Thursday, November 25, 2010

Celebrating Kindred Spirits

Ever since my awkward pre-teen years when I first read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, I've been a huge fan of of the book series.

Don't worry - this post isn't a 1908 book review.  We'll get to the life balance stuff.

Anne (with an "E") reminded me of both who I was and who I wanted to be.  Like Anne, I was peculiar, curious, imaginative and chatty.  My "Diana Barry" was my best friend Lisa who had similar qualities but in ways which flattered her like a perfectly fitted frock, much unlike the odd shift of characteristics which hung around me, just slightly "off."

Still, we had great fun.  I used to imagine that Anne, Diana, Lisa and I would meet in some wrinkle in time (another one of my favorite books) and play together.  Kindred spirits.

Something about Thanksgiving breeds this kind of nostalgia.  Basking in gratitude inevitably leads to thinking about the kindred sprits of our lives.

Like my dear ol' dad.

He was kindhearted and gentle by nature but never a pushover, and certainly no saint.   Once, after unsuccessfully trying to return defective software, my father went back to the store, very calmly put the box on the counter, looked the salesclerk in the eye and told him to shove it up his arse.  Then Daddy left the store with a smile, considering it a well-spent $20 for the final satisfaction.

Last Thanksgiving, dad was sitting in my kitchen eating dates with cream cheese and chuckling at my awful jokes.  He had snuck out before dawn to the 24-hour store to get some last minute ingredients I had been fretting about, saving me an extra trip on a busy day.   He filled my house with an easy presence and a great wit that made everything lighter somehow.

I find myself scanning the recalled details of that visit for any sign that he would not be with us today.  It was as unimaginable then as it is now. 

Even seven months after his death, there's still a part of me which expects him to come walking out of the guest bedroom any minute now and say, "How ya doin' little kid?"

Ironically, I had somehow blocked out the part of the story in Anne when her dear adopted father Matthew Cuthbert dies suddenly.  Until now.  I guess that makes Anne and I kindred spirits in more ways than one then.

Still, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy occasion. 

If I have a life balance strategy to share on this day, it's inspired by Anne as well as my dear ol' dad:

Be a kindred spirit.  When you find yourself getting stressed and focusing on all the little crazy details, remember that what's important is connecting with people

Find ways of making your shared space happier and lighter.   Be easier on yourself and everyone around you.

Happy Thanksgiving,

PS:  I love you Daddy.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The "You Can Totally Wear That Again!" Fitness Plan

So, my older sister is doing P90X now. In search of motivation, she did a web search for photos and experiences and landed on my blog of all places.   Small world.

It's amazing to me that my "day one" of this fitness program was right after Thanksgiving almost a full year ago.  As I think of this, I feel slightly guilty that my maintenance hasn’t been better. Sure, I've been jumping on the treadmill here and there. I'm still eating a mainly vegetarian diet.  Though I've gained, I'm still within five pounds of my "ideal weight".

But do I look like my "after" pics anymore?  Um... Not so much.

It's not an excuse given that I'm supposed to be good at the whole "life balance" thing, but somehow I just lost steam after my dad passed away in April of this year.

The easy thing is always to blame work and being busy and life demands. Yet, I know it's primarily mental. Emotional maybe. In either case, I've been in my own way more than anything external I can name.

To snap me out of my slump, I recently found out that I am going to be a bridesmaid in a wedding very soon.  On New Years Day, I will be required to wear a fitted, strapless, cornflower blue taffeta dress.

God help me.

Mind you, I'm not complaining about the dress. It's lovely. These things just are what they are. I deserve much worse for making my maid of honor wear that awful, super shiny satin, bright hunter green off-the-shoulder number.

It must be a similar phenomenon to how new moms always think their wee babies are beautiful. Or, how people in love think they are invisible.

Brides mean well when they say, "You can totally wear that again!"  But let's face it; the bridal attendants are just there to make the real star of the event look good.

Anyhoo, the bottom line is that this wedding is less than two months away and I am soooo not in "gala" shape. 

Provided I don't need to breathe or anything, there are undergarment options which may somewhat disguise my recent laziness.  However, I'm still concerned that my arms will look like two tubes of marshmallow oozing out of the top of my bedazzled gown.

Time to get off my blumpy and motivate.

In the spirit of practicing what I preach, here's my plan per Personal Strategic Management...

   1. I will affirm and encourage myself towards good health and energy. I will be positive and confident.

   2. I will monitor my thoughts and words. If I catch myself saying or thinking things like "I feel fat" or "I'm so tired", I will immediately reframe thoughts and words to the positive.

   3. I will meditate daily to keep myself balanced, keep my stress at bay and attract my goal. (The very simple pink bubble technique is one of my favorites.)

   1. I will exercise at least 45 min per day, six times per week; alternating cardio and strength training.

   2. I will eat a healthy, balanced diet with special caution towards sodium and sugar intake.

   3. I will record my food/drink and fitness in MyNetDiary.

   1. I will ask my husband and kids to help out more so I have more time/energy to put towards my workouts and food prep. (They also need to hide the Halloween candy.)

   2. I will write about my journey and progress here over the next several weeks.

   3. I will leverage my membership with the online community at BeachBody.

Anyone else looking to achieve a fitness or weight loss goal before the New Year?  

What is your Internal/External/Support plan? 


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