Tag Archives: resolutions

Should we be content with content?

29 Jun

Have you ever kissed someone and had the whole world stop?  Everything fade away until all that is left is you and the other person and the moment, and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again.

That doesn’t happen, right?

Or have you had a job that you love going to, that it doesn’t matter how many hours you work because working just re-energises you? That you get so much satisfaction out of knowing you’ve done a good job and had a positive impact that you just can’t wait to go back to work.

That doesn’t happen, right?

So instead, lets settle for a job that pays the bills and is secure; for a relationship with someone that’s nice and reliable and who, “yes, of course I love them, its just, well….”

That’s what happens in real life, isn’t it.  That’s what life is about, isn’t it.  Isn’t it?

But what if it isn’t?   Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising on either side or saying one way is better or worse than the other.  Everyone has to do what is right for them.  If you find a way of having a calm and settled life that fulfils you and makes you happy, then that’s fantastic.

Certainly I sometimes wonder if part of my stress is caused by always striving for something that I’m not quite certain even exists.  My job, for argument’s sake:  it pays me pretty well, I’ve done it for a long time and, unless I do something daft, is pretty secure.  But recently its destroyed my confidence and caused me much more unhappiness than satisfaction.  I can’t remember when I last enjoyed going to work – even getting there without having a panic attack on the way would be good (ps:  cycling to work is great for helping reduce this, its difficult to have a panic attack when you’re riding a bike nicknamed Bella that makes you want to sing in Italian!).  Is that because I’m expecting too much from a job? If I just accepted that I’ll go in, do what I can and then go home, not looking to move up or help things be more effective, perhaps I’d be happier.

Maybe its better to get to a certain point and settle there.  My weight, for example. I’ve worked hard to lose weight and get in shape (or at least, a better shape).  This wasn’t helped by the arthritis diagnosis, although knowing that the pain would be eased by losing weight did give a push in the right direction.  So now I’m at a size that is ok.  I’m normal weight, I look ok in clothes.  I’m working hard on personalised workouts which are having an impact (I can actually see muscles in my arms and that thigh tattoo is getting closer).  But I know that if I really focussed on my nutrition and upped my workouts I’d get closer to where I actually want to be.  This is also where you realise there are some things that are acceptable to say and some that aren’t: when I’ve mentioned that I still want to lose more weight/tone up more the comments are all along the lines of “no, you’ll look haggard”, “you’ll look ill”, even though I’m nowhere near the lower levels of my BMI.  (As an aside rant:  All those ‘motivational’ posters now about, “its about being fit, not being thin” – no, you didn’t get like that just through working out, you have adjusted your eating, I do believe the saying that you can’t out train a bad diet.)  But anyway, I digress.  This is about whether its ok to be content with content.  So should I be happy at just being the weight and fitness level I am?

Should I be content to have a job that pays the bills and is secure?  Should I look for a relationship with someone who would be reliable and dependable and, ok, I might not be able to talk to them about absolutely anything or absolutely nothing and they just totally get me, but they are nice?  Should I settle at the weight and shape I am?   Would it be so wrong and way less stressful, to just be content with content?

Sure, I can see the advantages in being thankful for what I have, for living in the moment, counting my blessings, being realistic in my expectations.   Blah blah blah.  But won’t it be equally stressful, just maybe in a different way, to always have a niggling doubt at the back of my mind that it could be better?  Always wondering if only I’d taken a risk or tried a bit harder or been a bit more focussed, that I could have achieved so much more.  Oh, and who is to say what’s realistic or not – who is setting those boundaries?

I’m going to say it again – this is not a criticism of anyone who says they have achieved exactly what they wanted and that they aren’t settling for content with content and that, actually, what’s wrong with content?  There isn’t anything wrong with content.  Content is great.

If that’s what you want.

But I don’t think I do.  I want to have that feeling of the world stopping; I want that feeling of knowing I’ve made a difference; I want that feeling of knowing I’m the best I can be.

If I’d been content with content, I’d still be with my first husband and working as a secretary – and probably 5 stone overweight, drinking heavily and hiding in the bathroom to cry when no-one was looking!

