Monday, October 30, 2006

I have grown wiser in the past 24 hours

So my Birthday has officially passed, I was born 29 years and more than 24 hours ago.
And while waking up on Saturday (my actual birthday) didn't feel any different than waking up on Friday - well except for the giant wrapped box at the foot of my bed - I think I have eased into the wisdom that comes with age ;)

I had an all-party week-end (a party on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday)- and it was awesome, I loved it.
It definietly reinforced just how social a being I am. When I do the Myers-Briggs inventory, I score like a 98 out of 100 in the extroversion scale (it's a continuum from introversion to extroversion, and the idea is that everybody is a blend of both, and can't be completely one or the other, but has elements of both). Well not me. I am a full flegged bonified people person.

It's not even that I hate doing nothing, I would just rather do nothing with someone else.
Have to clean my room - if you're there with me, I would gladly participate. Both Saturday and Sunday night after each respective party (I had 2 birthday parties), one of my guests stayed a little later than the others and helped me clean-up. Techincally on Saturday 2 guests stayed back while I saw some others out, and by the time I got back upstairs there was hardly anything left for me to do (Thank you Austin and Nina). And you know what, I actually really enjoyed cleaning up, 'cause I had someone to do it with.

I realize that it's true about my running as well - if I have someone to do it with, the time passes more quickly and it's so much more enjoyable. Probably why the running room works so well for me.

And while I always knew that I was a people person, I guess I never put the pieces together as to how much. And now I am going to decide to embrace that about myself instead of thinking I need to mellow out a little. Now I know how to set myself up to succeed at something new - make sure it involves people, and I'm good.

So last night as I was getting ready for bed, as tired as I was after an all-party week-end, I feel asleep with a smile on my face. After all what better week-end could I have - 3 days of fun times, with fun people that I like to spend time with, and I got to wear a tiara!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Something to Look Forward to

So tonight is my Running Room practice night. Tonight we were working on maintaining the goal we set-up on Monday night. So it's my second run at this rate.
tonight our regular facilitator was not there and we had Sue leading our 5K clinic group. So it was Sue, myself and Nicole.
What you need to know about Sue is that she is a complete coach - happy, encouraging, energetic, enthusiastic.
So today Sue pushed me - HARD! The awesome part is that I did much more than I thought I could. I added a minute onto my time, which means I did a minute more that we did on Monday and were scheduled to do (Trust me a minute is HUGE for me!!)
And it was the fastest I have run to date. Which is also HUGE for me. Usually you could be walking backwards next to me, and you would probably still be moving faster than I run.
But tonight, you would have had to be walking super fast, maybe even jogging with me to keep up! YEAH!!!

Ok, that was actually the aside, what I wanted to tell you about was the conversation I had afterwards with a couple of the others in my clinic (they ran with a different group tonight).
I mentioned that my Birthday is coming up on Saturday and how I find Birthdays much more than New Year's make me re-evaluate my life and contemplative of my goals.
Anyways what they 3 of them told me (they had a consensus) is that your forties are the best years of your life.
You have more money, you're sure of who you are, you know what you want and you can do it.

Phew! It was such a refreshing conversation. I have spent most of my life with people telling me that the years I'm living are the best years of my life. And that hasn't been my experience. Not that they're horrible years or anything, but my twenties have been spent trying to get myself to my future - whether it be school or a career or relationships - always trying to work out the future, sacrificing the now for the to come.
So it's good to know that there is a to come, and that it can be enjoyed!

Here's to being in our forties, and finally getting to enjoy life - well maybe we can get some enjoyment in here and there before then, just a little ;)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tell Someone you Love them today :)

Today has been a reminder of how life can be short and really suck sometimes.
I didn't really have a sucky day, just a lot of opportunities to observe life sucking.

For example my day started with me staying home from work - when my Teta (grandmother) work-up and found me in my room, she got very excited about having someone home with her. She actually did a little dance in front of my bedroom door (ask her and she'll deny it, but she did).
It was really cute, but mostly it got me thinking about how lonely and boring and long her days must feel home alone, all day, every day with nothing to do. Plus when the rest of the family gets home we all have other things to do, errands, dinner to make. My mom and my aunt both take a nap right after work - for at least 1 hour. I imagined what it would feel like to be starved for company all day, then people finally get here, just to choose sleep or something else over talking to me. Kinda Sucks.

Example # 2 - I was in an interview where I was given senarios that I was asked to put together some case conceptualization and treatment plans for as well as highlight challenges, and concerns. This is pretty standard in my field. The senarios were pretty convoluted, but I know that they are true to life situations. It made me sad to think of people who had suffered so much at the misguided hands of others (parents, teachers, etc) and are now struggling to be a functional part of society. Definitely Sucks.

