Where have you been? Drowning in overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed without a plan to decide everything! Here is how I am overcoming “overwhelmed”.

Wow, I pulled up this my treasured blog and realizing that it has been two months since I wrote anything and then realized that the final blog post was on my mom’s anniversary of her passing, more than two months ago. Isn’t that profound. Yet again another ending. But it is not. Here I am back writing. Back to making the time to explore the creative outlet that I embrace as a passion, secretly and yet through my medium publicly here for the world to read or disregard.

As I start writing today I asked myself “Where have you been?” Busy? Distracted? Overwhelmed? Yes, that last word…overwhelmed! I have used this word more times in the last week than I have ever. I have literally buried myself in To Do’s, deadlines, pressures, and commitments that have all but taken over my life. And before the assumption can be made I am reminded that it is not all from my work/career. There are as many personal To Do’s, deadlines, and pressures in my “personal life” than in my “work-life”. What I am realizing in hindsight is that those routines, those things that I was doing to keep it all in check got abandoned in the last two months because I was “too busy” not realizing that the sheer abandonment of those things would be my undoing. Overwhelmed is a state of being when my life has taken me, prisoner, because I have relinquished control. I allow all of the outside pressures to creep in so far that they determine my sleep schedule, take away my time to write or read, and ultimately take over. I fool myself into believing that I don’t have time…when in reality I have the same time I had two months ago, I am just spending it differently.

Realization is key here because it was the moment that I was realizing that I gave up this control that everything became overwhelming. And it was in that realization that I got up and decided to take control back. How? Through deciding. Deciding what I will do when I will do it and with who and how. Boom. I have preached so many times in my life to others the power to decide and that ultimately YOU DECIDE always what is yours. Regardless of how it manifests or plays out in front of you; that you are “there” is your decision. These are lessons I have always known and yet forget to deploy when the going gets tough.

Time Blocking — Schedule in the non-negotiables to see what time is left in your day

The first place to take it back was in first divvying up my time. Time is the factor, time is where I am losing the fight. I took the time to sit down and look at a blank calendar, of one 7-day week. I then started dividing it up into those non-negotiables and crossed out the time allotted for work and the time allotted for sleep. Okay, now what is left. WHOA!!! The big realization here is why I feel overwhelmed! On any given weekday I only have four hours that are unidentified; two before work and two after work. Those four hours are the same four I need to get ready to start and end my day. That became the first real perspective in the exercise I was taking on. It is no wonder I am overwhelmed because what I am trying to accomplish in four hours cannot be done in eight! It is unrealistic. So I continued to fill-in my calendar with time to read, write, get ready, make dinner, workout, etc. Perspective was key here as I could feel a weight lifting in realizing that I was not overwhelmed I was overcommitted. I then moved into the weekend where time is more forgiving and made sure to play out those things that are key to my quality of life (aka sanity) so that the lack of routine on a weekend did not derail me. Voila, here I am back reading, writing, and enjoying a peaceful morning…two months later.

Routines — Create Auto-Pilot Decisions to allow room for the “real” decisions to be made

The second place I had to go to shake the “overwhelm” off was in my decisions. Ironically after working to “right-side” this world of mine, I read an article on Medium that summed it all up, “These Micro-Habits Gave me 1 Hour per Day Back” by Tim Denning. It was a reiteration of everything I had done that day and this next piece which was “auto-deciding”. Tim calls it “Create Auto-Pilot Decisions” in the article. There have to be things that you can put on auto-pilot in your life so everything does not require a decision because decisions take effort and energy. For me, I have put my schedule on auto-pilot after writing it out and it now directs me on where I need to be and when without me having to give the energy of thought or decision. I also put my meal plan on auto-pilot, because like most humans, I eat the same thing daily. Not having to come up with a new meal plan every day or at the moment leaves one less decision. I recall hearing that Steve Jobs, Simon Cowell, and Mark Zuckerberg also put on auto-pilot their wardrobes. They found a look that works for them and that is what they wore every single day. Not having to make that decision every morning left energy to be used in a place that could be more productive and likely in their cases more defining.

