Tag Archives: life

A Sunday Ramble

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I’ve been feeling a little better.

Do you ever see that New York Times column, “My Sunday Routine”? I’ve only read it once or twice, but it made me feel like I should really have a better Sunday routine. Like, I make a quiche and have brunch with my friends, and hang out with my extended family all afternoon.

(Never mind that I don’t have extended family that ever hangs out together.)

Things that are going well

I’ve started a bullet journal! When in doubt, get hyper organized, right? It does feel good to make lists and mark them off, which is why I’ve been so enamored with Habitica the last few years. I like that I can put everything in my bujo, though. So far, calendar, daily to-do lists with events highlighted, blog ideas and topics (which makes it sound like I’m organized about blogging, here or elsewhere, and I’m not; I’d just like to be!), podcasts to follow/prioritize, stuff my mother asks for, food combinations I’m enjoying, the cable stitch pattern I’m using to make a scarf, and dog training progress.

I feel like I’ve only just begun. Now that I’ve started, I’m wondering why everyone doesn’t do this? Of course, now everyone IS doing it. But why aren’t we taught this in school? It’s so nice to have everything indexed and within reach.

I don’t know. Maybe this is the honeymoon phase. Maybe I’ll only love it for a few weeks. But I am still using Habitica, so I think it can all come together.

Food combinations that have been pleasant surprises

*Mango salsa and cottage cheese on sprouted grain
*Sliced banana dipped in ground flaxseed
*Greek yogurt with berries and 2 tbsp walnuts

I know, these aren’t earth-shattering. But I sometimes overlook the simple combinations that make food interesting in favor of complicated recipes. Mental note: it doesn’t have to be so hard.

Podcasts

Poor Ira Glass. I’ve seriously had him on my mind so much since last week’s episode of This American Life.

In Act 4, he talked about losing his friend, Mary, who had been the last person he talked to every day, since he and his wife separated. A few things he said really hit me, and now that I think of it, probably contributed a lot to my circles of thoughts about mortality and loneliness.

Today, I listened to Wait Wait, and now I’m catching up on Radiolab, which is pretty heavy. CRISPR was about the heady speed of gene editing. Now I’m listening to a two-parter on police shootings, and wondering if I should take a break to listen to that Nerdette episode on sex, or the Freakonomics episode literally titled, “Why is my life so hard?”

There are too many podcasts to keep up with! This is why it has a whole page in my bullet journal. 🙂

I’m a little frustrated.

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This blog (as a whole) has no point. But I’m kind of to the point of deleting it all and saying goodbye, or writing something. So I’m writing, something. 🙂

I teach Spinning as part of my corporate fitness job, and I’ve been in such a rut lately. But yesterday I went in kind of excited, revved up, trying every trick I had for mental preparation and visualization.

Class was okay… not great. And then, I ended up talking about politics. I was mentioning the opening number for the Academy Awards, and someone said she didn’t watch awards shows because they were too political.

First off, I hate when people say this. What they really mean is, Hollywood is full of liberals and they don’t want to hear what liberals are concerned about. While the world is falling all to hell, they want to stay in their isolated bubble and believe whatever Trump says is true.

I didn’t say all of that, though. I just said it wasn’t that political, other than some Trump jokes, and the Iranian director’s speech, which was just about not being divisive. And I don’t understand why people think that’s a controversial statement, especially when it’s far-right Christians who seem to think it’s a controversial statement.

Hypocrites.

And, I did say a lot of that. Which is inappropriate to say in the work environment, and killed the class mood. I killed my own mood for the rest of the day.

It’s a simple solution. Don’t talk about politics at work. And I can follow it, mostly. But I feel like this is how life is now. If you say, I’m worried about the direction our president is taking us.. If you say, Do you really believe all Muslims want to kill Christians? … That will get you mobbed by Trump thugs on Twitter. And heaven forbid we talk about our disagreements in a civil manner in real life.

The problem is, there is no way to bridge a gulf with people who don’t believe in actual facts. If you point to actual numbers and research, they say that’s liberal propaganda, then put up a nasty meme, call you a snowflake, and link to a YouTube video about how Obama bought missiles for ISIS. frustration

Then they call news that follows actual journalism guidelines “fake” news, as if they didn’t create a world that is only fake news.

I do believe, if this were a regional problem, it’s divisive enough now that it could lead to a Civil War. I’d personally like to put the boundaries of state between my fellow Americans and those nutjobs. But it’s not like that… It’s really come down to city versus rural.

And there’s nothing to be done for it. My best hope right now is that Trump will finally fail, and disappoint those who supported him. I know a few people have already regretted their vote. But for the most part, it’s clear that Trump followers are with him 100%, and there is nothing that will change their minds. If he shot his Chief of Staff in the head today, they’d say it was deserved.

Or that Obama did it.

