Friday, December 30, 2011
A college chum of mine once quipped that as a child she had been warned to not talk to strangers, but she had trouble distinguishing between "a stranger and a friend I hadn't met yet"! Online friendships allow a certain distance in making that determination, in identifying kindred spirits and developing trust before meeting in person.
Most of my Spark friends are just that: kindred spirits that I have identified by reading their blogs, going to their spark pages, being on their teams and finding that they have similar goals, interests and motivations in this great journey to a healthy lifestyle. Many of them have similar challenges and road blocks in the path, or echo feelings and attitudes I have felt. Many are in similar life phases. It makes for the potential of magic.
Yesterday's meeting with Mary was one of those magical things. Another Spark friend described her first meeting with a fellow Sparker as being like an instant connection and level of comfort, as though they had been neighbors for years. That's kind of what it was like for me: we know a lot about each other already, as neighbors do, but not everything... there are a lot of little gaps and holes that getting together and interacting in a live conversation can fill.
And sorry but icons can't hold a candle to the real thing!
So, as I said after meeting other Spark friends last year: if you get the chance to meet a Spark friend in person - go for it!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
A friend of mine quoted to me once that people entered our lives for "a reason, a season, or a lifetime". It rang true at the time, as I thought back over the people whose words or actions have touched my life... seemingly at random... for a reason. And of those whose paths crossed into my life while we worked together or lived in the same town, or shared an interest... but then we went on with our lives and lost touch... for a season.
And then there are those that we meet that remain friends for a lifetime. Some may be those that we drop back in to the same themes when we meet, even if it has been years since we last saw one another. Some are in our lives by accident of birth, but somehow despite that are close (I feel this way about my siblings). Some started out as "for a reason" or "for a season" and then became lifelong friends... I have a collection of people with whom I worked when I was younger. Our lives took different directions, but this time of year, we write and play catch up.
And then there is my Spark friend collection. The semi-anonymity of an environment on-line makes it possible to share inner thoughts in ways we sometimes fail to do with those close to us "in meat space" (as my son calls it). The possibility of actually meeting face to face or doing something together is a transition or a milestone. Today holds the potential of such a meeting. COOKME123 (Mary) and her husband intend to be on the road and might just hit my city at a time that makes meeting possible.
I am trying to protect myself from having too high expectations, as I know that vagaries of travel can play havoc with timing and such... so this is a day of HOPE. It may not happen, but I am hoping that it will! I've cleared my afternoon calendar of work meetings just for this reason.
We have been Spark Friends for a while now, swapping encouragement, blogging back and forth... reinforcing our determination to live healthier. If this comes off, we've promised to take pictures and share.
But I wanted to say that even if I never meet some of my Spark Friends in person, these are folks that are definitely in my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We're in this journey together, even while we are miles, states, or nations apart.
Here's to YOUR Spark journey, and to mine, and to where those lines intersect: for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime! Spark on!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
probably different for everyone. For me? The hardest thing to maintain is motivation.
This is why Spark works for me. This is why I need Spark even though I use other tools (like a commercial diet program, a gym, a personal trainer). Spark gives me a place to obsess in writing about "me, me, me!" and my motivation. It gives me a place to brag on my successes and whine about my failures among others who truly do "get it".
This is why I come blog almost every day.
I'm fond of saying several old tired things, and I need to hear myself say them over and over again.
1. "It's not about the scale. It's about the behavior." Behave in healthy ways and the scale will take care of itself.
2. "I love feeling fit." I love the little surprises of fitness: discovering that it's easier to do things than it once was. Things that come into one's life at random or regular intervals and require one to do something out of the norm, for example wresting the Christmas tree into the house, or running up the stairs at work because of a power outage.
I love being among fit people and feeling that "I belong here". OMG! I never would have thought it 25 years ago, but I find participating in events like 5K's and last year's first half marathon bring on an incredible high! Finding that the others accept you because you're out there putting forth the effort? Priceless.
