It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been working from home for almost 6 months.
A lot can change in that much time, and it has. I guess I don’t say much about my personal life lately, because everything I have going on just feels so small to write about in comparison to the worldwide craziness happening.
It all has me very much on edge. Since March, my sleep has probably been my biggest physical daily obstacle. It’s so much harder to do things when you’re tired, I hate it, and that’s bound to happen when you just plain don’t sleep enough. The more my brain starts to turn things over, the more sleep and I become distant strangers. I feel like this is slowly improving.
I’ve gained 15lbs. I’m not particularly mad at myself. I don’t hate how I look. It’s just that everything in my life changed, and my body did too. It’s logical. No more walking from car to work and back again. No more taking the stairs at work. All of these little daily movements are gone, and weight is, of course, a bit of a math problem; less movement equals fewer calories burned and therefore more fat to hang around my hips and butt.
Like I said, I don’t hate it. It’s different but not awful. I’m still curvy, there’s just more of it. However, I have also noticed that I was feeling less comfortable overall in my body. I was generally less energised and was feeling kinda frumpy. I knew that I definitely needed more exercise to conquer that ‘blah’ feeling. (And maybe something to kick my butt!) No one wants to feel hefty and out of whack, no matter how confident they are.
So I downloaded the Bodbot app. Couldn’t hurt, right? You guys. This thing is genius!
I’m not going to turn this post into an ad for Bodbot, but I am positively thrilled at the outcome so far:
The weight gain has stalled. I haven’t gained more weight in the past few weeks.
My measurements are changing. I’m not seeing a big scale drop but I’ve lost about an inch off of my waist. I even think I’m seeing some arm definition. Yay!
I feel better generally. My body feels more alive. I like feeling good!
My back feels better. This is huge for me. I have gained some flexibility in my spine, I don’t hurt in the mornings anymore, and I don’t feel nearly as achy.
I learned how to jump rope.
The whole concept of Bodbot has me pretty excited! It’s an absolutely brilliant use of “adaptive technology.” It takes any chance of bias right out of picking your workout. 🙂 Basically, the AI learns from you and is able to target your weak spots. You do fitness tests before you start, put in your goals and Bodbot can fully plan your personalized workouts. It takes into account the equipment you have available. The AI creates workouts catered to your exact needs, and it doesn’t care which exercises you’re stellar at. In fact, you’re way more likely to get the stuff you suck at.
Because that’s the stuff you need to work on! The challenging exercises are where the growth is. Bodbot makes you focus on the niggling small stuff to become more balanced and foundationally stronger. (Example: Bodbot likes to get me to squeeze a yoga ball between my thighs and hold for 3 seconds, then release, and then repeat this squeeze another 22 times. Ow!)
Also! The jump rope thing! Holy moly!
I was a shy kid, and from an early age I had the idea that physical activity was mostly something for other people. I was absolutely dismal at team sports, I had little coordination, and…I sucked at jump rope. As a kid I didn’t care enough to try to get better.
Well, my beloved Bodbot has been asking me to do jump rope sessions. I was initially pretty intimidated, but I’ve been making the attempt.
The first time I took a jump rope outside I was absolute garbage. Tripping on the rope. Thwacking myself in the back of the head with it. I marveled that so many small children can master this with ease. I didn’t sweat it though. I just decided that I would keep trying. I could probably get a little better through repeated exposures. I couldn’t get much worse!
It was an ideal personal challenge. No pressure. A defined goal. The stakes were low. I wasn’t going to be mad at myself for failure.
The second time, I managed to get the rope around a couple of times in a row. By the fourth or fifth session I realized that I was able to string more of my jumps together. I was better able to establish a rhythm! In fact, the only thing holding me back now is my stamina. I can actually jump rope! It’s still really hard, but I can!
I’m thrilled with that. I’ll take the progress. It’s damn satisfying to teach yourself something new.
Speaking of something new, for me at least…my hair’s getting longer. I can actually put it half-up now! Hair growing is very slow-going, but this is the longest I can remember it being in years. I’ve pretty much always had short hair as an adult. 20 years at least. I’m enjoying the new length so far, and I’ll keep growing it as long as that continues to be the case.
