adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘positive attitude’

attitude of gratitude

I went to visit a friend who had to have emergency surgery this week over what is a pretty much a freak occurrence that could have happened to anyone.  She’s on the road to recovery, but it stopped me in my tracks (once again) about how many things in my life for which I am grateful.

Many of us, including myself, take for granted the bazillion wonderful things that we have or experience in our lives on a daily basis.  One of the biggest shifts in my life growing into maturity was to stop looking at things from what I call the “deficit perspective”.  As a young  (immature…selfish…childish…) adult, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have money to travel to Europe, or take an unpaid internship, or get a new car.  It felt like “everyone” else got to do these things (which wasn’t really true) and I didn’t.  And I had a lot of very special things given to me or shared with me by my family, so I am not really sure where that feeling came from.

What I did come to realize over time is that I had so many wonderful things in my life that were so much more important than backpacking through Europe.  I had a wonderful husband, a great family, steady work, a place to live, and eventually, healthy children.  I live in a beautiful place that others envy, we have jobs that fulfill us, and while we can’t say yes to everything we want, we certainly aren’t destitute.

So when things get hard, as they certainly did this week while changing our lives around, I have to be mindful of how grateful I am for life, and for the life I get to live in particular.  I am so damn lucky, so when setbacks occur, I remember to stay positive.  And I try not to think things like how life could be so much worse, or think about what I don’t have, but just simply try to be grateful for every gift I have been given- family, friends, fulfilling work, a beautiful home, and my own body.  I remember to be thankful that I am able-bodied, and that got me through a lot of tough workouts this summer, and I know it will come in handy again, probably soon (yikes!).  I have to walk the talk every day, because (as cliché as it sounds) I only have one opportunity to live this life.  And I am very happy to be able to do it.

gratitude quote


I resolve…

oh yeah, of course I am doing a New Year’s resolution post.  Why wouldn’t I?  I LOVE to wipe to the slate clean and start over- if you didn’t know that, check out my “Day 1-itis” post.

But seriously, I have new challenges I have been ruminating over during the fall and winter, and new challenges that have been handed over to me for which I hadn’t planned.  This semester, I will be working full-time for the first time since Sarah was born, about 6 years ago!  I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I am excited to do the work (mostly because it’s temporary…as in temporary until my husband looks at our bottom line without frowning for the first time in 6 (7? 8? 9?) years and makes his own resolution for me to stay working full-time.  Love ya honey! wink. wink.)

So that said, this year I resolve to do the following things:

  • I will track my food on my (new! shiny!) iPhone until I get to my goal weight of 150 pounds. (wow, yup, there it is.  I said it.  That was harder than it looks.)
  • I will run a half-marathon, preferably on trail.  Preferably at the appointed date of March 10.  Preferably in unseasonably sunny and dry conditions.  Preferably in an amazing fashion.
  • I will complete a half-Ironman triathlon this year.  At least one, and again, preferably in amazing fashion.
  • I will use the following mantra and attempt to follow it at every opportunity:


which of course will lead to all kinds of wonderful things like yelling less, working out more, keeping everyone happy and calm.  I can see it now-  the vision is a little blurry, but I can see it, and we all know this one follows that:


I do have some more plans for 2013 (of course!), but I am still having commitment issues and need to consult the gurus like Mr. Prepared (my husband) and the Evil Genius (I didn’t think I should stalk her about my goals during the holidays, but I kind of wanted to) and get settled in to my new position at work.  And I don’t want to feel weighed down by too many goals, since the ones above are pretty big.  I want my resolutions to light my path forward, keep me focused, excited and positive about the future.  And I can tell you from experience…it’s working!

Share your resolutions with me!  I love to hear from you! 

haters gonna hate…

It always makes me laugh when this meme pops up on a friend’s FB profile pic, but this week it became all too clear how my opposite thinking was affecting my life.  Someone said something at work that totally upset and annoyed me.  But you know what?  It did make me finally reflect on “things” (whatever that means).  I realized today that I have been running around worrying about what everyone else says I should do and what everyone else thinks and I haven’t been trusting my own judgement or my own ability one bit.  And the only person that affects negatively is me.

