What I Want to be Like when I’m “Old”

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Have you looked into the future and decided what you want your life to be like when you’re 85 or even 90 years old?  I know, not everyone lives to be so old, but have you considered it?  I was in a doctor’s office with a client of mine when a woman walked in the door.  She walked with great difficulty, holding onto her cane for dear life.  Once my client went in to see the doctor this woman began telling me all about her aliments.  It turned out that she too suffered from Fibromyalgia (just like I do), and was on all kinds of medication.  When I told her I had the same ailment, she promised me that when I hit 50 (her age), I’d be unable to walk without medication.  I simply smiled, told her that I was 52 and didn’t take any medications. In fact, I did all the things that her doctor had warned her off.  I exercised, did yoga, lived a vegan lifestyle, and took various herbs for help in coping with the insomnia, pain and “brain fog”.  She got quite huffy and told me that I must have been misdiagnosed, since she’d been told that all people with Fibromyalgia needed medication.  I told her that I’d gone to a specialist to be diagnosed who had told me to inform myself and look into alternative ways to deal with the disease.  He never even offered to medicate me, which suited me just fine.  I’ve had this disease for almost 20 years, and try to keep up with all the new information that comes out, as well as all the new ways of coping.  I have good days and “bad” days, but never once have I been unable to walk.  I often think about this women and wonder how she’s doing.

My point is, that even though we’re not given a choice concerning certain things in our lives, we are usually given a choice on how we deal with it.  So, how do you intend to live out your life? Do you want to be infirm, or do you intend to go into old age as healthy as you can?  Here are a few people to emulate.  Enjoy, and choose well!

 

 

Dreaming of Gardens

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We have two wood stoves at my house, and this is how we heat in winter.  While that’s all well and good, we also have to take some trees down every year, as well as get some logs delivered in order to have enough wood to last a winter.  Luckily, we’re nearing the end of taking our own trees down, and have only a few more to go.  Since we’ve already rented a wood chipper this spring, I know that we’re finished with the trees this year.  Unfortunately, we needed to take down some smaller trees in the backyard due to their being a hazard.  Because of this, we now have some room back there that will be rather bare once we get the trees cut up and the wood stacked.

So, I’ve been dreaming of gardens.  You know, those fantastic English gardens that look so wonderfully peaceful?  Those gardens.  However, as much as I dream of having gardens like that, I know that I just don’t have the ability to create them.  In my head, I’m the most artistic person ever.  In reality, not so much.  I do have a spatial-relation problem (I can’t picture how something is going to look), but I also don’t know much about gardens.  Years ago, I had a large vegetable garden, and I did manage that pretty well.  However, I’ve never planted flowers and have no idea how to go about it.  So, for the moment I’m just dreaming of gardens.

If you have any books for inept beginners that I could read in the subject, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.  Meanwhile, here are some photos of wonderful gardens to enjoy!

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Spring

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Even though we had what you could only call a late winter – very little snow until the end of February, then feet of snow in March, I have the feeling that Spring may actually be here at last.  Of course, we broke the temperature records for heat this week, but thankfully that was just one day.   As I’m writing this, it’s a pretty chilly 60° out with quite a breeze.  However, I’m hoping that we’re all done with the snow – I hope.  Connecticut’s been known to suffer blizzards in April.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken in the last few days showing that Spring just may be here.  Enjoy!

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Your Attitude Affects Your Life

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In a way, that statement, your attitude affects your life, can be a little intimating. No one wants a bad life.  We all want to be happy, joyful and successful (however it is that we each measure success). When we want to change our behavior, we need to first change our attitude.  I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard all about an “attitude of gratitude”, and “thinking good thoughts”.  Yes, those are clichés, however, as with many clichés there is some truth to them.  If someone were to get up in the morning and think to themselves, I’m going to have a horrible, terrible no good day today.  We would think that they were crazy.  Who in the world would do that to themselves?  See, you do believe in attitude affecting behavior and change.

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So, today why not try something new.  Get up and think I’m going to have a great day.  Nothing is going to put me in a bad mood.  Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it and move on.  I’m going to try this, since I need an attitude adjustment – just like many other people.  Let’s give it a go and see if it works!

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Using Lists

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I know that some people say that making lists just isn’t too effective.  However, I have to say that if it weren’t for my lists I’d feel like I was getting basically nothing done.  I started making lists after I gave birth to my son and became a stay-at-home mother.  I was encased within the fog of no sleep and endless new-baby tasks.  My husband would come home and ask what I’d done all day and I struggled to remember doing anything beyond baby-related tasks.  So, I started making lists of tasks to be accomplished each and every day.

To this day, my list consists of such things as washing dishes, running the dishwasher, laundry, vacuuming, picking up, etc.  All those little things that you do during the day, but don’t really consider them “work”.  But, my lists also have the bigger things on them like: writing a blog post, chapters for a book, and illustrating the book, along with the dreaded paying of bills, grocery shopping and meal making.