Even if that means I have to wear a headband while I’m skipping. 🙂
I’m one of those nerdy kids who discovered fitness late, and then became addicted. I started running, and I got so into it that I eventually ran a marathon. I love weight lifting so much that I once did a bikini competition. I’ve worked at two different (very different) gyms. I’ve read countless books and articles about fitness, and have even written a couple of articles myself! Even now, while I’m not attending any gym, or working toward a particular event, those past fitness experiences inform who I am. They have taught me a tremendous amount about what I’m capable of, and who I want to be.
Fitness changed my life. It’s kinda funny, because for years and years I just wanted to be a skinny girl. (I was also a teenager in the 90’s, when ultra-skinny models were being shown just about everywhere.) My desire was partly fueled by society, and partly by my own warped little mind…don’t we all want what we can’t have? The women in my family are built short and curvy. We’re more inclined to big bums and thick muscles than to having long, lean limbs. So of course I wanted to be long and lean. Imagine having the grace of a ballet dancer! Imagine having the height to be a model! This was frustrating to me as a short, kinda chunky teenager.
I’m not going to tell you a sob story, because Lord knows I’ve already done that plenty of times here. 😉 I’ll just say that my young experiences with dieting were not great. It was always a fight to make my body lose any weight at all. It always left me feeling grumpy and unsatisfied. Worse, even if I barely ate (NOT RECOMMENDED) I still didn’t come close to looking like my ideal. I was always disappointed with the results. I never gained any length in my bones obviously, and if I actually managed to lose weight, it was always off of my top half and not the bottom. Weight loss didn’t make me look long and lean. Instead, it turned me into something like a short, sad triangle. Bony shoulders and a big bum. Not a great look.
As I became more involved with fitness, my confidence grew (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). I gained a deeper understanding of what my body could accomplish. I began the long, slow process of changing my feelings and ideas toward my “ideal” body. I had never become “skinny” anyway, and the self-abuse wasn’t worth it. (Also “weight loss” without a focus on overall fitness is a horrible idea.) Even if I ran mile after mile I never magically got long slim legs. However, my short, muscular legs could stilltake me mile after mile, and that was something! I never woke up with a teeny, tiny, tight butt, but I did discover my own natural capacity for strength. These things did a lot to change my mind about what I wanted from my body. I became less fixated on the number on the scale, and more interested in what kind of athlete I could be.
Because we’re all athletes. We just vary in skill, and some of us aren’t currently in training. 😉
Thankfully, logic and some semblance of confidence have taken over. I know now that I’d much rather look like a woman in a fitness magazine, with six-pack abs and killer shoulder definition than just “weigh less.” I’d rather use my thick thighs to help me lift things and lend to my overall physical power than hate on them. (This has been a long time coming, believe me!) I don’t have to force myself into some kind of impossible mold. I can strive for self-improvement, while still appreciating what I have.
So yeah, fitness has helped me heal a lot, and now I feel like I have to ask it to help me again.
Because…I’ve gained a little weight through this whole crazy Covid thing. This is neither surprising nor uncommon. I also know that this is honestly less about the number on the scale, and more about how I feel in my own body. The weight is maybe 6 pounds. Not at all a big deal in the overall scheme of things (in fact it’s embarrassingly minor), but this weight is NOT helping me feel good day-to-day.
Here’s the thing though…. no matter what, I absolutely refuse to go into some kind of self-punishment mode. I’m not doing that anymore. Instead, I am committed to operating from a place of self-love and honesty.
Honestly, feeling this way does not make me happy. My fitness rituals do make me happy, so it’s time to get back to making them non-negotiable. It’s back to 6x a week workouts. It’s back to logging my food on My Fitness Pal. It’s back to making time daily to do the things my physiotherapist tells me I need to do to heal my back. (Because I really really want to be able to run again!)
I matter. My happiness matters. In short, it’s time to give stress the finger, and continue working to be the person I want to be.
Even if I sometimes feel like stress-eating.
Even if I can’t run anymore and have to hike instead.
Even if getting up early to make “me time” is inconvenient.
I need to be my healthy, hard-working self. I need to feel strong. I need to do the things that build my confidence. I need fitness.
Also, shout-out to all of my iron sisters. I know right now it’s hard if you’re used to working out a certain way and you can’t anymore. Let’s keep doing our best to figure it out. You motivated powerful women totally inspire me! 🙂
Let’s come out of this thing stronger than when we went in!
