Posted in Blogging, family, fitness, fun, Goals, health, home, housekeeping, Life, manifestation, mindfulness, Musings, People, random

January in Review: How’d those goals go?

hello-february-goodbye-january

Hello, there! Can you believe it’s February already? Okay, okay…I know- some people like to complain about how long January was, but can I tell you something? It really bothers me when people are wishing their time away like that. I know it’s complaining in fun, but seriously, life is so beautiful in every season, the world would be a much happier place if we all could spend more time appreciating things than we did whining about them. Says me in my best whiny voice. Also, I do live in California, on the coast, where at most we get a little frost on our windows maybe once a year. But I saw plenty of my local friends complaining about how long January is when they know full well that they were barefoot at the beach last Sunday. Big babies.

Anyway, I made a promise at the beginning of the year to re-visit my rather lofty list of resolutions at the beginning of February and see where I needed to put in a little more work, so that’s what I’m here to do. I just went through my resolutions post with a fine-tooth comb, and here is how I am doing:

I wanted to have a two-tiered step goal, with the gold standard being 10k and the silver being 7k. I hit my high goal 10 times and my low goal 12 times, getting within about 20 steps of my low goal several times as well. There were also a few days when I only got like 3000 steps, so I must have been spending the day in bed or something, because how is that even possible?! Anyway, I think this one needs a little work.

As far as my other fitness related goals, although I didn’t get started right away, I am in the midst of a 30 day at home challenge which I really like. I’ve done some yoga (at home) and I have been excellent about walking Miss Lucy pretty much every day without fail, unless it is absolutely pouring outside. Also, we have been hitting her off the leash goal as well by hitting the beach in Carmel on the weekends, which is so much fun for both Cam and I.  I feel really good about all this stuff!

I am going to break one promise, however. Can I tell you that I did not go to the gym, not even once, in January? January is the WORST month at the gym. So many new people, it’s crowded and gross. So I am going to give myself one final month- if I don’t make it ten times in February, I really will cancel. It’s just too expensive. I might start at a cheaper gym, I might forgo the gym altogether, but this is truly my last chance.

I have kept my promise of no fast food. I haven’t missed it one bit. I am doing Hello Fresh, and Cam has been helping me, and I am really impressed with how much I am learning, and how much fun it is. I will probably take a break soon to try a different service, but so far, so good. My eating has been really excellent this past month.

Again, I didn’t start right away in January, but I did meet my no smoking, no vaping goal. I started January 11th, made it a few days, messed up. Started again January 17th, made it ten days, smoked. Started again the same day that I smoked, the 27th, and today is the 3rd, so it’s seven days again. That’s about 20 days altogether, so I’m okay with that. I’d like to have no slips at all in February. It really only makes it harder when you mess up.

As far as the house goes, I think quitting smoking and trying to be more active in general has really helped me with the house keeping stuff. I have all this nervous energy, trying to avoid cravings, so I find myself doing laundry and cleaning out drawers just to give myself something to do. Yesterday I cleaned and organized all my drawers and closet, and got rid of a huge garbage bag full of clothes I hate or never wear.  I am trying to get in the habit of cleaning up every day, and I’ve definitely seen improvements, but I need to keep at it. I have gotten way better about keeping up on dishes, though.

Savings are definitely up!

My writing routine is not where I want it to be. I am going to get back on track this month, for sure.

And as far as my “Two trips this year” thing goes, guess what? I’m headed to Tahoe next weekend for a skiing-sledding-snow ball extravaganza. So, looks like I will be knocking both trips out as planned. As long as I make it to Maine in June, which I will.

I have spent a fair amount of time with friends already this year, as well. Far more than usual, and I’m so glad. It is so good for me.

All in all, I’d say I’m doing far better than I imagined I would be. Maybe there really is something to writing down your goals, eh?

And how are you doing with the goals you set for yourself, if you set any? I’d like to know!

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Posted in adventure, advice, anxiety, Goals, happiness, inner peace, Life, meditation, Mental Health, Musings, People, spirituality, women

Gentle

gentle
From The Desiderata

Gentle is my word for today. I will try to be gentle.

