Well today is my birthday and I am 55 or, as one of my team pointed out last week, eligible for parole! Twelve months ago, before accepting awesome, I would have to say that all 55 would have felt like was old; today I am celebrating 55 years young with gusto!

Last night G cooked an absolutely sumptuous dinner for the whole family including my brother A and his lovely lady, D. What a lovely evening. The food was spectacular, wine outstanding and both were eclipsed by the company. Family gatherings are one of my very favourite pass times. I love the banter and the feelings of unconditional love. I foolishly said last night that I felt privileged to have the 7 most important people in my life all together with me on my birthday. That prompted S to point out to his sister, L, that Crash, who was lying close by, was clearly one of the 7 which meant that she wasn’t. Yes, I love my family dearly.

Today was supposed to be a day at the beach but G and L’s new partner, J, were still partying at 3:30AM, so I am guessing we may not get there. That’s absolutely fine as G has not spent any time in J’s company and I am very pleased that they got to know each other. In addition, G, who rarely indulges in alcohol in any quantity, worked so hard to put on my dinner that it was great to see him let his hair down (odd choice of words, he doesn’t have any hair!)

I continue to go from strength to strength on the road to awesome. I mentioned last post that I had committed never to jog again. I have decided to take a different tack and improve my core strength so that I can do whatever I want to. I am up to day 5 of a 30 day planking challenge; that is starting with a 20 second plank and increasing slowly over 30 days to 4½ minutes. It is quite amazing but I can already see and feel results. I do suspect though that my 30 day challenge may be more like a 90 day challenge as I won’t keep increasing if it starts to hurt! Interestingly, in my previous life as a teletubbie, I would never had laid on the floor for fear that I may not be able to get back up. A friend suggested I try yoga so maybe I’ll give that a go too.  

I am acutely aware that depression can return at any time and I really believe that once you have had it, you can never consider yourself recovered only controlled. I also believe that having been there heightens my enjoyment of life now and my overwhelming thankfulness for where I now am.

I am looking forward with anticipation to the next 55 years!

My Inner Child

Last time I wrote I said that I had discovered that I could jog… And jog I did…. Three times to be accurate, last Friday, Saturday and Monday. By Monday afternoon I realised that every joint in my body was unhappy with me. For the most part I have been forgiven. I still have twinges in my back and my toes, they are still extremely painful. Note to self – just because you can jog, does not mean that you should. So like all sensible people would, I downloaded the ‘Chariots of Fire’ ringtone for my phone and told myself to act my age and be sensible.

Well, since then I’ve had a few opportunities to act my age and sadly….. My first opportunity was when I was swimming with my husband G. Now G and I have always been a tad competitive and when he started swimming butterfly, I thought, “I can do that.” We then progressed on to doing multiple tumble turns. Now this body has been sedentary for a very extended time frame. Why can’t I just be kind to it?

The answer to that question is that I have a highly developed relationship with my inner child. Today I had one of life’s outstanding days with my brother, A and his lovely lady, D. We spent the day on the water, boating, swimming, walking, kayaking and then out came the tube! All sense told me that it was a bad idea; sore back, dodgy joints, why would I think that tubing behind a high powered boat was a smart thing to do? As adult me tried desperately to get a grip on the situation, my inner child spoke up, “Hello, of course I want a go.” And, it was AWESOME!

I’ve been thinking since then about the times that my inner child has overwhelmed the responsible adult in me; sometimes it’s just been funny, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes it has elicited strong feelings of ,”I really can’t believe I did that.”

I have a friend G who is probably as in touch with her inner child as I am. I love time in her company. We are friends because our young daughters were one time friends at school. Since the girls have grown through that time of not being so close into adulthood, we get together for meals and to reminisce. I remember a time when G and I took the girls and our sons to a waterpark as a holiday treat. The girls were teenagers and as is the way with teenage girls, they caught the attention of a group of teenage boys. They were in line for a ride and one of the boys looked over and said something along the lines of, “Look at those old ladies squealing their way down the speed slide.” L said that she and her friend, A, looked at each other and then fessed up that the old ladies were their mothers.