Today I put on a real outfit and makeup, as if I was going somewhere. I even added dark lipstick and a fancy scarf. No use in going halfway.
I did it for myself. Jason certainly isn’t someone who is hung up on whether or not I wear makeup, and I don’t think my teenage son could be convinced into caring.
But I care, and I guess that’s the point. Bothering with lipstick and straightening my hair is kinda stupid right now, even I know that. But it’s NOT stupid really, if it makes me feel better. These actions play tricks on the mind. I feel better and more productive if I’ve bothered to “pull myself together.”
I have other friends who don’t seem to need this. They have fully embraced being at home. They have dispensed with rigid schedules. Some have even taken to drinking at odd hours, and/or rolling out of bed in the afternoon.
I don’t judge these friends, but I know I can’t do it. In fact, a part of me might envy them just a little. I can’t handle the guilt. Not for me. Maybe some people are better able to relax. Maybe my definition of “relax” has changed over the years. All I know is, I’d rather feel good.
It’s so poetic and counterintuitive that there is freedom to be found in structure. Weird to say, but I guess I like structure. I like having a morning routine to set me to rights, and a night routine to put myself to bed. These things can become indispensable companions in a world that’s topsy turvy.
But that’s just how I am. I have to take myself in hand as if I were a toddler. I have to almost forcefully apply direction to my life. There must be a schedule. I must get dressed. I must attempt to log my food and keep up with my water drinking. I must have a list of things to do, and I must keep working on it.
I KNOW that right now feels like the perfect time to indulge, but ultimately, eating and drinking too much in my PJ’s is not going to make me feel like my best self. Instead, it will make me feel depressed and out of shape. I cannot just hang around and watch movies, unless I want to experience an unrelenting guilt spiral about how I’m wasting my time and squandering my talent.
We’re clearly not all built to cope the same way. Some of us are a little more high-strung in general, and you know who you are…
My anxiety-prone friends, I am talking to you! You are NOT like that person you know who has adopted a “no rules” approach to life during these trying times. You can’t do that and feel right in your own head. YOU need to feel like you’re doing something. (Trust me, I know you!)
If I could pass along one piece of advice, it would be this: make a dang schedule. Even if you are the only one forcing yourself to adhere to it, treat that schedule as sacred and follow it to the best of your ability. Get more done. Feel more accomplished. Give your day defined tasks and significance.
Oh yeah, and exercise about twice as much as you think you should! (Especially if you’re working from home.) I’m finding lately that even though I have to force myself to go for walks, they are truly a miracle for my mood, and I always need to go for about twice as long as I initially want to. Getting outdoors makes a person feel more free, which we all need right now!
Oh! And lipstick. Never underestimate the pick-me-up power of a great lipstick.
Yours in light, life, love and isolated fabulousness,
Everyone’s storm story is different, and hell, I’m home now on the EIGHTH DAY, so I may as well tell you ours. Oh, and I’ll try to throw in a few pictures along the way!
Last Thursday, January 16th, I actually went to work. (God, it feels like it’s been so long now!) Almost as soon as I got there, I could hear my coworkers around the office buzzing about the storm. There was much chatter about the projected snowfall, about how heavy the winds would be, and about when and if schools and businesses would be closing. I overheard calls to loved ones at home discussing what provisions were needed. I heard one lady say to another, “Geez, if we wind up coming to work tomorrow, we won’t be fit!”
True enough, but the comment made me smirk a little, as I felt it was safe to assume that we would be off work the following day. “Even if we get the low end of the estimate; 40cms, it’s still more than enough to shut everything down,” I mentioned to my workmate Alex. He agreed, and I think we both figured we were getting a four-day weekend out of this. Honestly, the anticipation made for a bit of a fun day. (An extra day off here and there does wonders for office morale!)
The only thing dragging me down was this nagging headache I had going on in the front of my face. It wasn’t debilitating, but it was there. pound. pound. pound. I had often wondered if I was one of those people who got headaches because of barometric pressure changes. This seemed like evidence to support that hypothesis. There was nothing else wrong with me, so I got an ibuprofen from someone in the office and I moved on. The pill seemed to help quite a bit.