Speaking of being among fit people, a funny thing happened at the gym. While jostling for position, a very muscular young man stepped around me swinging a kettle bell and apologized, I shrugged it off and said something like "just think of me as your mom"... then back-pedaled... "or maybe that's not a good thing..." Thinking and joking about the possibility that he might NOT avoid giving his mom a hard time. He said, "No, that's a good thing."
Being fanciful, I envisioned many of us "older" moms with fit adult children, becoming fit ourselves, making a tidal wave of fitness across the land!
3. "It's never the same ten pounds." This is one of my favorites. Because it's not. When I slip and start to regain, it is usually a sign that something else in my life is out of kilter and needs examination. And it's NOT the same thing over and over, it is something new, or something I didn't quite address before. Maybe I'm ready to address it now.
4. "Activity is a tool. Nutrition plans are tools." Tools are used to craft things: these tools are used to craft health and fitness, and build a good life.
And life IS good! Spark on!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
After three days off ... glorious days, mind you... where I delayed the blogs until I could brag on my workouts... it's time once again to go to the early morning "get through today" pep talks. My lunch is packed. My oats are simmering. My coffee is at my elbow.
Acknowledgement of anniversaries: 56 years ago today my mom ducked out on the household to give birth. The result you folks may know here on Spark as MobyCarp. I was 3 years old and fascinated by the wrinkly red creature that slept in a basket at first. This kid was amazing, let me tell you. He was reading before kindergarten, back in the days before Headstart. He can do ANYTHING he sets his mind do, and as I said last Summer when I introduced him to SparkPeople, he is a Force to be Reckoned With. Am I a fan of my family? You betcha! Wish him a Happy!
Also, a brief two years ago today, I drank my last carbonated beverage. The first year going without was at times tough. I spent a year leading up to giving it up entirely in cutting down. I gave up the bubbles mainly due to the bone loss to which they contribute. I can't afford to lose more bone. I like being able to stand, run, etc. Of course, to compensate, I've become a much more serious coffee fan!
Plan for this week: It's a short work week, only four days, and a lot of people are taking it off, or parts of it. I am hoping it will be a mostly quiet work week because of that. We got an e-mail on Friday last week that we can wear jeans to work this week - that's a WooHoo! from me, for sure. I'm a jeans kinda gal.
Have the workout togs in the trunk, hoping to follow through with leaving work on time. This is a week for savoring the Holiday just past, assessing the year, and deciding on goals for the next one... helping us out... sunshine should be increasing now, a minute or so every day or two. Don't you love it when the sunshine returns?
Have a great week, all! Spark on!
Monday, December 26, 2011
My blended training plan had "Swim" written on it for today. After all, the gym was closed yesterday, so outdoor exercise was perfect. The gym is open today, and Sundays or Mondays are my normal swim days. But a look outdoors at the bright sunshine, and a quick glance at the indoor/outdoor thermometer rising to the 50 mark outdoors drew me toward the door on foot instead.
A walk today, not a jog. Took my book along for the journey (yes, I'm one of those fools that walk and read at the same time), but also took the time to look up and see the beauty I was walking through. The lake is partially frozen, with wide stretches of open water out in the center.
I walked the bike trails beyond the dog run, coming home a different way from yesterday, walking through groves of pine. The mapping function tells me I covered 4.26 miles in the 80 minutes I was out.
I also took the time to contemplate competition. I responded to my brother's blog this morning with a crack about the nature of competition... "does your competitive nature make you drag your feet from activity that you cannot be the best at?" It kind of extends: how many times in your life's journey have you denigrated a goal, rather than reach for it? The old "sour grapes" attitude?
As I think about 2012 and my determination to continue into year 3 of "maintenance"... that competition contemplation is relevant. It is in some ways related to perfectionism getting in the way of excellence. A competitive spirit that says it is better not to try than to try and fail to win, is very similar.
Thus, one of my prime tools in successful living lies in giving myself permission to be a failure: in changing my mindset to believe that it is better to try and fail than never to try at all.
With that, I have to once again declare that Life is Good! Spark on!
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