Be flexible and realistic — Nothing ever goes as planned

Now that the structure has been laid out it is time to simply follow it, or is it really that simple. I love the quote “We plan and God laughs” because nothing is more true. A plan is a great way to architect your life however as our days unfold and priorities shift so must our “plan”. Don’t allow your plan to be yet another stressor and don’t abandon the plan because of unforeseen stressors. Simply following the plan when things are “on track” will give you the “room” or energy needed when things go off-plan. Being flexible and realistic is what makes it work not to be able to stay on the plan stringently. This week I stayed close to the plan but not tied to it. The fact that I had a plan gave me the structure and forgiveness in those things that took me off course to remember that they are one-offs and not the norm. Sometimes just realizing that one-offs are just that…one-off…is all the resolve we need as we are more forgiving of the distraction.

Last and most important now is just doing it. You can set the greatest plan in motion however if you never execute it is simply a plan. Plans don’t define us, they don’t amount to anything more than an intention or a great idea. When you put a plan in motion, well now you are moving in a direction. Right, wrong, or indifferent is irrelevant! The fact that you are “in motion” is enough.

Life as I live it — L.

A Case for Aunts

Aunt’s are important, no doubt about it. What I have been privy to in my life is that more than important, Aunt’s are vital. While I value my Uncle’s they have not had the profound affect in my life that my Aunt’s have and as I look around me I realize that Aunt’s are truly our second Mom’s. They stand beside and stand-in when necessary. They are the backing of the Mother, necessary because we all know we don’t listen to our Mother’s. I have had the pleasure of having the most amazing Aunt’s and being an Aunt myself. I have also had the privilege of witnessing the dedication of Aunt’s that have become Mom’s as if it were their calling.

I have four Aunt’s and each of them have been profound in my life:

My youngest Aunt, only years older than me, was a key figure in my teenage years offering friendship and guidance when I needed it the most. We shared the greatest laughs, some that I still remember vividly today and still bring a smile to my face. She taught me how to keep a smile despite your circumstances as I watched her always make the best of what she was given…and later…taken away.

My closest Aunt has truly been a second mother to me and in most cases standing in where my parents were absent. Not taking away from my own parents, she was simply ALWAYS there. She cared about me as if I were one of her own, and has made me believe I am, I was and always will be. Her children became my brothers and sisters which was a much needed respite for an only child and today still provide that reach I would be lonely without.

My last two Aunt’s are called “The Aunts” because they are a pair and one is only as great as the other. They are the perfect pairing of kindness and sarcasm. They are honest and humorous. They are gracious and critical. They are the perfect yin and yang. They push me hard knowing I need it and yet offer a loving understanding when I cannot push any more. The secret weapon of the duo is the one that is so much like my Mom that I have to take a deep breath at times for the breath that is taken away when she makes a familiar look, response or shares that part of our history that only she could know.

I am so blessed to be an only child with a HUGE family thanks mostly to the Cuban side of my family. As much as I have enjoyed my own Aunt’s I have also had the privilege of being an Aunt to many. Many of my nieces have moved on to their own lives however there is the one that continues to hold me close and reminds me of my own need for Aunt’s in life. The only thing better than understanding the “case for Aunt’s” is seeing when my niece understands the case so well that she takes on her role as Aunt as expected, stepping in without being asked and passing on this important relationship to yet another niece or nephew. She is repeating what was done for her and is blessed for having an Aunt that gave her life, for the sake of making sure hers and her siblings were uninterrupted.

Last but never least, are those Aunt’s that are titled by heart and not bloodline. As an only child and only having a brother-in-law my children were never meant to have Aunt’s. However, don’t tell them that because they know a world full of Aunt’s that have been as significant in their lives as if blood, if not more. Cousins that became sisters became their first Aunt’s. Best Friends that love my children as if they were their own became Aunt’s. Best of all is that MY Aunt’s immediately took the responsibility of a second-generation of Aunt-rearing that has served my children well.

So today I make a “Case for Aunts” the closest and the most extended. Today I am reminded that without my Aunt’s I would be “less than”. I am better because of them, they are changed because of me and together we are one. One…whole and never apart.

Life as I appreciate it – L.

Even Concrete Cracks

This was the reality check I was given as I found myself in a puddle of tears. “Even concrete cracks” is the resolve to understanding why even the strongest of the strong humans crack. In this case it was me, cracked wide open. While the release is necessary the reality causes as much reeling as the pressure rising to its boiling point within. We easily forget this when we are at that boiling point which tends to be our weakest moments.