That was good, because I was also instructed to change my desk that day. Kind of annoying, but there have been a lot of changes at work lately, so this wasn’t a surprise. I took most of my possessions to my new cubicle assignment on my break. The new spot was two floors below me, and I like my workspace to feel like home, so it was a bit of an undertaking. I moved the rest of my things down at the end of my shift. I took my time cleaning up the old desk for the next person, but left a bit of a mess at the new desk downstairs. No big deal. I could get fully up to speed before work on Monday. I’d probably have the new digs in order by 9AM on the 20th. Perfect.
I went home, and we generally made sure things were as prepared as possible. Shovels inside and at the ready. A bucket of salt in the basement as well. Nothing left outside that that could blow around. Electronics charging. My stash of candles accounted for (I make ‘em, so there’s always a box somewhere!) plus a couple of flashlights, of course.
As for food and basic supplies, we are fortunate enough that I knew we had at least enough for a few days. Plus, we’re both pretty dang creative with food when times get tough; him through training, me through cheapness and previous moments of desperation. All good, as far as we knew.
We heard that schools as well as the Metrobus service were preemptively cancelled for the next day. “You know it’s going to be bad if they’re cancelling the buses now,” Jason said. He had a point. I couldn’t remember the last time they’d done that.
Day 1: FRIDAY
No school and no work and it’s no surprise! We awake to a storm, and it keeps up all day. In fact, it gets worse in the evening, when the winds pick up. The gusts are well in excess of 100km/h, and all the while the snow continues coming down. It really is something to watch. I feel worried for anyone who needs to travel. I think about all of the essential services people. I also think about my friends in radio. Those guys are amazing. (Mad respect to everyone who made it in to work, and who wound up staying there for a few days!)
By evening, the windows have acquired an intricate pattern of snow spray, preventing us from getting much of a view. Not that you’d see much if they’d been clear. The storm is intense. White-out conditions all over the place.
I’m not feeling great My headache hasn’t really gone away from the day before, but now I also feel a little queasy and very cold. I eventually quit watching the storm and head for the bath. (Jason gives me a flashlight, just in case!)
The lights flicker, but they never go out for more than a few seconds. Each time they go, I think, Oh, this is it! But no, we manage to keep our power throughout the storm..
I stay in the bath for a good long time, with Jason periodically knocking on the door and telling me, in disbelief, how high the snow is. “It’s nearly to the top of the patio railing!” “It’s just at the top of the patio railing! You should see it Jennnq, it’s crazy!” By the time I come out, the snow has filled the patio, it is now drifting over the sides of the railing, and it is indeed “crazy.”
We watch the storm in wonder and listen to records late into the night. The drifts get to be taller than me and then taller than Jason. Crazy indeed. This is a serious amount of snow. We also slowly realize that we have fewer and fewer options for exiting our home. The front door has a storm door that opens out. That is now blocked by a huge drift of snow. The side door is the same. The basement door was a possibility until snow finally filled that stairwell in too. That leaves the windows. One of us is headed out the window tomorrow.
Well, that’s something to look forward to. I do so relish the opportunity to use the word “defenestration” in a sentence.
Day 2: SATURDAY
I wake up feeling like I’ve been run over, and I haven’t even lifted a shovel yet. Not good.
At least there’s no rush. We’re under a State of Emergency, so everything is shut down. It’s easy to see why. The snow is piled in great, unbelievably high drifts. Some places don’t look too bad. Some places are 8 feet high. Sweet merciful. The work we’re going to have to do to get out is nearly unfathomable.
We’re very much shut inside, and the window in our living room is the best option out. I had thought I would be out first, but I just feel so awful. Jason is the hero who goes out through the window. (He isn’t thrown out the window, so technically, there is no “defenestration.” The word rolls around in my head all the same.) Jason digs his way toward our front door while I stay inside and try to remember how to human.
I get a shower and some tea, but after half a bagel, I feel queasy and like I’ve eaten too much. Strange. I feel as if I have a brutal hangover, and I have had precisely nothing to drink. Ugh. Unfair.
Within about a half hour I’m outside with him. I take out a waterproof speaker, and we listen to everything from Anthrax to Caravan Palace while we tackle clearing the deck and regaining access to the house.
We shovel the deck for a few hours. It is very tiring, and sometimes I stop and take breaks. By the afternoon, I notice that my breaks are coming with a side of hopelessness. I just keep getting this feeling every time I stop…a feeling of deep despair. It’s like something inside my body is giving the activity of shoveling a great big “NOPE.” I do my absolute best, but at a certain point I have to call it quits.
