Faith

faith

This is my last major Objective for 2016. I’m not talking about the second definition: sorry, those out there hoping for a quick Convert, it’s been tried before, and they failed. It’s not that I don’t possess belief, or confidence, because if I didn’t the health thing would be simply a possibility and not a truth. What I lack now more than anything else is a consistent faith in everything and not just the highlights I choose to share, and that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.

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Social media makes you act differently, there’s no denying that when I get a compliment from a random stranger it becomes somehow more worthwhile because it was unprompted. What I crave most however is compliments from the people I care most about and to get those is going to take a phenomenal amount of hard work. This is where I lack most, and some might argue that it is other people’s jobs to change too and not simply mine. That’s only true to a point. You can be unique and special, but if you refuse to work in the World’s version of Reality (whatever that happens to be at the time) you’re screwed. I’ve never reacted well to change. I’ve always been slow and awkward and nervous. These are the true issues that need addressing in 2017, the ones I never share with you because I’m too afraid to find the right words.

These are the biggest hurdles I am yet to surmount.

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When all is said and done, I don’t want to be the person with their life laid out in public for everybody to see. This isn’t about standing up and unloading all the emotional baggage in one hit. A lot of what needs to be achieved is in how I react to things, managing when stuff doesn’t go to plan, what takes place when challenged with something that amends or alters my world view. This is where the biggest growth needs to take place, and in the last couple of weeks I feel I’ve made some genuine progress on this front. However, I’m not the one who judges that progress, it is the rest of the World, and they have very short memories. People won’t remember how great you were, only the bad stuff. You are only as good as the last review, after all. You have to try and make each one better than the previous, and that’s a tough ask.

It’s funny watching people decide how awful 2016 was for loss, when I know how much I personally gained in the last year. If I can maintain a fraction of that momentum I’ll be beyond happy. Three words will be written and inscribed on a Post It Note, and we’ll come back here (fates willing) in a year and see how I did. That should be the biggest take-away all of us who remain on this earth have from the last 365 days. We’re still here. Never stop fighting, learning and growing. Make every day worthwhile.

#BeBetter with every step you take.

Life in Tokyo

I’m at the Gym, earlier today, looking at the people working on a Friday lunchtime and realising I’m the only one sweating. The women either side of me are perfect, thin specimens with co-ordinated clothing and beautiful hair and yet neither of them perspire at all. They run like mice, all scurry in the legs, yet neither appear to expend any calories at all. I’m dripping after my first 500 metres of running and it gets worse, I begin to smell unpleasant at 3k and decide to put in a 5 % gradient for the penultimate mile to give my legs some variety. As the pair get off I realise I probably pissed them off by taking the treadmill between them and preventing them from talking, and the look one throws back at me as she leaves is enough for me to consider giving the finger back. No, that’s not polite, but I can sure as fuck think it after the event.

My second major objective in 2017 is Persistence, which means running until legs ache and body drips. I don’t care what I look like in the Gym, I’m there to work, not win a beauty contest. Doing life properly is accepting that occasionally I do have to look decent, but at all the times in between it’s a frippery that’s not necessarily needed, especially not during exercise. I really don’t understand people who turn up, do the minimum amount of work and go home again. I do understand however that sometimes people do shit to make them feel as if they are making a difference to their own lives, and if that involves you never wearing out running shows or getting holes in the ankles of your leggings because you’re a fucking short arse and they’re always too long? Honestly, totally fine.

You are what you are, and this is what it is.

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As time goes on, I want to spend less time being something I’m not or will never be. There are better things to be doing, after all, than pretending to enjoy not eating. I fucking love my food, and despite trying my damnedest to lose half a stone (quite possibly more) and keep it off in January I am going full into cooking my own stuff and making more sensible meal and menu choices. I really would like, if I can, to cut out as much junk for as is conceivably possible going forward. It will be interesting to see how far I can take this and how much is achievable considering my current lifestyle choices. This is probably the biggest step in the dark I’ve taken for a while, but already it is bearing fruit.

Yesterday was a passable Chicken Casserole I’m already planning on making better. Tomorrow will be Pulled Pork. None of this will get me on Masterchef, but it’s a step towards further autonomy and helping make the most of what we have available. That’s all it ever has to be, one step after the other, until you’re not afraid to run.

I learnt how to do that in 2016. Now I can, there’s just so many new places I can go.

New Sensation

I’m getting to a position where I can start to move forward with some confidence.