My crack started to form as I was rounding two weeks post-op and still dealing with daily pain. The key to managing pain is to find a baseline that you can tolerate however it is in that tolerance that you wear out. When you are in active pain, it too is exhausting, however with a remedy it is resolved. When you are managing a “pain baseline” the tolerance requires a managed effort. This is effort that requires energy from stores that are depleted. At this point it goes beyond the physical and begins to overwhelm you mentally making everything bigger than it is and the entire environment becomes overwhelming. It is in these moments that you hope you are surrounded by “your village”. I was. I am.

Healing may be the biggest effort I make in my lifetime. This physical healing has unfortunately become familiar to me however regardless of how many times I repeat the process it does not get easier. I am healing faster this time, but I am no less exhausted and emotionally spent. I knew what was coming and how to make the best of it and that preparation may have been my secret weapon. I can only imagine where I would be right now if I had not prepped. My village tells me how much worse it could be…that does not help. My village tells me how well I am doing…that does not help. What helps? Sometimes just crying it out or screaming irrationally; any outlet as for all the input there has to be a release. Where is that written in the textbooks? Where is that in the hospital discharge notes? It needs to be states somewhere, “when it all gets to be too much just scream!” Ha, yes that is a prescription worth noting.

…and that is all I have to say about that.

Life as I live it – L.

Sometimes it speaks to me…

I am a lover of music unlike anyone else I know. That is not to say that others do not love music or are not fanatics but it seems that my connection is more personal, more bloodline than energy. I hear songs and they immediately take me right back to the place I was when I first heard them. In true technicolor, vivid, all senses come to life. I get this honest as both of my parents were also music lovers and music has/had always been a part of our/my life. Today I am reminded of this as I am sitting this morning enjoying my favorite place these days, my back porch, and listening to my favorite morning station on Apple Music. The song that inspires this blog today is “Sober” by Demi Lovato. Listen first and then maybe come along on my morning writing journey…

I love music written in tragedy. This is not to be confused with me loving tragedy, I am not that sadistic. I love music as an art form, as an outlet, for the artist that is willing to pour it all out in song. Demi has gone through the fight of her life, again, and in pure vulnerability pours it out. I feel it, in my heart, my soul, my bones. I get it on a very raw level. Sober is a condition of healing, righting wrongs regardless of the substance. I get it. I am not Sober, either. Being sober means that your imperfections are not noticed externally and ultimate sobriety is full internal resolve. How many of us are really sober? In these terms…hmmm…hard to admit.

For my mother’s eulogy I weaved the music of our lifetime into the words spoken from my soul and it gave the context, it gave the sentiment I could not have otherwise expressed with words alone. It wasn’t about creating a false presence of emotion but allowing those in my world with me at that moment in time to be brought back to the place, the very place I longed to be in that moment…a place where she still existed. A place she still lived, loved and laughed. It worked. It worked for me…it was all that mattered. In that moment on that day, I was talking for her and music was as much my voice as the words coming from my mouth.

I use music like a heartbeat, a rhythm to inspire the action before me. When I run the music matches the tempo I need to keep, when I walk the music is resolved in the journey without fight for breath, when I work the music creates the background noise to keep me focused. It is how I relate to this world. It is nutrients and as needed as water, food, and breath. A life without music is not a world I wish to know; empty, quiet, meaningless.

Music is culture, it unites us, all races, languages and classes. One song has the power to move a nation. Another can be so private and only known to the listener absorbed in the secret only known between the lyrics and the soul.

Music is my language and those that know me best speak to me in my native tongue. This week alone I received songs from those that know me best and love me most. Those songs were genuine communication from them to me with nothing more needed to be said except, “I heard this song and it made me think of you.” How perfect. I conclude by sharing those songs with you as my Thank You to those that sent them to me and my want to pay it forward to my reader that may not have the fortune to know music in this form, may this be your entree into something more, a new language of love, friendship and vulnerability.

  • Tones and I – Never Seen the Rain – Link https://youtu.be/UdRJY-jlEhQ
    • Lyrics “…and it gets you down But that’s ok You’ve been pushed round You feel the pain And when you fall Just lean on me Cause you’ve never known Never seen Never smelt Never felt The rain Rain, never felt the rain, rain rain”
  • Lauren Alaina – Getting Good – Link https://youtu.be/AkNc0-7ierw
    • Lyrics “.Once I get a house that I can hang my hat on, I bet I’ll want to build a bigger one if I could, yeah, I’m thinking, once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, Maybe that’s when life starts getting good…”
  • Joshua Radin – Beautiful Day – Link https://youtu.be/G70dtJRr6nc
    • Lyrics “…Gonna drive my car to the sea, Swim out far cause I believe, That waves will wash the grey away, I’m making a beautiful day…”

May you find your energy, your universe, what makes your world go ’round. Music is my everything and those in my life are personified through those rhythms. Blessed to hear the love in those messages.