So I’m going to try and find a balance:  I’ll be content about what I’ve achieved so far, but not content to stop there.  It’ll be my stepping stone.  I can only be content here if I know its acting as a base to work towards where I actually want to be.  Use the good things about my job, my fitness, heck, even what I’ve learned from relationships, to act as the foundation for getting something more.  To getting that unrealistic aim – because its only unrealistic if I believe it is.  Hell:  I believe in zombies and aliens and ghost monkeys, I can certainly believe in having a job that I want to go to every single day; a body that can sport a leg tattoo and vest top with pride and finding a man that will make the world stop when they kiss me!

Inspiration

 

 

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Hope Stomps on Toads

9 Dec

There’s been a bit of a gap in my write ups, even though I’ve written a dozen in my head as I ran or walked the dog or just couldn’t sleep at night.  I was very conscious that I didn’t want to write a mopey, complaining blog (having just unfollowed a couple of people on Twitter for being a real life version of @uokhun, I felt it would be a bit hypocritical!).   A little while ago I did an informal update about how well things had gone this year, and they had – I’d left a marriage because husband was cheating, I’d moved out of the marital home and bought my own house, I’d taken and passed promotion exam, lost stone and a half and recovered sufficiently well from two lots of stomach surgery to be able to consider training for a marathon, all no mean feat.

Then I went into a bit of a slump and turned into an all round pity party for myself.  The toads were leaping around in my head, spraying their poison and croaking evil (am I misquoting Shakespeare there, not sure, I’ll google later).  But you know, after a couple of weeks of that it hasn’t actually made any difference.  Who knew? feeling sorry for yourself, crying pitifully, moping around and eating crap actually doesn’t result in life getting better – big shocker there, huh?   Hmm, note to self – that may be good title for a self-help book along the boot camp, tough love line.

Anyway, back to the point …. I have been dwelling on the things I haven’t got, but actually – what does that achieve?  Don’t worry, its not a test question, I’ll give you the answer …. It achieves precisely nothing, zilch, nada.  It doesn’t move you forward.   It just makes you feel like you’re sitting in a pit of treacle, and not in a good way.

So what if my 2nd marriage has gone tits up.  At least I know for next time what I will and won’t be prepared to live with and what I want.  There are plenty of people out there in relationships they don’t want to be in, but which they feel they have to be in for a variety of reasons.  All of those reasons may be valid to them, and that is fine.  But it doesn’t mean I have to dive into a relationship that isn’t right or what I want.  At least being single I’m ready and able to grab an opportunity if someone comes along that is right for me, who likes me exactly as I am  – bit bolshy, bit gobby, odd sense of humour, bit of a feeder, crewed up with an insane dog.  If that person doesn’t come along, then I’ll be fine on my own.

So what if work has been a bit frustrating lately.  If I don’t like it – do something about it.  There are plenty of people out there that don’t have a job.  Who are struggling to know how they’ll meet their bills or support their kids.  I’m in a secure job, I’m well paid.  I should be bloody grateful for that.  Passing the exam is first step towards moving on, so what if there might not be boards for a while.  It doesn’t mean I have to sit back and do nothing.  I can either stop moaning or deal with what is frustrating me or look for alternative roles.  I can even, if I really wanted, save up enough to take a career break, rent the house out and go travelling for a year or go and run a bed and breakfast/cake shop in Spain.  Those options are all there, sitting around moping isn’t going to change things.  Getting off my arse and doing something will.

So what if it turned out some people I thought were friends turned out not to be – I still have some amazing friends round me now.  I won’t do a shout out as it’ll embarrass those I name and turn into a bit of an Oscar acceptance speech.  But suffice to say, I’m astoundingly lucky to have people who will listen to me, drink vast quantities of coffee with me, talk random crap with me, laugh with me (at me?) and just generally be there for me (and I hope I’m there for them, too).   If I’m totally honest about things, I’d rather have those people in my life as friends than be stuck in a bad relationship.  I know those aren’t exclusive, but in my head I know what I mean and I hope it makes sense.  So thank you to my friends (again!) and I give you permission that if I start to go into a pity party again you are allowed to slap me, quite hard.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve got a whole load of positive things in my life and most of all, I have hope and whilst it would be a strange game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’, I’m fairly certain that Hope kills Toads.