At the end of the day, the driveway still needs to get done, but our deck/patio is 80% clear and you can get in and out through all the doors. (Accomplishing this was much easier with two!)
That evening, even under many layers I cannot get warm. The power stays on, which I am thankful for. I wear a toque as I sit on the sofa under blankets. Every time I lift my arm, a shiver courses through my body. My throat is scratchy, and the headache…It’s more like POUND. POUND. POUND now. It occurs to me that this may not be because of the barometric pressure.
I take my temperature. 101.8 degrees. Oh. I see. I’m actually sick. I realize this explains why my body just wanted to give up earlier. Awesome. Jason seems worried he may catch something too. He hugs me close anyway. Good man.
I barely eat and go to bed, hopeful that I will be of more use tomorrow.
Day 3: SUNDAY
I still feel gross. I shovel for a short period of time, but Jason takes care of the lion’s share of the driveway snow with the snowblower. I am thankful.
Inside the house I read for a while, but when my queasy stomach seems less-than content with that, I listen to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Audible. I love it. All of the different voices make me feel like a child hearing a bedtime story. (Ok, it’s a pretty racy bedtime story, but Alan Rickman is one of the voices! How cool is that??)
I have no desire for my beloved espresso. I still barely eat. The only food that appeals to me right now is oranges. All that I want is an orange. I fantasize about cutting into one, and the sweet juice running out, and I imagine biting into the fresh cold flesh. Yes. All I want is an orange. I imagine the taste on my tongue, and imagining is all that I can do, because guess what we don’t have???
The state of emergency is lifted in St. Philip’s so that during the day people can run out and get essentials. Jason is still outside struggling in the driveway, so when Mom calls here to check on us, she gets me. “You sound so stuffed up! I’m heading out to get a couple of things. Need anything?”
“ORANGES,” I blurt, as they are currently the only thing on my mind.
Sure enough, a short time later Jason comes back inside with two oranges in his hands. “Your mom dropped these off.” He says.
I cut into one almost immediately and am surprised to find a blood orange. It’s colour is unexpected and striking. It is almost ombré inside. I wish I had the skill to paint it, but instead I eat it quickly and enjoy it immensely. It’s funny how the body must know what it needs. I don’t recall ever wanting an orange this badly.
Tonight, for some flipping reason, the weather stirs up again. 15 fresh centimeters fall overnight. More work to do tomorrow.
I am somewhat relieved to learn that the State of Emergency continues. I would not take my nasty fever to work anyway, and this way there is no sick day required. A little silver lining.
I sleep fairly early hoping that I will be back to myself tomorrow.
Day 4: MONDAY
I still seem to have a slight cold, but I feel a lot better. I have some energy, which is good, because we now have yet more snow to shovel, and the driveway (did I mention that our driveway is one long hill??) could still use some work.
We work on the driveway and Jason and I bicker about nothing. I think being cooped up is getting to us.
Jason is also bummed because we had tickets to see Jim Gaffigan, and the show (scheduled for Sunday, aka “Day 3”) was cancelled.
The slightly-disappointed Jason works on widening the driveway with the snowblower. I go inside and eat my second orange. It still tastes like everything I want it to be. (Oranges, man.)
Espresso still isn’t tasting good to me. Must be a residual thing from the cold. This seems like a good time to actually go with it though. Hadn’t I been meaning to break the addiction? If I can drink less coffee, that’s great. I’ve been sipping black tea instead. For some reason, it continues to taste much better to me right now.
Nothing much else happens. We spend time with the cats. I spend a bunch of time on Facebook and start to feel like I’m not doing enough with my life. It’s not exactly time well-spent. Not too kind to the ol’ ego. Social media really is poison sometimes. Also so distracting. I resolve not to let is take up too much of my precious time in the future.
Day 5: TUESDAY
Yay, I’m better! No more temperature, and I actually feel alive!
This is great for me, but I’m probably driving Jason nuts. More energy means more talking, singing and dancing. Especially since we’re largely cooped up together.
We have all of the shoveling done except for this one area of our deck. It is a giant leftover drift from Friday’s storm. It’s not impeding our ability to come and go, it’s just this giant snow mountain on the patio. And now it’s really compacted and heavy. We had put it off, but it’s not great to leave snow on your deck. It can freeze, get really heavy with rain and damage the wood.