Thick skin

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My life has felt upside down for a while.

Things changed so radically, but they didn’t change at all. I felt my family falling away from me in a more permanent way than I was prepared for. I felt un-moored.

And stability has returned now, of a nature. And that feels even stranger. Wasn’t everything supposed to change forever? I was prepared to grieve. I was grieving.

But it seems that was premature. I should be happy, right?

And so, I continue. I live my life. I do my job. My job is my sanity, as much as I would prefer to stay home and feel sorry for myself. My job gives me a purpose, and an identity; something that seems to be of value to others.

I’m learning to play guitar. It was painful at first, and I didn’t know if I could continue. But I’ve developed callouses, and my fingers have grown accustomed to the strange positions they must take to form a chord. I’ve learned to play partial chords, which qualifies as “good enough” for my mid-life hobby.

So life goes on, and I develop my mental callouses, and I grow accustomed to the strange forms life takes. It’s good enough.

Seeds of Change

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So much has been happening.

A few months ago, I did a tarot card reading on myself. (As one does.) There was a lot in the layout about dashed dreams and disappointment (no surprise there), but there was also the card about planting seeds of change, followed by the message to be prepared because change would happen quickly.

As with any good prophecy, it has come to pass, but not as I expected/hoped.

Instead of selling millions of e-books on Amazon and retiring to the Bahamas, I’ve had major struggles with health (mental and physical), and came very close to flaming out on my job and going to be a secretary somewhere awful. (Actually, that was slightly outranked by the possibility of becoming a truck driver. If I didn’t have cats….)

Instead of quitting, however, I am going to start working part-time in two weeks. This is a huge relief, because I won’t have to adjust to a new workplace and I’ll still have my health benefits. I’ve never liked being shackled to a job only because of benefits, but there is a lot I love about this job. (And to be completely honest, there were very few jobs on Craigslist or Monster that match my skill set so well.) I’m worried about money, but I’ve lived on a lot less, and I’ll still be making more than I would be making in those secretarial jobs that were my escape plan.

So there’s that…. In the meantime, I finished the 6-week Introduction to Digital Photography course. Some of my photos are at 500px.com. I really loved it! And it makes the fears I talked about a few weeks ago seem so silly. I’ll be starting intermediate next week!

Why GISHWHES Matters

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In August, I participated for the first time in GISHWHES – aka The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen! Led by the fearless and slightly crazy Misha Collins.

I wasn’t going to do it (“Too busy!,” thought I. “Who has the time for scavenger hunts? Young people, that’s who!”), but my intention for 2014 was to stay open to fun. Very last minute, I watched the video on the above page, and thought, “Damn it, that does look like fun. Now I have to do it.”

I am so glad I did! Since I have become a full-time fitness pro, what used to be my fun/hobby has become work. I mean, it’s still fun… but it’s work. So it’s been a struggle to make myself have fun, and GISHWHES definitely took me above and beyond the playtime I had managed so far in the year!

Yes, I must admit, taking pictures in a hot tub wearing an ice cream hat dripping down my forehead was way more delightful than I had ever imagined. (Even whilst trying to not get ice cream in the water and thus spend the week repaying your friend’s kindness with a deep-clean scrubbing.)

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Also fun? Posing in front of monuments, and making duct tape heads of John Barrowman after work (though that nearly broke me, to be honest), and made this goofy picture (epic battle between Elopus and the Wooster):

My team was brilliant. They got a car to do a backspin in a junk yard. They got 3D printings of pen and ink. They got bestselling authors to make fools of themselves.

But this post isn’t just about how silly fun GISHWHES is. (It’s VERY silly fun.) I’ve been mulling over this post since William Shatner (yes, he had a team! Here’s his post about it.) asked his Twitter followers how much their team spent. Most people estimated a couple hundred. Some said a thousand or more. (Totally unneccessary, but okay.) Then someone said the money would be better spent on a charity.

That has really been bugging me ever since I read it. And here’s one reason: Charitable acts are inherent in GISHWHES. On our team alone, we had people volunteer at food banks, bring hot lunch to the homeless, and become bone marrow donors and CPR certified. There was a nursing home in Maryland that got a ton of visitors that otherwise wouldn’t have.

But okay, let’s say there weren’t charitable acts, or that those aren’t such a big deal. (I think they are a huge deal, but let’s just say.)

What mattered most to me is that it got me out into the world. I have lived in this city all my life, and had no idea how much I missed every day: how much I drove or walked by without really seeing. A bingo hall in the middle of the city? Packed on a Tuesday night. Sure, we shook things up by walking in as a superhero family, but it was just as big a deal for me. Every time I drive by the building now (it’s right off the highway), I think, “People play Bingo there!” I know that sounds silly, but it’s completely delightful to me. I had seen the building before, but now I see it.