Baron+Von+Greenback

Your time is up, toad, mwhah hah hahhahhah!!

Edinburgh and beyond … things I have done today

2 Oct

Things I have done today:

  • sat a promotion exam
  • run 2.5 miles

I’m trying to take on board some feedback I got from a couple of different people this week, but which was along the same lines:  stop being so hard on yourself and actually acknowledge that you’re doing quite well.  That doesn’t come easily to me, like a lot of us, I’m probably my own worse critic (and bearing in mind some of the criticism I’ve received from others, that’s a hell of thing to be able to claim).  But I’m going to take a bit of a deep breath and whilst doing one of the exercises the physio gave me – I’m going to give myself a pat on the back.  (I will be doing this whilst sitting down and then rotating to one side whilst keeping hips still in order to stretch my back at the same time, fyi.)  I’ve lost 17lbs.   17lbs – that’s actually pretty good.  That would be a fairly hefty baby (apparently), its bigger than a puppy.   I couldn’t run 10k carrying a puppy – that’s perspective!!

I studied for an exam and sat it, not because anyone encouraged me, in fact the opposite, noone has pushed me to do this.  This might be a bad thing and might be a reflection that people think I can’t do it, but noone has taken me under their wing and started pushing me to build a portfolio and all the other blah that is known to happen in my chosen profession.  I did it because I wanted to.  I had to build in the time and still run my house, on my own, while I did it.  That might not be much compared to what some other people have to cope with on a daily basis.  But so what – I did it.  The actual result is fairly irrelevant, I gave it a shot.

Right, now the praise-fest is over, back to basics.  2nd run of this week completed.  Although I was only supposed to be doing a mile to build slowly, that was really never going to happen.  I did keep things slow though, averaging a 12.16 minute mile for 2.56 miles.   Combined walking and gentle jog, warming up with 10 minutes gentle jog then 30 second walk followed by 2.5minute jog, finishing with 9 minute jog.  Took 31 minutes to do 2.5 miles, which is about the pace I was doing a slow 5k, but considering I haven’t run in a dog’s age, not too shabby.  I’d been advised to look at my form and try to relax my back as I run.  I admit I’m a bit confused as to what that means.  I’ve run on and off for about 30 years and have just tended to stick one foot in front of the other and keep going, without putting a huge amount of thought behind it.  So I’m not sure which bits I’m doing right and which bits I’m doing wrong.  So today, I tried to let my arms hang loose so that my shoulders and back weren’t so hunched up.  I’ve always run with clenched fists and sort of punched my arms forward, which when I stand and do it, I can feel is very tensing.  So instead, I left my hands unclenched and open.  I did wonder, as I ran past part of the hospital, whether medical aid would be sent out for me as during the walk parts I took the opportunity to try and shake out my arms and shoulders  to relax them – so there was some rather odd arm waving and shaking going on.  Think some sort of Baptist Church revival sermon and that might give an idea of what I looked like.   On good note – legs felt fine, no problems in legs or feet (which is where past problems have been), which is very positive.  Back does feel a bit tight – but I did spend couple of hours hunched over an exam paper so that could just as easily be responsible.   But to go back to the original point – I went out and ran, even though it was raining, even though I’d already been out and walked some distance with the dog (and got a headbutt into the bargain!), even though I hadn’t had any tea.  No excuses – got out there and hit the pavements.

Food wise – quite proud of fact that I ran right on past the chip shop and didn’t even bat an eyelid.  Got in and didn’t grab junk food, instead I poached fish, roasted butternut squash and made fish pie topped with mashed cauliflower and squash.  Which is what I’m not going to head off to eat.

Overall – a good day.  I’ve stuck a photo below of a poster that I saw advertised ages and ages ago.  I think its meant for a child’s room, but the sentiment holds true whatever your age.

Dream, Imagine and Aspire to be just who you are.

