Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What You Get When You Give - Even if it is Just a Little

For a good portion of my life I have been afraid to try new things.  It isn't just the fear of failing what I try, it's the fear of failing what I try AND looking foolish while I am horribly failing at it.  I have walked away from some pretty cool experiences because I have been afraid. 

Not this year!  This year, when I am asked to do something or am looking at doing something, the SECOND I get that *OMG* feeling in my stomach, I make the decision that I am going to give it my best shot.  I don't <really> listen to the voice in my head that is screaming at me that I am going to look stupid.  I hear it and acknowledge it but have decided that this is the year that I push past that.  And I have already had some really great results.

This blog.  I started it 3 years ago and then listened to that shithead in my brain that said, "Naw girl...don't be wasting your time doing this - Ain't nobody got time to read what you write."  I know people read this because Google Analytics tells me that but even if it was just me putting thoughts to paper (or keyboard) I would be happy because I am writing again.

My new way of eating.  It's only been 79 days since I decided to change things up in the eating department and it has been going great.  Not only am I getting the benefits of weight loss, I am feeling better, looking better and learning all sorts of different things to cook - and I LOVE cooking.

Not being a doormat.  This is huge for me.  I am done getting walked on.  I am done being used.  I am done feeling like I have to say yes. I am done taking care of everyone else so much so that I became lost.  I still struggle with this because, well I still allow buttons to get pushed and I have not yet mastered the difference between assertive and aggressive.  I think part of the problem is that I have been a pretty passive up to now.  Never really saying much until I just couldn't handle it anymore and then like an active volcano I would just erupt.

Getting out.  I am an introvert, I actually enjoy being an introvert but I also enjoy life and so I have been making myself go out and socialize, mix, mingle, make new friends and have fun.  I have met some new and really wonderful people doing this and even though I love to just be at home re-energizing myself away from people - I have been having a good time.

Exercise.  Hate it.  I wish that I could hire someone to do it for me and sit back on the couch with a beer and watch them do it.  However, it doesn't work like that.  But...drumroll...I have actually been doing it :)  I don't always want to but I push myself.  If I had pushed myself initially when I started realizing that the scale was moving up, I wouldn't be here.  And here I am - trying to get back to where I was LOL. 

I have never really found anything I like - swimming comes the closest but ugh, all the after work that goes with swimming.  I actually bought a swim cap so not to get my hair wet - yeah, those caps don't work for that, it is just to keep your hair out of your face.  So not only did I embarrass the hell out of my daughter with my cap, I got wet hair.

Well, I am thinking I have finally found something I enjoy.  My daughter is back from her six month stint in Mexico (yay for returning daughters) and she asked me to accompany her to Yoga - specifically hot yoga.  If you have not experienced this form of torture exercise, just jog on down to your local pool, hop on into that sauna and start working out :)  Actually it isn't torture.  I quite liked it.  I admit I was ready to walk out of the room towards the end and have never been so happy to hear, "please, lay down on your mats."  I was shiny and dewy and soaking wet but my body felt good.  I have been back to the studio yesterday for Relax and Restore which was heaven - no impact at all, stretching and breathing and tonight I am going again to actually learn the moves with a beginner's foundation class. 

I have also been enjoying my weights.  Again, by the end of my reps my <insert muscle group here> is screaming at me to just stop the insanity but I am starting to see results.

So in closing, I am still afraid to try new things, I am still afraid of looking foolish, I am still afraid of failing - but I am more afraid of life coming to an end and having regrets so I do it anyway.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jack Frost, you have been given your eviction notice.

I live in Canada, specifically Alberta and I hate the fact that 8 months out of the year I am cold, there is snow and summer always seems so far away. I guess maybe embracing winter sports might solve the absolute hatred... no, I can't think of a reason why I would like winter.

I go to work in the morning, it is dark. I come home at night and it is dark. I get to a point where my cabin fever is over the top and I longingly gaze at all my summer spots on the drive home. I don't want to run out in my pj's and start my car, hoping that while I am back in the warmth, the windows will defrost and I will be able to back up without worry because I can see out the back window. I don't want to look at my closet because I see all the lovely, flowing skirts that would cause me to have some rather nasty frostbite if I dare wear them out in this weather.

