Happy President’s Day

Just wanted to share a few quotes from both President Washington and President Lincoln.

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Happy Weekend!

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This winter feels like it’s been going on forever.  Many of us have experienced the Polar Vortex, others have seen a lot of snow and ice storms.  It’s been interesting, I must say.  So, this weekend do something you enjoy.  Nature calls out to us, even when the weather may be a little challenging.  Put on your snowsuits and take a walk, ski, skate, but leave the house and breathe some fresh air.  Enjoy!

Motivation Reminders

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Do you remember why you decided to make changes in your life?  It’s now the second month of the year, and all those great resolutions are beginning to look a little worn now.  Maybe getting up early to work out is turning into more of a painful experience than you thought it would, or it’s just too difficult to keep going with your goals when the results simply either aren’t there, or are just going too slowly.

I do know how this goes.  Before last year I would let the slowness of the changes get me down, and eventually I’d stop pursuing my goals.  However, last year was a turning point for me.  One of the things that I kept reminding myself about was the fact that although I am older than I’ve ever been before, I’m also the youngest I’ll ever be.  My workout was also fueled by the realization that I did not want to become one of those older people who in actuality was old before they really were old.  My example of this was a chance encounter with a woman who looked to be in her late 60’s who also suffered from fibromyalgia –used a walker, and genuinely believed that there was nothing she could do to improve her life.  She also told me that once I hit 50 – she was 51, my problems with my disease would get so bad that I’d be just like her.  She was shocked when I told her that I was in fact 53, and felt quite well.  I did give her my e-mail so that we could talk some more about what it was I did for my fibromyalgia.  She however has never e-mailed me, much to my dismay.

So, what reminders can you find to help you stay on your path toward your goals?  The above are two of mine.  The other one is shear stubbornness, which once I decided to use this little character flaw for my own benefit, has been a big helper in keeping me on my path.  Leave your reminders in the comments below.  Maybe you can help someone else out with obtaining their goals.

Why Are We Losing I.Q. Points?

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There are a lot of scientific studies out that show that we are losing I.Q. points every year.  This is disturbing news, but there are many indications that maybe we’re losing these points due to the type of I.Q. test that is administered.  Now, my thoughts about this have to do with shortened attention spans, and a lessened importance on education that has become all-pervasive in the U.S.  And, I think that this actually holds water.  There are places in the U.S. where teachers earn so little that they are on food stamps and housing assistance.  At the same time, they are required to have an extensive education – as they should be.  As we know, there have been teacher’s strikes all over the place regarding both salaries and the very state of the schools that they teach in.  Why do schools have exposed wiring and leaky roofs?  And, why do teachers have to supply their classrooms with paper, pencils, crayons, and the like?  Where does the money go?

Starting in the 1980’s there has been a vilification of educated people.  They have notoriously been portrayed as “elites”, and supposedly “out of touch”, interestingly this has usually been done by people who are either millionaires or billionaires (which right there is irony).  Now, I’ve personally seen the work that teachers do.  My mother was a teacher, and the hours are not confined to the hours that a school is open.  There is preparation work that takes place during the summers, and then there are the hours and hours of grading papers which is done outside of “paid” hours.  As someone who home-schooled my two children from grades 3 to 7, I have to say that I’ve got quite an appreciation for the work that teachers do.  And, I only taught 2 children, imagine having to teach 30+ every day!

My other thought is that people have a shortened attention span.  A lot of our activities require fast-paced thoughts and actions.  This can have a detrimental effect on how the growing brain works.  I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy while I was pregnant with my first child.  This book had a huge influence on how I raised my children.  I was raised with none to little television.  Yes, this is true.  I’ve never seen many of the “iconic” shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Do I feel deprived?  No, absolutely not!  I have seen some of these shows later on, and didn’t really feel like I missed anything.  So, believe it or not, my children were also raised without television.  What did we do after dinner?  I read books to them.  Some of these books include, but are not limited to: the Narnia series; Little House in the Big Woods series; and of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  There were a lot of other books I read besides.  They also played a lot, and this is extremely important to growing brains, also.

Critical thinking is so important.  You can regurgitate facts until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean that you understand any of them.  Critical thinking is one of the most important things that people can be taught.  I had my children pick a topic and write me a report on it.  They also had to check where the information they were using came from, who funded the research and whether or not it was a peer-reviewed scientific study.

