Old Dogs and Spinning Plates

Spinning_Plates1_760 Some people are simply amazing in their ability to accomplish a ton of stuff in less time that it takes most of us to get dressed.  You have people in your life like this, I’m sure.  Maybe you are one of them.

For me, back in college, it was the sorority sisters who could hold an office in our house (a demanding and time consuming leadership position often requiring additional meetings outside our own membership meetings), work, hold student body leadership positions on campus, carry a 4.0 GPA in a fairly rigorous academic course of study (or maybe even two) and still manage to have a social life.

Currently, it is those folks who can juggle more things and accomplish more things in a day than I can even think about.  I’m a plodder.  I’m a deliberate person.  I have to plan then I can do.  I’m great as long as I don’t stretch myself too thin, but once stretched things start, well, falling apart. I can only keep so many plates spinning in the air for so long.

I’ve never been one of those people.  When overbooked, I tended to crash and burn…or I felt like it from my perspective.

Things are different these days. 

Currently, I’ve exceeded my limits, both in terms of number of plates spinning and the duration of the spins on each plate. 

In short, I’m kind of surprising myself.  I’m overbooked and I’m not crashing and burning.  I’m flying.  Okay, tonight I’m hobbling, but most of the time it is more like flying than hobbling so I can’t complain.

I love to work hard and have my game on.

I love to play hard and enjoy doing nothing related to work in the off times.

(I’ve been accused of not liking to go to work.  This is so not true.  I love the work I do.  I simply hate the process of waking up every day!)

And today, after an especially long day, where I slept fitfully, at best, the night before, I am glad to be home.  I am glad to be done.  I am also glad to have done it all, and I am pleased to have done it well. 

Tonight, I finished the seventh night of working with parents. 

My computer froze during the presentation.  (Last week’s presentation was even more humorous, but that’s for another time and place.) I had no presentation for the last half hour of the session and had to wing it once again thanking my experience in debate and theater for helping me to get through without appearing flustered though I felt very flustered.

My body cramped up and I could hardly stand. (I’m an ex-theater person so I can fake it through almost anything and I did tonight.)

All that, after a day with kids who have no idea the weather is gloomy and are experiencing Spring Fever anyway, in order to come home to more of the same with my own four children. (Who by the way, really were amazing when I got home tonight.) 

I’m exhausted.

My body hurts.  (Starting up a workout routine can really bite.)

But I read feedback forms from my presentation that were positive and encouraging in spite of the glitches I experienced.j0436588

It all goes to show that things are not always what they seem. 

Things you might think are bad are not always unpleasant.

And sometimes, we are quite capable of surprising ourselves.

This is why I will always believe that old dogs can learn new tricks if the dog is motivated enough to do so.

Sometimes, it just feels downright good to step out of the comfort zone and attempt something, to risk failing, to succeed instead, and to simply enjoy how good it feels to have done what you set out to do, in spite of frozen computers, aching bodies and too many spinning plates.

About Those New Year’s Resolutions

j0402319Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?  Did you set any goals that you’d like to work on for yourself?  If you did, how are they coming along?  Have you kept at it or have you, like so many others, found your enthusiasm waning as the year progresses and the gloomy, dark days of winter (sans the celebrations and plus the bills of the previous celebrations) drag on? If you’ve let up on pursuing your New Year’s Resolutions, it’s not to late to get back on track. 

Numbers, Measurements & A New Scale

The other day a friend of mine and I were chatting on Facebook and he asked me about my New Year’s Resolutions.  This person is one of those friends who lives quite a distance away and checks in about every couple of weeks or so.  This was the check in, I suppose.  During that conversation he mentioned that he still reads my blog and wondered if I was keeping up on my New Year’s Resolutions.  I was pleased to be able to report that not only have I kept up on them, I’ve lost 5.5 inches.  That was Wednesday.

Today is Saturday and Saturday for me is weigh in day.  I’m pleased to announce those numbers have again changed. 

But before I reveal the numbers, I have decided that I must get a different scale.  I have a cheap one and I am absolutely certain the number it registers is not accurate.  The reason I know this is because I cannot get the needle to stay on zero with no weight on it.  I also can’t read the thing when I am standing on it and any shift of my feet sends the needle spiraling around the dial.  Squatting on the thing to get a better read doesn’t seem to work either. I often fall off before getting an accurate read.  Not a good look.  So, today, at some point I will go out and get a more accurate (aka. more expensive, I think) scale. Till then I’m not reporting my weight loss because I don’t know what it is.  I think it’s a pound or two, but like I said, I can’t be sure and I just don’t want to fudge those numbers.  If I get the new scale and I’ve been off, it could be psychologically depressing.