One of the reasons that I often over-ate and over-drank (secretly and not) was because I doubted my own intelligence, strength, and likeability.  Of course, there were periods in my life when that self-doubt and lack of confidence dimmed and faded into the background, but it always remained inside me.  My main way of comforting that self-doubt was to eat or drink until I was too numb to care about it any more. Then I would try to increase my likeability by making myself seem “indispensable” to people, which sometimes meant I did things I didn’t want to do or think were the right course of action.  Instead of doing what was right or what was right for me, I nodded my head yes and kept my mouth shut.

Spending a lot of time in treadmill confessional (yes, it is an actual activity) with Trainer Guy helped me work through a lot of that crap, but of course you can’t undo a lifetime of bad habits in a few months.  So it was likely I would have a backslide, but I guess I just didn’t realize it would affect my whole lifestyle- family life, diet, exercise, work, everything.  I haven’t been able to find the strength within or the confidence in myself to even be myself.

Now that I have realized what has been going on in my own head, I am not going to allow it to happen anymore.  I am going to be myself first, trust my own decisions, use my own gifts, and take care of me and my own first.  Self-doubt will not be tolerated.  Because maybe haters are gonna hate, but I am going to love myself first!

journeys in awesomeness…revised

So I did write a post in there a little while back, which was awesome, but it got erased by stupid wordpress like 3 times and I quit.  Oh well.  I can assure you it was full of stimulating anecdotes and hilarious quips and you will believe me, right?

I have been revisiting my “Journeys in Awesomeness” page lately to kind of review where I have been and where I am going.  I know I have been talking a lot about this weight goal lately, which has been elusive and annoying.  It’s a weird time of year here in our household, the time of year where we all hold our breath and wait for snow (which a good portion of our livelihood depends upon and which it’s doing right now) and we go to a lot of meetings about a lot of things we are supposed to be concerned about, whether or not we are actually concerned about them—like parent/teacher conferences, yes; benefits plan informational sessions, no.

Without any looming goals (save the annoying weight loss goal), I have been more focused on work.  One of my goals was to “never quit on a student”, which is a vague and ambiguous goal, to say the least.  I would never accept that kind of answer from my students in their own goal setting exercises, so I feel hard pressed to accept that kind of answer from myself.  Additionally, I had an incident last week which made me realize that there are times when you have to walk away from a situation, even if it looks like I am “quitting” on a student.  No situation is worth sacrificing the greater good, and trying to make one student learn in my GED class was interrupting the learning process for a lot of other students in the class.  Additionally, I realized that I shouldn’t take verbal harassment from anyone, least of all in my own classroom.  When the student finally walked out of my class last week, Kenny Rogers popped into my head, singing “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…” and I realized that while my goal was good-hearted in nature, it was foolish.

thanks kenny!

So, I am taking that goal off the list for now, but I have actually been working on some of the others- I actually went one whole day without swearing this week!  And I am adding one more, so I stop walking around like a girl who lost her puppy (which I did, and it is still really sad!) and get motivated to get my butt working out.  My workout regimen has been…hmm…lackluster to say the least.  BUT, I think it would be good to throw a half marathon goal into my upcoming schedule.  Because I need to so that I get my muffin top under control and onto a treadmill…or on a bike…or anything.

I would love to know what some of your upcoming goals are–hearing other people’s ideas always motivates me!  Even if your goal is simply to survive Christmas with your relatives, send it my way!

things I could learn from a dog…

Our dog of 8 years, Rocky, passed away this week.  His body had become a cage of pain for him, and anyone who has known Rocky knows that he was never meant for cages.  Rocky spent the first 3 weeks that we had him trying to escape until we spent an entire weekend building him a fortress in which he finally accepted that he was home, and he was safe.  Rocky had a long, full, adventurous life, and I know he is happy up in dog heaven, chasing squirrels and eating birds.