There are dragons to slay

Edinburgh and beyond

29 Sep

I’m supposed to be revising, especially as the exam is in just over 2 days time.  Even sent the dog off to spend the weekend with the ex so that I could focus on cramming.  Which means I’ve been to the hairdressers, watched Poirot, been for a run and am now updating blog.   My ability to distract myself from what I actually should be focussing on is fairly astounding.  I even washed the floors in the week (admittedly between mock exams, but still).

So where am I right now?  Well – clearly as I mentioned the exam and revision, I am taking steps to achieve forward movement in my career.  However, I’m not totally confident that I’ve done enough.  I can make all the excuses about not having time:  get home from work, walk dog, make dinner, realise its gone 8 o’clock, hardly time to get the books out.  Weekends have to clean the house, shop etc etc etc, blah, blah, blah.  Ultimately though, I could have found time.  I could have got up earlier.  But I didn’t.  I chose not to, whether consciously or subconsciously.  On Tuesday I’ll know how that works out.  However, I’m not stressing on it.  It will be what it will be.  If I don’t pass, so be it, I enjoy the job I do now, I work with a great team and I’m looking forward to starting work with a new boss from next week so lots of challenges and opportunities coming up.  If I do pass, fantastic stuff …. just got to then wait for a board and who knows when that will be.  So really, no change on what I’d be doing anyway.

Weight wise – Dukan has been a success.  Slow, but successful.  I didn’t get the massive weight loss that some people have reported.  But, again, I’m not stressing on it.  I can only run my own race.  I’ve been losing around 1-2lb a week and since 21 July have lost 17lb.  More importantly, I feel more comfortable in my clothes.  I can throw on jeans and tshirt and feel like I look ok.  I’ve dropped a trouser size in my work trousers and will soon need to order a smaller size again.  I’ve got 21lb to go, but I feel like I can do it.  I’ve got used to the way of eating and I have the cravings under control. I won’t say I’ve mastered them, more like I’ve shoved them into the back of the attic like a mad old aunty (to clarify, I think I read that in a book or saw it in a film, I have never locked an aunty or any other family member in an attic).

Running – hmmm, since the 10k Race for Life some time back I haven’t run.  In fact I ended up with such a bad back I resorted to going to the doctors (I hate going to the doctors) who then referred me to a physio.  Physio’s advice was no running until my back had been sorted out.   A few weeks of stretching exercises (ably assisted by the dog, who thinks the moment you lie on the floor its play time.  Have you tried to do back stretches and core strengthening with a 29kg dog trying to climb on you and lick your face, it ain’t easy.  You never see that in a celeb dvd do you, no you don’t.) and a bit of massaging from the physio (brought to a rapid halt on one session when whatever it was she was doing made me throw up!) and I’ve been given clearance to run again.  This was on the proviso of  ‘Taking It Easy’ and ‘Building Up Slowly’.  That was on Monday.  On Thursday I entered Edinburgh marathon.  Ok, I know that doesn’t sound like Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly.  But in my defence, the run isn’t until May, so that’s loads of time to Build Up Slowly.  I’d been waiting for VLM results (Virgin London Marathon for the non-runners, its not some new underwear malfunction like a worse form of VPL).  Part of me was thinking I hope I don’t get it as I really don’t want to run a marathon.  But something weird happened as I waited for the letter or the pack and I started to make back up plans.  By the time the postman knocked at the door and Elvis delivered the news, I’d already looked Edinburgh up online.  That there was a code included in the rejection pack to get a guaranteed place seemed sort of like fate.  Next thing I knew, the application was in.  So 26 May, I will be doing my 26.2 in Scotland.  That in itself is fine, but somehow my mind which really doesn’t understand how to not go over the top and stick to a balance level, decided that isn’t enough.  So my aims for the next two years now include:

short term : back up to 10k fitness by end of November (Reindeer run!)

medium term : Edinburgh marathon

long term : a 30 mile run

then that’s it.  I can tick them off my list, know that I’ve achieved it and then just stick to running nothing further than 10 miles BUT and this is the big thing, sustaining that running, so that each week I’m running at least 4 times a week.  Forever.