The park across the street from work? I avoided it because of all the homeless people. For GISHWHES, I walked up to one of them and we got to know each other a little. I see them as individual human beings now, not just “homeless people.” (Yes, it embarrasses me to admit that’s how I was in the first place!)

Then I think, you multiply this by the hundreds of teams and thousands of people? That must have a massive impact on the world!

People write checks to charitable organizations, and that’s all well and good. Non-profits do such great work in the world, and I am not discounting that at all. But the impact of something like GISHWHES? Getting people out there, engaged with other people and with the world around them?

That’s way better than writing a check, if you ask me.

 

Blogging 101

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I signed up for WordPress’ Blogging 101, because I want to start over without deleting my blog and starting over. I’ve been blogging since the dawn of blogging. I remember a time when my friends would ask me exactly what a “blog” was. This particular blog has been around for years. It started as a writing blog, then became a fitness blog, and now… I’m not sure what it is!

My favorite blog was probably my first, “The Continuing Adventures of Marian”. It was just a life blog, and helped me to keep an eye out for things I enjoyed, or made me laugh, or touched me but I wasn’t sure why. I had a fairly strong readership until I shut down the blog – following an incident with a stalker. I’d made myself too vulnerable, sharing too many of the details of my life – so I went immediately to sharing none.

Frankly, I am not only tired of writing about fitness, I’m tired of reading about it. There are so many opinions out there, and people trying to sell their fitness agenda. It’s not really that hard, you know? I started this blog when I was new to fitness as a profession, and it was exciting. But once living an active lifestyle is a daily habit, it starts to feel like writing about bathing, or sleep routines, or your drive to work. It’s just what you do.

I love my job as a fitness professional, don’t get me wrong. I love talking to people who are on a path of self-betterment, and acting in a coaching role to help them get there. I love creating safe, effective, fun fitness classes. It’s a good life! But at the end of the day – as I imagine many people feel about their jobs – I want to leave my work behind.

So I think a more interesting blog for me would be a lot more well-rounded. You’ve probably noticed it started going in that direction lately, anyway. I think I would like to talk more about creativity, whether that is in enjoyment of theater, books, writing and photography, or about the struggle of being a woman in modern society trying to balance professional and personal needs. (Have no doubt, that is a creative effort!)

I just spent a weekend at Wizard World Comic Con, and am going to World Fantasy Convention in November. I love fitness, but my life is so much more than fitness. If I could have my ideal blog, it would be like the one I started out with – a space to talk about my continuing adventures.

Watch this space. 🙂

Reality Check: The truth of my glam fitness-pro life!

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The goals I find myself setting in fitness, now that I’m working in the field as my day job, are so different from what I imagined they’d be. I always thought, when I was a capital F, capital P, Fitness Pro, I would be full on, you know? I’d work out all the time, and set fitness goals to keep getting stronger, fitter, faster. I still imagine that’s what most of my peers do.

Here’s my reality, though. My goals are now about doing less and trying to find balance.

I exercise a LOT in my work, and will even more in the coming months as I shift to full-time. So if I’m exercising in my off-time? It is absolutely not in pursuit of any big goal. It’s fun time. I go to the new 8 a.m. BodyPump on Saturday morning (Midlothian Athletic Club, come join us!) not because I am trying to get stronger – though it does have that effect – but because I love the social energy of BodyPump and I get to start my day seeing people I love and soak in the energy of a great community.

I’m going to practice BodyVive (along with the DVD, early rounds of practice this quarter!) with my friend Jayne today before BodyFlow. Am I doing it because I’m such a very dedicated teacher and I always practice in my downtime? Honestly, not really. I’m doing it because I like Jayne and I have fun practicing with her.

This afternoon, I will go for a 30-minute walk in my neighborhood. After two hours of exercise, I don’t have to tell you this isn’t about burning calories. It’s more of a time to reflect on my weekend and the week ahead, and to let those creative juices percolate. It’s time to soak in the beautiful early-summer (not technically, but feels like it) evening and get ahead of the Sunday Night Blues.

Reading back over this, I sound like I’m being a little hard on myself, for not being what I thought I would be at this stage of my career.

The truth is, I’m rather proud of where I am. This is still a very new career for me. Fitness was a hobby at first, then a second job, only a career for … um, 7 months now.

So, the fact that fitness is a day job, and also something I still turn to for social and fun time? That’s pretty cool, huh? I remember when I first started looking into exercise – before I’d even gone to a gym, decades ago – reading about creating a lifestyle that included exercise as an intrinsic part of one’s life. That seemed like such a far-away idea, and now it feels as natural as breathing.

So it’s okay that I’m not rocking it out as a fitness conference presenter or writing cover articles for fitness magazines, or running marathons. It really is enough that I am able to do what I love for a living, and get the chance to still enjoy exercise.

Just for the fun of it!