I haven’t always lived in the big city. In fact, I don’t live in a big city now, I live on the very edge of a little city. It is, as cities go, a very cool, trendy, hipster-y, micro-brew loving kind of city, but it is not overwhelmingly large. In fact, it is very easy to navigate, even for the non-local. But it is, very definitely a city. If the skyline doesn’t prove it, the traffic does.
“You’ll get tired of the traffic,” I was warned.
“Eighth most congested city in the nation,” I was informed.
“Ugh,” one friend sighed. “Traffic into the city is always bad and 217 is always horrible, even on weekends…especially on weekends.” Read the rest of this entry
Have you ever had this urge to scrap everything and do something entirely different with your life? Something so different it rates as impossible rather that merely improbable. I have done this. I met someone and after only six months of dating, and most of that dating was via Skype, I married the guy. It didn’t work out for me and I’m faced with rebuilding my life,but I don’t regret taking the risk. I only regret that I didn’t manage the risk a bit better. I am the textbook reason prenuptial agreements need to exist. But…I took the risk, it failed, but I don’t regret the experience and adventure that it was at all. My dream was to travel and live abroad. I did that. In the process, I learned a ton about how to schedule flights so that you never miss one, which airports to avoid and which are better for making connections. I learned how to schedule a trip across the pond (either direction) in order to minimize jet lag. I’m still working on learning to travel light, but I’ve made vast improvement in that area over the last year. Most importantly, I’ve gone from thinking I should maybe give up my dreams to being confident that they will come to pass no matter how outlandish, impossible or impractical they might seem to me now. I mean, I’ve had plenty of dreams over the last six years come true. Why should that momentum end now? Read the rest of this entry
I have a friend I’ve know for quite some time who is an executive coach. This man makes a living coaching top executives at companies to improve outcomes (and I imagine this means profits) for the organization. He makes more money in one gig than I make in several years. He’s probably made and lost more money over the years than I will see in several lifetimes. As I type this, he is involved in putting together a deal that will allow him to quadruple his income and expand his business. He’s doing this at a time in his life when he should be (or most people are considering being) retired. He doesn’t punch a time clock. His office is in his home or in a coffee shop or cigar shop nearby. He lives in a tower and drives an Audi. He controls his time, his life and mostly his levels of stress. He does what he wants, when he wants with no demands imposed on his life other than those he chooses for himself. It’s a pretty good gig for supposedly being retired. But it hasn’t always been this way for him. He’s had some pretty rough moments along the way. Read the rest of this entry
Yes. I’ve been dating again. It’s proof positive that I am clearly not well. After all, my divorce isn’t even final. Never mind that my soon-to-be (or maybe not-so-soon depending on the length of the legal battle our attorneys wage) ex hasn’t spoken to me in nearly seven months. It’s been over half a year since he ghosted me. If being able to deal with being ghosted is a requirement to re-entry into the dating world, then I believe I’m as ready as anyone. I certainly have plenty of experience there. I’m not ready for relationship and I know it. My reasons for “dating” are not to pursue relationship so much as it is to provide a distraction from the loneliness and pain I’m feeling about the way my marriage has disintegrated. Read the rest of this entry
I remember clearly the last time I was on an amusement park ride. It was not a pleasant experience. It was one of those rides that throws you through the air and swings you side to side roughly, abruptly changing directions so suddenly and with such force that you wonder if your internal organs have departed your body. Then you immediately wonder how can the mechanics of this ride sustain such momentum and force. When will that one bolt work it’s way loose. When will my chair…or my daughter’s chair in front of me…be the one to go flying wildly into the air as if forcefully flung from the contraption. I remember gritting my teeth, dreading every moment, wondering when the ride would end. My daughter on the other hand reveled in the moment.
It was the last amusement park ride I ever rode.
I learned something about myself that day. I learned, I don’t really like amusement park rides. Not even the tame ones. Too much of my psyche is preoccupied with enduring the experience. There’s no enjoyment. Even more of my energy is consumed with fretting about that one in one hundred billionth chance that something will go desperately wrong.
Then, of course, there is the time and expense. At many amusement parks, you pay a premium for a two minute ride. And…you stand in line for a very long time for that short ride. Even at a small county fair, you can expect to pay way too much for way too little in terms of entertainment time. And then what? When it’s all over, you are broke and miserable, with nothing but a bad memory to show for it. At least, that’s my experience.
