Saturday, January 23, 2010
Concept for this blog entry stolen shamelessly from NewDebDawning. Saw this on her blog, and thought I'd play along. Feel free to play too if you want to...
A is for Age: 57. I call myself a "little old lady in training", which can have such lovely double meanings!
B is for Booze: Not at all. I was raised in a tee-totaling faith, and once I left it, I had already spent a half century booze free... why start now? I tried a mouthful of wine, and decided, naw... not my addiction.
C is for Career: lol... telephone operator & professional student, computer programmer, analyst, application developer and team lead... to name the general high points. Workaholic, in recovery, one day at a time.
D is for Dadís name: Kenneth, deceased 1999, R.I.P., at only age 71. That sounds so young to me. I admired and adored him.
E is for Essential items to bring to a party: Not much of a party-er... so for ME to bring... a good attitude.
F is for Favorite song or music: wide variety, from classical to the rock of my youth, to even country western at times. Like the off beat on occasion, like ragtime piano or marching bands.
G is for Goof off thing to do: Silly games on the web... seriously, gaming can be an addiction. I had to take myself off the Nintendo when my kid was in grade school.
H is for Hometown: I'm going to say Lincoln, NE, as it is where I mostly lived during my growing and developing years, and where I moved back to after careering away for about 15 years.
I is for Instrument you play: Recorder, violin. I specify "play at", because I don't practice, but I do love getting them out around the holidays and making music with the more serious musicians in the family.
J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Strawberry, cherry, grape, raspberry, apricot...
K is for Kids: One son, thus the moniker, which I've been wearing around the web for over a decade.
L is for Living arrangement: House in the suburbs, with my 14 year old German shorthaired pointer. She's my son's dog, but she's my baby, and I'm hoping she stays healthy to greet him when he comes home from overseas.
M is for Momís name: Jo, deceased 1996, RIP, at a young age of 66. We had our mom-daughter issues, who doesn't, but all resolved and at peace when she departed. I still miss the ability to call her up and listen to her take on the world.
N is for Name of best friend: This one's tough. I could come up with several names, but the one that stands above the others in my heart of hearts would be Marilyn.
O is for Overnight Stay in a Hospital: Birth of my son. That's the only time.
P is for Phobias: Railroad crossings. Traumatized by a movie they showed us in Kindergarten. It was supposed to get us to not play around the rail yards in the little town we then lived in. It took me to very dark places and my mom couldn't get me to board the train to go visit grandma the next time we went, short of picking me up, kicking and screaming. I was sure we would be killed or have our legs cut off or something.
Q is for Quote you like: Let us not look back in anger, or forward with fear, but around in awareness - James Thurber
R is for Relationship that lasted longest: I suppose with my son, and he is now older than the length of my marriage. Marriage lasted 21 years 11 months.
S is for Siblings: 3 sisters, one older, two younger, and our brother in the middle spot.
T is for Texas, ever been?: Drove to Dallas and stayed for a couple of days once.
U is for Unique trait: Sheesh... I don't think I'm terribly unique. Except when you combine a lot of normal-ish things together, you end up with a unique combination.
V if for vegetable you love: Big veggie fan here... today I'll say cauliflower, because I found it particularly yummy this week.
W is for Worst traits: Obsessive, perfectionist, anxious, think everything is my fault and I don't deserve the good I've got (but not every day or all the time)... that general vein.
X- is for X-rays youíve had: Just the standard screening ones: mammo & bone density.
Y is for Yummy food you make: There's this really decadent baked cheese puff with an olive inside, and my lasagna is pretty decent.
Z is for Zodiac sign: Scorpio. Surprised?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I wrote about values and beliefs, then about purpose and vision... now I'm reviewing my New Year's goals that I wrote in this earlier post: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
The long term goals: Goal number 1 was weight maintenance throughout 2010. Goal number 2 was to increase my level of functional fitness, so that I could choose both useful and fun activities without being impeded.
Both of these long term goals support the purpose and vision to free my son and his wife from worrying about me and my health... so that they may make their own guilt-free choices about where to live and what to do to make their way in the world.
Some of the other aspirations of things to do fall more in the category of some of those choices I want to be free to make: specific activities and rewards for myself.
I haven't put down any goals beyond that first vision, of myself as fit. I haven't specified a plan to get to the secure retirement fund, nor specified how I will model extending a helping hand to others. I may not put down a specific plan here... that's a little private, but...
In some ways my working on nutrition has indeed supported both of those purposes. It has led me to buy less from vending machines and eat out less... which supports saving, and thus the "secure retirement"... and also gives me the ability to give to relief efforts in Haiti, for example.
Others have blogged better about the situation down there in Haiti, but in my mind I did a comparison as some of the casualty figures came out... that would be like losing half the population of the city I live in! If you can do something to help, please do.
And tomorrow... back to the more "normal" kinds of blog entries... I think I'm done with my book specific reveries on Chapter 2!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Values and beliefs are the first building block, according to the book. I blogged a little about mine yesterday. I have to admit that I'm guilty in my life of skipping the next building block: purpose and vision!
Seriously, when I was a kid, I had one goal in life. If someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I could have answered with one word: "Happy". I pretty much was a happy child. As long as I felt secure and loved, and could pursue something to engage my curious mind, I was indeed happy. I loved to read. I loved to work puzzles and play games.
