|Work work work work... but the view is excellent!|
Recently I celebrated some small milestones.
Two years at my job. Two years of commuting. Two years of having a paycheck. Two years of an amazing view out the window. I am still SO grateful for this job. Grateful it came up as I was graduating. Grateful I got the interview. Grateful I rocked it. Grateful for the boss, now moved on, who opened the door for me. Grateful for health insurance and paid days off. Grateful for flex time. Grateful for learning. Grateful for more responsibility. Grateful for the chance to use my degree and what I have learned. Grateful for the experience. Mostly, grateful for the financial stability that comes with a regular paycheck. Always the same amount, always the same time, I can count on it. After years of scrambling to find the pennies to buy food and gas, I am so grateful to have my OWN money.
This week we have hired 2 new assistants in our dept. Usually we hire grad students who are eager and excited to learn and gain needed experience in the library field. This time we have hired a woman with a BA who has worked in a library but probably won't go further than that, and a recent Masters graduate with a lot of related experience. I will have a hand in training them and guiding them, answering all the questions. We have had 2 assistants here for the past couple of years and it has been really nice to rely on them to be self directed, know what they are doing, and just get it done. It has allowed us to move forward on other big changes. But one assistant moved to Seattle and now the other is graduating next month and moving home to Michigan to look for a job. It's time to give some others a chance. I am glad to be done with reviewing resumes, calling references, interviews, and meetings to discuss the hiring process.
|it's not quite this bad these days|
I also passed one month at my small apartment. It's all a work in progress there. A Tolkein meme on Facebook calms me: "Little by little one travels far." Or, little by little, one unpacks. If there were some urgency I am sure I could rock this place and get it whipped into shape. But there isn't. No one is here but me. My kitchen is set up. My bathroom is set up. I have a place to sit. I have a mostly empty bedroom. My clothes hang in the closet. What is left is things like scrapbooking and other craft supplies, photos and photo albums, tubs of memorabilia and files and paperwork to be sorted. My broom collection -- no idea what I am going to do about that.
I also made it a whole month without buying my lunch out. That is amazing. To go from eating lunch out 98% of the time to never, that is amazing. I am enjoying cooking in my larger new-to-me kitchen. I am enjoying grocery shopping. I really like having food on me rather than wandering the city streets, searching for sustenance.
|lunch! pork roast, fruit, peas, kolacky|
I started going to the gym bc I felt like crap. Physically, yes, but I can and have ignored that. But I felt like crap emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and psychically. THAT I cannot ignore. THAT only gets worse over time. THAT cannot be suppressed with medication. Maybe illegal drugs were another option but it's not a road I wanted to travel. I can't lose weight and exercise bc I care what other people think about what I look like. I can't even go bc I care about what I look like. I just can't. It's not motivating. But feeling like a truck has run over me, on the inside, that motivates me. Motivated by the stick, rather than the carrot, that is me.
So I started going regularly (I mean like, once a week, sometimes twice) bc when I went, I felt better. Maybe only better while I was there... ? um, not really -- let's be real here. Trying to exercise when you are woefully fat and out of shape does NOT feel good. That's why people who are fat and out of shape don't freaking want to do it. It feels awful. Terrible. Inside the Crazy Fat Girl is whimpering and blubbering and begging you to go home and stop torturing her and can she please please have a cookie?!? It's extremely difficult to be mean to that sad, pathetic little voice.
My point is that now, after all this time, I am really seeing and feeling the changes. I can see the muscles I have. Since I do the circuit area, I am working all the large muscle groups, including areas I have never cared about working before. For instance, I never really did leg exercises, bc with walking I always felt I worked my legs enough, and my butt isn't huge or jiggly so I never worried about it. Now I am working my whole body. The changes are small - I still wear the same clothes. They fit better and hang better. I love being stronger. I love that when I try on something new, it fits and hangs better. I love that I can suck in my abs easily, and that I can tuck my hips under, to give myself even better posture. When you have some muscle, exercising does get easier.
I guess I am writing this out bc, when you are overweight and flabby, faced with the media and a world full of thin people, it feels overwhelming and pointless to try and move forward. Like, there's no way I can look like that so why torture myself? And we live in a culture of extremism. Change your whole life! Completely cut out gluten! Completely cut out sugar! Buy only organic! Go to the gym every single day! Lose 50 lbs in 2 months!
I CANNOT DEAL WITH THAT BULLSHIT.
I go to the gym once a week most of the time. I can only really go on weekends. If my weekends are full, I have to skip it. With my back problems, I cannot go walking during the week or use a treadmill. When I started going, I did 10 minutes on the seated bike, and then maybe 5 machines in the circuit area. Now I do 15-20 minutes on the bike, about 3 miles, the circuit area, some additional machines, yoga stretches, and my nemesis, the plank position.
|Vietnamese Chicken Salad for dinner|
I am using this clean eating meal planner and I have been making the recipes. I still eat pizza and pancakes and sometimes ice cream. I am not "smaller" but I am "better". I am stronger, I am more fit, I can do more, and I feel better. I look forward to going to the gym (sometimes) and I miss it when it's been too long. I enjoy sweating -- A LOT. I like stretching and getting my flexibility up. Now that I have some muscle I enjoy seeing how much or how hard I can use them. I think the periods when I don't go are beneficial, bc when I go back I perceive a marked improvement.
My only complaint is... the double chin. There are no exercises or machines for my double chin. I hate it. I have to live with it.
Other than that, it's been great. It doesn't have to be overwhelming. You don't have to decide you want to join a gym to lose 50-60-100 lbs or it's worthless. You don't have to hurt yourself like on The Biggest Loser. You can just improve. A little at a time. It's ok.
The best thing, for me -- I still have these back problems (that is not the best part). I am going to a new doctor and doing physical therapy. And the physical therapy is JUST for my back. That is, we are not spending 6 weeks of PT just to give me some kind of core strength to see if that is the problem, or if it makes my pain lessen. I already have core strength. For the first time in my life, I have muscle there. I am strong. And I am flexible, When they give me assessment exercises, I can just do them. I know the difference between an ache from stretching and an ache from pain. Since my core is strong (not Ironman strong, but better than it ever has been) we can now use PT to concentrate on the real problem -- my back pain.
I started off talking about gratitude. And here, I also feel gratitude. Gratitude to my body. As chubby as it is, as much as it doesn't fit any kind of beauty standard in our society, as inadequate as I might feel sometimes. I feel grateful to my body. Bc I started paying attention to it, and like a dog just waiting for a command, it has stepped up to the plate. I tell my body to lift some weight, and it does it. I tell my body to speed up on the bike, and it goes. And then my body improves. It gets better. It responds.
I am so grateful to my body. It actually works. Fancy that.