Where’s the bird?

Rocky taught us all many things about life, as most pets do.  Most importantly, he taught us that a dog CAN eat a magpie in one gulp and not to leave our birds on the floor.  Well, those probably weren’t the MOST important things he taught us, but Rocky’s wild side was certainly the most entertaining aspect of our lives for a long time.  Even after the children arrived, we still found delight (and horror) in some of the things he would do for fun and attention.

One thing that has stuck in my brain from this summer is the belief that you can do more than you think you can.  I know that I am trying hard to live my life without limiting beliefs and negative self-talk.  Dogs never think about their limits.  They never have self-limiting beliefs like, “Maybe I won’t be able to take down this baby deer that wandered into my backyard.”  They just act.  And generally, they succeed.

I always loved Rocky’s face when he did something particularly astonishing/horrifying. He would be panting and drooling and have that smile on his face like “That was awesome! Let’s do it again!”  That’s the way I want to feel about life, even if it’s only for a few minutes every day.  We should all try to capture the insane joy for life that dogs know.

Rocky and Sarah, 2007.

For all the zest Rocky put into life, he also knew how to take it easy.  That’s probably why he was my dad’s favorite grand-dog.  Both of them know how to relax, and it makes all the difference in the world.  In life, you can’t go full-tilt all the time, or you will get burned out.  I know one of my flaws is that I often don’t take time to sit and chill out, and it’s probably just as important to my mind and body as all the other stuff I do.

don’t. even. think. about telling me to get off the couch.

I appreciate the gift of Rocky in our lives.  He was a special and unique dog, and I don’t just say that because I have an original portrait of him in our office.  The best way I can honor him is to remember the important things he imparted to us through living his life with amazing passion and appreciation for what he was given.  Love you, Big Cat!

(almost) better than coffee

Something that has fundamentally changed in my worldview while losing weight and getting fit and finding myself has been my absolute rule of Carpe Diem (referred to as “carpe the diem” in my house because it makes my Latin-major husband giggle, which is all too rare) in regards to trying new things.  Kale? Sure, I’ll try it.  Spin class?  Why not?  Going back to school in math?  Absolutely.

I find that each of these experiences has been delightful, with some degree of variance (spin class delight is not exactly the same as kale chips, let’s just say).  New stuff is FUN.  Almost always.  And last week Trainer Guy suggested we do something new and try mountain biking, and I just had to say yes, even though my brain was like, “Are you insane?  You will fall and break your face and never be able to work out again, plus you will look like an idiot and you probably can’t do it anyways…and you always bag on mountain bikers, so now who will your husband make fun of if you become one of THEM?”

Fortunately, I chose to ignore my brain, get over my nerves, and get on to the important decisions: what to wear.  Now, you may laugh at that, but it was a 6 AM mountain bike ride.  In Colorado.  It’s cold, but I imagined I would get pretty hot pretty quickly, as this was advertised as a “different kind of cardio than you’re used to, Susan”.  So what’s a girl to wear?  Well, I should have worn bike shorts, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to do the whole 2 pants thing since it was about 35 degrees out.  That ended up being a poor decision.  However, I figured out that NEXT time, I could wear bike shorts and ski socks and go for that whole hipster look with the compression socks thing.  I probably won’t pull it off, but it’s not like anyone else was out there at 6 AM.

Look at it! It could be the next big thing!

