Thursday, 6 November 2014

Another Day 1

Back to Square 1, starting over, first step - AGAIN!  Never quit!  As per my July post (whoops, that was Day 1 too), I know what needs to happen to get me from the couch to the playground again.  I cannot say it enough times really - no matter what excuse I use - no time, no support, no discipline - they all add up to no change.  I used to think that once retirement set in I would have the time, be less stressed, more motivated to get back in the game.  If you think that way too, STOP.  It is only your head playing with you.  Time is not the problem; time is not my problem - I am retired!

So - the game plan this year (and next and the next) is to re-focus gently, lovingly, with forgiveness and patience and really look at the change that is right for me right now.  Good health has always been the goal and I can look back at my former self and see that I have come a long way even with the set backs.  Each set back has carried with it another piece of learning.  This time it is two fold:  1. be patient with "me" and 2. continue on living authentically.  Simple.

Dr. Henry Cloud recently posted a commentary on feelings - or, more specifically what it takes to NOT feel!  It reminded me about what my Head knowledge has always told me - that stuffing the uncomfortable means stuffing the best too - joy, excitement, anticipation, love.  For me, that means that when I am so full of feelings I could burst I need a lot of food to keep them all down there!  Taking the lid off the vent is a little dangerous when done alone - I might explode and damage something important! That's where all of you come in!  I mean YOU - good friends (really good friends!) by reading my blog, nodding your virtual heads together, tapping your toes to the "Authenticity Chorus;" and, dancing down that crazy path called life.  The journey to health just isn't meant to be solo!

Good living is a many pronged journey - isolation is self-defeating.  I say Go Team!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Knowledge, Wisdom and a Cloud of Dust

I have shared that I have hit a snag on my road to a healthier life - too many hikes to the candy machine as my career wound down and retirement and a major move engulfed me - major meaning the extra 25 pounds I found this last year wandering in the rich land of Aero Bars and Skittles which I now have to "move" every time I stand up!  I have actually learned much about myself over the past three years and would very much enjoy some wonderful, wise adage that says "Knowing is Being" or "Knowledge is Wisdom".  Alas, that is not the case.

Knowledge - lots of knowledge - about health and well being does not magically make you/me a healthy, wise person.  In fact, all of this knowledge garnered over the years can and does mess us/me up - Yes, you heard it! "She has drowned in her own "self help" pond!"  Well here's an adage that does speak truth - "Been there; done that and got the t-shirt to prove it!".  Unfortunately, the t-shirt doesn't fit anymore!

I once heard it explained this way - that once I knew all of this "healthier life style" stuff, and then fell off the "healthier life train" it would be much harder to get back on and keep chugging along.  I smirked when I first heard that as I believed knowledge and wisdom did go hand in hand and I certainly wasn't going to be that "unwise" to mess it up - again!  However, I now get it - I know a lot of the excuses I use to justify my unhealthy eating choices or my multiple reasons for not walking or biking or "fill in the blank".  I know a lot about all of the solutions too - like the self help jargon that goes along with each diet trend; the motivational posters; the "sisterhood of the bulge" hurrahs: "What touches your lips stays on your hips"; "Move it or lose it"; "Motion is lotion"; and, my favorite - "No pain; No gain!"   Can we all say JADED?!  Well, I have become a little jaded.  I have procrastinated, binged, vegetated and gained.  Today, I woke up and thought: "What are you doing, girl?  All those months, days, hours you walked and managed to eat reasonable amounts of food - you lost the pounds and gained so much well being you were, like, flying to embrace the great pot of average BMI in the sky!"

Enough - time to land back in the real world.  Retirement has arrived!  I no longer can say "when I have time".  I am back to Square #1 - Never Quit!  I now remember my own banter - health and well being are not destinations - they are the journey!  You never arrive - you just enjoy the ride - or walk or run!  More greens, more movement, more laughing, more spiritual growing, more, more, more - giggle and grin; cry and sing; move and revel in the wind on your face or the extra spring in your step today; seek the silence in between the life moments - there, in that silent place you will catch a glimpse of the wisdom you have been seeking - joy in the moment.  It is not all in the words and certainly not all in the food!  It is in how you care for yourself and the world around you - with love and respect and faith that, when all is said and done, and the journey is ended, you will finally be able to rejoice in a life well lived to the very end.

So tomorrow I am going to share lunch with my family (a healthy lunch!), play with my friends, build a sand castle, float on an inner tube, ride my bike and screech to a stop in a cloud of dust.  I am going to hug someone I love and be kind to a stranger.  I am going to be thankful for each smile and embrace each tear for what it is - proof that I can feel deeply and still live to see another day - ah, wisdom, there you are!  I hope you will come out to play tomorrow too!    


I made a choice years ago to forego a formal education and marry my high school sweetheart.  My dreams were filled with pictures of babies (cute little girls, I thought) playing on the swing in the backyard, skating on the outdoor pond and snuggling under a warm blanket at story time (some dreams do come true!).  Only small career aspirations lingered as my desire to be the best stay-at-home Mom I could be took hold.  I followed that path until I came to a fork in the road when money was tight and the bills were piling up.  I had a choice - go left and hop on the work train or stay at home and hope for the best.  I tried the work train briefly but the type of work I landed did not fit. Even though my heart still yearned  for the stay-at-home port to call my own, I took a quick turn right and headed off for an education instead of the hearth and home of my dreams.  Although fulfilling and exhilarating and exciting, this path was also filled with traps and triggers that threatened to blow my goal out of the water.  I did not see the clouds of depression forming on the horizon or the poison ivy of bankruptcy creeping along, hidden in the grass.  The storm hit with a magnitude that knocked my dream out of the sky.  NEXT....