Not only with others, but most of all, with myself. I am my own worst critic, always thinking back to some awful thing I did in the past, or worrying about things that I might do wrong down the road, rarely able to give myself any credit for the beautiful life I have provided for myself, here and now. I am forever berating myself for almost every little thing I do- and even when I do it right, I could have done it better.

So today, I am practicing being gentle with myself. Every time my mind starts galloping off into the future or flailing away uselessly at the past, I am gently bringing it back, to right here, right now. This morning, I was morbidly imagining myself with some life-threatening illness, worrying about how my children would fare if I should die. I had to pull myself back- Courtney, you are not dying in a hospital bed. You are standing at your sink, washing your daughter’s water canteen, absolutely healthy. You are fine. You are fine.

Yesterday, while I was meditating, I was having trouble with the sheer volume of my thoughts. There were so many things my anxious brain needed me to acknowledge right NOW. All of the sudden, I had this immense compassion for myself. An image popped into my mind, unbidden, of big me holding little Courtney in her arms. I ran my hands down 7-year-old-me’s back, and could feel the little knobs of my spine, the little angel wings of my shoulder blades sticking out. I told myself “it’s okay. Shhh…it’s okay.”. I don’t know where that image arose from, but it was powerful. The little girl in me needed that hug, that acknowledgement so badly. I may be a grown woman now, but that child is still in there, somewhere. And if it is hard to be gentle with me, perhaps I won’t struggle so much being gentle with her.

Here’s the thing- I want to fully inhabit my life. I do not have a desire to be bound by all the rules and dogma that I have either grown up with or invited in myself over the years. I want to be free. And all of this is brand new to me- it’s like I woke up two weeks ago and started questioning every single thing I believed to be true. I am starting at zero, trying to figure out who I am, really, and how I want to show up in the world going forward.

And the very first gift I choose to give myself today is this- be gentle. Be gentle with yourself, and with those around you. Let other people have their thoughts and feelings and perspectives, and choose to walk around them- let things be. Just like I told little me in that meditation yesterday…Shh…it’s okay. Everything is okay.

Posted in Addiction, Blogging, Goals, health, Life, mindfulness, Musings, People, random

Changes

change

As I have written, time and time and time again, I am the ultimate creature of habit…the one caveat is that I have the wandering soul of a gypsy, and these two things do not mesh well at all. I long to jump on a plane and fly across the continent, then, when I do, I spend the first few nights homesick and wishing for my own bed. This happens every time. Unless, of course, my kids are with me, in which case- well, home is wherever they are, in my estimation. So, the solution for that is pretty obvious- take the kids with me, right? Right. Problem solved.

I’m sure there was an element of that in my drug addiction. You know, they say that amphetamines are not physically addictive…although I can tell you for sure that my body protested every time I quit, it wasn’t the slow hell that a heroin addict suffers through for months on end. More an annoyance than anything. But there is a lifestyle that goes along with addiction- a whole world that exists right under the nose of the “normy”, with its own rules and unspoken laws. That was the world I unwittingly stumbled into so long ago, and where I far overstayed. As much as it was a relief to give all that up, it was hard. I didn’t know how to fit in in the regular world, I didn’t know how to behave anymore. But the idea of going back was so abhorrent, it became easier for me to keep making the right choice. But that change was hard. I left a home, of sorts, and I know I could never go back now…for a while though, it was up in the air.

One of my resolutions this year was to not only stay away from cigarettes, but to give up my precious vape as well. I recognized it for what it was, finally- just another crutch, basically the same as smoking. I would alternate between the two- smoking for a while, then going back to the vape. My vape broke, I’d buy another- 70 or 100 dollars, at least five or six times. The juice you need to fill it runs about 30 bucks a bottle, and I’d go through at least one, if not two a week. So, financially, not quite the win that I thought quitting smoking would be. I switched to no nicotine juice and went back on the patch, and…you see where this is going? Right, nowhere. Still doing the same thing, pretending it’s different.