Sometime into my children’s adolescence I realised what sport it was to embarrass them and now that they are grown, I am pleased to say that they look back at things that we did as memorable.  I used to slam dunk the groceries into the trolley when I shopped with either of the children. L told me recently that she has taught her partner to do the same. I remember when L and S were about 16 and 14 that I ‘flew’ up the main street of Surfer’s Paradise singing “I love aeroplane jelly.” At the time they appeared mortified but now they say it was awesome.

My son once took me for a ride in a shopping trolley. He would have been 18 at the time and that would have been funny if only I could have gotten out.  He and his girlfriend laughed so hard!

Sometimes my inner child is just downright embarrassing. We were out to dinner, again with my friend G and her family and my son asked me to pass the sugar down a very long table. My inner child lobbed it down the length of the table. Unfortunately aim is not my strong point and it landed in the pasta dish of a rather reserved and unamused lady on the next table. Sometimes I wish my inner child would think first and just not. But my inner child is not known for restraint.

As my muscles start to stiffen from the unaccustomed workout of tubing, I say to my inner child, “Never, never, never grow up!”    

Able to Jog

So, back to work and I do not have nearly the time I had before to write. It’s not just work; having embraced life again, there is so much to do and so little time. I have not gone back into my previous modus operandi of embracing one aspect of life to the exclusion, or at least detriment, of others. In my life, I have focussed on work to the exclusion of everything else, I have made jewellery every waking moment, I have taken photos until I could see nothing but the photographic potential of a situation. These are far from the only things that I have embraced to the point of obsession. Now, however, my world is different. I can feel when I am moving into the danger zone and I back off. I limit any activities whether they are an enjoyable pastime such as beading or photography or a necessity such as work or cleaning and organising. I feel very much better with balance but balance includes limiting my writing. When I first started blogging, I had an overwhelming desire, probably need to get out a whole lot of feelings. That urgency has past. The desire to write is still there but the need is not nearly so overwhelming!

I do have to report that part of the impetus to accept awesome and change my life was an increasing awareness of my physical limitations. I have been on the road to awesome now for in excess of 8 months. But for an odd speed bump, the road has ostensibly been smooth. I’ve had to step back from some of the things that I initially placed in the category of high importance. I found that it was very easy to make me cry, and cry at inappropriate times and that I could tie myself in knots so I made the decision to return to taking anti-depressants, albeit at a much lower dose than the one that I have taken for many years. I chatted with my GP and she said to me that I was one of her inspirational patients and that I should not consider this to be a failure, rather a strength, that I had chosen to just do it and get on with getting better. I did have a moment or two when I considered this to be a monumental failure and was very pleased to take her words on board. So, enough of the challenges.

I have attracted attention at work because of my weight loss and have decided that my mission is to support others. I certainly won’t be preaching to anyone but, if they want support I am going to be there.  Last week, I decided that in order to help the people that were coming out of the woodwork and talking weight loss to me, I needed to zone back in to challenging myself. Don’t ask me why I would make the decision to challenge myself in this way but I decided that I wanted to re-introduce running, jumping and hopping to my range of movements. The surprising part is that before I realised I couldn’t, I never valued my talents in any of these areas. In fact, I hated running!

I have been unable to run, jump or hop for many years because of my lack of balance, lack of physical fitness and lack of confidence. So, last week I started jogging while on my morning walk. I was doing brief stints of jogging; by brief stints, I mean just 20 or 30 metres. On Saturday morning, I left on my walk with G and L sitting chatting at the table. I had a skip in my step, felt great in fact and did a couple of short jogs. I then rang G and said, “Just come out to the letter box and look towards Hamilton Rd.” I waited round the corner until I could see both G and L standing there and then Crash and I set off to jog the 100 or so metres home. By the time I got there, I was flying, I was crying, I was totally overwhelmed. I could have won an Olympic medal and not been prouder of myself. I doubt that anyone who has never come to the realisation that they have lost something will appreciate the feeling of getting it back but that feeling was awesome. I am awesome. I don’t believe that there is anything that I cannot do if I put my mind to it.

What I have to say today is, “Be awesome!” Define your awesome, whatever it looks like and, just do it!