The good news is my measurements continue to drop.  As of today, I’ve lost a total of 7.75 inches! That’s a combined total of all the measurements, of course.  Separately, in inches, that’s 1.5 off the hips, 2.5 off the chest (good-bye back flab), 1 from the waist and 2.5 off my thighs (I only measure the right one), and my bicep showed a one-inch gain this week (muscle definition, gotta love it) for an overall loss of  three quarters of an inch on the bicep.

j0441048 Looking Better Naked, Feeling Better Clothed

What’s even better is when I look in the mirror, I’m beginning to see the me I used to know.  I’m not there yet, but I’m looking better naked.  I’m definitely feeling a lot better clothed.  I have more energy and the very, very best part of it all is that I no longer feel as though I’m one step away from the assisted living facility or grave.  I’m beginning to think that paintball with my daughter and her boyfriend might be a possibility this summer as well as actually running again.  Yes, you heard me.  Running.  I hate running.  I look like a hippo running.  I’m graceful in the water, but like the penguin, walrus or many other amphibious creatures I’m somewhat awkward on land especially at high speeds.  But, I’ve already made plans to go running this spring with one of the women I work with.  Yeah, she’s ten years younger than I and will kick my butt, but I’m competitive enough that I’ll work to try to keep up.  That can’t be bad.  I’m pretty certain I’ll never see my 7 minute miles from my triathlon training days again, but I don’t care, just to be moving at something more than a walk and not falling will be a good thing.  What is it I really want to do with all this?  Whatever I feel like.  It is going to be so good to be strong and more agile again.  These thoughts keep me plugging away.

Smooth Sailing, Not Exactly

I have to say, it hasn’t been easy or perfectly smooth this month by any means.  As expected, the schedule is crazy tough to keep routine so I can fit my workout in at the same time every day.  This isn’t going to improve either as I have seven consulting events lined up between now and April which take place in the evenings, in addition to my day job.  Further, my social life is pretty full and I like it that way.  (It also explains a bit why you haven’t seen me here as much.)  I’ve also had my moments of discouragement, stuffing my face with the Bugles and chips the kids brought from their other house and simply, as I mentioned in my last post, throwing the rope on all of it .  In spite of it all, I’m pretty pleased that I haven’t given up on myself and I keep on plugging away.   I’m really successful on some fronts (watching portion size, eating healthier, no drinking during the week, lots of water, consistent exercise) and I’ve failed in some areas momentarily (the binge snacking one week and missing exercise for four days in a row the same week…not good!).  It’s a mixed bag.  The really positive thing about this is that I’m continuing to force myself after every slip, to get back up and get on track. j0442363I’m staying with it this time.  Because of that, I will be successful.

Refuse To Give Up

On a larger level, I think this is what so much of life is really like. Life itself is one big mixed bag.  The good is mixed in with the bad. The successes are intertwined with the defeats. We hit bumps in the road, we derail, we get back up, we keep moving on.  We do it because we must.  We do it because the alternative is less pleasant that the current pain or discouragement.  We keep trying.  We keep working.  We keep hoping.  We keep living. We derail.  We cry.  We hurt.  We heal.  We move on.  It is life.  If we are very lucky, we find others along the way who, though the specifics of their journey differ from ours, the lessons are similar or, if not similar, interesting.  We find friendship.  We connect.  We experience kindness and caring.  We find love in all its many forms in smiles of friends, the hugs of children, the laughter of companions, the conversations with those we care about and enjoy being with. 

The journey to fitness for me, has been far deeper than obtaining physical results, though, let’s be clear, I’m not going to mind looking and feeling better pushing 50 than I did when I was ten years younger.  It’s also been a very internal journey as well.  As my Facebook Friend said so well, “It’s a process of clearing out the junk, both externally and internally.”  I’d have to agree.  That’s exactly what it has been for me.

If you made resolutions this year and you find your enthusiasm and determination faltering, it isn’t too late to try again. Join me.  We can do it together you and I.  Whatever your goal, your dream, your hope.  It can happen, as long as you simply refuse to give up on yourself.  I’m not going to.  Don’t you either.

The Wild Mind

The Junkie In Me Returns…Sort Of?

internet20dating1In the past I likened myself to an online dating junkie.  While this was certainly true in the days immediately preceeding the final divorce judgement and for about 6 to 9 months after, I must say my tendency to “need” to be online and meeting up with people has definitely waned.  In fact, early last summer, I took my profiles down only to put them up again right before school started.  (WTF is up with that????)

I’ve mentioned before what an impulsive mistake that was.  I’m actually still corresponding with people from that little episode that, believe it or not, I have yet to meet.  I may never meet them.  I don’t really care…if I did, I would have met them by now.