Life as I hear it – L.

This is going to leave a mark…

This theme has been with me for weeks now and so here I go to give life to the theme. It is plaguing me with something pressing to say, to communicate, to shout from the rooftops…maybe.

It is too obvious to suggest that what we, as a world, have gone through in the last three months will leave a lasting impression that will be defined far greater than “leaving a mark”. What we have gone through in pandemic, protests and riots and politics will go down in history. We can only hope that all of the strife will change the future to allow recount of “how it used to be” versus “why it is this way”. This will all remain to be seen.

What is not obvious is the “mark” that is being left on you, on me, on each one of us mentally, transforming us physically. We are taking in images subconsciously that we are not used to processing. We attempt to create context around these images but we realize the internal struggle when we feel the anxiety, insomnia and otherwise unrest internally. We try to put a name on it, we try to diagnose it and yet we are left with discord and diagnosis undefined. We as a nation are not used to seeing violence in the form of protests in our streets, body bags being loaded into semi-trucks from the fallout of a pandemic that has not found its end and the lack of a leader to guide us out of chaos and into peace. Those images go in and then bounce around like the ricochet of a bullet leaving in its wake, damage. Minor damage for those that have the tools or resolve to digest it and flush it out and catastrophe for those that cannot imagine what they are experiencing.

I have had the benefit of talking to groups of friends and colleagues that all share their experience. The same experience that I am party to however my experience being different based on my resolve. It is your internal resolve that will drive you to act or retreat. It is that resolve that will show resource or surrender. Anxiety is the theme, regardless of the individual. Why do I feel emotional? Why am I angry? Why do I want to retreat or rebel? These are the questions we are ALL asking. It is now that we are forced to come to terms with the inside voice that has its own monologue, those thoughts that show up in neon lights that dare you to act…before you think. But don’t! Stop. Stop everything. Take it in. Allow it to show itself. STOP. Then decide…what’s next. Yes, it always comes back to this one fact, you decide. Even in today’s world; you decide what risk you are willing to take, what opinion you will have and who you will follow. YOU DECIDE.

It is indeed fair to say that this will leave a “mark”. Yes it will, it has to, as nothing this extreme will depart quietly. Whatever is eating you today, you must meet yourself where you are and find a way to digest it. Decide what is right for you. Be careful of what you are taking in as not everything is fortifying. Let the mark that is left be partnered with a time you can look back and be proud of how you handled yourself, always meeting yourself where you are and not defining yourself by the moment. Anxious yes, it is impossible not to be, but taking that moment to stop and realize that the resources that I have can reduce it all and make sure that the mark left is not a scar but a battle wound!

Life as I live it – L.

Epiphany

And just like that it occurs to me. That I have indeed manifested this, the life I always dreamed of without realizing I was heading right for it. It just occurred to me this morning as I was finishing a 12-week program via the “The Artist’s Way”, that everything that I have done for the last 49 years has prepared me for the next chapter. I always said that when I turned 50-years old that I wanted to teach, I wanted to transition into a new chapter; and while I struggled to see the forest for the trees along the route today I have walked out of that forest, at the end of that path and turned around and there it is…every single tree, every sapling, every seed that was ever planted is now the forest. It is a wealth of experiences, paths and journeys; thorns, bites and equal amounts of sun shining through that will catapult me into my dream. Wow, I am in awe as I write this and the realization shows itself clear as the day that is beginning.

The irony is that I realize now, in this moment, that all of the work in raising my children, cultivating a partnership and friendship that has served as my marriage to the very best partner for me and building a career that can sustain it all has brought me to this place that I can realize the next chapter that lies in front of me. All along I thought my dream would not come to pass because of my lack of realization that the additional education I thought i needed was being attained all along. I dreamed of being a Professor and yet I am. I thought it would be teaching hospitality however I have just realized that it is that and so much more. I thought it would require another degree and yet I realize that there is no more that I can be taught in a structured environment that I have not learned through experience. It is taking what I have learned on these paths that will now be my next chapter. I have learned how to share, I have learned from the masters and I am not afraid. For the reality is that I have earned a doctorate in life studies, learned in a classroom that has been my last 49 years of life.

