Really? I don’t have to be responsible for the whole world?

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I hate to admit it but…..I am a control freak!

Ok, maybe freak is too strong a description but I really do feel so much better when I think I am in control of things around me, people included. Realistically I know this is a fantasy but I feel so much less anxious when I think things are going according to plans.

The funny thing is that once you start dealing with other people and outside forces you have to willingly give up control for things to become less anxious and nerve wracking. Sometimes you just need to present the information or opportunity and let it develop on its own. Sometimes it will go the way you hope and other times you are amazed or surprised on how things develop….kinda like the weather.

Example one:

For a long time I actually wrote out a planned menu based on work schedules and activities. When my children were still under my control (well at least in need of chauffeuring) and my husband also worked night shift  I could do it.  Enter driver licenses and job changes and that planner just flew out the window.  Both daughters drive now and the younger one is often out with friends or at the gym. The older one has college related stuff going on. Hubby now works a “Monday to Friday 8-4”  job that often extend to 6 or later and is “on call”  24/7 unless we are out of state.  These days I am happy if I can plan the night before so I can defrost something ahead of time.

Flexibility has a strong learning curve!

Example two:

Exercise and being healthy has been in my life for a very long time. I understand the benefits of being active and eating well and love to share my knowledge.  Its hard when you try to share those things and people just nod their head and do things they way they want to despite agreeing with you.  Sometimes it is even taken to an extreme you had not imagined. My older daughter thrives on information and once convinced of something she is hard to dissuade– she has taken eating better farther than I have and became a vegetarian. Some I think is ethical based but some of it she just finds to be more nutritionally sound based on her own research. Still there are days when she surprises me and I find her eating things I would not normally see her eat like ice cream and oreos.  My younger daughter, hubby (and I) vary in our active/eating  habits but generally we fall back into seeking out the good food I buy and not looking for the junk.

You can fill a pantry with good food, you just can’t make them eat it!

So I guess what I am trying to articulate, and maybe not as well as I can is that “Being in control”  is usually just a figment of our imagination. Even our thoughts take wild trips on their own….but that is what makes Life an adventure.

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I’m sweaty, I’m tired….and I feel really good!

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So I did it tonight—I exercised indoors!

I realized that to really enjoy my time hiking I need to strengthen my core and my quads/hamstring/glute muscles for climbing the steeper hills as well as descending them without falling on my face. My knees and hips could also use some preventative maintenance. Since I really didn’t want to spend hours down there (in the basement) I decided to work on the recumbent bike. I set it for 30 minutes, hill setting and selected the Podrunner “Easygoing” .

The hill setting was a decent workout and the 132 BPM pace was just right for working on the higher resistance levels which varied from 2-8. I do have to say 8 was a little difficult but I pushed through with the help of the music.  Music really does play such a big factor in motivation!! The steady beat has helped keep me moving more times than I care to admit.

I almost wish I had set the timer for a longer time frame but I am sure I will feel it tomorrow.  But you want to know something? I feel relaxed, optimistic and healthy–must be the endorphins kicking in.

So the game plan? Continue to work at the gym for strength training and endurance. This plan from Prevention is a great place to start as well as the core workouts using the balance board, the ball and yoga poses I was doing.  I’m looking forward to a “strong” summer and lifestyle of health.

 

Hiking….its always an adventure

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I’ve fallen back in love with hiking. I mean I’ve loved being outside for as long as I can remember whether it was playing outside as a kid, bike riding, messing around with my horses or whatever. I am an outside kind of girl. But lately my love has to be hiking.

Hiking challenges you. You can stick to the easy paths or take adventure by the horns and opt for the trail in the woods. You open yourself up to the reality of what you are willing to do verses what your body is capable of. Sometimes you fight your brain for control of the situation, sometimes your heart takes over. But, in the long run you are glad of the choices you have made for it gives you strength both mentally and physically to do it all again.