But then last night I did a really silly, stupid, actually, thing.  I signed up and even paid money (that’s the stupidest part) for a one month membership on a site I have not been on before.  Now, granted, it wasn’t much money at all.  It really only equated to about two bottles of cheap wine, probably the amount I could finagle out of  just meeting half the people who have already crammed my inbox full of emails insisting they are crazy about me and can’t get me out of their minds after seeing my few lame, poorly lit, and face shot only photos. Well, that is, if I was at all the finagling type. Yeah, sure.  We’ll go with that.

So, this bizarre behavior on my part certainly deserves some closer attention.  Now, it isn’t bizarre to want to sign up on an online site, especially, if you, like me, don’t encounter a single dateable soul in your day to day interactions.  Unfortunately, day to day stretches into week to week and then month to month until one wakes up and realizes they’ve spent a great deal more Friday and Saturday nights home alone than they really ever intended or wanted to spend in solitary confinement.online_dating

[So, I must digress and define dateable.  Dateable for me in a nutshell is a.) male, b.) intelligent enough to hold his own in a conversation and c.) emotionally, financially and legally available.  Okay, a bit about the financially available part.  Financially available in my mind doesn’t mean “without obligations”, but if the guy is still part owner in some very big real estate deals that could end him up being taken by the short hairs by an ex, then I’m not really into that drama much. Enough about dateable and available.]

So, going online in and of itself, is not bizarre, though it is incredibly crazy making and painful.  I don’t understand why people do it.  I do not understand why I just recently did this. Especially since I have so much else I want and need to do besides date a bunch of people one time only to find out that they, like my last year and a half of dating episodes are somehow just not that into me or are completely unavailable somehow.  I’d rather have electric shock treatments than endure any more of that.

And yet….

it’s the “and yet” that always gets ya…

And yet, there are a couple of things here at war within me.  First, I do believe Winston Churchill’s statement.  I posted it last December, I’m posting it again:

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

 

~~ Sir Winston Churchill

 

There have been a number of failures in the last couple of years.  Now, failure, of course, is a relative term and I don’t want to get into the fact that there have been many positive outcomes to those failures.  Like, I am  no longer and still not in a disastrous marriage or a relationship where the guy really just isn’t that into me. This is definitely positive and I have no regrets.  But if I define failure as the lack of a quality relationship with a significant other then, I have to say there have been some failures to move toward this goal  in the recent past.  False starts is probably a more accurate term but we’ll go with Winston’s failure…just for fun. Anyway, Churchill’s statement is sound for work, school and romance.  One’s enthusiasm must never wane if one is to ultimately be successful.  I get that.  So, that’s one element:  remaining positive and keeping one’s enthusiasm when it seems that with each passing day the odds get lower and lower that there will be any viable candidate to date. (And, if you lived where I live, you’d consider my attitude one of complete optimism rather than borderline disgust and despair.)   After all, as I’ve said before, I’d like to spend some life with the dude, I don’t exactly want to meet him in the retirement center.  (Okay, all you literalists, take that last statement with a grain of salt and chill.  It was a slight exaggeration to make a point.)

 

This idea that it is important to “keep myself open” to whatever might occur…is at war with the part of me that really doesn’t want to take the risks.  (Okay, yes, I’m being a tad bit vulnerable and honest there so chill about that too.  It DOES NOT MEAN I am needy or insecure.  It simply means I am trying (albeit feebly, I think) to be emotionally honest. 

 

online dating the impossible dilemmaSo, my dilemma:  intellectually I know I should remain social, keep doing things I like and enjoy and keep active and meeting people.  The reality is, the things I enjoy right now, are completely centered around my home, my children, and improving me, my financial situation, my fitness, my living situation.  It’s a bit self focused I think. I’m wondering if it might be a bit of a defense mechanism and a retreatist approach.   I’m trying to figure out if it is an unhealthy self focus or a taking care of me right now focus.  Here’s the even stranger part to all this, anyone, and I do mean anyone who meets me receives me as a warm and fun person.  You would think me the introvert to look at me…though…introvert…I do tend to be…especially lately.

 

 

So about signing up for the online thing…it again happened out of curiosity, I think.  But feel free to share your thoughts.  After all, it was a site I hadn’t ever participated in (and I’ve explored a few).  I think it is also the concern I have that if I don’t make opportunities to connect with others and stay social, I will completely retreat from the world and like Rapunzel in her tall tower become completely isolated.  Truly, I could do this.  I can be alone for endless amounts of time and not even have it bother me.  I’m not sure that this tendency, if allowed to go unchecked is entirely healthy either.  That introvert thing again.  But then, I’m really not that into it at all so why do I even bother?  Is really curiosity.  What do you think?  Take a whack at it all you who know just enough about the workings of the human psyche to be dangerous. 

Sigh. I better wrap this up and go count up my statistics and find out how many men out there are really brave enough to actually make a contact with a message rather than the canned, “I liked your profile!” flirt message.  *rolls eyes and heads for bed instead*