Example # 3 - Driving home on WDCX (the Christian station out of Buffalo) they had a counselling call in show. BTW, the Therapist was excellent. I heard 2 people in the hour I was in the car (stupid highway lane reductions and exit closures). The first lady had been married for 6 years and her husband had not displayed any physical affection towards her through their entire marriage. The therapist coached caller on asking questions about his childhood. Even though she didn't say this to the caller, it was pretty clear her working hypothesis was that he is an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. The second guy was from a military family and was talking about how he was very rigid and structured (expects everyone in the house awake and beds made by 4am and stuff like that). Again she talked about his childhood (he came from a military family, no surprise there). The interesting part was when she asked him how it made him feel as a child - and he said "I hated it", and yet he was pulling those same things into his adulthood and for his children. Sucks for sure!

Anyway, bottom line is it also made me thing about how many great and awesome things we can have in life, despite the suckage - which manage to co-exists together. Plus we usually totally ignore the good stuff, 'cause our entire focus is spent on the suckage, the pain, the hurt, the anger. Still Sucks!

And then I started thinking about how much of a difference a small gesture would have made in each of my suck examples above.
What if I had gotten out of bed and had breakfast with my Teta?
What if the call-in lady's husband spontaneously held her hand, or kissed her forehead?
What if her husband had an adult he could trust when he was a child, who gave him a feeling of unconditional security and love?
What if call-in guy's Dad had hugged him, or played wrestling with him or let him sleep in on a Saturday?

Suddenly the Suck is shrinking.

So I would like to encourage you (yes you) to tell somebody whom you love that you love them today, give them a hug, smile.
Life is incomplete without these things.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wow!! Nature's Awesome...

Yesterday I went on a guided nature hike through the Rouge Valley Conservation Area as a work event.

So 10km, and 3 hours later, all I can say is WOW!! It was spectacular! The river, the creek, the leaves, the trees, the hills, even the hill that used to be garbage was awesome looking.

We started out at the Pierce House Conservation Centre - across from the Zoo parking lot. (If you would be interested, every 2nd Sunday of the month, they offer a free guided hike for 2 hours starting at 1:30pm - I would be happy to go again).

I didn't expect that it would be 3 hours or 10km - it was not the leisurely afternoon I had envisioned, but rather a pretty intensive work-out. We had to go almost straight-up this one hill. The climb really did feel almost vertical - it took about 8 minutes to get to the top, and while I didn't stop (I was scared that if I did, I would never start again) a couple of people in our party took several 2 minute breaks on the way up.
So thighs burning with the lactic acid build-up (feels just as crappy as it sounds by the way), and amazingly huffing and wheezing (thank you Asthma) like I do when I run - I got to the top and turned around. I was speechless.
Before me was the rolling hills and valleys that you hear described in novels about the English countryside. But instead of just green grass with a couple of sheep here and there - it was littered with colour and texture. And not just the brown, red and yellow that you see in your neighbourhood - I'm talking about intense, high pigment colours - a bright, vibrant green, deep ochre red, burnt sunset orange, creamy yellow. At one point because of erosion, there was a tree (known as the hanging tree) which was at maybe a 35 degree angle - roots entirely exposed, but living strong. It was full of leaves, and each a beautiful pulsating red.

I didn't have the best shoes and my feet are all blistered today, my legs are sore, and I accidentally slept through my running clinic today (so I didn't make my run)- but it was absolutely worth it - I would go again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Hate Exercise - sort of!

Ok it's official - after an hour and a half today of sweating and contorting and getting nowhere, I have officially decided that I hate exercise.

I've been running now, to be more accurate, I should say I've been trying to run now for about 4 months.
That's 3 times a week for 4 months.
And I still huff and puff, run slower than most people can walk, and turn beet red and go crazy hot for like hours!! (I am NOT hyperbole-izing!)

I have decent rhythm, but everytime I take a ballet class or a pilates or stretching class - I'm watching my form in the mirrors (they're everywhere!) and I feel like an egg with arms and legs. No grace, no fluidity of movement - just this basal desire to survive!!

And yet, I get home, I take my shower, and magically I feel able to conquer the world - most days.

Hence the sort of.

I am waiting with baited breath for the day that I feel good while doing it - as opposed to after. It appears that that day will be a long time coming.

So until then - I hate exercise, sort of!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sleepwalking through my day

Do you ever have that experience where you're driving home (usually) from somewhere and you get home, but you don't actually remember the drive, making the turns you're suppose to make - and you just sort of arrive at home?

Have you ever felt your day go by that way?
Just this morning my pod-mate said "can you believe it's almost half-way throught October already?"
And you know, I can't believe it.