Today we both get out there and tackle it. We hack at the snow mountain with our shovels. It takes a while, since it has a hard crust on the outside, and the snow inside it is anything but light and fluffy. We get the tunes going again and it’s a damn good workout. The best part? In the end we can say that everything is finally clear! Woohooo!!
We’re still under the state of emergency, but today in St. John’s the supermarkets are allowed to reopen from 10-6. People go a little crazy. The lineups snaking across the parking lots are so long that they make the news. Hundreds of people turn up to wait for the stores to open. They’re anxious to stock up!
Jason and I don’t go, as we have no interest in battling the crowds, and other than the orange drama, we’re not really that desperate.
Jason had made a bunch of pizza Saturday, and since I was sick and couldn’t eat much of it, it’s lasted us for a while. (I was SO sad I couldn’t really enjoy fresh pizza!)
I use some of this extra time today to dye my hair. I clearly can’t be left in the house with hair dye for this long and not touch it! Nothing too crazy, I just take what’s already there up a notch. A little yellow. A little green. Some hot pink. (Ok, so maybe it is a little crazy!) I was really wishing I had some blue, but somehow I don’t think blue hair dye counts as an “essential” right now.
Tonight, Jason and I bust out Mario 3 and play it via the Wii. I love it, but I still kinda suck at video games. We play for a while, and then I switch it over to Dragrace. I haven’t felt very fabulous during the SOE, but hey, I can dream!
Day 6: WEDNESDAY
Day 6 of the State of Emergency dawns with an unstoppable blue sky, and a winter sun that my skin would have to be mercilessly coated in SPF to withstand. It is, in a word, beautiful. It makes the absolutely insane amount of snow surrounding us sparkle like so many diamonds.
We both need to get out of the house so we head to the grocery store. I’m damned excited to go. Thankfully, yesterday’s lineups are nowhere in evidence. We get what we need (more citrus, yay!) and we head back home. There. We can at least feel like we’ve accomplished something today.
I am still reading a lot. This is good. Since I’ve been a little more depressed and anxious the past couple of years, I haven’t read nearly so much, and I have always loved books. I’m going to try to keep a list of what I read for 2020. I can always try to beat my number next year!
I’ve just finished one called The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. It was ok. Good encouragement at least. I’ve been sober for 11 days now. It’s a start.
Later, I go see my Mom. We talk about nothing for a couple of hours and watch the “Baroness Von Sketch Show.” I can do this visit because she also lives outside of St. John’s, and St. Philip’s actually isn’t under a state of emergency anymore. It’s just St. John’s. Just like how people can go to work now if they work in Mount Pearl. It’s kinda weird.
I get official word that my work building will be closed tomorrow and Friday. Wow. This kinda sucks, because that big mess I left last week at my new cubicle will remain exactly as is for the next three weeks. I’m scheduled to go elsewhere for training starting Monday. My new desk must remain a cacophonous explosion of quotes, origami figures, books, notes and lipgloss for the next while. Nice first impression on my new work neighbours. Also, a bit annoying if you’re like me and can be just a little fussy about your stuff.
This snow has now derailed the city for an entire week!
Day 7: THURSDAY
I coughed all dang night last night. (Just when you think you’re done with it, ugh!) I still don’t feel like myself, and it’s such a bummer. I’m still heavy on the tea and water. (Haven’t gone back to espresso.)
Huh. No wine and no espresso or coffee. I’m pretty cheap, lately!
I try to leave today (car needs gas) and succeed only in getting my car stuck in the driveway. It takes me an hour and a half to free it. Even after all of that shoveling, it’s still iffy in that driveway. I blame the incline.
Afterward, I still feel energetic, so I do an at-home workout. (If I don’t stay active, I may crack up in here!) I walk on the treadmill, do some squats, planks and bridges. I don’t cough, even a little bit. Jason smirks a little, as there is more Lizzo involved in this workout than one might initially expect. (She’s so fun though!)
Later I decide that I need to finish writing about this, so I can finally post it! Things are almost back to normal.
The latest word is that the city will be fully operational as of 6AM Saturday. Hooray! It would appear that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re nearly done with this State of Emergency business.
