If I Can Do It, So Can You!

And if I can do it in one aspect of my life, I can do it in another. As I transition my next phase, I am redefining my life, my relationships and my goals. I seemed to have way more goals, dreams, and ideas for how I can make an impact in some small way, that it all became overwhelming to me and I didn’t even know where to start.

I began to get a little more clarity and success when I decided not to do too much at once. In addition to simplifying my life, finding my purpose (see Courtney Carver’s, bemorewithless.com for some great tips) and working on my writing, one of my goals is fitness, so I decided to try something I have always wanted to do, but NEVER attempted: RUNNING.

I began very, very slowly, running for 1 minute, and then walking for as long as it took to catch my breath (and get up the nerve to continue). As I shared my method with others I encountered, they told me this sounded like the Couch to 5k Running Plan (coolrunning.com). I just did what felt right.

Each time I run, I try to increase the amount of time that I run and decrease the amount of time I walk. Since my daughter recently started running, I would check in with her from time to time for encouragement.

Over the course of about 4 weeks, I went from running for 1 minute, to 2 minutes, to 4 minutes (I was stuck here for a while), to 7 minutes, etc. I stuck with this method of gradually increasing my running time and I run/walk every other day for 2 miles, running about 1.5 miles of that distance (about 20 minutes).

Me, tired, but feeling good after my run

Me, tired, but feeling good after my run

This method of building endurance is really a good metaphor for how I can target some of my other goals. Start off small, remain focused, work at it consistently (even when stuck at some level), ask for support when needed and share successes with others.

There may even be some added bonuses along the way. This morning, as I was running by a man crouched over weeding his front lawn I said, “They never end, do they?” He replied with an unlit cigarette in his smile, “No, and thank goodness, this is my therapy!” I got a good laugh and a warm feeling from this interaction with a stranger. As I continued running, I reflected on the fact that running has been therapy for me, as well.

What have you been meaning to do, to work on, or to finish? Do you have so many things on your plate that you feel overwhelmed and exhausted before you even begin? If so, pick one task, one that is doable and perhaps seems the easiest to complete. Focus on this one goal and write down each day (or every other day, etc.) what you will do to see it through. Small steps are OK and you will build momentum and confidence as you check them off!

Be consistent and share your journey with a supportive friend (or me). This creates a feeling of accountability and it’s nice to have a cheering section.

Good luck and feel free to comment and share your successes here!

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You Reap What You Sow

This expression has always had a negative connotation to me, until recently.

I have been reflecting on my relationships with my children lately, since our quality time together will be forever altered. By the end of the summer my husband and I will have a true empty nest. Not the college-years-empty nest where the kids come home for long periods of time and are still dependent on us, but the kind of empty nest where they begin their independent lives with “their” people and, most likely, will never live under our roof again.

I think we all strive to raise our kids with what we feel we may not have gotten and in my case it’s sensitivity. As a kid I was often told by my well-meaning parents that I was, “too sensitive.” Feelings weren’t really processed much and I was raised with a “stiff-upper-lip-turn-the other-cheek” attitude. As a preteen and well into my twenties, I was one big confused raw emotion and I felt emotionally fragile most of the time. Through much soul searching, life experiences and self-acceptance, I have grown into my sensitivity and actually think it’s one of my best qualities.

While raising my children I’ve always acknowledged what and how they were feeling and how their interactions with others impacted those around them. We didn’t shy away from openly discussing how we all felt, no matter how difficult it may have been at times.
My children are sensitive, compassionate adults, and I get to “reap what I’ve sown.” I may not have gotten the sensitivity that I craved as a child but in fostering it in my children, I’m getting it twofold.

 

by Adella

by Adella

Use the Good Stuff!

I still remember the day my mom took the plastic slip covers off of our gold velour living room furniture. I was mesmerized! The furniture the family of six had been sitting on, eating on and napping on looked brand new. At 12 years old, I found it pretty amazing that we had 10-year-old furniture that looked so pristine. My mom was my hero. My dad was also very creative in maintaining and repairing things rather than discarding them. He had a flip top kitchen garbage can which stopped flipping its top due to the fact that its side plastic tabs broke off. No problem for my dad, he just glued a bolt in each side and voila, good for another 10 years.

I’m not sure if my conservative attitude in buying new things comes from growing up in a family of 6 with parents that grew up in the depression era, pinching pennies as a stay at home mom in a single income family, or a combination of the two, but it’s only been recently that I’ve even noticed how desperate some of my household and personal items look. I don’t remember my parents ever throwing anything away. They reused everything and if it was broken, they repaired it. If it was dingy, my mom bleached it. Our clothes may have been a bit tattered, but they sure were white. My dad still makes “scratch pads” out of cut up recycled paper stapled together.

Now that I’m into my fifties with a new attitude, I’ve decided to treat myself a bit.  I’m using the fancy salon shampoo and conditioner and the “Jennifer Aniston” skin care products.  After taking my dog, Andre to a Veterinary Ophthalmologist for eye surgery (worth every penny), I even decided to spend more than $20.00 for a haircut!

Perhaps it’s  because I’m into my fifties and my new attitude dictates that I satisfy my wants, as well as my needs, or it may even be necessary these days to replace things more often, since they aren’t made like they used to be and they just wear out sooner. Either way, I’m seeing things with a whole new perspective. A few weeks ago, as I was unloading the dishwasher, I looked at my glassware and my dishes as if I was seeing them for the first time. I was horrified! Many of the dishes had chips around the edges and some even had slight cracks. ALL of my glasses were cloudy and spotty. Ugh! Replacing these items was very inexpensive and, oh, so rewarding. My family never complained about the old things we were using, but they sure did notice when they were replaced.

plates1

My new dishes

I still remember what started me on my recent journey of “me.” One day I really took notice of what was in my bra drawer. I think I laughed and cried at the same time. My kids are in their twenties and I had a few bras that looked as if they were older than them. Some of them were so stretched out that they weren’t even serving their purpose, as evidenced by my reflection in my bedroom mirror (and a comment made by a well-meaning friend). A bit embarrassed, I went for a professional bra fitting at a department store and purchased a few well-fitting, beautifully lifting, very expensive brassieres.

The bottom line is that we’re all worth it. We need to take care of ourselves, to ask for what we need and to let people know what’s on our minds and in our hearts. After all, we teach people how to treat us. We need to do for ourselves what we would do for others. My husband and I didn’t think twice about taking care of our dog, Andre, and getting him the proper medical care he needed. He brings us so much joy on a day-to-day basis and is a part of our family. I guess it’s only natural that I begin to reflect on the fact that my life is not infinite. While I’m here, I plan to have silky hair, soft skin and great bras!

dogs

That’s Andre (minus one eye) on the right and Louie on the left