I wake up in the morning and hear the weather forecast. I hold my breath, cross my fingers and then want to drive to the radio station and punch someone in their junk. We had such an unseasonably warm December, with rain even. The grass was starting to show and I know...don't get your hopes up, it's not really halfway
through yet, but man. What a let down to go from +10C to -30C. (For my US friends that's 50F to -22F or FREAKING COLD). We have a windchill on top of that and I am sure all of us in Canada become a little envious when we hear about the cancellations of life in the US when snow falls in some States. I don't remember ever having a snow day in the 33 years I have lived here.

Then comes February and the multiple ground-hogs who all see something different. So who even knows how many more weeks we have left and why are we relying on a rodent to tell us this??? I try hard to look for the positive starting around this time to carry me through to April/May. I do this trick - how far can I drive before I have to turn my lights on. I am now pulling into the parking lot of my apartment and still don't have to turn my lights on. Positive #1. I don't have to drive to work with my lights on any more either - Positive #2.

I know it will end. It always does. Alberta doesn't have spring per se. You go to sleep one night and the trees are bare, get up the next morning and they are covered with leaves. We don't really have plants that poke their heads up to see what's going on. Here, like winter, spring is sort of BAM! Here I am.

We also have been having some nicer weather since I started writing this. We have now turned into the ugly, brown city for a while. You can see the grass, but it is brown. The snow is going but now you can see the garbage that people threw away and was hidden by the winter months. The roads are clear but full of sand and dirt. And I think in the past week, half my paycheque has gone towards washer fluid. My ride to work has become a rickety, wooden roller coaster ride as the potholes that had been smoothed out by the snow are now resurfacing - (do NOT drink coffee in your car during the thaw!!) There is this smell that fills the city for a couple of months - rotting leaves that were covered in snow before they were raked up, dog poop, oh the dog poop but again, this is a sign of better things to come.

We have now had our Daylight Savings weekend so we move a little backwards again. My day that had some light to the start of it has now become dark again BUT...I don't have to turn lights on in the house until about 6:45 pm. Every year I threaten to pack up all my belongings and move to British Columbia. I hear the complaints about the rain, but hello...I was born and lived in England. Every year I cover up my itchy winter skin with moisturizers and start looking for jobs either on the island or the mainland and tell everyone "this is it...this is the year that I really have had enough winter." And every year - I get to the point where the snow is melting and I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back because I managed to get through yet another winter. (Not that we have yet, it is only March - but Jack Frost - you have been given your eviction notice!!!)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Wait....what? I am how old?

March 9, 1970 - a child is born.  Me!!  This memorable event took place 44 years ago - FORTY-FOUR years ago.  I look at that number and it boggles my mind that it is my age.  I am older now than when I remember my mom the best.  She was in her mid 30's - I in my teens. 

I have to say, I have good genes.  I been told I don't look 44 and I certainly don't act it.  I am at heart and in mind a kid.  I am and probably always will be a class clown.  I have an incredibly stupid sense of humour.  I laugh when people trip and fall (as long as they aren't hurt).  I darn near cry watching practical jokes on YouTube and I have been known to make people bleed with my sharp wit (ha ya like that???).

I often wonder if my mind is going to clue in and eventually catch up with my age.  To be honest it kind of scares me a little.  I don't have anything against aging, it is inevitable and I am doing it every day.  I see the lines getting deeper, the skin isn't as taut as it once was, the grey hairs appear a little faster but my mind looks in the mirror and sees 21.  But I really hope that my state of mind stays with me as I age.  I want to be the one on time out in the senior's home for toilet papering the Director's car.

One of the things that keeps me feeling young is my kids.  Oh my - they got the best of their dad and me.  My son is fast with the comments, I think my wit is sharp - his is killer.  My oldest daughter has this innocent way of just dropping stuff that is so unexpected, you aren't quite sure how to react.  My youngest daughter is me.  Her sense of humour, like mine, borders on inappropriate but she really does it well.  All of them do. 