No matter how many rides I go on or how many different venues I experience it’s always the same.
It’s interesting how similar my experiences with marriage are to amusement park rides.
About two years ago, I published a post on this blog about meeting this great guy. I published a post or two a bit later about marrying that guy and leaving my life as I had known it to live with him overseas. He worked overseas as a contractor and the plan was that I would move with him and live with him where he worked. It was a wonderful fairy tale story except that it was real and it was happening to me. I was going to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream of living abroad, being able to write and not have to deal with the stresses of my career. I was marrying a man I loved and who loved me. It was going to be great.
Except…it wasn’t great. Read the rest of this entry
It’s been about two weeks since I last posted, so I thought I’d give an update on my progress in the fitness area. It’s mixed. The good thing is that in the last week, which is when I really got serious (I spent the week before dilly dallying around mostly until about midweek), I lost a kilo, which is just over two pounds. Last Monday, I took measurements and set goals and one goal is to try to lose a kilo a week. But when you are over 50 and your lifestyle involves food and social events that are not conducive to furthering your fitness goals, it’s tough. I blew it a lot. But I did one thing well and that was to workout or be active every single day. And I tracked my progress.
Fitness is always an internal journey as well as a physical one. We win or lose the battle in our heads long before we see the results on our bodies. It’s about being consistent over time, more than it is about being really good at anything we do. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in, in recent years. Walking is tough for me and I’m not fast. I can ride my bike, but the bike I’m riding these days is much heavier as am I, so I’m pushing hard when I have to climb even the slightest of inclines. It’s easy to look at how much fitness I’ve lost over the last two years and become discouraged. It’s a mental battle before it becomes a physical one. On October 21st, I just decided to get started. I set a goal to get out and walk every day for at least two miles. On some days I was just under that goal, on others I was well over it. By the following week, I logged a couple of days where my walking distance was six or seven miles. Last week I exceeded my weekly walking goal of ten miles after only three days in. Since the weather was nice, I added bike riding into my activities and I headed back to the gym for some strength training. I took two days of rest after ten straight days of activity. Now, I won’t keep that up, but I needed to force a daily exercise time into my schedule. I had to be okay with the fact that it wasn’t at the gym every day but that I was getting out and doing something for one hour a day. I hoped I’d lose weight. I wasn’t holding my breath about it though, because like I said, I really didn’t modify the eating too much. My big goal was the exercise, and I’ve got that underway. Now I can continue that progress and add in another small goal. Mental determination translates into physical fitness success. Read the rest of this entry
And then there was the evening when I finished off the last of the whiskey, drained the vodka, emptied the tonic and ran out of ice. The gin had been ingested and digested a week ago. I was determined to stop with the evening cocktail or glass of wine and get up the next morning and complete a full workout. I was going to do it. I wasn’t in the mode of telling myself “I should do this for me.” I was in the frame of mind (which is difficult to muster artificially) that “I was going to do this thing.” That “I could do this thing and I could start whatever I needed to start, change whatever I needed to change and I would not quit until I had achieved it.” So, after finishing off a very small whiskey on the rocks, I went to bed determined to get up and get started on my new life.
This, after completely gorging on dinner that evening.
This, after saying a thousand times I was going to start only to start and fall off the wagon or skip the exercise or eat the pasta again and again and again.
But this time it was different. There was no mental waffling or fear of failure. It was a solid way of thinking. It was going to happen, and I was going to do it. Read the rest of this entry
Transitions have always been difficult and often turbulent for me. In my last position, in the last two years before I ended up on what amounts to an extended (maybe permanent?) vacation, I remember it taking me a good month before I felt like I had control of my schedule so that I knew when and where I needed to be at what times and could make arrangements for the kids. Since the children were older, these arrangements largely meant making sure I had food in the refrigerator for them and that they knew what time to expect me home and where to reach me in an emergency. It just always seems to take so long for me to feel like the transition is finally our life. But we made it through that transition and before I knew it I was busier and more stressed than I ever imagined possible. There’s a point to where trying to achieve too much is just…too much. Read the rest of this entry