mental health, perspective

Whispers

There were whispers amongst the group. Who will go? Who will stay? Where is so and so going? When will this shift happen? Why?

The Who. The What. The Where. The Why. The story of the W’s. The story isn’t really just about those W’s. It’s about the whispers. The W word most don’t fess up to. And while we mention whispers, it’s really not nice to whisper (period).

Why do people whisper? Why does another’s choice matter? In a recent conversation with my teen, the sexual choice of a young adult came up. Two sisters, twins by birth. One openly gay. One not. The openly gay announcement was recent. The backlash from parents and community was negative and far reaching. Why? The whispers. 

Does that young adult’s choice impact me directly? No. Why do I hear the whispers? It’s society. Preconceived values and expectations. Religious beliefs also play a role. So overwhelming for a young adult to process let alone live through it. Why would one stay and suffer? 

Then there is the sports field. The girl whose parents think she is a star but grossly overlooked. The parents complain. Again and again. The coach gives in. Play time is awarded to offer peace. The team suffers. Did this really just happen? Another child earned their spot. Their parent doesn’t complain. There are whispers. One leaves. One stays. Why? The whispers again. 

The shift in social setting. The friend that moves out of the circle. Just for space or personal growth. Is it a bad thing to focus on one’s growth? Of course not but the circle may take it personal and then whispers begin. Awkward to some. Stressful to others. Whispers are not nice I tell you.

Is it not obvious?  The whisperers can’t see that decisions are made because of actions made by others in most cases. Solo trips in any of the situations above may seem scary but yet they are the best option. If one stays in any situations noted above, the individual(s) will suffer. Taking a stand silently or through some form action shows strength. Inner peace. Confidence. The strength of flying solo and not caring what others whisper about.

For those who whisper, think about it. How would like to be on the other side of the whispers? 
Are you the whispering type of person or the one who steps out and flies solo when the need arises?

challenges

Fries With That?

Pulled up to the speaker. Ordered a burger. Sat for a minute. Then it appeared sort of by magic, sometimes even on roller skates. It used to be simple.

Then came the combo meal. Would you like fries and a drink with that? You’ll save 10 cents. Then it was super size. Sweet potato fries. All kinds of extras. A brilliant invention for marketing and calories. Who can resist? Save a dime, get a whole big bag of food and a soda. Combos are brilliant! Seems like a great deal, right?

But…

What if the combo isn’t what I want? If I don’t really like fries? What if they’re not good for me? What if it keeps me from reaching my goals?

When is a combo deal not so great?

Maybe it’s the big packages of yogurts or energy drinks at Costco or Sam’s club. A 12-pack of Chobani costs less than a buck a piece, but I know good and well no one is going to eat the blueberry. The lemon-lime gatorade will collect dust in the bottom of my pantry long after the red and blue are gone.

I have grown more comfortable with passing up things I don’t need just because they come as a part of a combo. I will pay more for just the nuggets because the waffle fries aren’t worth it. I’ll pass on the coke unless it’s a special occasion. Yes, I know I can save money. Yes, I am sure. By the same token, I will also pay more to get the super premium salad as a side if it is best for me. Maybe it’s a luxury I can afford, but goals are goals. I try to stick to what works for me.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. For example, what happens when people are the package deal? If you’re having a party and want to invite a friend, but you know that friend probably won’t come without their obnoxious or otherwise unsavory partner. Do you ask them to leave the person at home? If so, how? Do you risk missing out on the parts you like by refusing the pieces you don’t?

Family ties may make this even more complicated. If you want to visit family, spend time with them, or connect with them, but they come as a package deal with someone else you don’t like, what do you do? Can you just order the nuggets and be done with it, or are you stuck with the fries and just try to ignore them? Do you just skip that restaurant and not eat there anymore? Does knowing that choices involve a side of junk make you avoid the things you love, too?

A few thoughts about food, friends and family to start this day. Are there things in life that come as a combo that you’d rather have some of than all of?

challenges, fitness and nutrition, health

A Million Little Pieces

I wrote recently about being part of a challenge where I’m cleaning out the clutter in my diet. In addition, there are many other little daily requirements in this challenge that aim to improve healthy habits. Every one had points associated with it. Here are some of the little things that I had to attend to throughout this month.

-Complete at least 4 workouts a week. This included a tester workout at the beginning and end of the challenge. I workout pretty much daily so this was not a big deal to achieve. I improved my score by quite a bit from beginning to end.

-Drink 80 ounces of water per day. Only 12 ounces can be unsweetened seltzer water.

This required more effort than the workouts. Filling up insulated cups daily, cutting fruits into the water to infuse them, it all helped. It’s paying attention and planning, just like the food part. I also set up a water reminder app but I don’t think that part encouraged me much. Just a buzz saying “it’s time to drink water” was too easy to ignore. I need to look into something with different sayings.

-Stretch / do yoga for 20 minutes per week

I embrace working out but stretching is something I do wayyyy too little of. And as a “woman of a certain age” I know stretching would help me in multiple ways. I usually broke this into 2 sessions after morning home workouts.

-Follow a sleep routine every night

There were many of these to choose from – drink herbal tea, meditate, turn off your screens an hour before bed, etc. You just had to pick one and do it daily. I chose reading before bed. I generally read something pretty mindless like a magazine. This was a switch from my usual scrolling of social media. I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep doesn’t always happen.

-Limit or eliminate alcohol

As I discussed recently, this was already a part of my life. I will admit there were a few temptations with the stressful end of school chaos as well as more celebrations than usual with a lot of friends drinking. I still just refrained.

-Monitor and log progress

Logging points every week was a task to manage. With a bunch of little checkoffs, I wasn’t always diligent daily. But, I kept up. And I still weigh myself every day. The thing I still stumble over is photos. Why do I hate before and after shots so much? I always wish I took the time to do it but still don’t.