Yesterday, I just gave up. I put my patch on and thought “I am not going to vape today. I just want to see how it feels.” Guess what? It felt pretty odd. I didn’t get that hand-to-mouth thing that I am so stuck on, and it seemed like every five seconds I had that feeling like I was missing something. That… beginning to reach for something before I realized it wasn’t there. So, I found an old fast food straw that was shoved in my desk drawer and I cut it into three equal pieces. Now, I just compulsively chew it, or, when I’m really wanting to inhale something, I take a nice big hit of oxygen, right through the straw. I probably look like an idiot. But it’s working fine. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now. I have been a smoker of some sort for most of my life, and I want to see what it’s like to be tethered to nothing. To need nothing I didn’t come with to get through the day. And yes, I’m still wearing my patch, for now. I’m not a sadist.

But this morning, I woke up knowing I needed to change up my routine a little, to make it safer for me. Mornings are the prime nicotine imbibing time- stores are low, you know. And even though my vape had no nicotine anymore, I still hit that thing hard in the morning. So, I got up this morning, started my coffee, and jumped straight into the shower. I didn’t fool around. I got out, put on my patch, and then had my coffee. Also, I smartly got rid of all temptation-this is quitters rule number one! Gave all my vaping stuff away, so there was nothing to mess with even if I wanted to. But still, I know me- I’m perfectly capable of throwing in the towel while half asleep and running to 7-11 to buy a pack of smokes. But I don’t want to. I want this. I want freedom.

I can promise you this- I have quit all kinds of things in my life that were addictive, from drugs to relationships to bad behaviors. Nothing has ever been harder than giving up smoking. I will stay on the patch for as long as I need to, but I can’t wait to be free of that, too. I just don’t want to kill anyone trying to move too fast- I’m not kidding, nicotine withdrawals are no joke. And I’m kind of evil to begin with, so it’s not that far of a jump for me.

Anyway, there was more to this story, but we’re already at almost 900 words, so…look for “Changes, part II” tomorrow. And have a wonderful day!

Posted in Blogging, fun, Goals, humor, Life, mindfulness, Musings, People, random, Uncategorized

Re-calibrating my Goals

food

Good morning!

So, here we are, close enough to mid-way through the first month of this beautiful, shiny new year…it’s been enough time for me to notice what just might not be working out as planned-as resolved, rather.

For instance, I vowed I would not eat fast food, not even once, in 2019. And that is going great! I have not had so much as a nibble off the end of a french fry, I swear it. But nowhere in that resolution does it go on to say: “however, I shall indiscriminately eat any and all things that are not nailed down, that are also not delivered via a drive-thru window.” I think the point of my resolution was to eat healthier in general, not just gorge on everything that was not fast food. I should have written that into the resolution. My brain is very literal. Anything that is not fast food has been game, and I am already seeing the effects of it.

Last Tuesday, I bought a box of cocoa-dusted truffles from Trader Joe’s. I paused long enough in front of the stack of boxes that it was obvious I was deliberating over whether or not this was a disastrous idea- proof that it was. I bought them anyway. I knew it was a bad idea, but I just didn’t care. I brought them home, and ate them all, one by one, over the course of the next few days. They were all gone by yesterday. And it’s not the worst thing in the world, I know that. It’s just so…unnecessary. So opposite of the way I am trying to go.

I ordered Hello Fresh, the vegetarian boxes, thinking that would be a healthy, fun way to incorporate more veggies into my diet, and keep me eating at home more. Well, I’ve been eating more veggies at home, for sure. But just because something is vegetarian does NOT make it low calorie. Especially when I’m the cook, and I’m adding extra butter and cream to everything, because it tastes so much better.

All of this to say- I need to start tracking my food again. I never wanted to, but I need to see the calories I’m consuming as I’m consuming them, because it’s too easy to pretend otherwise. I’d lost 7 pounds thanks to that awful medication I was on, and I gained every pound back already. This is not the direction I want to be headed. If it were seven pounds of muscle, that’d be great, but I can say with some certainty that it is NOT.

As far as the bulk of everything else I’d resolved to do? Eh, things are going okay…I feel like I could push myself harder, but then again, I always feel that way. The areas where I really have been shining are walking my dog daily- and therefore getting more exercise myself- and doing more around the house every day, which is a big win, but, judging by the way the house looks right now, not big enough. There are only so many hours in a day. I am not a miracle worker.

