When this topic was given to me a few months ago, I thought writing about a vital life would be very easy. After all, as a medical professional, when we talk about vitals we are speaking of blood pressure and a pulse. Having a blood pressure and a pulse doesn’t necessarily mean you’re living a vital life.
I think the first thing I realized is that people probably define joy and vitality differently. So, let me try to explain what it truly means to me.
When I was growing up, my father went to work every day to provide for my mother and me. Mom kept the house, made dinner, washed clothes, and never worked outside the home. So maybe it wouldn’t come as a surprise that my father felt I would do the same. I would marry a good man who would provide while I manage the home, hearth, and kids. My father felt strongly that I didn’t need higher education.
I did marry well and we had two beautiful children. All was going according to my father’s plan until I realized that something was missing. I felt that I hadn’t yet completed “me”. While I loved being a wife and mother, I felt that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. There had to be more. I didn’t know how to think outside of the box. I was doing what others expected of me and nothing more. I needed to change that. I set out on a path of self‐discovery. That path of self‐discovery was attained through education. I went on to complete my Bachelor’s degree where I learned of my interest and skills in Biology. To build upon those skills, I entered into podiatric medical school. At the age of 42, I graduated as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Those short sentences don’t begin to sum up the journey. It was not always easy. It was incredibly hard for me to step out of my comfort zone, remove the blinders, learn about myself, and focus on attaining my full potential. I had my husband and children in my corner the whole entire time.
My education has provided a venue to touch the lives of others. Every day I know I have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s more than just the medical knowledge to deal with their podiatric issue. It’s knowing that I can make a patient smile who just lost his wife of 50 years. It’s listening to my patient’s stories and laughing along with them. It’s leaving a little bit of me with them. That brings me joy.
We ALL make a difference in someone’s life. In every encounter we have, we leave something of ourselves with someone else. We need to make the choice to make it a positive and joyful encounter.
A path to a joyful and vital life begins with learning about yourself and removing the blinders imposed by others. Through this mindful self‐discovery, you can begin to make a positive impact. I think that joy is personal. Joy lingers in your heart. We spark joy when we give of ourselves whether it be in our careers or in our family life.
Life is dynamic. Be sure to show up! Along the way, we can choose to just be observers or participants. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and try new things whether it be professionally or personally. We may fail but there will also be great successes. That’s what is meant by vitality!
Live your best, vital life and be mindful of the joyous moments along the way!
Barb Yeager resides in Lexington with her husband, Ray. They have two wonderful children, who also married well, and three beautiful grandchildren. She is also Clinical Podiatric Manager and Chief Podiatrist at the Mansfield VA Outpatient Clinic.
Travel Light. These words are the signature to my correspondence whether it is a blog, email or a letter. People often ask if I offer tips for how to pack luggage lightly when preparing for a trip after seeing these two words. That can definitely be one interpretation, but not my intention.
While on the road traveling for work over a five-year period, I am grateful to say that I have explored my fair share of cities. There were periods that I was in the same place for a few months, sometimes only a week and more commonly a day. With this active travel schedule and long work days, I thought I would create a blog so I could share photos and stories with friends and family while on the road. I decided on BohemianBabeTravels.com as the name of the site. Bohemian because it seemed to be the perfect fit for my unconventional lifestyle and Babe as a reminder to always find something to be in awe of in the world around me.
When I set out on the road to organize events, I had two storage units and more household type items at a friend’s place where I would stay when coming home for a quick family visit and to swap out luggage before hitting the road again. I had enough stuff to comfortably furnish a three-bedroom house at this time. While living as a road warrior, I came to appreciate and be content with the two suitcases of belongings I had. It was an adjustment but taught me how to live in a more simplistic way.
While managing an event, I met a nine-year girl who began asking me a ton of questions like curious children often do. After talking for a few minutes and attempting to understand my current lifestyle, she asked, “You mean you don’t go home every night? Where is all of your stuff? What do you miss the most?” As basic as these questions might have sounded, it stopped me in my tracks and I paused before answering. This child was referring to a material object and I couldn’t think of one thing that I actually missed. Not one. At that moment I couldn’t actually even think of one thing I owned that was back at my home base. The list I missed that popped into my head was game night with my family, holding my puppies, going out with friends, celebrating birthdays, holidays, life events together, and seeing faces, hearing laughter and sharing simple moments with those I loved. I came to realize that although I had accumulated all of this “stuff’, none of it held meaning for me nor made me happy. Creating memories with my tribe is what I missed the most, not material belongings.
Through my travels, I met a lot of different folks. I am the person that others refer to as, “that girl has never met a stranger.” I will pretty much talk to anyone. It is my babe view on the world; my lust to learn, and knowing that everyone has a story to share. Some of the most prolific moments in my life came through “random” encounters with “strangers.” I learned more in these times than any formal classroom could have ever taught me. There is much to gain in practicing presence and simply listening. I am grateful for the chance to have connected with people from all walks of life and the things I learned along the way. The stories people shared, the advice they gave, the dreams they aspired to achieve, and the hardships life presented them with were all pivotal in shaping the person I am today and essential in preparing me for the road that lay ahead.
The buzz phrase today is “being present.” This can often be hard to achieve when we go through the motions of our routines. We get comfortable in doing what we know and less willing to adventure outside of that safety zone. Even if people are unhappy, they will at times choose to stay where they are just because it is familiar. This is fine, but it can lead to getting stuck. When we aren’t moving forward, we become stagnant and cease to grow. It is easy to say “break out of the routine, hit the road, and discover yourself.” Please know while this is a dream for most, it is also not always practical and not at all what I’m saying. I would like to invite others to recognize the world – with those babe like eyes and get your bohemian on – by choosing a different approach to your routine. Break out of that comfort zone and allow yourself to view the world through a new lens. Perhaps it is something as simple as going boho by taking an alternate route to work that day, or being a babe by walking outside during your lunch break to establish a connection, whether it is within a flower, a cloud in the sky or even someone passing. Recognize the essence and beauty of its being. Traveling light doesn’t require a trip anywhere except within yourself. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t serve you. When you choose to hold onto it, it is really holding onto you. Let go and grow. Just breathe and be. This is the discovery of something awe striking when you align with your own divine light.
Christina Grozik (Bohemian Babe) has spent the past five years on the road traveling. Her journeys allowed her to meet extraordinary people, immerse herself in unique cultures and partake in amazing experiences. More importantly, she discovered lessons that would change her life forever. She has combined her roles as a Kent State University professor and media specialist with her wellness background. She is a Certified Vibrational Sound Therapist, Integrated Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, Polarity Practitioner, Energy Worker, and Reiki Specialist. With these modalities, she aims to help others find presence and balance. While she is known as a teacher, she also considers herself to be a student of life and pays gratitude to each day that allows her to be a part of it. She is currently working on a documentary about the impact of sound and believes in practicing good vibes only. GoingOmFilm.com