| Migraines & Milestones |

“Make a doctor’s appointment or I am going to make one for you,” my husband said sternly while I cringed at his volume. My head hurt, a lot, and it was the fifth day of my migraine. I sat on the couch, swaddled in blankets, yearning to be left with a value-pack of Excedrin and the Gilmore Girls family on Netflix.  But my other half wasn’t budging. “We just spent a week in Florida and it felt like you weren’t even there because you were in bed with a migraine. You are exhausted, you’re getting a cold… Yet you are leaving again next week for another work trip. It’s time to put some effort into yourself, Britney: Go to the doctor.”

He was right: I was about to embark on my 13th work trip of the year, and combined with another dozen personal trips for wedding and family matters, my body was basically a dragging piece of flesh. I felt unusually tired and lethargic, run-down yet still unable to fully reset due to future obligations. New York City was my last trip of the year though, and I made a calendar date with my physician the day I got home.

I walked through the INOVA walk-in doors and was greeted immediately, ushered past the waiting room threshold and was tended to. “Migraines,” I voiced. “Stress.” “Fatigue.” I rattled off symptom buzzwords as they were typed into a nearby computer.

The nurse practitioner took my vitals and then asked me to step on the scale. I took off my shoes and scarf and reluctantly moved to the stool beside her. I hadn’t weighed myself in over six months, and I knew that the number she muttered was going to disappoint me. But when she said, “Whoa, you gained almost 20 pounds since you saw us in March,” my jaw almost hit the floor.

I used to be very in tune with myself. I’d listen to it all: My heart, my body, my intuition… I lived by performing an action, waiting for inward feedback, then proceeding. I learned so much about myself this way- how much I could eat when I worked out regularly, how much alcohol I could consume, how late I could stay up, how much negativity I could tolerate, how much love I could give before I expected something in return. My twenties included a journey of self- exploration, and as I got older, I learned that I could push myself. A lot.Time progressed and I maxed out my limits. I loved without restriction when I found the man of my dreams. I worked my ass off when I found a job that I believed in: A job that compensated fitfully and appreciated a good hustle. At 26, my body was in the best shape of my adult life and I thought that I could just trust my metabolism to push through the next couple of years, through late nights at work and trips with long hours and marital “happy weight,” drive thru’s and parties and an active nine-to five, followed by a deep daily crash.

But bodies don’t work that way. And deep down I knew that; I could feel that in my tighter clothes, my growing headaches, my sporadic “allergies.” My body was warning me of bigger issues but I didn’t listen because there was one more meal to make, one more trip to take, one more friend to see and so forth.

But now, there I was, sitting with my doctor, coming up with a plan to aid in getting life back on track.

Fitbit Calorie Tracking.
Migraine Logging.
A Workout Regimen.
A Routine Day To Day.

She left me with a little migraine script and a lot to think about, which is why I’ve come here. To my writing tool. After yet another hiatus.

If I reflect on this past year quickly, I become agitated. I traveled too much. I “missed out” on a monumental first year of marriage. I let my body go and allowed my self confidence to deflate.

Yet when I actually sit down and peel back the layers of each month, each season, this was actually one of the most fun, fulfilling, successful years of my life. I took the time this afternoon to scroll through my phone pictures, through Instagram highlights. I read some of my Facebook statuses and re-watched my wedding highlight reel. I was so happy.

I’m still so happy. And then it dawned on me, that it was one of those times to pause, listen, tweak, and step forward.

Life is all about tweaking.

I wrote out all of my accomplishments this year, as a reminder to myself of how far I have come. My best friend and I have been writing goals down since we were in the 7th grade, but at that time most of them were whimsical and fun. Now, I compartmentalize my aspirations, since life is more about holistic balance.

I can’t beat myself up about “at first glance 2016.” I can’t wallow in sorrow over my nurse practitioner’s, “whoa.” I can only look at and appreciate the below list, and move forward in tweaking the area’s of my life that need more care.

So without further ado… the 2016- 2017 Bliss List.