-Work on mindfulness

We had little exercises to think about our goals and our why. I knew cleaning up my act was a big motivator.

-Participate in other goofy activities along the way that keep the mood light and community connected

In the few challenges I’ve done before these are often things I ignore. But I did a couple this time just to stay in the game. One was to bite down on a wedge of lime while doing a farmer’s carry for two minutes to practice breathing through my nose. I’m not quite sure what this taught me but I know for sure that proper breathing is something I need to give more attention to.

Health isn’t just eating or just working out. It’s a whole collection of habits, practices, and choices. There were a million little pieces to this challenge. Many of them are things I know I should be doing but I just don’t. The water and stretching were probably what I needed to work on most aside from the nutrition piece.

So, how did it all turn out? Results to follow soon.

dare to be different

What Goes Around

Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

What goes around comes around.

You get what you give.

There are many ways to phrase this fundamental principle of the world. From the Bible to modern day, it’s pretty much the same. Basically, you will generally get back what you put into your life (or other lives). This goes for all kinds of resources: attention, investment, energy, whatever.

Imagine this: you check your bank account only to find that your employer has paid you double what they owe you. What do you do? Just consider it a lucky gift in your favor and splurge on something fun? Keep it (and keep it quiet) but just save it for a rainy day? Call your boss and let them know what happened? No one will see, will they?

Imagine if you lost your wallet in a store. You get to the checkout only to realize you laid it down somewhere. What do you hope happens? It’s gone forever, or some kind person turned it in to customer service and you get it back and move on with your day? If someone sees a lost dog, should they just keep it or make a sincere effort to find the owners?

Does the reward you seek come back immediately? Not always. Not even usually. Cue the cries of unfairness. Poor, poor pitiful me. Yes, it does seem like nice people finish last sometimes. We can all point to examples of people who are dishonest, distasteful, or just plain disgusting getting the rewards that pass good folks by. We also see good people suffering for what seems like no reason. It can be a huge challenge to let those things go. But in the end, I also believe in…

Karma.

The universe will take care of things. And…

doing good is its own reward.

I try to let these be my guide when I feel that poor, poor pitiful me creeping in. When petty troubles pull me down and life seems to be the thief of joy. I tell myself to trust that things will work out. If I continue to put positivity and uplifting effort into the world, it will return to me. It may take time. It may be repaid in ways that surprise me, but it will return.

“Choose daily” has been a theme since the early days of this blog. What would I choose if you ran across the lost wallet or dog? What energy is my choice putting out into the world today?

I’m sure it sounds cheesy or trite or even naive. In the end, I just try to choose positivity, joy, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and trusting that they are doing their best with what they know at the time. This walks me back from anger and frustration. I focus on what I can control.

Regardless of what I may be faced with, I always have the choice to be kind, generous, and understanding. I’m not perfect at this, but I am getting better. There are still many days when it is easier said than done. My energies and daily choices create the world and return to me over and over.

perspective

A Shot in the Arm

To vaccine or not to vaccine? That was the question.

This won’t be a political post. I’m not here to convince you either way. I won’t judge you whether you get it or not. I’m just sharing my experience here as part of our coronavirus time capsule.

I was scheduled for 2:30 pm on a Friday. My spot in line was ensured by my work in a public school. By the time my turn rolled around, many co-workers had already had shot #1 and remarked on how organized and efficient it was.

The scene: an old Sears in an abandoned mall. Actually, it’s the mall featured in the show Stranger Things which kind of made me both giggle and pause. It was also the mall where I happened to be shopping when the first tower fell on 9/11. A setting with a history.

I parked and walked up to the well-signed venue. Workers with vests and clipboards awaited. Mask on, I had my two copies of paperwork and ID. Had I been diagnosed recently? Feverish? Quarantined? All these questions are routine now. No. No. No. Then position my face in the outline on the tablet screen for my infrared temp check. New version of another daily routine.

Line after line after windy, mazy line. Socially distanced. No photos allowed. Moving through the queue. It was a Friday and many had come from their respective schools, so it was a parade of school spirit shirts. Others were older, some returning for their second dose.

I made it to a table with a worker and two piles of papers. One said Pfizer, the other Moderna. Which would I be given? Does it matter? Will one be more effective than the other? Side effects worse or better? Most I know had received Pfizer. I answered all the questions as she handed me all my info and my Moderna paper. Off to another line.

Sitting down, asked “why are you here today?” I guess they have to ensure that I know why I’m here. No one is coercing me. Which arm, right or left? Are you allergic to anything? Finally, the needle comes out. Imagine you are on a beach, the nurse said. The more relaxed you are the easier it will be. Practice poor posture, she said. Sigh and ok. Hardly felt a thing then it was done and up again.

Socially distanced chairs in another waiting area. 15 minutes just to be sure you’re ok. I wait, scanning social media. Workers circulate. My time is up, 3:13 pm. Another worker, are you feeling ok? Everyone careful to look you in the eye. And another set of questions at the table. Are you nauseous? Rashy? Itchy? More no. And off I go.

On the way out, a sign that said to go ahead and tweet, insta, facebook, and snap my vaccine. I paused for a pic then just went to the car. A goose was circling, hissing. He had been there on the way in, too. Honestly, that was the scariest part of the day, that stupid goose. Must be a nest nearby, I think. Life does go on.

I’ll return for dose 2 in 28 days. We’ve already gotten the lecture at work…be prepared to feel yucky for a couple of days. That could make for a crappy weekend. But, life will go on and I’ll hopefully have less reason to worry about some of the long term effects of this illness. I hope getting this vaccine will somehow help protect the many in society who can’t.

Thank you, health care workers. Thank you, scientists. A profound and reflective moment.