I get a couple of edits into this thing, and somehow I wind up watching Doctor Who instead.
Day 8: FRIDAY
The SOE is basically over, as far as I know. Everything should be lifted early tomorrow, as I mentioned yesterday.
I have read more, not had anything to drink and I’ve even given up coffee in my time off. I feel as though I’m coming back to reality as a slightly improved version of myself. 🙂
Now, can we please hurry up and get everything back to normal?
I just picked up two grocery bags full of icky litter!
I hate litter, but you know what whining about it does? NOTHING. (Unfortunately.) On the other hand, going out in the fresh air and doing a little dirty work? Well, it might not save the world, but it at least makes an immediate difference!
This post was made with the specific intent of encouraging you to also pick up litter. Even just one coffee cup missing from the landscape makes an improvement.
Ok, before I say this, let’s just accept that this is a statement of fact, and it is NOT a complaint, ok?
This shit is hard.
I am still riding the ‘no-complaint’ train. I know, I know, it’s been a while. Today is day 3. Again. I have changed my bracelet since then, and yes, I still have to restart every few days. I changed the bracelet because the little string that I was wearing was too unnoticeable. It even fell off one day and it took me a little while to notice. Not very good for keeping it top of mind or giving the project importance. I still have to restart often because…this is me we’re talking about and I’ve got shit to say. 😉
But boy, I have really honed in on those triggers. It’s all pretty much like I was saying previously; the same old shit pisses me off, and a happy healthy, well-rested Jennnq doesn’t bitch very much at all. Subtract a little sleep and get me underfed, and I’m under my own personal little dark rain cloud. The little dark rain cloud overhead makes this bracelet thing that MUCH more challenging. I’m still here. I’m still working on it.
In other news, I am doing more with running again, or trying to. I have my sights set on finally running the “Hypothermic Half,” which is a half marathon race run here in Newfoundland. In February. So that’s 13.1 miles, in potentially icy, snowy, and definitely hilly conditions, while the good ol’ Newfoundland wind whips the snot outta ya. Sounds pretty badass to me!
It’s been a while since I have run more than a few miles, and a feel slow, and I need to kind of get back, you know? I hope to let you guys in on my progress. It’s going to take me a bit of goin’ to get myself from 3 plodding miles to 13 much faster ones. Let’s do this!
Lastly, I am working on a new project! I’m not going to tell you what it is yet, but I am excited! It’s going to be tied to this blog, and you shall be seeing evidence of it shortly. (Part of me is already mortified, and part of me can’t wait!) I do hope you like it!
I ran 6 miles yesterday, and I am definitely feeling it. I am getting back to running! Although it is hard to come to terms with my current limits, (did I really used to be able to run 18 miles at a stretch?) just being out and being well enough to pound pavement is such a gift.
Running and I go way back. I was never fast, and I was far from being “athletic” as a kid. I guess I always admired runners, and was fascinated by the sport. Once I finally got to know long slow distance, I kinda fell in love.
Like with weightlifting or the theater, I think once you pass a certain point you’re an addict. I love it, but it comes with a bundle of nerves every time. That feeling lasts at least until I manage to get going, although I sometimes even get butterflies about running while I’m running. It’s a strange feeling; like I am not sure if I can do it, even though I have done it plenty of times before. But the nerves are bundled up with joyful excitement too. There’s this primitive part of my brain that is always ecstatic about running. That’s enough for me to keep returning to it.
Even if the road was tough, you can’t help but feel better after a run. I struggled a bit yesterday to find my pace. Still, around mile 3 I finally figured it out, and I felt pretty great from there. It is nice to be happily recovering on Monday morning.
I feel like I’m ready, more or less, to start another week. I am hoping to be all-round “better” this week; more productive, more active, and more in line with my own ideals. I am trying to do more of what matters to me, and still working on that work-life balance thing. Running seems like a good start for that.
Ah, back to my old irregular posting schedule! 😉 The past two weeks have been tough, given the snowfall amounts that have slammed us and the soggy, ongoing cleanup afterward. I’m sure a lot of people who might read this have spent a little time hurting from all the shoveling. (We don’t have a snowblower, so please know that I was out there on the front-lines with you!) Some reflections from the past couple of weeks:
Physical labour can be intense meditation. I was reminded of what has always attracted me to jobs with some element of physical challenge; I value the spiritual and mental effects of real, hard work. It genuinely helps me feel better, clearer and more “myself” when I have had to come through some kind of physical challenge.
