Return to Sender

This week, things return to normal, despite the fact school does not start until a week on Thursday. I need to be back on the creation trail after time away, and there is a lot to do on that front which is already in the planning. More importantly, there will be a slew of poetry rejections next month, and that work will need to be assessed and used in a constructive fashion.

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More importantly, there are lots of projects that need to stop being dreams and become reality as we move into the Autumn.

BRB, re-organising my life.

Change

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Right then.

Yesterday was, without doubt, one of the best I’ve had for organisation for some time. It helps that the back of work was broken on Sunday, and now I’m left with the process of scheduling (which will happen after this.) Then it’s all about finishing off outstanding stuff, and starting the next batch of Things to Do. After three months, there’s a schedule that works. 

Next up, it is time to make some important changes to Social media.

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I now have a ‘Professional’ Twitter AND Instagram, and having worked out how to use the app in Windows (how smart is that?) I can prep all my artwork beforehand and still schedule it. This is unbelievably useful, and will encourage me to further organise my sorry arse better. Then there are the changes to how social media is consumed:

  • No social media before bed, or before I sit down at the PC first thing in the morning
  • ABSOLUTELY NO starting discussions without being 100% awake and attentive
  • No social media when bored ^^
  • Complete removal of Twitter (and all online media) from places where I relax or sleep
  • Regulated use of social media when I’m supposed to be sociable
  • Making time for ‘silence’ and times when electronic interaction does not happen

This is a lot but really, it all matters. If I look at the instances when I have gotten myself into trouble, 90% of them are due to engaging with people at the start and end of days, plus when I shouldn’t be using Social media at all. So, maybe if I can keep at this for a month it’ll become habit too. The lack of a tablet at bedtime for two nights running has made for some quality sleep, I hope this isn’t just a blip.

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The plan here is to try and be less reactionary and more reflective. This is fairly atypical of my life up to this point, but I’d like to believe that even at this age I can change and become more mellow. Sure, there are still going to be days when the table gets flipped, but at least now I’ll be better prepared to clear up the mess made afterwards, rather than just stomp off in a teenage huff and leave it to somebody else.

If I can get at least a part of all this to stick, it will totally be taken it as progress.

The Final Countdown

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So, May is here, and I will admit that this is not exactly how I expected the year to have panned out thus far. Today, like it or not, begins the process of redefining my online experience, across three websites and two Twitter accounts, plus Facebook and everything else. It won’t be an overnight shift, but I hope by the end of next week to have put all the pieces in place so I can start writing stuff in advance. I successfully scheduled my first Haiku on the writing site, and for the next month I’ll be planning ahead as much as conceivably possible, mostly because it makes the process of organisation easier.

However, I missed a scheduled blog post or two over the weekend. I need to catch up on what was originally promised today so tomorrow I’m where I should be. I’m not going to lie though, last night sitting in front of Pride and Prejudice on DVD finishing off my wooden friendship letters was something I need to do more of and not less. Having the ability to decompress is something I’m woeful at and relaxation really does matter at present. I have several friends who push me to ensure I’m taking time for myself in all this organisation, and it makes the world of difference.

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I’ve also acknowledged some significant body changes this last week. My stomach is now shrinking, without doubt, and more abdominal muscles are apparent. Places which had excess fat before continue to vanish, and body measurements taken at my Medical on Friday showed a 20% reduction in fat content across the board from the last time I was recorded. I’ve still got some details to come in, including results from a raft of blood tests. Oh yeah, and there’s the Hemoccult test for bowel cancer that won’t be a whole lot of fun to do but needs to be done that I’ll start on today.

However, for now I am focussed on the future. Let’s get on with redefining my existence, shall we?