Do you think that people are losing their intelligence, or that maybe the way we raise, teach and test should be looked into?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Talking About Hate

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This has been a disturbing time for many people.  Everywhere we look there is hate.  Hatred takes various forms, but it of course flourishes once you’ve turned someone into “the other”.  We show our hatred in many ways that are often considered “just culture”.  When we bite into a steak the thought of the life of the cow never even enters our minds.  When someone decides to kill an endangered animal, they truly do not consider the life of the animal.  After all, we have been told from a young age that we, as humans, are on the top of the food chain.  Actually, there is no scientific evidence to support that, but hey, culture.  This is one form of hate that is everywhere and “cultural”.  However, I want to specifically address hatred of the “other”.

This hatred bleeds into everything, from how people compare themselves to others, to every policy that a government supports.  We can see this in the actions of the Third Reich to the U.S. policies ejecting the Chinese after they built the railroads.  More recent behavior that is hateful is the denying asylum to children and adults seeking it.  Yet, the most egregious policy is the separation of children and parents at the border, the subsequent “losing” of some of these children, and the inevitable deaths of some children.

Most people don’t ever examine their actions, much less try to decide whether or not those actions are hateful or not.  I suggest that as a people, as a country, we take some time and examine this.  After all, it’s not just what you say that matters…. it’s what you do that shows who and what you are.  If you are at all interested in this topic, I suggest that you read the novel by Joseph Fink, Alice Isn’t Dead.  It will make you think, and hopefully discover for yourself whether or not you show love, or hate toward others.

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Are You Rocking Your Goals?

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Here it is, the first day of the second month of 2019, so…are you rocking your goals?  Have you accomplished some of your 2019 goals, or are you still working on them, or – have you tossed them to the wayside?  I must admit that I’ve occasionally gotten a little too ambitious with my yearly goals and been so completely overwhelmed that I’ve given up at the first sign of difficulty.

So, what to do when that happens?  One thing that I’ve found helpful is to take a large goal and break it down into “doable” parts.  Just small things that can be accomplished much more easily.  For example, if you want to improve your cooking skills but get overwhelmed by all those professionals out there that are oh so intimidating, just make one new easy recipe a week.  Much simpler than recreating the entire Mastering the Art of French Cooking, wouldn’t you say?

If you feel like you’ve already “failed” at a goal, re-examine first, why you feel that way; and second, reasons why that could have happened.  Did you simply not give yourself enough time?  Or did you sabotage yourself?  In the past (present, and probably future), I’ve sabotaged myself –  it’s a common thing, and there are unending ways of doing so.  For example, you decide a goal is to get up early and work out, but you end up going to bed too late.  Bingo! – Sabotage!  Examine what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  It can be surprising how easily we get ourselves to give up.  And, why do we do that?  Because our brain wants to keep doing what it’s been doing.  It’s easier that way…change is hard.

I want you to be aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  If you’ve slipped up, remember, tomorrow is another day.  Keep at it, and remember that you’re not alone.

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The Best Exercise for Your Age?

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I recently saw this article (linked below) regarding how we should change our exercise as we age.  This idea does make sense, although I did want to point out that if we begin targeted types of exercise earlier in our lives, we should be able to continue much of what we did in our twenties as we age.  For example, if you decide to take up tennis in your 20’s, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to continue with tennis into your 70’s.  Of course, you’ll be a much slower player as you age, but that is no reason to simply stop.

Stopping all forms of exercise is the problem.  I’ve found, from actually talking to older women, that they often stopped wearing back-closing bras in their 40’s simply because they felt that they weren’t flexible enough to close them.  Naturally, now they can’t put their arms behind their backs at all.  If you stop doing something, there is a good chance that in the future you may not be able to do it.  From what I’ve observed, flexibility is one of the areas that really simply has to be worked on consistently.  Pilates and Yoga are wonderful for this.  As an aside, I want to work on getting back to a longer Yoga program this year.  My flexibility has improved so much just from the tiniest amount of Yoga that I do now and from the kicking that I do with my Cardio workouts that I know there can be a lot of improvement if I only put a little time into it.  (While I will never be a Rockette, I am very proud of how high I now can kick.  Yay me!)

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In 2018 I started working out the hardest that I’ve ever done, and of course, I’m the oldest I’ve ever been…crazy how that works, right?  Both my flexibility and endurance have improved.  My balance is better then it’s ever been, so it really does work.  The point of this blog is that once you start an exercise routine, do yourself a favor and don’t stop!  Find what you like to do, and just do it.  If walking is your thing, go ahead and take in the scenery.  Get up and get moving!

https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/the-best-exercises-for-your-age-according-to-science/

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