Thursday, December 30, 2021

Checking out

 I did something stupid yesterday. 

I was reflecting upon the past week, getting ready to do a weekly review of my 52 things project. I was actually feeling pretty good. Though I wasn't perfect in my execution (holidays and all), I was kind to myself. Instead of beating myself up, I was looking for little victories. And there were plenty of them.

I'm feeling better- not as tired and certainly not as angry at the world, especially at work. I am slowly but steadily transitioning back into running and I'm not in pain. I'm drinking my water and journaling. I've made some good, nutritious lunches. I've learned that sleeping in on weekends is not good for me.( I lose all my motivation. I'm much better off getting up, going for a run, working on some projects, and getting something done. Then, I can take a cat nap in the afternoon.) I have figured out that, as much as I've enjoyed them in the past, Sun Chips do not agree with me anymore. I'm standing taller. My pants are actually fitting differently (not looser, necessarily, they just hang differently). It's been a good start.

Then, I stepped on the scale. 

I know the scale is a poor measure of progress. I know there are many, many reasons that the scale does not reflect how much better I feel right now. I know that last week was Christmas.

But when a 4 pound weight gain showed up yesterday, I didn't know any of that. All I knew is that the scale said I was going backward.

So I went ahead and had myself a little melt down. I spiraled into "I'm never going to meet my goals. I'm never going to get any better. My life is never going to change. There's no point in even trying. I should just abandon this whole stupid idea now"

I'm better now. 

Today, I did some speed work, some yoga, some decluttering and some laundry. And I did my check in. Things are looking good. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Float Like a Butterfly

 Boxing Day is the day after Christmas; the day when aristocrats would box up their leftovers and extras to give to the servants. A day to clear out things no longer needed to donate to those less fortunate. A day to give to the poor.

I've always liked that concept: both the giving to those less fortunate and clearing out things no longer needed. I'm a bit of a minimalist- I like having the basic comforts and necessary items for my interests and hobbies but not a whole lot more. I get overwhelmed by clutter- it distracts me and I find I'm unproductive in a cluttered environment. So I regularly pare down and purge, not just on Boxing Day.

Not so with the rest of my family. I am related to a lot of hoarders. My mother was a shopaholic who bought multiples of everything and then could not find where she had put thing, so she bought even more of the same. My Dad could never throw anything away. Sweatshirts with 10 holes in them, jeans with paint stains, obsolete technology, expired food- my Dad wanted to keep all of it. My brothers take after my Dad. My sisters in law are like my Mom. I'm definitely outnumbered in my quest for an orderly environment. 

But on Boxing Day 2021, the whole family gathered to clear things out. 

It was the first Christmas we've had without Mom. But her mountain of stuff still dominates the house. The day after Christmas, we picked on room- the bathroom- to purge of all the unneeded stuff. Drawers filled with expired face cream, broken combs and brushes, clumpy and congealed make up got thrown away. The 6 blow dryers got distributed to the grand-daughters, my sister in law, and a friend who had just mentioned she needed a hair dryer. The shampoo was pared down, the toothbrush thrown away, the perfumes divided up to whomever fancied that particular scent. After years of being a cluttered, chaotic disaster zone, the bathroom was finally - FINALLY - functional, tidy, clean, and serene. 

It was incredibly sad.

My own home has been so very less than tidy for the past several months. You'd think that since I spent so little time here that it didn't have time to get messy. You'd be wrong. My apartment has been like a dressing room where I run in, change my costume, and then run back out for my next scene. I've had bags that need to be unpacked, piles that need to be gone through, laundry that needs to be put away, recycling that need to be recycled, and projects that need to be finished lying around for weeks. I haven't been around to attend to them. And then I was just too tired.

Which brings me to Thing #3: paring down. I've done 30 day challenges in the past to get rid of one thing a day for a month. This time I'm going bigger. One thing a day for the year. Something that needs to be thrown out, recycled, repurposed, re-gifted, donated, or just put out of its misery until I get to 365. I've paired down before, in preparation for big moves or thru-hikes: massive purges in a short time. This time, I'm doing baby steps for a longer period. Taking a year to clear the distractions so I can move on to the next thing. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021



One week into The 52 Project and I'm feeling pretty good.

I've started a few long term projects and I'm starting a little morning routine. I've actually embraced trite sayings like "progress, not perfection" because now they seem pretty brilliant. 

Best of all, I feel a little lighter. I'm less anxious and stressed, simply because I have tasks to complete each day. And though I don't have any items to check off the list here on week one, I'm well on my way.

We're gonna call week on a success!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021


 I should know who I am by now

I walk, the record stands somehow

Thinking of winter

Your voice is the splinter inside me

While I wait....

                                        -- Joshua Radin

It's the first day of winter. And I'm not melancholy and semi-depressed. Which is unusual.

Usually, I dread the forthcoming season: the cold, the dark, the snow and rain. I dread the wind-blown dry skin and hair that plagues me each winter. I dread the sinus issues that I will inevitably suffer from. I dread having cold toes for the next 4-5 months. 

But today, I somehow feel optimistic. I look forward to the lengthening days. I'm going to get a small humidifier and some new socks.

Winter is going to be wonderful! 

