Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 26, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 26, 2004 – It’s only 26 days into January – just about the time when New Year’s resolutions start to go the way of old coffee grinds – down the drain! I’m happy to report that my only concession to “resolving” – which was to drink more water is going very well indeed. I keep a ready supply of fresh limes in the kitchen and my water intake has greatly improved.
What is happening – that is very exciting – is the decision I made on January 1st to change the things I don’t like about my life is gaining momentum. I didn’t want to make any unrealistic resolutions. I have too many tee-shirts already, so instead I made a determination to make different choices. I knew that paying attention to my health was going to be an important part of my plan – hence my new treadmill Howard, and my revised exercise schedule. This one is achievable and realistic, not like many of my past attempts which have been rigid and unforgiving, and dare I say – anal.
I’m not a doctor, psychologist, trainer or exercise specialist but I do inhabit my body and have a fairly good understanding of its strengths and limitations, or so I thought. However what I’m starting to discover is I haven’t listened to my body’s messages very effectively in the past. Now I’m paying attention in a more concentrated way, my body and I are getting along much better. Now, I’m not talking about my body and menopause, that story is for another day.
I did a “reckoning” at the end of last year when I made the decision to make changes in my life, and already I’ve realized the following interesting things. I have tried to be different, (I’m not sure why I thought I needed to be) but it just doesn’t work for me; so I’ve stopped struggling and have accepted myself as I am, leaving plenty of wiggle room to grow.
I am not a morning person. I will never be a morning person. I am not inspired by little birdies singing at the crack of dawn. I wish they would shut up. I don’t have a need to see the sun rise, although I have done so hundreds of times, and can appreciate the newness of the day, especially on a warm summer morning. I would still rather be tucked up in bed.
I feel dull when I wake up. My emotions are at an incredibly low ebb. I do not leap out of bed. I do not want to become a leaper. I do not want to talk to anyone when I wake up. I look at the alarm clock and think – “Oh no, not again, I have to get up”. I use the snooze button liberally. I often have to be up early for morning meetings, but now I try to schedule them for after ten o’clock, because I’m not creative, energized, sharp, witty, talkative, much fun to be around or at my best until my body is fully awake. This is okay!
After 11:00 A.M I start to come alive, so morning exercise is silly for me. Hence a choice to do my work-outs later in the day. Bingo.
I need breaks during the day. I’m starting to take them. Not lunch in front of the computer – real lunch with a plate, a knife and fork.
I will hit a low in the afternoon, for me about 5:00 P.M. What a great time to take a breather or do my work-out. I work at home so can schedule my day differently. Many places of employment now offer alternate time scheduling, and if I was still in the corporate world I would be asking about that option in the blink of an eye.
I have given lip service in the past to the mind – body – spirit connection, but I’ve never really paid attention to it. Now I am. If I feel tired physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally – I slow down. I say no. I re-book. I have stopped over-committing my time. I do things just for myself. I end phone calls when I don’t feel like chatting. I fast forward tasks until ‘tomorrow’. I am not working seven days a week – I don’t want to do that any more. I may lose some business. That is a price I’m willing to pay to make new choices.
I’m watching when and what I eat. I have chocolate cake if I want to (not often). I will have relapses – guaranteed. Then I will re-group and start again. I’m making an effort to understand nutrition, I’m not fanatical about it. I’ve been down that bumpy road.
I’m making time every day for creative outlets, one of which is writing. I told myself last year that I didn’t have time. This year I am making a different choice.
I’m taking things less seriously, and despite Chicken Little’s scary assumption that the shy will fall, mine has not. Guess what – I’m actually having more fun. Now, it’s still January – just imagine what I may have accomplished by mid-year.
So here’s the deal – why not get a blank piece of paper and write down six things you would like to change about your life. Start small like I have. Don’t make a rigid plan – that just sets you up for failure. Think about your life, as it is now, dream about how it could be and hop to it. Ask a buddy for support if that works for you and see what happens! On December 31 – you will still be a year older, regardless of what you do or don’t do.
It can be fun to make up a three ring binder or journal of your plan. That makes you feel as if you’re taking the project seriously. I’m a great organizer so it works really well for me. Just in case you think you’ve heard the last of this. I will keep you posted.
I’m grateful for my progress, blessed that I have the inclination to try. But hold on a moment – we’ll have to wait and see how I’m feeling about ‘Howard’ by the end of February.