But kids don't always feel secure and loved. In the course of growing up, I found my coping strategy: please the adults around me, so that I will remain secure, no matter what else changes. My mom's relatively long illness when I was 3 and 4 years old bounced me between caregivers in the family, and this is probably at the root of my people-pleasing. It truly served me well as a child, made me a good student, and has also led to a degree of career success.
But taken too far, this thought that my purpose and mission in life is to make everybody like me, or even to please this one person (spouse, in my case) can become self-destructive. Not everybody is going to like you, no matter what you do. And if you try to keep doing things to please someone who is unable to be happy, you just end up as a manipulative co-dependent. Yep! Fell into that trap.
I won't go into the gory details, but that phase of my life ended when I hit bottom, sometime in the past decade. I ended up leaving the church of my birth and upbringing, which added to the stresses on my marriage of nearly 22 years, and its dissolution. Contrary to what I might have thought before, this actually freed me to be a better parent to my son, and he made amazing strides in the years following this split.
So, now, how DO I envision my future? I spent decades of my adult life trying to be everything I thought I "ought" to be, and being miserable, because I just plain could not do it all.
One thing that I kept trying to do was lose the weight, as though that would magically solve the rest of life. News flash, as most Spark people have already learned: it doesn't. I dropped 80 pounds in 1989 - 1991, kept it off for nearly five years, and still fell back into the comfort of compulsive eating.
But I had seen a glimpse of the fit me. I had learned something about myself: I DO have an athlete inside. I LIKE this me! I have since battled my way back to that fit self at one level or another three times. I want to be this me for the rest of my life.
But I need to feel GOOD about this me. I need to feel that I am fulfilling my purpose in life while being this me.
In keeping with my values and beliefs, here is the vision that I am beginning to form in my mind:
I am a fit, maturing woman. My son and his wife do not have to worry about my health and are free to move where their own life purpose draws them.
I will have a secure retirement fund, whether I choose to stop working or not. I will be able to engage in activities that need doing, AND in things that are just plain fun. I will never stop learning and growing.
I will serve as an example to my adult child and to anyone who crosses my path as someone who extends a helping hand not just to those closest to me, but to others in my community and in the world. That helping hand will NOT make these people dependent on me, but enable them to become independent themselves.
I will NOT expect myself to save the whole world or beat myself up if my offerings are rejected. My worthiness is internal, not based on the approval of others.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I did do some thinking yesterday, as I walked and jogged on the treadmill. And more thinking as I walked the perimeter of the basement at my office (it's icy outside, not going to risk breaking a leg) on breaks today.
What are those deeply held beliefs? A few came to mind.
I believe in individual freedom and responsibility.
I value (crave) security and independence (my own).
I believe in tolerance and forbearance.
I believe everyone has a right to choose his or her own beliefs, but that freedom ends where my nose begins, if you know the old story.
I believe in sharing what I have learned with others who want to know, I'm not into keeping knowledge secret.
I believe that every person I meet has a story to tell, something to teach me.
I believe I have a responsibility to make the world a little better, right where I am (bloom where you're planted).
So... how do beliefs such as these fit into goals for healthy living?
... to be continued ...
Monday, January 18, 2010
My personal new initiatives rarely coincide with the calendar. Or maybe they do, just not in the standard way. I eagerly awaited the arrival of The Spark, along with everyone else who pre-ordered it. But when I got it, I waited until I finished my last book before starting it.
That happened yesterday. The calendar coincidence is with a 3-day weekend, so I suppose that these things happen when I have some time to ponder.
What I am finding in the first chapter is fairly standard of motivational literature: you need goals, and those goals need to be in harmony with your own deepest held values and beliefs. You can find this in the day planner kinds of literature, in self-assessment things, even (gasp) in commercial weight loss programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. It's there, but you have to spot it, determine it's important to your success, and use it.
I have to admit I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to self-help and motivational literature and programs. I love them all, they juice me up; it lasts for a while. It's also why I keep changing programs over my lifetime, I'm still searching for something that will last "the rest of my life." It's guaranteed that eventually this will happen, because I won't stop searching before I die.
Examining my own deeply held beliefs and values can be a sticking point. You see, I'm a bit of a chameleon around others. I know those deeply held beliefs and values are there, but I have a hard time articulating them. I'm almost afraid to put them out in front of others without robing them in a vocabulary I think my audience will "like". Yes, I'm a people-pleaser.
I wonder how many of us who struggle with self-care are indeed people-pleasers? We say what we think the audience will best accept. Our hallmark is tolerance and acceptance. We get nervous or anxious when people don't take things "right". And we get really anxious when we address multiple audiences that sometimes conflict with one another in their vocabularies!
What do we really want to accomplish with our words and actions? I think we deeply crave that tolerance and acceptance in return, and are deeply fearful it will not be forthcoming. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a sham, using other people's terms for things that for me don't even have words!
So, today is a day of reflection... finding within me those values that I most prize. Hunting for a new future vision that I'm afraid to put down in a collage. My son is an adult, married, on his own. My ex lives half way across the country. I'm only ten years away from retirement. I had a sea-change in religious beliefs in the last decade.
Do I even have an identity, beyond serving the needs of others, and if so, what is that identity? Who am I?
Too big a task for a single day, but too important not to start.
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