The Struggle Is Real…Or Is It?

By Jeremy Carden

I’m certain that everyone reading this has either heard or said the phrase “The struggle is real.” Similar to Y.O.L.O. (You only live once), it has become a popular catchphrase of our generation. Typically, it is used to describe some type of hardship being experienced by an individual. However, just like those songs you hear on the radio 24/7…it gets old very fast.

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Now I’m not writing this blog to point fingers at people who say this phrase (because I say it on a daily basis) or to express my annoyance of it. The point of all of this is to ask the question; what does it REALLY mean to say “the struggle is real?”

Whenever it rolls off of your tongue the purpose behind saying it is to express that you recognize a difficult situation that either you or another person is going through. Recently, I’ve been going through some hardships of my own and I’ve found myself saying “the struggle is real” even more often than before.

A few nights ago I sat down and thought about my “struggles.” It wasn’t until I hashed out everything that I realized most of these struggles were self-created.

Take a moment and ask yourself; Am I the reason for most of my struggles?

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While I was mentally listing out my troubles, the phrase “You are your own worst enemy…” kept going through my mind. That makes a lot of sense because I’m one of those people who can be classified as an “over thinker” or a “worrywart.” I’m sure that some of you reading this can relate to me when I say that when you worry about something you can play 20+ worst case scenarios in your head about a situation in 30 seconds. Now if that does not cause a struggle for you mentality then I don’t know what does.

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For those of you who say that the struggle is real when it comes to losing weight, how many of you get off of the couch to take a walk or replace that soda in your hand with a bottle of water?

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To anyone having a difficult time trying to move on from a past relationship, are you still talking to your ex or find yourself looking at their pages on social media sites to keep track of what they are doing?

Our inner demons have a way of bringing out temptation and painful memories to bring us down. The struggle is real after you’ve gotten your heartbroken whem a relationship ends or you step on the scale and the number you see makes you want to breakdown and cry. Just the impossibility of getting into shape or putting the pieces of your heart back together truly makes the hardship of the situation escalate. Of course, these are just a couple of the many struggles people face in their lifetimes.

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Money is one of the primary struggles people use the phrase in reference to. Wanting to buy Frosted Flakes but you have to buy the generic brand instead due to a budget is “a struggle.”

Sometimes in order to overcome these struggles you have to do something about it!

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Want to lose weight? Stop scrolling through Facebook on your computer or sitting in front of your TV screen playing a video game for 5 hours straight! If you can do that then you can certainly manage to exercise for an hour or so a day.

Moving on from a relationship proving to be difficult? Stop pinning over the person who broke your heart! The more you dwell on it…the more painful it becomes. You cannot make room for the right person to come into your life if you are stilling holding onto feelings for the wrong person.

No struggle that we go through in life is impossible to overcome. Despite the difficulty one must face in order to conquer a struggle, it will all pay off in the long run.

If there was one thing that I’d want someone reading this blog to take away it is that “The struggle is real, but so is the reward on the other side.” We have to go through those times of hardship for 2 key reasons:

  1. Going through difficult times (struggles) help us to appreciate the good things in our lives once that period of hardship is over. You don’t truly appreciate something handed to you on the same level you do for something that you’ve earned through hard work and struggle.
  2. Despite the struggle(s) that you are going through at the moment there is something good waiting once it is over.

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Something else that I’ve heard many times is “Once you’ve hit rock bottom there is no reason to give up because that means the only direction that you can go is up!”

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Of course, some realists or Debby Downer would say something sarcastic or technical about how you can go even lower and melt at the center of the earth. All joking aside there is a lot of truth behind that statement. There are some moments in life where everything has to be torn down in order to be built back up again. What’s even better is that sometimes when your life is rebuilt it is even better than it was before. The downside is going through the pain of the struggles that come with that.

So the next time you say that “the struggle is real” just stop and think about whether or not you are the cause of it. The struggles we face are only as real as we make them. Are you spending more time complaining about your struggle or are you spending time doing something in order to overcome it?

 

 

 

 

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Summertime Health Tips

Well with graduation from Liberty University a thing of the past (last weekend to be precise) summertime has fallen upon me along with the temptation of doing nothing. I’m looking to do graduate school but I’m still torn between going back to Lynchburg or just doing it online (which is a heck of a lot cheaper not having to deal with housing charges) next semester.