I like where I am in life.  It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I happen to be happy here in this moment.  I am learning new things about myself, experimenting a little with life, trying out some things I have never done before and looking a little more to the future.  I have a great job that I don't plan on leaving until I retire now, it is stable and consistent and the people I work with and for are great.  I have my ladybug (my lovely little red Focus).  I have my cozy little home.  Oh it's a small, 2-bedroom apartment but it is welcoming and inviting and cozy and I FEEL at home there.  I have 3 great kids and I am not speaking with mom bias, they really are great kids and I had something to do with that. 

Don't get me wrong, there are parts of my life that aren't good right now and that probably aren't going to get better.  It's looking like I am on my way to a second divorce (god, please don't let me become Elizabeth Taylor) but I am choosing to remain positive and "young" at heart and deal with things with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  

Forty-four years of life and learning and mistakes and loss has brought me to this moment, this right now and I am pretty darn good with that.  It doesn't make everyone happy - but everyone isn't me.

I got to celebrate my birthday with some wonderful people and great friends.  I was very spoiled and feel very blessed that they are all in my life.  Went to Montana's for dinner and had a drink I had never even heard of before - it was probably the most hysterical time I have ever had drinking a drink.  It was called a Muff Dive and it was a B-52 basically buried in a glass of whipped cream.  It was entertaining for all - I am sure.  Of course it's Montana's so I got to wear the moose antlers!

I got some beautiful flowers and teddy bear from my wonderful friend
Joisey Joe.  An awesome cookbook that has recipes catered to how I am eating right now and a TON of birthday wishes from the people that mean so much to me.

So for those of you in my life, thanks for putting up with my humour, my wit, my inappropriateness, all my recent changes and my Peter Pan syndrome.  And I am sorry but I don't have any plans of "growing up" in the near future either :P

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Redirection - Help I Need a Map

In the past 2 months I have been really committed to growing, personally and emotionally and in a positive way.  I have a thought of the day sent to my inbox, I find one positive thing about my day when it comes to a close and I write it down and if my thoughts start going to places they don't need to, I am trying to redirect them.

The redirection of thoughts is the hardest thing.  It is so sad that the norm is to just get pissed off if something isn't going your way.  A lot of people, including myself, don't take the time to breathe and examine the moment.  No instead they shoot from the hip and sometimes damage the people around them with those bullets.  I have been an observer of someone losing their ever loving mind at a customer service clerk, barely out of her teens because something wasn't "their way."  I can only imagine the damage done to that poor girl's self.  And yes, I have been guilty of it too, however my shooting from the hip has usually been done at the people who are not strangers in my life and I have directed my bullets at people I love.

So back to redirecting thoughts for a moment.  Like I said, it is hard.  It isn't comfortable because it isn't my norm.  My norm has been to over-react and examine it later.  So now I am forcing myself to identify that feeling I get before I feel like I am going to lose it and stop the thoughts.  I am getting "better" at it because I have been committed to doing it for more than 2 months now.  It is now becoming a habit and part of who I am. Oh I still have the occasional moment but even knowing that I am committed to trying makes it seem a lot easier to do (if that makes sense???).

Another worthy redirection - people who don't like me and worse, people who don't even know me and don't like me.  I really used to be offended and really hurt when people didn't like me.  I HAD to figure out why and then fix it.  I think back now to the times I did that and what a waste it was.   One of these times involved a person's family member who I had never even met and judgement was passed based on something someone else had said.  I spent a lot of energy thinking on how I could fix that situation and let them see me for who I am. Then I realized, if I had gone through life and had never met that person would it have mattered?  No, it wouldn't.  I hadn't known that person before and my life was what it was.  I was who I was - I am who I am - NOTHING was changed by how this person felt about me.

I am not responsible for how those people feel, especially the ones who really haven't taken the time to get to know me and have just taken the words of another as truth.  I know who I am as a person.  I know what I have to give.  I am not perfect.  I struggle with life like all the other millions of people on this planet.  Some days I love myself more than other days, but I like me and when it comes down to it - me liking me is what really matters.

Do I have regrets - sure I do, but I am learning now to recognize regrets as learning experiences.  I have never walked away from a regret without a lesson - I just don't always see the lesson in the moment (see redirection of thought works in a lot of places!!)

I am a work in progress but I am progressing in the direction that I need to be going.  Not everyone likes that, and not everyone needs to.  In the words of one of my favourite quotes "If you want something you've never had, you must be will to do something you've never done." - Thomas Jefferson