20130520_115112Join me on my adventures–I truly hope you enjoy visiting these hiking spots with me and find serenity in the photos.

Experiencing the rain….is very cool

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Most people don’t understand the Bob Marley quote

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

and for a long time I was one of them. Until recently I hated being out in the rain and would do almost anything to avoid it.

I went for a hike with a friend and we knew there was a chance of showers but we opted to go anyway. About halfway through our trek it started to mist then drizzle. It actually enhanced the feeling of being out in Nature as you could hear the rain on the trees and see the ground changing color with the dampness. It actually felt like I had been transported to Cape Cod–all that was missing was the sound of the waves hitting a beach.

Even a rainy day has its own beauty

Even a rainy day has its own beauty

I’ve been working on moving plants away from the house and had started tidying things up by framing out the adjusted area with landscaping blocks….but had run short. This morning I was determined to finish this project before working on anything else. So, off to Lowes I went despite the threat of a storm. Yes, of course it started to drizzle the closer I go to the store but it was nice to be in the garden area with the light rain–the colors of the plants seemed more vibrant. The smells of the roses and blooming shrubs was very potent. And there was hardly anyone there so I could just meander and look to my hearts content.  Well I made my purchases and worked my way back home “accidentally” stopping at a local plant place to pick up some garden plants (3 kinds of tomatoes!!) and a snack of fresh snap peas.

By now the rain had moved back home with me but I decided to work on the landscaping anyway. It was actually refreshing to work in the light rain instead of being all sweaty with the bright sun beating down on me. I’m quite sure the plants being moved also appreciated the kiss of rain until they were replanted elsewhere.

So, what does the quote mean to me? I guess it means that I opened myself up to new experiences and let myself think of things in terms of pleasure instead of an annoyance. Instead of just getting wet, I could actually take joy in the rain drops themselves….and its a good thing.

How old are you…really?

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I’ve always been an old soul.   Even as a child I felt more comfortable with older people than kids my own age. Its gotten better as I’ve grown older but I sometimes feel “out of sync” with the times we live in.

I’m not sure if  it has to do with the fact that my parents were older than most, but my mom was 33 when she had me back in the sixties.   My oldest sister was actually pregnant with her first at the same time so I  grew up with her daughter (my niece) from the age of 8 months of age. My parents also provided childcare and then foster care for children when I was growing  up so there was always someone who needed “mothering” and I guess I stepped up to the task of being a second mother.

I know I am not alone but sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong time period.  I long for a time of simpler lifestyles and a time before “multi-tasking” was considered something to be achieved and praised. I’m not saying I want to give up the personal freedoms and advances that we have fought hard for but I do wish we didn’t feel compelled to ‘be all and do all’ for everyone.

Maybe its an illusion in my mind but it seems to me that people were happier and more satisfied in earlier eras; they seemed to be satisfied with what they had, generally speaking, and not striving to constantly ‘trade-up’ belongings like cars and electronics. You made do with what you had until it no longer worked and then got the new one.

I’m working hard to “reduce, reuse, recycle” things wherever and whenever I can.  We often buy from and donate to consignment and thrift shops.  Someone will always have a use for “hand-me-downs”, it makes no sense to just dump things because it no longer appeals to your style or fit your lifestyle.  This is somewhat hard for me as I did grow up with a ‘save everything because you might need it’ kind of childhood…and many times it was true and that bottle you saved came in handy.

I guess what I am really trying to do is get back to a simple time in my life where I can enjoy the things I like to do such as gardening, sewing/quilting and outdoor exercise and be able to concentrate on that activity in its entirety rather than jumping to the next task on the list. To be able to be satisfied with the things I do have and ignore advertising for something “new and improved”. To live day by day since tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Sorry for the bit of rambling but the thoughts just kind emerged on their own today.