Last I remember I was gearing up for Septemeber and it's like I blinked and we're halfway through October. Like I have been sleepwalking through the past 6 weeks.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't had events and moments in those six weeks - I'm sure my itinerary has been litered with them.
But somehow these events and moments seem to fade to the background or become swallowed-up by my routine.

Again, I'm going to blame this weird existental nostalgic turn on my impending Birthday (18 days and counting!!)- always makes me reflective - works much better than New Year's for me :)

And hey at least I'm not litering these pages with a search for the meaning of life - more like the details of living it.

As a totally unrelated aside - I made a pretty awesome Butter Chicken out of our leftover Turkey today - well I guess that makes it a Butter Turkey technically. It was yummy!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Conservative with Pazzaz!

I attended my friend's wedding yesterday - actually I also got to participate by reading Scripture. (I think I may be getting typecast - I read Scripture or do a reading at a lot of weddings!) I love to participate in this way, so I get very excited each time I'm asked.

So yesterday, I'm dressed up in my new fancy outfit - just purchased on Friday, lucky break - and passing out the programs as people are entering the Church.
One of the ladies attending, who is also a member of my Church comes to take her program and says to me "You know what I like about you? You're conservative, and you do it with pazzaz!"
I know this was intended as a compliment, and I took it entirely as such, but it does beg the question - what exactly qualifies as pazzaz?

She did encourage some boldness in me though - I hitched a ride with some friends ('cause the reception was in timbuktu). As they were leaving the church and we were coordinating my pick-up later, I said "Yeah, I'm going to change, and I'm gonna look smokin' !". I am just as shocked and amazed as you are that those words left my mouth in all sincerity.

Later that evening, I was mentioning that I was getting hot and someone said "just take off your jacket"
to which I replied, "I can't do that I'd be too naked"
"That's not naked" while showing me the spaghetti strap of her dress.
"Yeah, not naked for you, is naked for me".

So ultimately I guess the conservative part was right on the mark.
That's probably why my mom didn't buy it when I bought a fake nose ring years ago to see how people would react. She just said "get that silly thing out of your nose."

I got a pretty fun reaction when I wore purple clown sunglasses around for a day once (see above).
It was fun to make people (total strangers) smile and laugh while driving, pumping gas, grocery shopping.
I wore them around for the entire day. I think I still have them tucked in my closet, although I never wore them again.

This does make one want to revisit the title of conservative however, or at least include a clause or something :)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Am I Unbalanced?

So I went for my monthly massage yesterday. Yes, I get a massage once a month - part of my self-care plan because I work in a high stress environment, and I get good benefits.

Anyways, I'm on the table and my RMT starts working my muscles and I am so ridiculously tight that I think I can actually hear her panting with the strain, and feel the sweat trickling off her forehead!
She's working on my right shoulder for what feels like 20 minutes, then she actually has to get her elbow involved. She says to me "nice shoulder", to which I reply, "yeah, I put it to good use."
Near the end of my massage, she's working on my neck, and it feels like somebody decided to hide a bag of marbles back there. I say to her "Wow! It's been a while since my neck's been this tight eh?" "I don't think it's ever been this tight."

Today, I feel like I've been hit by a truck, then the truck driver came over to see how I was doing and decided to beat me up to finish the job! Everything hurts! It's crazy.

I understand the mechanics of a massage, that my muscles have tightened and shortened. That an RMT manipulates that muscle, puts strain on it to trigger a release so the muscle can stretch out to what it should be. That over time, since muscles have memory, they will "remember" being stretched and proper and resist shrinking and tightening (and stretch more easily next time).

Here's what my day of muscular agony got me thinking about:
I try and eat healthy - protein load at lunch to keep me alert, increase the carbs at night to promote sleepiness, no caffeine, minimal sugar, "healthy fats", etc...
I run 3 times a week - I'm not a star, but I'm faithfully doing it
I get massages once a month
I "debrief" intense calls with co-workers or supervisors as needed
I have good friends, watch good TV, and have good fun

I am basically scheduling what's good for me - or what's suppose to be good for me.
Why do I have to work so hard at achieving "balance"?
It seems a little contradictory to me that I seem to have filled-up my life with complications (as evidenced by my muscular revolt) in order to try and simplify my life.

I heard it said somewhere that when the internet and mobile phone technology were first introduced some business head honcho said "This is a great technological leap, in 10 years we will work half the time and accomplish twice as much".

I feel like I work twice as hard and accomplish half as much.
I can't even imagine how people survived when it took half a day to make a loaf of bread to feed your family - how did they get anything other than bread making and eating done?

Ah well, enough pondering - back to my TO DO list.