In the interests of Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly, I went out for a trial run tonight.  Plan was one mile of 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk all at a very low pace.  Somehow  I ended up doing 1.72 miles, as I was so busy counting that I couldn’t hear the micoach telling me the distances.  The micoach updates on 2 minute points, so after the first 2 min check point I had to keep counting and doing maths in my head, which meant talking out loud to myself because I can’t do maths in my head.  Either I’m going to have to build up fairly quickly or go back to remedial maths classes.  I averaged 12.05 minute miles, so managed the  fairly slow bit.  Legs felt fine, but I’ve realised that I do tense my back up as I run and I can feel a tight band across it even though I’ve stretched out when I got back.  I’m telling myself that isn’t an excuse to book a massage on the alternate days to running and that instead I should find out what it is about my running style that’s making me do that and build my core up properly.  The massage bit sounds nicer though.

In other news – still not dating, coming up for one year since found out husband was cheating and kicked him out.  Part of me thinks I should be back out there and looking for someone new.  Other bit of me really can’t face the whole idea of trying to meet someone new, risking being rejected, risking being hurt again.  Safer to just stay in my own little bubble.  But who knows, friends coming to stay next weekend and we’re hitting the town.  Ok, we’re hitting Bedford and that really isn’t all that great.  BUT a new pub has opened up, its supposed to be good and I’ve been assured there were men there who looked like they were single, so who knows, maybe next week things will change.

For now, though:  I’ve an exam to take and a marathon to prepare for, so lets get out there and get on with it!

This photo has nothing at all to do with the blog, I just really liked it – its my dog when he met up with some other Slovakian Rough Haired Pointers and then they bumped into a Weimaraner puppy!

floating on the breeze

7 Aug

I meant to write this update last week, but time got away with me.  Now I’m glad I waited, as it would have been easy to write it last week as last week was a really good week.   Its easier to write positive when you’re feeling good.   I’d had a few days off work, I’d got some revision done, I’d had some really good advice (more in a moment on that) and I had a great evening out for a friend’s leaving do.

Then the weekend happened.  The weekend was fairly crap.  Actually, the weekend was really crap.   Surely though, that’s the reality check to see if the advice really is sinking in or whether I’m just paying lip service?

“have you ever tried really hard for something only to lose it through no fault of your own?  Like a situation totally beyond your control….. So you know no-one can be certain of a future.  You’re not cursed or evil or punished.   You’re just floating along on the breeze.  Without a clue what’s coming.”

When you’re a wee bit of a control freak like me, that’s a difficult thing to hear.  But when I started to really think about it and really work out all the major things that have happened in my life that just came out of nowhere, that I had little or no control over, I realised how true it really was.  And how liberating that felt.  I suppose its just a fancier way of saying ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it’, but it somehow made more sense when it was put in terms of floating along on the breeze, likely to be lifted or dropped depending on the thermals, twisting and turning but still moving.

So when the crap started, yes, I had a mope.  Yes, I had a bit of a rant.  But then I really thought about it:   what could I actually change?  What could I do to make the best of what had happened?   I could decide not to put myself in a position where there could be a repeat of what had happened.  I could decide to focus on good things instead.  I could decide that rather than hide in my cave (as I would in the past) when a friend offered to come round, I could accept.  I had my rant, then we chatted and laughed about other stuff (ok, mainly puppy stuff!).   A fairly major difference that shows to me how far I’ve moved forward:   I went food shopping.  Nothing major there, except – I stuck to my healthy eating shopping list. I ate healthily all weekend.  I didn’t swamp my feelings in a whole loaf turned into toast and jam or eat enough Haribo to turn me into a jelly (belly) teddy.   That might not sound much, but for someone who eats when happy and eats more when upset, it was a big step forward.  I also didn’t dwell.  I picked myself back up, went into work on Monday and just, well, just got on with things.  The breeze had taken me along a different turn, may as well make the most of it.