The epiphany is so profound, the realization that it, all of it, that I have worked for has lifted me to the place that I dreamed of, the place I wished to be, and now it is my only task to take the next steps. So now I walk back through the paths that I have beaten and worn and now reminiscing those walks with eyes wide open, I am able to see in hindsight those things that were beneath the surface. I will feel those things all over again with renewed senses and the benefit of maturity. The only task left “to do” is to simply to release the constraints that I have allowed to weigh me down through my own imprisonment and realize that I am free to go, to soar, to realize this new life, reality and existence without obstacle.

This is real, this is how it occurred to me on this morning as I was doing my “Morning Pages” and had this immense realization and thought enough to capture the moment in my writing. There are so many themes in this realization that are worth pointing out to avoid anything going missed.

  • The epiphany is simply as defined, “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” I have been doing the work and through the work it suddenly appeared, my future, my dream in realization, in full color, right in front of me.
  • The power of manifestation as defined, “being able to harness your true destinies and desires in life, subconsciously put into vision, and then into reality. Everything you want of the universe is already yours the clearer your thoughts and thinking on the matter, the more timely and precise the delivery will come.” Put whatever it is out there, a goal, a FINISH LINE, a dream; whatever you want to call it simply put it out there and return to it often, doing the work along the way that you believe will bring you to that place…and it will be yours.
  • The faith as defined, “complete trust or confidence in something or someone.” If you believe in yourself and trust that what you want will be yours as long as you are willing to do the work, walk the path and have “faith” despite a guarantee that it will be, it will come, if you only believe.

I give this to you as my gift. A glimpse into my soul, my beliefs, my heart. I give back to myself the gift of documenting this moment to allow myself the privilege of revisiting this moment in all of its power. I look forward to the hindsight it will provide in ten years when I will be grateful that I took a chance on myself and willingness to share with YOU.

Life as I manifest it – L.

Changing a Life…one resolution at a time

This last week of every year starts my mind thinking through what I want in the coming year. Being someone who admittedly is “Always Starting…” I don’t need a New Year to start again. In my dieting days it was a Monday that would be the “start” and of course the ultimate for all large weight-loss goals was always New Years Day. The issue was admittedly that it meant that the days leading up to the Monday or New Years Day would be an all-out binge! It is with this this theme that I offer a “Life as I see it” moment or two for you to think on in the next week.

First in determining what those goals should be is defining your priorities. I have numerous priorities in my life but interesting as it might be to admit it those will get pushed to the side when they are too hard, I am too tired, someone needs me to be/do something else…or…SQUIRREL! How can something be a priority and not take center-stage every minute of every day?

In my life there are a number of things that I regard as priority; health, family, career and then everything else that does not fit into one of those buckets comes in behind…or does it. When it’s hard, not fun or simply not offering immediate pleasure, priorities become last on the list. I struggle with this first point because I do it all too often. Let me share…

  • Running is a priority because it keeps me healthy both physically and mentally. I don’t love getting up in the morning to run yet because my evening schedule can be admittedly unpredictable evening runs are not realistic. What I can control to make sure this priority has its place in my life is to get up early enough to make it happen insuring that nothing gets in the way, but..it is not ideal. I just admitted that I don’t “love” it…

Priorities are important regardless of time and like. I don’t like apples more than cookies but if I want to be healthy I have to choose the apple. Make sure your priorities “serve you” in the right ways, of course as you define.

Second is establishing a routine. In order to make anything a “priority” you have to establish a routine which creates the habit and makes it a reality. Many of our routines are automatic, like getting ready in the morning. I promise that if you put my routine on tape you would see me trace the exact same steps every single morning. This routine was created without thought and is simply the path I follow without thinking to get ready for the day. It might be the reason that when trying to fit something new into that routine, especially the mindless routines, the “add-on” can feel arduous.