I still haven’t gone to the gym, and you know what? I really don’t want to go to the gym. I just do not want to go. I drove all the way out there yesterday for a yoga class, and wound up going shopping at Kohl’s instead. Came home, did some yoga privately in my living room. So I don’t know…I think I might just give up the membership. There is one class I really want to try before that happens, though, and if I like it, it could change everything.

In other news, things I did not resolve to do but am doing anyway, such as: my meditation practice is wonderful. Haven’t missed a day. My meeting attendance is up, which is a good thing. And I’ve been making lists of tasks to complete daily, and trying my hardest to get them done.

Two weeks in. My summary? Not terrible, but could definitely be better. I’m not giving up on myself yet, though. That’s the great thing about resolutions- you can make them at any time, change them at any time, reevaluate them and rearrange them. Moral of the story? Don’t give up! I’m not about to, and neither should you! How are your resolutions going, if you made some?

Posted in anxiety, Blogging, faith, friendship, Goals, happiness, inner peace, Learning, Life, meditation, Mental Health, mental illness, Musings, People

A String of Lovely Days

dalai
This basically summarizes everything I just wrote, so you can just stop here if you want.

Yesterday marked my 8th day in a row of being happy. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the days that preceded that were so God-awful, at least a few of them, that I am not even going to link to the “Panic Attack Rabies Incident” here. (Hint: that’s not what the post is called, that’s just what it’s about. It might have the word rabies in it though.) It’s so crazy, it’s almost embarrassing. If you want to read it, you can just scroll back until you find it. The days prior to the really, really bad day (or four) were no picnic, either. I was fighting a lot with my older daughter, feeling uncomfortable in my own home, which, when you are someone who is home as much as I am, this really sucks. And honestly, looking back even further than that- I was trialing new medication for my ADHD that went terribly wrong, I was struggling with a sort of depression/anxiety/ unhappiness/totally-stuck-in-a-rut thing. My life just didn’t feel good anymore, for a while, and I didn’t know why. Or maybe I kind of knew why, but I didn’t feel able to do the things I needed to do to overcome it.

Lucky for me, everything blew up. First, I asked my daughter to leave. It wasn’t quite as nice as that, but it has been the best thing for both of us. Then, I stopped taking that F***ing medication. No thank you. Then I had a four day panic attack, and was pretty sure I was going to die of rabies. As soon as I stopped thinking that, I started thinking I was just crazy, and this was how life would be from here on out. Panic, waking up already afraid of…of what? Just, everything. Life. It really sucked.

But, when God or the Universe or whoever is in charge of knitting bodies and souls and brains and guts together, made me, they put in this funny little switch. It gets tripped at the oddest of times, generally when I am at my lowest. Right around the time when I am feeling hopeless and ready to give up, it activates, and I wake up and think “Like HELL. Like hell am I going to live like this. If (for instance) I’m going to die a horrible death from rabies, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of these last days on earth.” Or, “I don’t know what all this fear is from, or why it is happening, but NO. I am not going to live like this.” And then the most incredible thing happens…I just…get over it. Like, I know that doesn’t sound possible, but i’m telling you, it has happened for me so many times throughout my life. I have these horrible run-ins with crippling panic and then, I just can’t take it anymore, and I put my mental foot down.

I am in NO WAY suggesting that this is a solution for anyone else, or pretending that it is proof that the mind is so powerful, you should be able to…I don’t know, be so stubborn that you can destroy your anxiety simply by not letting it happen. I’m just so, so grateful that my particular stubborn brain has this escape hatch. Because panic and anxiety are brutal motherfuckers. I’m sorry for the language, but this is a fair and accurate description. I do not have time to be a quivering mass in the corner. I have shit to do. I am the home that all of my people come to- family or just weird, adopted, family type people. This is where their mail comes. I sign for their packages. I am that person.

Anyway, there is more to the story, of course. I remembered what I already knew, but just hadn’t been practicing. That a happy life is a life that includes both things you enjoy doing, and tasks completed that need to be done. Too much of either one, and it’s no good. So every day, I make sure to do a handful of things that need to be done- clean out the car, wash the dishes, replace light bulbs, change the sheets- and a few things I just want to do. I pick up beach glass, or make hot chocolate, read a good book in the tub. Buy some crap I don’t need on Amazon. Whatever. I remembered that exercise is so important- just taking a little walk every day is so invigorating. And of course, prayer and meditation, or whatever practice is sacred to you, is just perfection. Finally, I remembered that isolation is not the same as time alone. I must talk and interact with others, because my head will start to tell me things that are not true. I need the brightness and laughter of friends to clear things up.