NEXT time, you say?  Could you dare to hope that my first mountain bike ride didn’t turn catastrophic?  That’s right!  Now, I am not about to pat my own back because I sat in the lowest gear for pretty much the whole ride up and went about 4 mph on the way down and the whole event was about 20 minutes long.  BUT, I survived and I had fun!  I was still smiling while Trainer Guy put the bikes on the car and ordered me to run the first hill out and back.  I got to the top of that hill and I was in awe of the sun rising and my own athletic prowess and the fact that my heart was back in its proper place and not in my throat.  I was practically skipping on the way down to the car at which point I declared that the singular experience of mountain biking at 6 AM could have been better than coffee.  I know, back up the bus, right?  My slavish devotion to steamy, hot, yummy black coffee could not possibly be replaced by freezing my butt off on the side of a hill while my lungs attempt to bust out of my chest.  And you would be right.  It’s only almost better than coffee.

The wonder of trying and enjoying something new can happen at any time and at any age.  I used to think that the joy and amazement on my little girls’ faces when they encountered something new was just for kids.  But I know how I felt last week, and as I watched my friend Christine stand-up paddle (SUP) board this weekend, you could see that feeling in her face too- well, that and she kept yelling, “I LOVE THIS!”  So whatever new things you want to try, just go for it!  What could really happen?  You fall and break your face?  It probably won’t happen, and the feeling of doing something new and fun is pretty addictive… in an awesome kind of way.  Let me know how it goes!

Home sweet home

Well, we are (FINALLY) home at last.  18 days on the road and I can say with clarity that it was one of the dumbest ideas I have ever had.  I mean, I guess I was due for a dumb idea, but really?

Now, I know that there are cool, laid-back people who probably think nothing of putting their kids and their worldly possessions in the car for 18 (or many more) days and hitting the open road.  I, apparently, am not one of those cool, laid-back people.  To all of my friends who raised an eyebrow when I was extolling the virtues of a good, old-fashioned car camping trip, I have to say:  Why didn’t you smack me upside the head?

My routine-loving children at the start of the trip.

I like showers.  I like beds.  I like routines.  I like my food that I like to eat at a certain time and in a certain way.  So do my children.  My oldest child might be returning to normal after a complete plunge into feral behavior.  She wasn’t even speaking words by Saturday evening.  I have to give my biggest thank you to our friends who looked the other way when she was acting like a rabid dog and antagonizing the crap out of their children.  And don’t let me forget about the dog…I’ll get to him later.

My favorite signs included this one, the sign for the home of split pea soup, and the Obama Jerky stand.

But for all our Griswoldian moments, including the one where the squirrel ran into our tent while Sarah was inside (SQUIRREL!), I have to say that this trip was what my mother would call “character building”.  We had to move outside our comfort zone.  A LOT.  And that’s good for everyone.  Even the children.  And sometimes moving outside your comfort zone rewards you with good things.  My husband made me get on my bike in a new place many times on this trip.  It was good for me to ride on new routes, new surfaces, and with different conditions, including the squirrel that I crushed with my rear tire on my special Mother’s Day ride.  Honestly, I swerved to avoid him, but he changed direction, and I am just not that talented on 2 wheels.  Sorry little buddy.

Fun at our friends’ Free Range Farm Camp for Kids. I told them to market it.

 There were ups and downs and ups again.  And after some yelling or crying about this or that, we (usually) laughed.  And laughed a lot.  Even after an exhausting day out at the Ranch Creek aid station for the Silver State 50/50.  Even after waiting for my husband to come in and watching the clock tick minutes away thinking I might combust with irritation or throw myself in the nearby pond.  Still, we laughed a lot after that day.  Times like these give me perspective and build strength on the inside.

Ranch Creek Aid Station, Silver State 50/50

Getting back to the dog…Sunday morning I get a phone call before we left Nevada from my sister telling me that my a-hole dog Rocky, whom she had been diligently taking care of for 3 weeks, had eaten my nephew’s parakeets.  And by eaten, I mean stalked until no one noticed what he was up to and tore open the cage.  I cried.  It’s OK if you laughed- most people whom I told did.

Anyways, it’s good to be home. I think I have had enough character building for a while.  I think I am going to work on being a cool, laid-back person.  Ha!

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