Eileen Kern

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The Summer I Changed My Life

One of my strategies for getting past life handing me a lemon or two is thinking I could write a book about this. Now, recently my lemons have tended to be smaller side effects of things that are actually quite wonderful: I love writing for a living… but it makes it easy to have a sedentary lifestyle. I have abundant access to coffee… but drinking 4 cups a day is possibly not the greatest for my health. And the like.


Now, in actuality, I never write the book. Once the lemon-y time has passed, I’ve found it easier to move on rather than to relive my lemonade-making process through writing. But, frankly, when I think about how far I’ve come in such a short time, it might be worth it to share a few of my victories here:

Girl Running

Improving Physical Activity

Nearly every day for the past three months I have walked or walk/jogged at least a mile. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even mentally notice some of these walks anymore–last Monday I had been feeling guilty about not going on a jog, only to remember that I had walked well over a mile (probably closer to three or more, all told) in the course of getting where I was going that day.

Coffee Beans

Reducing Caffeine Intake

One of my most controversial initiatives! Coffee used to be my lifeblood at work; I would regularly have at least four cups a day. I now try not to have more than one cup per day, supplemented by rooibus tea (and occasionally other herbal teas).

Pouring Alcohol Mindfully

It goes against every instinct that I have to write about alcohol in my blog, but I think this is worth mentioning. I’ve never been a big drinker, which often leads to me sharing a bottle with a friend because I don’t want to see the excess go to waste. Here is my ideal beer solution:

Libby Beer Flight

These mini beer glasses–also perfect for portioning “taste” sizes when sharing beer with friends– represent about as much beer as I find delicious, anyway. It is certainly useful to have this solution in the back of my mind, given that Dan Whitener has ready access to, and enjoys entertaining with, unusual and tasty beers.

Bakery Case

Snacking Mindfully

One of the reasons I drink so many cups of coffee/tea daily is because I pretty much like to be eating or drinking something constantly. In an office building, snacks are hiding everywhere: Not only do I have some granola bars in my desk, but also I know of at least two people with openly available candy stashes, to say nothing of the treats that are brought in on a regular basis (nor the leftovers from catered lunch meetings that are frequently left in the cafeteria).

The solution may be having half of a homemade brownie instead of a full one, or it may be not taking a cookie from the cookie tray no matter how delicious it looks. While it is not a hard-and-fast rule, I have been trying to steer clear of packaged sweets with preservatives, simply because I find fresh-made items tastier. Why should I bother eating something unhealthy if it is not the tastiest option?


Reading and reading and reading

I know that reading is central to my happiness, and while I have made more time for books in the past handful of months, I know I need to make even more time for literature in my day-to-day life. My biggest victory this summer was reading 5 books during my week-long vacation in Canada this year; my next victory will be redirecting some of the time I spend reading mindless internet articles back to my beloved paper books.


Working and Living in Harmony

My early career has felt, at times, chaotic. When I graduated from undergrad, I found myself content (but making very little money) in bookselling. I went back to school to earn the credentials I would need to become a teacher, then a single application to a non-teaching role pulled my life off of that track as well. In the past year plus, I have found myself working very happily in a role that, frankly, I never would have conceived of before sending in that one little resume.

There are additional changes around the corner for me as my place within my current company evolves. Change is a constant, but I also have been fortunate that for me, to date, every change has been for the better. While recently I’ve been (voluntarily) working some longer hours, overall I have been striving to pursue a healthy work-life balance. Over the past three months, I have been making efforts to reach out to friends and make plans to entertain. As part of getting the house entertainment-ready, I’ve also been sorting my belongings and deciding what to sell or donate.

The Result

I’m waking up before my alarm. I’ve lost weight and I feel stronger. I am unbelievably proud of some of my recent projects at work. I am feeling more at peace than I have in a very long time.

There’s still more to go, but I’ve accomplished some things this summer that I didn’t believe were possible for me. Now that I’ve shared this, I just have to make you and myself proud by continuing to pursue the life I want to have.

3 thoughts on “The Summer I Changed My Life”
  1. Linda Kern September 27, 2014 on 5:22 pm

    So happy for you. These small but significant changes are the key to your happiness and success.

  2. Chelsea September 28, 2014 on 4:42 pm

    Love! Well done, great points made 🙂

  3. Alyson Provax September 28, 2014 on 5:14 pm

    This all really resonates with me right now, but particularly the move to switch up internet reading for printed matter. I even notice a difference between reading an article online or in a magazine . Paper makes for a relaxing experience and I know I retain more when I read on paper vs. the screen.

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