So- my energy has bounced back. The fear and worry have been off somewhere else. I am better than I’ve been in months. I just hope it lasts. But I will do EVERYTHING I can to make sure that it does. And for now, I’m just going to enjoy feeling good- feeling like myself again. My good self. I like this version of me.

 

 

Posted in Addiction, anxiety, faith, Goals, Holidays, inner peace, Life, manifestation, Mental Health, mindfulness, People, recovery

With a Grateful Heart

a grateful heart
courtesy of Pinterest and littleleaves.com

I woke up way too early, as usual…but I am not going to get all worked up over it. This is just who I am, and I have accepted it. I’m an early riser who has become a super early riser over the past few months. I think partially it developed as a way to save a few precious hours of peace for myself, while my older daughter and her boyfriend were staying here. This time is so important to me. I’d do just about anything to preserve it, including waking up in what is basically the middle of the night.

I did, however, get to usher in the New Year last night! I set an alarm for 11:55, and Cam and I got up long enough to do the count down, scream “Happy New Year!” once, hug each other, then scramble back to the warmth of the bed. Last night was her last official night sleeping with me. We are both more than ready to go our separate sleeping ways, but with the extra people here the past few months, we didn’t really have a choice. So tonight, I can sleep diagonally, the way I do when she is at her dad’s house. She’s a tall child, and such a bed hog, and I feel guilty for saying this, but I sleep SO much better when she is staying overnight with her father. So, bittersweet though it may be, we are both excited about this milestone. Obviously, she’s way too old to still be sleeping with her mother, and she used to sleep on her own at our old house…not sure what happened. I don’t regret it, though. They are only little for such a short time.

Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling such gratitude for my life. I have such a good feeling about the year ahead. I was thinking about the horrible panic attack and subsequent anxiety I suffered through less than two weeks ago, and I wonder if it was just a giant purge of built up negative energy- shit I needed to get rid of? Because since it faded away, I have been steadily more centered, happy, and anxiety free. Seems like more than coincidence to me- to get to begin a new year wiped clean of the dark feelings that had been plaguing me? Well, whatever it is, I’ll take it. Gladly.

You know…my house is still a mess. I meant to take down my tree last night, and never got around to it. There are dishes in the sink, and…well, it’s pretty much like it always is around here. But for once, none of it is bothering me. Because I have a plan, and I intend to stick to it. Little by little, this house will transform, and be the way I want it to be. By the time I go to bed tonight, those dishes will be gone, the counters wiped clean, the tree gone, ornaments put away. It still won’t be perfect- I doubt it will ever be perfect. But eventually, it will be the way I want it to be. I feel quite sure of that.

The thing is, I have started this year with peace in my heart. I don’t know that I’ve often felt peace like this. It feels solid to me, as if it is not dependent on outside circumstances, but more like it stems from within me. It’s the kind of peace that comes when you have finally started to trust yourself, to know that most likely, you are going to be okay. I’ve survived a lot- I’ve survived MYSELF, which was no simple feat. This is my fourth consecutive New Years clean, and I’ve grown stronger every year. And I am so grateful for that- for the peace, and for surviving myself, and surviving the dark parts of my own mind. I’m so grateful for making it out of that last, awful, dark place, and for the wonderful new spot it wound up leaving me.

I’m starting this shiny, fresh new year with a grateful heart. And I don’t think there is a better place to begin than that.

May your year be blessed, happy, full of hope and laughter. Happy New Year!

Posted in adventure, Blogging, Goals, Holidays, Life, manifestation, Musings, People

Ready for What’s Next: Part 2

last day

Oh my gosh, you guys! It’s the last day of 2018 already! I don’t know why I thought, when I sat down here to write yesterday’s post, that there were still several days to go. I envisioned this being a four part post, but it looks like this is it- if I want to meet the end of the year deadline, anyway!