In terms of staying healthy, I am pretty much on my own here. There are no large group of friends back where I live inviting me out places, I live in the neck of the woods so walking for a couple of miles would not be a wise choice with wild animals and snakes coming out to “play” in the warmer weather and laziness being something I’m trying to avoid.

My parents are the only ones in the house when I’m at college, so grocery shopping is pretty much a thing of the past; they go to work, get some take out and come back home. So right there leaves me with a few options in how to stay fit. The only stores within 10 minutes of home are a couple of general stores but they don’t really sell “food food” they only sell snacks, ice cream, candy and whatnot. The food they do have like eggs, bacon and other meats are overpriced due to the “convenience” of not having to drive 30 minutes to get something to put in the refrigerator.

That is something I’m REALLY trying to not fall prey; going to those stores to get junk food and soda because there is nothing else to eat.

After I get my paycheck next week from my online job, I’ll drive into town to get some good food like bananas, broccoli and some other substantial food options.

I really hated last summer because I got a taste of what my folks do when they get off of work; tired and worn out from a long day of work they do not feel like cooking so they just get fast food. That put 8 pounds on me and I hated it!

So, this summer I’m going to be more active. I’ve been at home 5 days so far and I’m going outside for an hour to 90 minutes just walking around to get air and keeps the blood flowing. I do not want to be stuck in the house just on my computer or watching TV.

Not to mention sleeping in until noon because being an online employee I can work at my own pace and whatever time I choose.

I’m going to a couple interviews next week to hopefully get a good summer job in town as well just to get out of the house. Hopefully that goes well!!

Basically, staying active and not being too lazy are my keys to having a good and healthy summer.

-Relax; there is nothing wrong with sleeping in sometimes (unless you have a job because then you have to get up early), have fun, go on vacation, but don’t let laziness become a common theme in the months to come

-Stay active; even if you don’t go outside because the weather is in the upper 80s or in the 90s region, do some pushups or something just to stay loose

-Hobbies; to get your mind off work and exercise just to give you something to do besides sleep, eat, stay on the computer, play video games or watch TV. Read a book, writing in a journal, go through old photos or something (I mean photos in albums BEFORE Facebook came along). For me I’m working on new songs and reading some books I bought this semester.

-Don’t eat too much; Cookouts, ice cream, and all the usual summertime food on the menu looks, smells and tastes good but there is nothing wrong with turning it down sometimes or at least moderate how much you eat. I know I cannot resist a rack of ribs, hotdogs or burgers from the grill. Who could? Well if you do eat a lot at least compensate for it by exercising more.

-WATER; to me summertime is the best time to lose weight because you sweat a lot burning more calories. For me personally, sodas just don’t do the trick in hot weather. Water just I don’t know feels good this time of year. It really satisfies my thirst (Kool-Aid on a hot day does the same but you catch my drift)

Have a great and healthy summer guys!

Soda Cravings

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by Jeremy Carden

Well it hasn’t been too long since I blogged about “The Run-Out Diet” and I just wanted to give you all an update about how things have been going for me health-wise. It has been 5 ½ days since I have had a soda.

I’m not going to lie it actually started with the “Run-Out” strategy. Where I ran out of sodas in my refrigerator and I didn’t have the funds to go out and get more. Instead I just opted to drink nothing but water and an occasional cup of juice for Vitamin C to keep my immune system intact.

It is extremely difficult or should I say “was” because the first 3 days were a killer with no Sierra Mist or Mountain Dew in my system. The lack of caffeine (because I don’t drink coffee) was starting to get to me but I got used to it overtime. Water isn’t that bad at all I mean it doesn’t leave that sugary taste in my mouth like soda or Kool-Aid does but it gets the job done in keeping me hydrated.

Not to mention there is no guilt from drinking water! I’m going to see how long I can go without drinking a soda. My friend I was talking with yesterday told me that it has been 6 years since he had a soft drink. I was shocked!!

Don’t know if I can go THAT long without one but hey everyone should move at their own pace. An experiment I might try is to wait after 10 days and try a sip of soda to see if I still get that craving for more.

I know from experience that going without a certain food or drink product for an extended amount of time might get rid of the cravings or want for that product after you stop consuming it for awhile.

So, in about 5 more days I’ll come back with an update to let you know how things are going with my soda cravings!

If anyone reading this is going through a similar experience then I just want you to know that you should stay strong and resist! Walking down the aisles of the grocery store or seeing the soda containers at the back of the gas station is painful sometimes but just keep pushing that grocery cart in another direction and grab some water instead!