doing if I don't try to keep at it.

xx, Julianna

Monday, January 1

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I think we can all agree that 2017 was an interesting year. (Here is a nice video from John Green about the year, and also Google made me cry this year.) Personally, for a really long time, it was a bad year. I felt stuck for a really long time. I wasn't sure of basically everything in my life. I thought about transferring back home, switching majors to God knows what, and I even considered dropping my sorority at one point. I didn't really feel confident in anything I was doing. Fortunately, the end of the year became a lot better for me. I finally decided to get real help and take care of my mental health in ways I have never done before, and I am feeling (mostly) confident about what I am doing and the direction I am headed.

The last couple of years have been a lot about focusing on my inward self and getting to the right place mentally, so this year I really want to focus on my outward self and my work since I think I am in a really good place mentally for the first time in a while.

Time + Schedule | The big thing I want to focus on in the beginning of the year is how I spend my time. Last semester my class schedule was awful. I usually got home between 8 and 9 because I had late afternoon/night classes and had to go to late chapter on Wednesdays, and I was always super tired when I got back to my apartment. Luckily my schedule is 1000x better this semester, and the latest I am done with class is 3:45 (one day a week!!), and I am done at 1 or earlier the rest of the week.

Over break, I have been working on creating my "ideal" schedule for each day, so that once I get back to school on the 10th, I don't have to spend the first couple of days planning out a schedule. I am hoping to utilize my time on campus better, so I don't have to do a ton when I get back to my apartment. I also want to start waking up earlier, which I have to do anyway because my days start at 9 or 9:30.

Health | I am not sure if it's a new year if health is left of your list of goals. I've spent a lot of time on my mental health like I said, so I want to focus more on my physical health in the upcoming year. I definitely want to keep my goals realistic since that's the only way I'll ever get anything done. I absolutely love that my sorority feeds me on most days, but that means I basically have access to unlimited snacks. My focus is not necessarily going to be on what I eat at first but more on how much I eat. I also am going to try and schedule going to the rec center/my apartment's gym since my schedule allows for more time this year, and I'm paying for it, so why not use it?

Style | My big Christmas gift from my parents this year was to go shopping. I realized I wasn't entirely happy with my clothes, and I learned that I definitely did not have nice clothes that I could wear when I had meetings. Once I am home for the summer, I am going to do a big purge of my closet and keep the stuff I like. While I am school, I won't entirely give up my leggings and oversized t-shirts because when else am I going to be able to dress like this? But I want to do my hair and makeup more to look a little more presentable when I go to class.

Writing + Reading | I want to start writing again. I say this a lot, but every time I say I hope it sticks. I am taking writing classes for the next two semesters, which I think might help because I truly miss writing, which I haven't regularly done since high school newspaper. I've talked about this before but I don't think I am cut out to be a typical "fashion + lifestyle" blogger, so I am going to use this space to document my life and share my ideas and what I create. Reading is also something I always want to do more of, but I am definitely going to spend a lot of the summer reading like I did two years ago.

Let's do this 2018
xx, Julianna