 

There’s No Other Way

On Sunday, I went with my Husband to the Gym, and ran whist he did a static bike class. Opposite my Treadmill are a set of upright bikes, and 10 minutes into my session in walks a guy with iPad, iPhone and a padded lunchbox. He’d been cycling less than 5 minutes when his breakfast shake in a carton came out, followed by two Digestive biscuits, and I found myself amazed that this was acceptable behaviour inside the Studio. Speaking to my husband about it, people on the static bikes use gels and protein drinks all the time, and now I’m thinking that maybe I’m the one who needs re-education. My relationship with high energy foods is still a bit tenuous, but that’s because my stomach is quite particular about what I stick in it and reacts quite quickly to stuff it decides it doesn’t like, which in the main includes gels. Protein bars we can manage, but anything else?

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My diet has quite radically altered in the last two months, since Christmas was done. I’d been healthy before that point but now it’s become a bit of an obsession. Don’t panic, there are still favourite things thrown in the mix or else this would be boring beyond belief, but given a choice between the calorie rich and the simple, the latter’s winning more and more. It has a lot to do with tracking how much gets eaten, too, and that with simpler food I can begin to grasp exactly how many calories are in a thing so brain knows when to stop. I’m increasingly taking kids sized treats as well, because a lot of them are less likely to be full of artificial crap. Plus, I’ll be honest, I eat a lot of raw fruit and veg but I don’t own a Spiraliser and no, I won’t do any of that ‘clean’ shit any time soon.

However, I think I’ve probably gone too far the way of minimal and need to bulk up at least one meal a day.

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This .gif has no relevance, I just really like it :D

It was also suggested by my husband yesterday that I work out what I enjoy eating when I’m not on a treadmill and maybe focus on adding that to my daily routine, rather than just shrugging and taking the easy option protein bar. I’d had great plans to learn more cookery stuff and six weeks into 2017 that’s all fallen by the wayside, so as of Friday I’m going to try and get a meal prepped every week for the evening that involves at least one portion of veg as standard. So, not going mad, just one thing a week like I was in January, so I can get that back on the habit forming train. It’s also pushed me to stick a Post It note on my screen with #ThingsiLove on it to help as a physical prompt: there needs to be more affirmation of the positive in my life and not a focus on the acceptable or simply sufficient.

This is a good way to keep me sane, I have concluded, that if I look for the love and don’t give it back, it isn’t productive long term. What I need to do more is GIVE the love, and learn how to appreciate the stuff around me without taking it for granted. Once upon a time I’d think this was a bunch of New Age sappiness but now, I grasp the merit in a World that’s crying out for less stupid and more caring. I started last night with a long, lovely cuddle with the youngest, who made me mini-cupcakes at Nan’s so I could eat one and not stress about the calories. If other people are this thoughtful and caring towards me, it goes without saying that I should be returning the favour.

Time to consider everything that goes into my body going forward.

Life on Mars

By rights, today should already have been declared a bust. However, that’s the old me talking. Once upon a time I would have crawled back into bed, and shivered myself into sleep. I get really cold when I’m tired, and with age that has translated into aches in my bones that are increasingly uncomfortable. Except today I’m writing this, then wrapping myself up against the cold and going to the Gym. I’ll reward myself with poached eggs when I’m done, but it’s about finding strength today that my body didn’t have at 7am. The way this all really moves forward is those moments when you’d rather not be pushing, that’s exactly what happens.

That’s when the ordinary becomes something else.

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It’s almost two weeks to my birthday. Sixteen days. 50 was supposed to be frighting, instead has become liberation disguised as progress. I am moving faster than was ever thought possible, finding fluidity where before was only static. It is a reassurance that I’m not the intractable, and that from this point comes the capacity to blossom and never wither. I looked at myself last night in the mirror and the changes to my body are now permanent, irreversible, and that makes me happier than I ever thought would be possible. Now, it is all about keeping on the path and to the plan. Hanging for thirty seconds. Working on my mile until it’s good enough to improve upon. Understanding what goes into my body is as important as how I treat it externally. Not worrying about looks, but always considering what I touch.