On Finance

  • Brought My Credit Score To An All Time High
  • Paid Off My First Student Loan
  • Paid Off My First Car & Was Able To Put $1,000 On A New, More Suitable Vehicle
  • Earned A Substantial Raise
  • Opened Joint Accounts With My Husband

2017 Goal: Pay Off My Credit Card. Obtain A Rewards Credit Card. Bump Up My Savings Account. Pay Off My Next Student Loan. Look At My Retirement Fund. Reflect On Family Assets & Create A Will.

On Fun

  • Went Fishing For The First Time
  •  Visited Harry Potter World As Part Of An Exclusive Experience
  •  Explored Universal Studios Roller Coasters With My Husband
  • Took Our First 13-Hour East Coast Roadtrip With The Pups
  • Took My Family To A Shooting Range
  • Roamed Annapolis With My Best Friend
  • Went To My First Nationals Game
  • Went to the National Book Festival & Saw Stephen King
  • Had An Incredible Bachelorette Weekend In Stamford, CT With My Best Girlfriends
  • Witnessed DC Cherry Blossoms
  • Played An Integral Role In My Cousin Mike’s Wedding
  • Bought A Typewriter
  • Hosted A Halloween Party
  • Spent A Wonderful Weekend, Double-Dating With My Parents In VA (Went To A Meadery)
  • Went To The Strand Bookstore
  • Got TSA Pre-Check
  • Started An Instagram For My Writing
  • Found An Italian Go-To Restaurant In Virginia
  • Bought A Teepee For A Cozy Writing Escape

2017 Goal: Get A Tattoo. Take A Writing Course. Blog. Be A Bridesmaid In My Best Friend’s Wedding. Read 10 Books. Dabble In Spanish & Italian.

On Love

  • Married The Love Of My Life In Our Beautiful Homestate, Complete With Handwritten Vows, A Personalized Ceremony, & An Unforgettable Guest List
  • Assessed Our Five Year Plan & Explored Possible New Destinations For Settlement
  • Survived Our First Home Renovation
  • Continued With Traditions Such As Apple Picking & Hollin Farms & ICE! Adventures
  • Maintained Open Communication About Finances & Created A System That Works
  • Dabbled In Hobbies Such As Candle Making & Cooking

2017 Goal: Be More Affectionate. Continue To Prioritize The Things That Make Us Special: Lotto Tickets On Adventure Days, Coffee Mornings, #TheBMMFCookbook, Bernard At Christmastime, Secret Journal Excerpts, Music Playlist Creations.

On Discovery

  • Saw The NYC Tree At Christmastime
  • Had An Incredible Honeymoon Experience In Saint Lucia: Hiked Pigeon Island, Went Kayaking In Clear Caribbean Waters, & Lived In Luxury With Cap Maison’s Private Villa, Complete With A Rooftop Pool
  • Walked The Streets Of Cleveland, OH During A Sporting Phenomenon
  • Wiggled My Toes In Newport, RI Sands With Family
  • Ate A Voodoo Donut In Portland, OR
  • Witnessed The Golden Gate Bridge In San Francisco
  • Ventured To The Tattered Cover Bookstore In Denver
  • Sat On The Floor Of A Great Sushi Restaurant With Friends In Salt Lake City, UT
  • Stayed At The Venetian & Experienced Vegas As A Professional In Nevada

2017 Goal: I’m Currently At 27 States Visited And Want To Make It To 30 Before 30.

On Professional Development

  • Watched The OSS Team Go From 4-9 Employees
  • Set Myself Apart In My Department As A Large Event & Niche MLM Expert
  • Closed A Total Of 80 Projects
  • PM’ed (3) 10,000+ Events In All Parts Of The Country
  • Created A Portfolio Of Raving Fans

2017 Goal: Manage A Team Of Leaders. Connect With Clients On A More Systematic Basis. Work Smarter, Not Harder.

On Physical & Mental Health

  • Established All Medical Professional Contacts In Virginia
  • Ate Solo At An Incredible Restaurant In Cleveland, OH
  • Examined The People Around Me And Stepped Away From Toxic Friendships

2017 Goal: Make Myself More Of A Priority- Invest In Myself & My Passions. Run A 5K. Wear Cuter Pajamas To Bed. Floss. Take A Multivitamin. Workout Beyond The 20lb Weight Gain. Build A Sustainable Routine.

What are your 2016 triumphs? Your 2017 tweaks? 

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