So, without further ado, and in a rather brain-stormy fashion, I am going to roll out my list of resolutions for 2019. I think what I will do is re-evaluate this list at the beginning of February, and fine tune it a bit. I am definitely not bargaining for perfection, and refuse to see any misses as “failures” because any time spent bettering yourself and your life is a win in my book. Also, for certain things, I thought it would be cool to have a big goal, and a second level “fail safe” goal, so like, for instance: I would love to hit my 10,000 steps per day goal every day this year, BUT- sometimes, when I work sitting down all day and my life is really busy, that is super hard to do. So what if I always shoot for 10K, but never let myself get less than 7K? I think that sounds so appealing, so that’s going to be one of the things. Alright, I guess there was some further ado, but it’s over now. Here goes:

Physically:

I’d just like to feel strong. I don’t want to beat myself up over my weight anymore. In the grand scheme of things, a little jiggle on a 43 year old woman with two kids, who sits on her ass for work all day is not all that shocking. I would LOVE to reach my goal weight- that can be the gold standard goal, fine. But I’m not going to shame myself or hate my body in the meantime. But the secondary goal will be to feel strong, healthy, and capable of lifting heavy things by myself.

Also, I pay a lot of money to my gym to be a member. If I go ten times per month, I get a 50% freaking discount. Here is my promise to you (and to me): If I don’t make it ten times per month in January, I am cancelling my membership. It’s wasteful and impractical if I don’t utilize it.

Furthermore, I will take my dog for a walk a minimum of five days per week, at least one of which is off-leash, at the beach. Preferably more often, but a minimum of 5. It’s easier when the days get longer, but I can do it.

Healthwise:

This is a big one, but I’ve really thought about it. I want to make this the year that I consume zero fast food. This shouldn’t be quite as daunting as it feels, but I am often super tired when I get off work, and I just don’t want to deal with dinner. Add hunger and a lack of groceries to the list, and The Habit Burger less than a mile away, and…well, you get the picture. I feel confident I can do this, though, and here is why: I just signed up to try Hello Fresh, which will be fun, and I plan on trying out a few different meal delivery services over the course of the next few months. Added bonus? Cam can cook with me, so it will benefit her as well. Also, I have exempted Chipotle and Panera from this rule, because they are both only kinda fast food.

Another big one: No cheating with cigarettes, and no more vaping. This has been the thorn in my damn side for YEARS now. I’m sick of it all. I’m not even putting a fail safe on this one, because it’s basically a do it or don’t do it thing. No middle ground.

And because mental health is as important, if not more so, than physical health, I will be making sure I meditate daily- even if it’s only five minutes. It’s just a beautiful part of my day, and I want to honor that.

Social Media: This one is so hard for me. I am not sure how to deal with it, because it’s a huge habit of mine. I know it can really cause my anxiety to ramp up, and that I need to reign it in a lot, but how, exactly? To what extent? I’m not really sure, but I’m going to think about it and try to come up with a solution. Stay tuned.

And finally, in no particular order, these:

I’ve decided to do a major, as-long-as-it-takes, clean up of my living space. All the nooks and crannies will be sorted out and wiped down to the very best of my ability. I will also dedicate 20 or so minutes per day to straightening up, and develop the habit of picking up throughout the day as I notice things out of place.

I will continue to make wise financial decisions, take care of my credit, and save a minimum secret amount of money per month, with a goal of a higher secret amount. I can’t tell you everything.

I will do one writing related thing every single day, no exception. Even if it’s just re-reading what I wrote the day before for five minutes. Every. Single. Day.

I will take two trips this year, minimum. One of them will be to Maine this summer, the other? I don’t know yet, but something.

And finally, most importantly of all, I will continue to count my blessings, even on the hard days. I will try very hard to manage my anxiety and depression (caused by ADHD, who knew?) the only way that I now know is available to me: without medication. We tried that this year, and it SUCKED. So, because my particular brain only works right when I am social, when I am excitedly looking forward to things, and when I add in new experiences, places, and faces…that’s what I am going to shoot for. The diet and exercise part I’ve already addressed.

My life is pretty great just the way it is, but having goals and trying to meet them is honestly a lot of fun for me. Even if it doesn’t work out…and, I mean, some of these might not- this is a lot of stuff! Even so, I enjoy the pursuit so much. What are your goals for the year ahead? I’d love to hear.