There have been times that I’ve neglected to make lists, however I’ve found that one thing is completely clear.  In order to function, I need a list.  It’s not so much the remembering to actually do what’s on the list, it’s the crossing out of the things that I’ve accomplished.  I get great satisfaction in crossing out the tasks that I’ve finished.  Now when my husband comes home and asks what I’ve done, I can reference the crossed-out list.  Of course, my list often consists of all the things that I’ve done for him so that he doesn’t have to do them – making doctor appointments, calling insurance agents, etc.  All those things where you can be put on hold for thirty minutes or so at a time, which is why I call and he doesn’t.

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Probably one of the reasons I like to make lists is that they keep me accountable to my goals.  Let me know if you’re a list-maker, and if it helps you accomplish what you want to achieve.

Individualism

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In school, we learned all about “individualism” which according to Webster, is a doctrine where the interests of the individual are paramount, and the individual is totally self-reliant.  I was taught this theory by way of understanding that those who went west (“Go West, Young Man!) were the living symbol of this theory, since they were supposedly self-reliant, made it on their own, and were self-made men.  Except this never made any sense to me, because as a child I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was aware that no one who went west “made it” on their own.  Houses were collectively raised, crops were collectively brought in and help was there even if it was ten miles away.  Yes, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were a fiction, however, the fiction was based on facts.  And, the facts proved this theory as a fiction.  Read Laura’s autobiography Pioneer Girl which tells a much different story regarding the help that these pioneers gave each other.

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So why is this myth so popular and enduring?  My cynical thoughts on this are that it’s convenient to use as a way to insist that Americans historically “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” by themselves.  However, even our first colonies were created by group effort – otherwise they all would have starved.  Individualism is a lie of massive proportions as shown by our elected officials insistence that: education, health care and a living wage are not rights of citizens.  They often insist that our ancestors were all self-made men, and in order for anyone to succeed, all we have to do, regardless of background, education or opportunities, is to work hard. That way, when people don’t make it, we can blame them.

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Therefore, even though plenty of people work two jobs, it’s still their fault when they need government assistance.  That way, we don’t have to have a conversation regarding the fact that low minimum wages are that no one can live on them, poor education, and lack of opportunities.  This blame-game is used for a variety of problems.  Welfare, food stamp and fuel assistance recipients can all be blamed, and that way we can avoid any conversations regarding why working people need so much help.  Meanwhile, CEO pay has increased a staggering 340 times that of the average worker and the poor often pay federal taxes at a higher percent than the rich.  Do you believe in individualism?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/17/ceo-pay-ratio-average-worker-afl-cio

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/poor-pay-more-taxes-5660

 

Food and Exercise

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I’ve been on the Engine 2 Rescue Diet now for almost three weeks.  This diet is a no oil, no preservatives plant -based one.  How is it going?  Well, at times all I really want to do is to eat all the chips in the bag!  However, I haven’t done that, and it’s going pretty good.  I haven’t fallen “off the wagon” at all, and when I do get chip cravings, I tend to eat either some grapes – which are totally delicious, by the way, or an orange.

Learning how to make stir-fry without oil was a little hard to get used to, but I’ve got that down, now.  Tonight, is Chinese night, so I’m really looking forward to the steamed veggies with white rice.  A meal that I don’t have to cook is always a source of excitement.

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I’ve been having Quaker Quick Oats for breakfast with some maple syrup, cinnamon, banana and blueberries.  At first I thought yuck! I hate oatmeal, but when I have it like this, it’s really good!  If I get hungry later in the morning (sometimes I’ve already eaten by 6:30, I’ll have an orange.

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Here’s a lunch that I love.  I just cut-up some onion, mushroom, squash and peppers, then I stir-fried them in a little water.  I put them on a Sandwich Thin (again, no oil), added a little no-oil homemade hummus and dug in.  I also ate the leftovers.  Good lunch!  Next week I’ll give you some dinner recipes.  I have to take pictures, since I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

I’ll also eat a salad with extra veggies and chickpeas. If I still feel hungry I’ll throw a small red potato in the microwave and cook it up.  I’ll then eat it with some garlic powder.  No vegan butter for me.  This was actually a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and now like the potato with only some herbs on it.

I’ve added some more exercise to my routine also.  I now work-out in the morning, then go for a walk with my dog around eleven, then come home and work-out some more.  In the afternoon, I’ll do so again.  So, this is what I do:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do my Soloflex machine (yes, I’ve had one for more years than I want to admit), then a Denise Austin DVD with weights in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a Denise Austin Pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates!  Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do a Fitness Blender video in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a bunch of Sun Salutations very slowly.  On the weekend, I usually mix it up with some Denise Austin workouts and different Fitness Blender videos.

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The whole process has been a major time-commitment, what with the meal planning, making things that I usually don’t from scratch and working out.  However, I’ve finally seen a positive change in my body.  Have you changed anything about your diet or exercise routine?  Let me know how that’s going for you.