I am writing this post on the eve of my 29th birthday. It’s true that, the older you get, birthdays begin to lose some of their luster and lore . But I’m still fond of birthdays, perhaps mostly because I find that they implore reflection and introspection in a way that probably no other day of the year can. Lately, I am all about reflection. I am all about life giving me excuses to try even harder, to be even better, to learn from the past.
My 28th year was marked by personal growth (and really, what year isn’t?). As new homeowners and young adults trying to navigate financial independence, the past year threw us some curveballs and roadblocks, for sure. But I’ve at least learned to be better about one thing: not worrying so much. It’s a struggle, sometimes, to relinquish control and trust that the universe has a plan that is largely beyond my ability to manipulate. All we can do is be the best person we can be…and I’m working on that every day.
Now that I’m entering the last year of my twenties, I’ve had some time to reflect on how I’ve changed over the decade. I think those who know me well will say my personality and essence has remained the same. But I guess no one knows me as well as I know myself, and I can truly say that I have changed in immeasurable ways, and in ways I can’t quite concisely or articulately explain here. If I were to come up with a concise, one-line answer, it would be this:
I’ve become more selfish, and less selfish at the same time.
Of course that’s counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth. Though I should clarify that when I say I’ve become “more” selfish, perhaps selfish is not the right word. Rather, I’ve become better at listening to myself, at saying “no” when I know something’s not right for me, of relinquishing my constant yearning to please as a means of being accepted and loved. I’ve learned to not do things because I think I’m supposed to, but rather to do them because I want to. And I’m still learning. Of course, it’s all a work in progress…
But in many ways, I’m less selfish as well. A funny thing happens when you stop doing things because you think you’re supposed to — you stop seeking acceptance from outside sources, and start looking within. That kind of introspection usually yields a desire to be better. To help others. To love more, while seeking less to be loved. To give more, while seeking less to receive. Of course, this is also a process — and something, I imagine, that will only develop with age.
Finally, I’d be remiss to say I haven’t grown even more aware of taking care of my body with each passing year. While ten years ago I could easily pull an all-nighter to finish a paper, by now I’ve pretty much become inefficient at accomplishing much of anything on any less than eight hours of sleep.I also turn into something even deader than a walking zombie — which would be a euphemism — anytime I’m kept up past my bedtime, which is getting earlier by the week, it seems. Dealing head-on with the effects of Lyme disease in the last few years has only made me more picky about what I eat, as I can all too often feel the effects of overly processed, salted or fattening foods these days.
Over the last few years, green smoothies have been a revelation in my morning routine. I have, sadly, become “that person” who can “feel it” when she hasn’t had her morning smoothie. But it wasn’t always easy. As someone who likes to constantly create and experiment in the kitchen, I’ve sort of approached green smoothie making in that same light, and have constantly played around with ingredients and combinations in the past, some being better than others. That is, I did that until I hit on this combination and couldn’t get enough of it. This is my new green smoothie go-to — a recipe that I don’t have to force down or pretend to enjoy. The “energy” part comes from maca powder, which is totally optional, but one of the few so-called super foods that actually seems to do what it claims, which is give you energy! The hemp seeds provide a boost of whole, plant-based protein with a complete amino-acid profile, while the greens and whole lemon are detoxifying yet refreshing. I truly love this green smoothie, and hope you will too.
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach
- 1 smaller handful chopped lacinato (Tuscan) or curly kale
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple pieces
- 1 heaping cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 whole lemon, peeled (use a paring knife to remove peel)
- 1/4 cup raw hemp hearts
- 1-2 medjool dates, pitted, for sweetness (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons gelatinized maca powder (optional)
- Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Add more water if necessary and taste for sweetness, adding 1-2 dates if desired.
I recommend using frozen fruit to keep this nice and chilled, thus easier to drink. If not using frozen fruit, you may want to add some ice cubes to this smoothie as well. You can also use non-gelatinized maca powder but the gelatinized is easier digested and absorbed.