I’d be there now but I need to charge the Bluetooth headphones my husband bought me for my birthday last year. Adopting change early sometimes has it’s advantages, but its knowing all the facts that matters more. Then you can make informed decisions, and ignorance never wins the day. There are people in the US that think the hurricane bearing down on their east coast is a fiction: fantasy invented by liberal agitators to ensure that the public is sent into panic. If you are so frightened of the future that you’d prefer to imagine it as someone else’s illusion and not the truth you can see for yourself? You’re on your own. Ironically, you could have sold Hurricane Matthew as an Act of God with far more confidence, but Old Testament wrath is just a little close to the truth for some right now. The whole World’s gone mad. Wouldn’t it just be easier to give up and accept your fate?

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It is NEVER the answer to acquiesce when your life’s the price. I know that place and I will never, EVER return there, even though in recent memory I’ve had those thoughts anew. This is not the way forward. I affirm my existence with every mile travelled, every step taken. I celebrate the brilliance of those who inspire me by trying to do the same in kind. This week I hope I’ve made some people happy, but you can’t please them all. Those are the moments when it’s time to read fortunes, and uncover unpleasant truths that many would simply ignore and walk from. I run to them with flares and giant neon arrows and make people look, force them to grasp that Reality is your task to create and shape, not others. Be the change.

Make the difference with every breath you take.

Change

I understand why the image above matters to so many people, why the expression is thrown around by those who want to help others gain a notion of individual self worth. It is often all you need to do, just to be yourself. Except as time has gone on for me, this expression has begun to ring hollow. Not because I don’t grasp I am Enough. I now understand that, at least for me, Enough is not Enough.

If you want to change and improve, and Enough is your starting benchmark? You can be Better.

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If gaming has taught me anything over the years, it is that you are your own greatest enemy. If a player embraces what is asked of them, the obsessive desire to complete and ‘win’ can become all-consuming. There is a very fine line between competition and obsession too, and what the new generation of activity trackers and online ‘experiences’ for fitness shows is that the moment you place people in the context of their peers? Competition happens, whether you like it or not. For me, in Zwift for instance, my lovely flat roads ‘option’ still present the opportunity to ‘sprint’ once a lap. No, I’m not bothered about competing with other people but, as you can see, beating myself is not only possible but becoming an obsession. It’s knowing how much I’m capable of and then having that translated into real time facts and figures. The obsession with statistics in sports is founded on a very understandable and functional foundation. Maths doesn’t lie. There is only one answer, and that’s I’m only cheating myself if I ‘glitch’ the Zwift system or lie about my progression.

All these numbers show that I am the arbiter of my own destiny, and no-one else.

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That day I missed did more for my mental well-being than any of those green bars would ever achieve, and that’s when I know I’m not a professional athlete or totally obsessed with this goal. When all is said and done, the push to try harder and be fitter isn’t just restricted to my body either: however, I can’t easily create stats for my mind. There is no Fitbit for providing a benchmark for mental well-being. Except, it occurred to me walking back from the Gym today, there are ways and means to accomplish this, and so starting today I have a notebook and pencil by my desk and I’ll be keeping some mental scores in the weeks that follow, just to see if I can make an impression on the areas of my life that require effort. I’m also not being nearly strict enough in keeping score of the food I intake in terms of calories, and that too will be addressed.

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I think not enough people grasp that it isn’t somebody else’s job to motivate them 24/7. There comes a point where you need to take the initiative for yourself, and use your own desires to change the agenda. I watch gamers bemoan how there’s ‘nothing to do’ in their favourite MMO and realise that what that really means is ‘there’s nothing I want to do.’ Being a motivator is all well and good, but self-motivation is an entirely different ball game. Better is hard work, and often painful, and inevitably there can be consequences. If you can trust yourself? You may yet be amazed at what is possible, if you readjust your outlook.

I’m enjoying trying to be Better. I can do so much better than this too, and I will.