Third is a mix of tolerance and leniency, after all we do what we do, set the goals that we set because they “serve us” however when they do not, we must “meet ourselves where we are” in that moment and for that moment. Our priorities and routines require both tolerance and leniency as life is going to get in the way and when it does we must relent for that moment without throwing the entire plan down the drain. The best example of this is in dieting. I cannot count on five million hands how many times I was headstrong into a diet and then found myself throwing the entire effort to the side because I “messed up”. One cookie does not have to create a binge…but it did. It’s that mentality of perfection that “if I don’t do it perfect every minute of the day then…” the whole thing goes down the drain. In what world does this make sense? Moderation, should likely be added to this list as “everything in moderation” is also key to living our best lives.

I am going to write my New Years Resolutions over the next week. I am also going to practice doing exactly what I say I am going to do and determining new routines to make sure those things I define as priorities find their place in my life. I will remind myself that when life gets in the way, it is a temporary fork in the road and not a permanent detour.

I think the best way to conclude is to remind that you can have the life you want if you are willing to do the work. What is in that life? What are the priorities? What does a day in that life look like? What ultimately do you have to sacrifice to have that life? Sleep, cookies, TV…?

Define it, Own it and then be rewarded by the fruits of your labor by living your BEST life. Life as I attempt it – L.

The further away the further I go, and other rabbit holes

It has admittedly been weeks since I wrote last. A habit, hobby, outlet that is supposed to be exercised daily. It is not that I did not want to write. It is not that there isn’t anything to write. It is that I could not…trapped like a hostage in the labyrinth that is my mind teasing and tortured at times…I simply could not.

Whatever you call it, anxiety in many form or the litany of excuses you offer it, “it” holds you captive not allowing you to climb out. It is why the title is so poetic. The further away I get from any intention I have the further I go from it, down the proverbial rabbit hole. The climb from the rabbit hole is punishing requiring perseverance to start again. I do this with everything that has meaning in my life. People look from afar and say “you are so good at…..”, “it is so easy for you to…” or any other well-received but ill-deserved compliment but what appears to be on the surface is far more complex within. I am not good at it, it is not easy for me because it is always work. There will always be a reason not to, it is that I do it that it looks easy or good because you can only see the surface you cannot see the fight.

This time it is writing. I committed to this “outlet” when I was no longer able to run. Running had replaced food for three strong years in helping me to clear my mind, process my numerous thoughts and created a transfer addiction for the one (food) that nearly killed me. “But what if I cannot run” was never a thought before it was and then…rabbit holes. I could not run, I could not eat and if not those things then what would serve the “need”. I had been writing (journaling) for years as a therapeutic approach to get it out of my head, it could work again.

You look from afar and say “it is so easy for you (her)” but what you don’t know is that every single day it is a choice and sometimes it is a fight. I do not jump out of bed and happily go for a run. I actually hate running or doing anything in the morning. I do it because I have to, because I need to and because it serves me well. The same can be said about writing. The pressure is on since I chose to start sharing my writings, to now continue to write and to publish. It is never for a lack of thoughts to share but the pressure now is in producing something for the audience. While this can be a motivation it can also be a detractor or an intimidation to perform. The reality is that writing and running have never been about performance. They were never about stats, likes, accolades or medals. They were about health, mental and physical and that “back to basics” reality needs to be reminded. The minute the reason shifts from health to performance the intention is lost.

My running is best when I run at night because I am able to run off the day but the timing can be tough based on needing to “fit it in” versus waking up an hour early to “make the time”. My writing is best when it is “hot”. When I am thinking through a topic, when it is fresh, when the dialogue in my brain is like a conversation is when I am at my writers best! The times when I have stopped and seized the moment to write have been some of the best writings to date. The point here is that the choice in doing both is knowing that doing them is paramount and choosing when is simply idealistic.

in the end, this is what “Always Starting…The Art of Never Giving Up” is all about. It is about redefining the “reason” I started this blog and showing examples of how often I restart, rethink and redefine my intentions. Every restart is not as exciting as a New Year’s Resolution, sometimes they are as painful as a shot in the arm but I take on both with a sense of urgency knowing that getting started is the hard part; staying the course is easy until…it’s not. 🙂

Life as I see it – L.

My go-back will be my comeback…believe it.

Always Starting…The Art of Never Giving Up is what this blog is all about and it will forever define me. In the spirit of the blog I have officially started Half Marathon Training to go back to the place where it all ended December 7th, 2018.

(Disclaimer: Yes, I know the psychic told me not to run but I did check with my surgeon, and yes I told him a PSYCHIC gave me this advice and he promised me my running had nothing to do with the tumor and to keep running!)