I set myself the target this week of clearing what had become an increasingly cluttered work space. It has taken two days, but distinct progress has been made, and I now feel I’m able to start crafting lists without overstretching myself or being unrealistic over targets. My biggest issue, without exception, is taking on too much and then ending up feeling as it I’ve failed because not everything gets done. The first major objective in 2017 is Realism. That means an understanding of what I am capable of doing, and still pushing myself without ending up going too far.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone I’ve let down in the past as a result of me overreaching. I know I have, that this is one of my biggest single failings. It is why my Christmas gifts are still here waiting to be boxed and sent, and are yet to leave the house. They will do however, in the New year, with the level of detail and commitment I wanted to have accompany them from the word go. Then, once I’ve finally cleared the decks of everything that was promised, I can move on with New Stuff (TM). This way, I can work on things in small, bite sized chunks, and not end up getting bogged down feeling as if I’ve simply taken on too much.

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That means this morning/afternoon making the first of many checklists that will be ticked off as the next month goes on. I’ve given myself until the end of January to get a set list of things ‘done’ and then, at the end of Week Four, we will sit down and assess how successful January was in terms of physical achievement. I’m also going to set my lists up in better defined orders. I’ll have one for Exercise, another for Internet gubbins, and one of Physical Attainment (and by that I don’t mean how many chin ups I can do, but that will feature on the Exercise list.) I’ve bought an A4 journal and will be employing my cack-handed form of Bullet Journaling in the hope that this will help further organise an increasingly agile mind.

After all, it isn’t just my body that requires constant maintenance going forward.

Architecture and Morality

‘If something offends you, go do something else.’

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my husband about ‘Passengers’, a film which has caused a bit of a fuss over the moral dubiousness of its plotline. I was genuinely excited about this movie when the trailers first surfaced in June, but when it became apparent that what this movie isn’t either pleasant or comfortable in terms of how the two leads end up together? I pretty much lost interest. The biggest problem however for me, on considered thought, was the fact that this movie intentionally skirts those real issues in all of the promotional material, and it was only when the first indignant reviews emerged that it became apparent what you were really buying into. Once that becomes unavoidably apparent? Well, it is obvious that some people didn’t care about anything else except the bad things.

My husband has very rationally and logically pointed out that if you know about the moral duplicity of the plot? It could make things more interesting, and not less so, and this is a very fair point. The problem is however that with the year that’s just gone, I suspect many people went to see this movie in the hope it would be sunshine and rainbows, and not to be metaphorically kicked in the genitalia. As a result, this whole endeavour also suffered as a result of circumstance. However, if your interest is the moral complexity of how to deal with isolation and loneliness? I suspect this movie could be right up your street. In discussion over this, my husband pulled up ‘While you Were Sleeping’ as a perfect example of a movie that, like it or not, is really rather morally dubious, but won’t see people bemoaning Sandra Bullock pretending to be an unconscious man’s fiancee.

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For my husband, the reaction to this whole debacle simply amplifies the depressing ‘echo chamber’ effect of the Internet. That revolves around a subset of people who decide to hate something based solely on exploitation or received moral indignation and doesn’t take at all into consideration the fact the focus of their ire in this case is a) entertainment and b) fiction. Because it is art there should be no need for such a reaction: if you don’t like it, then you can simply ignore the thing and move on. Those who somehow feel better about being part of the lynching party not simply over movies but in every aspect of modern life are genuinely scary, and it is becoming increasingly galling when these flash-points end up splitting up friendships and causing people to threaten others livelihoods or existence. Mostly, this particular episode has been a salutatory lesson for me, to remind him and myself that the only way all this works is when you listen to each other, and learn from contrary viewpoints.

I’m still not spending my cinema money on this however, that will be going on Rogue One.

What happens next for me in personal terms is becoming increasingly better defined as time goes on. Maintaining an open mind needs to be top of my list: engaging, not arguing, making people think and not imposing points of view on others. It isn’t about being right, and never will be, it is far more important to understand WHY and look to yourself as a potential source of change before expecting anybody else to do the same.

I want to talk with you in 2017 and very definitely not at you, and that will need some work.

The Edge of Heaven

Christmas has come and gone, and I’ve already broken in the new Fitbit Blaze at the gym this morning. It was less of a stress than I thought, probably because on Christmas Day I dragged the family out to walk. That meant I did do 2k yesterday, but not *technically* as a run so I will count that as rest and made sure I did extra this morning. I’m cautiously optimistic that I can keep up the exercise throughout January, at this level, and think about making some headway into serious weight loss. I also have a new Sony digital camera, and fully intend to go take pictures of stuff, perhaps every day if I can manage it. I’m cautious about committing myself to anything at this stage, and if I can do it without it becoming a big deal? So much the better. 

