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
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
I know it is an idiom. The idea of a broken heart. Your heart doesn’t literally break like some glass ornament that can shatter when it falls from the tree. It is merely an expression indicating great pain. Pain usually associated with the loss of a love.
I know this pain. I know this pain intimately. For me, this pain, while usually referred to in emotional terms, is one I experience on a physical level as well as on an emotional level. It resides in my chest, just to the right of center and it feels like someone wedged a pickax in at that particular point and is now trying to pull my heart right out from my body. It is a physical pain as well as an emotional pain.
What I didn’t know, until this last year, was that sometimes a broken heart occurs for reasons other than lost or unrequited love. A broken heart can occur absent love. A broken heart can occur when a dream that you loved, that you hoped for, that you worked for, dies. Broken hearts might always be about love, but they are not always about lovers.
This is where I should place an overused quotation about dreams and broken-winged birds. Right here. Right up front. It would be here to draw The Reader in. It would be The Hook. The Reader would read the quotation, and sigh longingly in agreement. Yes! Yes! Life without dreams is like that broken-winged bird that cannot fly (wait, isn’t that redundant?). The Reader, so enamored with my clever use of the quotation could not help but read on. Read the rest of this entry
Back in the day, when I was younger, squeaky clean, freshly stamped with that Bachelor’s Degree, and looking for work, I had to go through the arduous, intimidating, and emotionally exhausting process of interviewing. I hated it. I hated the way I was often scrutinized, picked apart, rejected. And that was if I even got the interview. Because I was able to present myself well on paper, and because I legitimately had some decent grades, a fair amount of extracurricular campus leadership involvement, and held down a 30-40 hour job, I usually got any interview I sought. The problem is, I’d crash and burn on the interviews. The only time I didn’t crash and burn on an interview was the interview for the job I have now. Of course, by the time I interviewed for this job, I was in my 30’s, had a bunch more education under my belt, and was far more confident in my abilities to do the job I was seeking. Looking back, I was so terribly frightened and unsure of myself in those wide-eyed, innocent days, that it is amazing that I got the jobs I did get, when I got them, that gave me the experience which ultimately landed me a position in a nationally recognized and cutting edge training program for the profession I am currently in.
I was young and unsure. I felt inadequate. I was afraid to fail. All of this showed through in those early interviews, I am sure. Like I said, I’m surprised I ever got a job to begin with. Read the rest of this entry
I read an article about the futility of hope a while back. I can’t remember where or what publication it was in. It may have been some random waiting room magazine I happened to be leafing through in the radiation center. Who knows? I just remember that the thesis of the article struck me as strange. The article suggested that there are times when hope is counterproductive. For example, in the case of a terminally ill person, holding out hope for a late-in-the-game cure actually prevents the person from doing the work ( emotionally, relationally, etc.) that they need to do to face their illness and prepare to exit this life. This was just one of several examples. I wish I could remember the article or even the magazine so I could provide you with it, but I just can’t. My explanation of it is weak.
I’m not so sure that I agree with the premise of this article. Hope keeps us going. The Bible says that without hope, the people perish. If we don’t have hope, then why don’t we just all drink the magical elixir and end it all right now? Hope keeps us moving forward, pushing onward, taking that next step even though we’ve been brutally beaten in life’s most recent battle.
On the other hand…I think I’m beginning to understand the value of giving up hope.
Sometimes, when we face our problems, troubles, or situation without hoping it will change, we end up finally arriving at a place where we can do what we couldn’t do before while we were hoping for different outcomes. I guess, in a way, hope can masquerade as denial. When this occurs, or at least lately,for me, when this occurs, I spend my time and energy on futile endeavors rather than facing facts and moving on with a different plan. My hope was in the wrong thing. My hope led me to deny the truth that was staring me in the face. Had I given up hope, I could have faced the truth and avoided a great deal of pain and confusion and, quite possibly, even some financial loss.
As I look back on the events of this year, especially of the losses this last month, and as I look toward the future, I have to admit that in certain areas of life there are certain goals and hopes I am beginning to give up on. I think of what this means for me, and quite honestly, there are aspects of this that trouble me greatly. It isn’t exactly the destination I wanted to arrive at, but I’m here, and at least for now I see no exit door. Admittedly, I’m not looking that hard, because I’ve given up the hope that if I found an exit, the room on the other side would be any better than the one I just left. I’ve given up hope that there are any rooms at all worth exploring. Just opening the door is distasteful idea to me. So, for now, I’m in this room in my life alone. I’ve given up hope that there will be any of a certain kind of companionship. Or, at least, I’m beginning to.
The more I ponder this, the more I think, this might not be such a bad thing. After all, now I can focus without distraction, on the things in my life that need my attention and energy. I can, at last, focus on doing some things I’ve always wanted to do. I haven’t given up on hope altogether. I believe there are better days ahead. However, I’m enjoying some pretty good moments and days now, and I don’t want to miss the joy in them by spending my energy hoping my situation in certain ways will change.
It’s an interesting thing. While I would never have chosen this for myself, I’m finding that in spite of the sadness and loneliness I do feel at times, I am happier, more content, and more at peace than I’ve been in a long time. This is not to say I feel great all the time. I don’t. But I think, no matter what, I’m going to be okay.
I wonder, have you ever felt like abandoning hope in something, and found that when you did, you were pleasantly surprised?
Have you ever in your life thought of just quitting everything, packing things up (or getting rid of them), and starting life over somewhere else doing something else? A new place; a new life; a new history to look back on?
I have several friends, myself included, with college-age children. The kids are heading off to college. They are traveling; moving across the nation in some cases, to begin the next step in their lives. I sometimes, no, often, wonder what it would have been like to go back and do life differently. I sometimes also wonder if it is getting to be too late for me to do some of the things I’d really like to still do. Like live and work in the city. The real city, not just the smallish one I live in now, which is more like a bunch of overgrown towns pushing at each other than a real city. With a skyline. And a waterfront.
A friend of mine is making her dreams come true. She and her sister are combining households, saving money and in the next year or two, they will move to France, where my friend says she hopes to live until she dies. You can read about their journey at Lipstick And Baguettes. A dream like this is amazing to me, but to do it requires more than I can ask of my children right now.
I wonder if I will ever travel out of the country. If I do where will I go? Sometimes, though I am content with my existence, I feel as though nothing will ever change, no matter how much I might like it to or try to make it something different. On the the other hand it is wonderful where I am, and I think I could stay here forever. At the same time, I know I don’t really want to.
Of course, right now, nothing looks great. Everything is crummy because I don’t feel well. I’ve missed a perfectly grand, sunny weekend being sick with this cold. I had the The Hesitant Boyfriend go out and get me some NyQuil. I’m pretty glad he didn’t hesitate on that. Seems like it might be time to take another dose.
Look…I accomplished nothing today. At least, nothing the rest of the world would consider important. So I did what I did. Spent some time with my youngest and she kicked me to the curb because I’m old and ugly and uncool…so I went to a nail appointment which had to be “rescheduled” because my nail tech can only take me in limited doses. I then returned home to find that all my other children had fled to their other parents’ home in order to get out of doing chores at mine…I then realized that since I’m poor, ugly and old, there’s just no way anyone is going to give me a break, so I figured…now’s a good time for a cocktail…this occurred at 10 am in the morning…you can now understand why I accomplished nothing today. I’m good with that…