Being really physically tired is awesome for my insomnia. This is obvious, but…it’s also kind of…not? I didn’t think that I was all that lacking in exercise. In fact, I usually get some physical exercise every day. However, even if I lift weights in the morning, walk at lunch, and stay pretty much on my feet around the house in the evening, it’s not usually enough to make me just fall into bed early and sleep like a baby. Chipping away at an ice wall for an hour or more every day? I briefly relearned what it was like to fall asleep easily. I started getting tired more early, and it helped my schedule. I want to hang on to a little of this change. I think I have kind of…gotten better at mornings because of it.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle I like this. I can say I’m any number of things, but the proof is in the pudding! We are what we actually devote all of our time to doing.
I’m almost ready to get my tree-of-life tattoo! I had my last consult yesterday. This means that I will be doing my first sitting on March 7th! Finally! I am very excited, and I fully intend to post progress pics!
I don’t always have the chance to go, but there is a wooded area behind where I work, and on my lunch breaks I sometimes venture up there. When I do, I find myself blissfully alone in what I consider to be a mind-blowingly beautiful place.
My pictures don’t do it justice. I hardly think they could. Not until they can capture a perfect panoramic shot, along with the brightness of colours alive in the moist air, and combine it all of it with the actual feeling of being there. I only hope there is some shadow of how it seems to me reflected in the pictures I snap with my phone.
Apart from when I indulge in dramatic makeup and costumes, most of the pictures I take of myself are “forest selfies.” Me, against a backdrop of trees left to grow of their own accord. Embarrassing, perhaps, but it makes sense. I am trying to capture the state in which I feel I am being my most authentic self.
In the wilderness, things like choice of clothing are of little consequence. Somber or bright, as long as I am warm, comfortable, and not hitching my hem on the trees, I’m fine. (Still, because I walk directly up from work, I admit that I do sometimes wear wilderness-questionable outfits out on the trail anyway!)
Like any immediate concerns about appearance, most modern distractions become so much nothing in the forest. My social media presence and number of Twitter followers are infinitely less interesting than this one particular tree I was fascinated by. It stood “alone” in a crowd; surrounded by trees of different species. Yet it was the one dripping in sunlight. I wondered if anyone else had ever even seen it look like that before.
I miss the outside when I don’t go. I work indoors now, and when the days are busy and long, or cold and miserable, I don’t go to the woods at all. It bothers me not to have this tiny escape. The urge to follow the path to the trees some days is quite insistent.
When I worked as a mail carrier, Mother Nature didn’t have to push me quite so hard. Outdoors was a given. I couldn’t help but observe natural cycles in action. I brushed past buds and first crocuses. I was met by fall bugs seeking warmth in the crevices of dark mailboxes. I even, in the right place at the very right moment, caught a glimpse of late-summer Blue Flag Iris growing wild. In short,I saw the change of the seasons as easily as I read the words on the envelopes and fliers between my fingertips.
I have to force myself to pay a little more attention now. Like so many others, I don’t have to go outside. It’s just something I endeavour to do. I am fallible. I am easily distracted.
Still, even at my most distracted, I think Autumn has always been my favourite. The trees themselves may be bare or nearly so, but the wooded landscape is far from lifeless. I love the moss, and the brilliant shades it boasts, even late into the season.. I love the cacophony of the leaves that litter the ground. I also cannot help but love the proliferation of strange mushrooms in their multitude of unexpected shapes and arrangements. You might find the strangest specimen standing alone, or a circle of frilly brothers and sisters keeping unexpected vigil. I love those perfect days where the temperature is just crisp enough to tell you to keep moving, and to whisper of impending winter.
I have a history of wandering. Trails through the forest, going precisely nowhere, suit me perfectly. I love the mystery that lurks there, and the fact that we as humans don’t fully understand everything about how it works.
Life is complicated. 2016 has been so hard on so many people. This fact only heightens for me the spiritual importance of creating a built-in time-out. Ordinary breathing space on ordinary days. I’m not saying a walk in the forest will cure your sadness. I’m just saying there’s a lot that clean air, mossy undergrowth and being awed by the wilderness can fix.
Yours in continued observations and aimless wanderings,