One divorce later, I was no longer a stay-at-home Mom.  I was a career woman, studying and moving forward to be able to support a family.  I discovered this path was amazing.  I loved the challenges and embraced my aptitude to think, plan and process in a business environment.  Money was tight but I was in charge and it felt good.  I was finally on the right path - my journey was going to carry me off into the sunset at a ripe old age with loving grandchildren singing their goodbyes through their tears. I discovered my independence and my fighting spirit; I embraced my intelligence and my administrative skills.  I had found my niche.  This was a good port to visit and maybe even stay at for a while. I dreamed of romance and far away places; a career ladder that reached the mountain top and quiet safety on some cute veranda watching grandchildren playing in the park.  Storm clouds rolled in, thunder and lightning crashed like I had never seen or heard before and my dream blew into tatters like an old Kleenex soaked with tears.  Another romance ended, the cute veranda was attacked, it seemed, by the termites of matrimonial settlements and I moved on. NEXT..........

NOW, here I am, in a wonderful relationship, retired, and living on a beautiful oasis in Canada! and, I just have to pause and remember how I felt so torn, so unlikely to reach this place of peace and contentment and send the message out to all you 40 and 50 and 60 somethings!  YOU CAN DO IT!  Grab on to life, live it with all you have got, take a risk, catch a train, go somewhere exotic, open up your eyes, hug a child, release your pain - follow your dream and when something snatches that dream find another one and follow it!  It ain't over until it's over!  There are wasted moments in everyone's life and even some less than exemplary years here and there, but, if you can see past these snags, pull from the deep inner strength you have garnered by facing yesterday's challenges, you can fill your life with the peace or contentment or exhilaration of your dreams - moment by moment - because that is where life is lived - in the moments!  NEXT........!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Time Flies!

It has been a long time since my last post on this blog (my retirement blog has been getting all the attention!).  No mystery there - I would much rather talk about all of the great plans and excitement of launching my retirement dream then discuss with you my misery.  Yes, sigh, misery.  Fifteen pounds crept up to 20 lbs and then 25 lb.  "STOP!"  I yell! "Go find someone else to suffocate!"

I am definitely an emotional eater.  The candy machine at work has my fingerprints memorized - I can almost see it vibrate with glee when I walk past it every morning, noon and night!  The chocolate bars whisper my name - "Hey, Eileen, no gluten in my body anywhere - wanna' get together? "  I power through my nutritious lunch and my healthy snacks and then the countdown begins!  Ghosts of chocolate bars past whisper to me from the hidden nooks and crannies of my office - "We're waiting," they say. "You know you want it!" they cry.

I drink water, crunch almonds, jamb half a banana down my throat and still I can hear them, singing, calling, pulling me through the door, down the hallway and into the entrance until I am on my knees in front of the Red God of Calories!  Red denotes passion, fire, excitement and fat - big, squishy belly fat, mounding in places, creasing in others, smiling at me when I make the trip from tub to closet.  So what's a girl to do?  Well here's what:  Re-read her blogs, that's what!  AND Remember that Never Quit mantra of old!  AND Remind herself of the pain and constraints the extra weight created.  AND Never forget the feeling of climbing up to Grassy Lakes in record time, with only a few short stops to catch my breath.  AND Revel in the victories: 5 K walk in less than an hour; running hundreds of stairs to prepare for walking in SE Asia; taking the Zoomba risk and the Spin Class challenge and finishing the 100 Day Walking Challenge in the middle of winter!  That's What!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In!

That song popped into my head today - I used to sing it when I was still a preschooler.  I was so excited when my dad bought the sheet music for it.  There was a picture on it of a chubby, adorable little girl - I was pretty sure it was me!

Well, fast forward about 55 years and here I am, suddenly, opening up and letting the sunshine in.  Smiling because "frown-ers never win!"  Last week I focused more on my food, leaving out much of the sugar, most of the grains and quite a bit of the sodium!  I gained half a pound!  But wait, frown-ers never win!  And there is the crux - when life dishes out unexpected hiccups to our well laid plans, the first thing I do (Do you?) is complain.  Why?  Why? Why?  Why, when I ate so much better?  Why, when I really, really wanted it?  Why, when I was trying so hard?  Well, why not?  After all, this is a many-pronged journey I am on!

Sunday, 12 January 2014


In my "DAY" job I am often in a place of providing counsel or advice. It is a place I feel I fit - not because I have done it all right but because experience has provided me with a lot of "doing it not-right" situations.  You know - those times when you disappear from the journey on the right path and veer off on one that is full of  manholes - deep pits just waiting for you to fall into them.  It is a strange wisdom that comes from falling - one part embarrassment and one part illumination.

Since I am old, or so my grandson says, I have had my share of falls - in every stage from teenage angst and puppy love to adult choices like education, marriage and divorce.  I have to say the map is so obvious from this viewpoint!  But back there - in my twenty's and thirty's and forty's and fifty's - the trek was uphill, the curves were often hidden and the signs that said "Falling Hazard - Slow Down!" just didn't jump out at me until I was looking back over my shoulder.  By that time the embarrassment or pain or sheer terror had taken hold and the lesson needed to be learned.