The story has been told in great detail except THAT story was actually the start of a new one leaving the one I was in without a conclusion. It is an impossible ending, it is not where or how it was supposed to end. I was at the Islamorada Half Marathon ready to race when I came down with the stomach flu that would coincidentally be the symptoms that would find the stomach tumor that would ground me for 9 months. I was ready to get that sub-2:00 that I had been chasing all year, trained hard, trained well and then…nothing.

The next 9 months would be defining as running has been as much mental as physical health for me. Running clears my mind, it changes my mood, it makes my organs hum and my bowels move :). Not running has been tougher than any race without an outlet; I have had to improvise; reading books by the dozen and ultimately publishing my writing. These things are not necessarily bad but they are not running; they do not give me that same “high” and mental fortitude that holds me together.

After much going back and forth, and some admitted laziness I have decided it is time to lace back up and get back out there. I am using Runkeeper Go Half Marathon training to get me back in shape to run. The first run today was proof that this slower approach to training is the right one as two miles just kicked my butt!!

I am going to close yet another chapter the right way and pick-up the chapter that ended in Islamorada back up and finish it. The chapter that is being closed is the one that took a stomach tumor, gallbladder, appendix, small intestine and a stomach. For goodness sake I am lighter without all of those organs which should equal speed…right!?

It is what I do, I am a finisher. It just simply does not end this way. It does not end with me never running again. The reality is that if I have it my way it won’t end; I will run forever, free, unencumbered and mentally well. I hope that you will follow my next 12 weeks and start something of your own, pick-up a chapter where you left off incomplete and do the hard work. It’s the hard work that builds character, courage and stamina for the fight.

Life as a runner…L.

First Day of School

The excitement, the energy it’s in the air! Today was my son’s first day of 11th grade. Just two more years and he is a FREE AGENT! Ha!!! I love the first day of school and the proceeding week as he will be up early every day, showered, fed and ready to go at our 6:30a departure time. Then after a few weeks when the newness of a new school year wears off we will be back to the chaos that school mornings bring. Turning of his alarm clock, me going back and forth across the house 563 times to tell him to get up and give him the latest time check. Us rushing out the door late, he begging me to stop at the store to grab a coke and a donut on the way and then inevitably in the attendance office he will go for his morning tardy pass.

I was thinking this morning how much fun it was and wondering how I can make that excitement last. As a matter of fact he was so darn excited that he said he got up in the middle of the night realizing he had a few more hours to go before it was time to get up. Of course all of that early-morning rising has now caught up as I get home from work at 7:30p he is passed out! I will have to take the first day of school news from the little bits I could garner out of Gary…something about a greasy cheeseburger at lunch and getting home late on the bus. Wow, exciting first day…ugh!

I remember my first day’s of school every single year. To prepare we would go school shopping for all the regular things; clothes, shoes, backpack and Pepto Bismal! Yes, every single school year I would start the first week from the toilet. I would actually have to configure the toilet time into my morning routine to make sure I would not miss the bus. As the years went on my Mom would laugh as this ritual never left me; even in my last year of high school I was toilet-bound for that first week. It was just a nervous energy but definitely more excitement than trepidation. I really liked school and loved my circle of friends. Summer’s were boring as heck for me as an only child with two parents working; I was left to watch TV all summer long…b-o-r-i-n-g!!!

I think now about what those things are that cause as much excitement or nervous energy. I have been at my current job for 11 years so there is nothing stirring me up about going to work. Not that I don’t absolutely love my job but I haven’t needed Pepto in 11 years. 🙂 In a lifetime of “always starting” there really is something so exciting about those “first days” of a new venture. Maybe our work lives should mimic the school environment…just think how much fun it would be to have two months off and go back to work in a new department and every year you continue to switch departments until you have worked all departments at which point you graduate. Brilliant however I think graduation leaves you unemployed…oh wait, yea that is exactly how it works…you graduate and welcome to the world of the unemployed! Yea I’ll pass on that excitement.

Happy First Day of School to all of my peeps and peeps children and grandchildren. May you have a great first week, Pepto-free and post those first day of school pics on Facebook for me to stalk!! As for me, this is my last kid, my last 11th grade and coming up on my last senior year of having a school-aged child. I will cherish every single day I have left to wake him up 563 times over the next two years knowing that I will miss these days very soon.

Living It – L.