Monday, December 20, 2021


 2) 30 Day Running Streak

Another thing I used to do a lot is run. I ran marathons and half marathons. I ran fun runs, turkey trots, jingle runs and beer runs. I did triathlons, too. I ran, I biked, I swam, I hiked, lifted weights, did yoga, and any other form of exercise I could possibly do. It was such an important part of my life.

Then life got complicated. Mom got sick, COVID hit, I got floated to the ICU. Family conflicts surfaced and anxiety skyrocketed. I'd come home from work, exhausted, and collapse on the sofa, stress-eat, and binge watch Schitts Creek. Running just didn't seem all that important anymore. 

Getting back into running is tough, as well.   I always have to go through my 4 stages of running: 

1) I hate running

2) Everything hurts

3) This isn't so bad

4) I love running!

It takes a while to get there. Plus, the extra weight I put on over the past 2 years makes it harder. 

So I've come back as an absolute beginner. Which is a bummer, having been a long distance runner in the past and having been in the zone where running feels absolutely effortless and amazing. Sometimes it felt like flying! It doesn't feel like flying now.

But I'm hoping to get back into the zone again, eventually. So I'm starting with a walk-to-run 30 day program to ease back into it for Thing # 2. The plan is to move to longer and longer distances each 30 day period. We'll see how it goes. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021



I used to write. A lot. I mean, I never had a book deal or best-seller-that-was-made-into-a-blockbuster-movie. I never met Oprah or Reese. I never received any prestigious awards for my musings.

But I did have a blog. A journaling practice. And a consistent email letter. I wrote about my life,   my perspective on the world, my hopes for the future, and maybe some jokes thrown in there. Anyway, people liked it. I liked it, too. My writing practice wasn't much, but it was enough.

The most wonderful thing about writing is that you can really discover who you are when you write consistently. Or I could, anyway. Many years ago, I sort of lost myself. I was spending my life running around and jumping through hoops, trying to meet other people's expectations. Then everything I had been working so hard to accomplish fell apart, despite all my effort. And I found myself floundering. I had no idea what I wanted or even who I was anymore. 

So I started to write. 

At first it was just a bunch of steam-of-consciousness babbling that went round and round. It had no clear purpose or point. A brain dump, really, just to get the circular thinking out of my head and onto the page.

As time went on,  I found I could think more clearly, and write more purposefully. And eventually, blogging became a writing playground. It was fun. It was a place to explore and try new things. Also, a place to make friends. 

Best of all, I found a voice again. I found my way back to myself, my goals and dreams and how I wanted my life to unfold. All through writing. 

I'm almost embarrassed at how easily I dropped the practice of writing. Like- "Oh, hey! I'm better now! I don't need to do this anymore."  I don't think it works that way, though. Writing isn't like college where you graduate and move on. I believe it's more like brushing your teeth. If you want to keep your pearly whites, you have to brush consistently; if you want to keep your sense of self, you have to write.

Which leads me back to Thing 1of the 52 Things. (I feel like there's a Cat in the Hat joke in here somewhere that I just can't grasp) Getting back into a consistent writing practice - journaling, blogging, and writing to friends and family - is top of the list for this year. 

I know I'm in here somewhere, I'm gonna write my way back out. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 It's one thing to SAY you're going to make some changes. It's quite another to actually follow through. My apartment is filled with half finished projects and books, magazines, gadgets and gear purchased with the best of intentions but now sit gathering dust and cobwebs. 

In my defense, of course, I just haven't had any spare time in the past couple years. I have more time now. 

Whenever I see someone else's summaries of great changes they've made, they start out with elaborate explanations of their plan.  There are spreadsheets, multiple phases, criteria for advancing to each phase, and mountains of research to back it all up.

I figure, if you are organized and motivated enough to produce such an elaborate plan, you probably don't need to change all that much.

Me? I did a brain dump. 

I came across an idea to forego resolutions in lieu of a list of "22 things to accomplish in 2022". I decided to take it a step further. "52 things to accomplish at 52"   And since there are 52 weeks in a year, I can strive for one thing a week. Ish. 

I mean, some of the things are long term endeavors, which must wait several weeks or months or even the entire year to complete. At the same time, sprinkling a few short, easy wins into the mix could be a self esteem booster. 

We'll see how it goes. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


 Happy Birthday to Me.

I have completed another trip around the sun. It was the worst trip I've ever had.

I'm not alone in my misery over the past couple years. It's been a rough two years for just about everyone. Especially for health care workers, like myself. And even more so when taking care of a parent with a chronic illness, like me. It was the trifecta of suffering. 

So here I am, on my 52nd birthday (52! WTF???) feeling like I have no idea who I am. I've spent so much time in the past several months taking care of everyone else, putting everything else before my own needs, working long hours in less-than-ideal circumstances that I feel like an empty shell. Everything I thought I was seems to have leaked out somehow. And it's been replaced by sarcasm, cynicism , and simmering anger that sits right below the surface.

 I don't like being like this. It's not me. I don't want to be like this anymore.

The thing is- I've been down this road before. I've been lost before. I've been disillusioned. I've been stuck.  And I've always found a way through. 

Which is what I need to do over this next year. I need to find my way back to myself.  

So at the end of my NEXT trip around the sun, I'll arrive with a lot less baggage.