Old Friends…..New Friendships

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253801_206836752685494_144592465576590_459110_8004428_nIt seems to me that you can be friends with someone you work with but never quite attain a friendship; we can chat at work about everyday things  but how often do we take the time to know people beyond the work place?

I’ve worked in my current place of employment for a very long time–basically since 1986 with a very short period between 2008 and 2010 where I had resigned to regroup.  When I returned I worked my way around the hospital meeting and re-meeting people I had known over the years. It really was nice to be remembered by so many people I had worked with in the course of 23 years!! But my heart kept returning to my current unit (where I had worked for 10 years before taking a break) and I became a per diem RN for that unit specifically. I have to say I really do love working with my ‘old time’ staff so much! There is a comfort level there that is hard to express; they’ve seen me in various stages of my Life …and still like me.  But still, work place friendships are hard to maintain without effort.

In the past it would’ve been hard for me to break that barrier as I had small children and husband who also worked night shifts; its hard to reciprocate a friendship when you don’t have the ability to invite people over your home. Unfortunately sleep is a priority that must also be considered and given priority. My children are now older and no longer need chauffeuring or ‘child care’ and my husband now works a day job.  Because I work nights 2 shifts a week I can spend any of the week days hiking or being outdoors and still have time to work on my home.

This is where the hiking has made a difference. We are spending time in a place where there is no deadline to finish all your tasks at work so you can leave on time. There are no interruptions to conversations to answer bells and phones.  There is just the quiet found in Nature and the sounds of friendships strengthening. I am learning more about the person and less about the co-worker. I am hearing the funny little stories and about the surprisingly similar paths we have traveled that somehow just don’t fit in a workplace. And I am totally enjoying it! I am learning to break open my own shell and reveal more about the “who” I am and not just the face I present to the world.

Sometimes its scary to open yourself up to Friendship; it really does take a huge leap of Faith and Hope that it will be returned.  But I’ll never have it if I don’t leave myself open to it.

Hiking is a “work of Heart”

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Falling Waters 51013 011One of the other ways that I have been re-energizing as well as an active meditation has been with hiking. Whether its by myself or with the group I started there is a mindfulness to joining with Nature that I cannot explain fully.

Depending on who I am with it is either an exhilarating cardio workout, full of rock scrambles and pumping heart, or more of a quieter more focused on my surroundings and the sounds of nature. Both are perfect.  Depending on my mood and energy levels I may opt for one more than the other but both have their place in my life.

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The high impact, heart pounding climbs and descents prove to me just how strong I can be; mentally challenging since I don’t like heights/ open climbs. But also physically since its not something I’ve done consistently in a while.  I no longer enjoy the gym-rat mode of being active; its just not who I am at this time of my life but I do value the impact of how it prepares us for the challenges that being active outdoors can present us.  The more strenuous climbs allow me to focus on the feelings of my breath, my heart and the strength of my muscles while the repetitive motions allows my mind to wander and think greater thoughts since my mind somehow gets more empty when I concentrate on my balance and movement.

Falling Waters 51013 014

The quieter slower paced walks are actually more of a challenge for me; its difficult for me to slow down instead of full speed ahead. I recently went on a hike with several co-workers; 2 retired ladies and one I work with presently. We also had one of the retired ladies daughters as a guide since she works in the environmental field. In the beginning I felt somewhat anxious to keep moving but I gradually became drawn in to looking at different plant species and looking around me in general. Ironically, once my camera came out there were times they waited for me instead of the opposite. Its funny how bringing out my camera allowed me to narrow my focus to individual plants and still maintain the observance of all around me; the tallness of the trees, the cool air, the blueness of the sky.

Whichever I choose to do, I do know one thing: it is good for my heart. Both mentally and physically I find myself recharged when I am hiking. The breathing of fresh clean air and the repetitive movement of challenging myself calms my heart while strengthening it, something I will be grateful for in years to come.

Janice_Minnewaska

These photos have been taken by myself, please take courtesy in not sharing except with permission.

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