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Today, I started the way I mean to go on. I’ve unsubscribed from over two hundred email lists. This includes online shopping, lifestyle newsletters, crappy shit I never remember signing up for but someone sold my information on, and Loot Crate. That company has lost my subscription this year purely and simply on the strength of the most aggressive and depressing sales campaign I’ve ever seen. There’s only so much useless crap someone’s prepared to pay for, and one box enough was enough, but they’d keep trying to sell me more, and more by e-mail and eventually, I had enough. Unsubbing is the best thing I’ve done for a long time, not just to save cash. It kick-started my desire to remove from my mailbox anything that is useless and pointless. So, I suppose I should thank them for making me so fucked off I went and sorted everything out.

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Now I’m trawling through months of useless mail deleting message after message with an almost evangelical zeal. I’m even filing stuff in folders. It will be fantastic to not have to wade through dozens of messages I have no interest in. Once that’s done I have my last calorie packed meal of the season and after that we can go straight to healthy shizzle right the way until 2017 and beyond. Another one of my unofficial 2017 goals is to try and learn to cook without the whole process freaking the fuck out of me, and being able to cook my own healthy meals is pretty much a requirement going forward.

Let’s see how much of this I can manage going forward.

The Long Run

I’ve not said too much about this week in Fitness, but I’ve been running every day since this time last Friday. In fact, I would have done so today but common sense is telling me that I need a rest, and rather than push myself through something that would end up sending me backwards? #50Kin50Days ends up as an exercise in being sensible and not doing summat purely for the sake of writing about it. I think, moving forward, that will be one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt going forward into 2017. There’s only one person to be doing all this for and it is yourself, and that’s why I’m here.

That means in the long run that I need to be a lot more sensitive to what my body is capable of managing.

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In the short term, this will mean that as long as I keep my 7 day total above 12k, I will be happy, as that is my daily total. I will run as often as body allows, but on due consideration I will need at least one day a week where nothing significant takes place. Once upon a time I’d try and schedule that but as I’m doing the run thing I’ll simply let my body stress dictate the timescale. I had a sports massage this afternoon that was previously scheduled before I started the plan, and I’m conscious of aggravating anything as a result. That means an afternoon of laundry, attempting to avoid food cravings and the realisation that if I can, I could be further down in weight before Christmas. It’s even harder when the entire house is full of Xmas nibbles, and I will admit to having three small chocolates and a handful of snacks, but nothing too fattening.

Self control has come on leaps and bounds.

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Once upon a time I would cheat myself, and try not to be surprised when that would be mirrored by the scales. I know a lot of my issues with weight stem from the backwards and forwards I used to do with what went into my body, but now I’ve passed what I suspect is a significant threshold. I completely understand what is bad for me, and that is anything taken to excess. If I overdo the healthy, it comes back to bite me just as much as being bad and having things that will simply make me want to further transgress. Getting balance has always been the hardest thing in the world to achieve, but now I know about what matters most, that if I allow myself simply to get on and not worry, the sides are a lot easier to balance. Most importantly of all, I cannot now see a day when I won’t want some kind of physical exercise in the equation. Even now I know I have to move once an hour, I can’t sit here and vegetate any more.

Once you practice stuff enough, it does become habit. That’s why I’ll be at the Gym tomorrow morning and I’ll run 3k again to make sure that Wednesday wasn’t a fluke, that the energy levels that were there can be duplicated. It means I will run Christmas Day, outside, and not be scared of the prospect. In fact, I’m quite looking forward to it.

Your Game

Been a stupidly busy couple of days, all told, quite apart from the fact that I’ve had to be ridiculously grown-up since Sunday night. Yesterday was the only Christmas Party I do each year, and this time around, because I’ve lost some weight, I put on a frock. It was not totally hopeless.

There’s a lot of work to do but the fact this dress was tight when I bought it and is no longer so is a great step forward. In fact, when I got on the Gym turbo nutter bastard scales even after a three course dinner and two pints of Guinness, my weight was down :D

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I’ve done a phenomenal amount of time at the Gym this year: I can register my own sessions, and apart from August (when we were away for 10 days) my attendance has been pretty consistent:

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I think if I pushed for 20 days a month next year that would not be unacceptable. In fact suddenly there’s a whole new world that just opened up as potential, especially as I’ve managed ONE KM a day since Friday.

I’ll write more about that tomorrow.