Floating along on the breeze doesn’t mean that I’m abdicating my sense of responsibility or ambition, or that I’m just leaving everything to fate.  It means I won’t be focussing on the outcome, instead I’ll be putting in the things I need to do each day, be it eating healthily, be it getting another few chapters of revision done, be it sticking a smile on my face and two fingers up at those that try to bring me down.   I’ll put as much into each day as I can so that when opportunity does knock, I’m ready to sling my jacket on, grab my purse and rush off with opportunity wherever it may take me.

Floating

Not letting the birds nest in my hair

26 Dec

“The birds of sorrow may fly over your head, but its up to you whether you let them nest in your hair.”

Twitter has a wealth of information, banal comments, photos of oddities and the ability to stalk safely, but this Chinese proverb has been floating round my head since I read it there a few days ago.  At the beginning of this year I set myself two resolutions:  to get a dog and to buy a house.  I achieved both those.  Along the way I lost other things – a husband and marriage spring to mind – but also my way.  My running had been intermittent for the last few years, but this year I was really determined to get back on track.  Despite an operation laying me up for a few months, I came back ready to go – signed up for a half marathon next year, started to plan a marathon, was running regularly, was losing weight and feeling generally positive about life.

Then the birds of sorrow appeared and started flying around and sh***ing everywhere.  Everything started to fall apart in my life. With everything else going on, I pulled out of a race, I stopped running to work,I stopped running full stop.  A week of not running spread to several weeks.  I’d put in for a 10k at beginning of December which I felt I ought to still do, so I did (and pulled in a not to shabby 69 minutes) then worked out it had been 6 weeks since I’d run.  Then I stopped again.  Unfortunately carb loading didn’t stop – bacon butties, sandwiches, pasties (Greggs, you have a lot to answer for), cake, you name it, I ate it.  No running + lotta eating = weight piling on.   Those birds of sorrow very soon had crows of no-confidence to back them up.

Then came Christmas Eve, a Christmas I really wasn’t looking forward to, so needed distraction and something to focus on.  What could be better than fancy dress – a sort of scarecrow for those birds of sorrow.  So I pulled on the santa outfit and at 0900 on Xmas Eve I ran my first Bedford parkrun since around September time.  It wasn’t my best time, it was possibly closer to my worse (does anyone remember worst times? In fairness I rarely remember best times so I’m really not going to focus on a worst).  But I made it round.  I didn’t walk any of it.  I didn’t throw up.  I didn’t wear my phone so I had no coach and no music.  I just ran and thought.

In that thinking I decided that I really don’t need birds nesting in my hair, what I need is a plan and some focus.   So Christmas Day I dragged myself back out again and did another parkrun, still slow time but still made it out there when I could have been sat at home drinking bucks fizz.  Then during the day, whilst my calorie consumption can only be counted on the computer that looks after the Hadron Collider (I don’t actually know if the Hadron Collider has a computer that looks after it, it was just the biggest thing I could think of and I ate a lot of calories!!) – my alcohol consumption was restricted to a couple of glasses of wine, and one of them I didn’t finish.  Small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, very small steps, but steps nonetheless.

Today (Boxing Day) back out to parkrun, as a marshall this time – but the fact that I got up and went out shows me that I can do it.  I can channel that and get myself running again.  So I’ve set myself some resolutions, a bit earlier than usually set, but gotta get chasing those birds away:

Short term – through January

  • Every week achieve at least four sessions of exercise (as I’ve signed up for Bootcamp, one will be an evening session of this; parkrun on Saturday takes care of another, so just two more runs to put in)
  • No refined carbs during the week – so no pasties, sandwiches, butties and cakes.  At the weekend one treat of either toast, a cake or croissant … but only if the four sessions of exercise has been achieved

Medium term – through to middle of March

  • Build running up to the Milton Keynes half marathon 4 March – this means adding at least 10% each week to my long run
  • Be eating a healthy diet – more fruit and veg, more protein and less carbs – eat for fuel and health not to suppress emotions
  • Identify a way of having house of my own, ie, not jointly owned

Long term – by end of the year

  • Have run a marathon
  • Have reached a weight I’m happy with
  • Be enjoying myself with friends and planning an amazing Christmas

But most of all – be rocking a great hairstyle without any birds nesting in it.

Scarecrow Santa prepares to run

made it ... first step, check