Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The first chapter is called Befriending Yourself, and she gives examples of people who found their later years alone less than fulfilling for various reasons. In one case a woman "had lived her life by her intellect, ignoring her emotions. Widowed fifteen years earlier, she spent sleepless nights alone in bed with a person she didn't know - herself. She had no experience or language for knowing what she needed, much less what she wanted. She was a shell of mute despair."
Another woman, Eunice, had outlived every person she knew of her generation - family, friends, even acquaintances. Her family encouraged her to make new friends but how could she convey to strangers her 88-year history? She grieved the loss of old friends and no longer had any peer with whom she could share personal memories. The book says many new friendships made in later life are kept on a fairly superficial level as there's just too much history for each person to share, and no way to convey adequately the personal impact of important events.
Eunice's story made me think about the difficulties I had relocating to Australia. I've been here ten years, and while I do have several good friends, they're not the same as the friends I had back home, who have known me for many years. We shared our youth and did crazy things together, so they know me in ways no one else ever will. I could recant stories to people today but it's not the same as having lived through those times. My best friends from home are more like family to me than friends, and I miss them dearly. Most are not computer-users so occasional phone calls and letters are how we stay in touch now. The book reminded me that "long-term, close relationships always involve some maintenance, such as making sure not too much time passes from one visit or call to the next."
Being a best friend to yourself is very important. Sallirae says that includes paying attention to "the warning that applies to every part of our body, spirit and mind, which is, if we don't use it, we lose it. When you are old, don't expect to be in top form sexually if you've been celibate for many years. If you haven't exercised your spirit much, it's not going to be strong enough to support you. If you haven't pushed yourself to think and feel more deeply about life, including your own, or to nurture your curiosity and learn new things, then those facilities will be rusted shut by the time you reach old age. Your muscles will deteriorate if you don't use them; without exercise and calcium your bones will become brittle. The disabling weakness that is the result of a non-exercised body is a common cause for admission into a nursing home. Being a couch-potato - even when we're old - carries a high price of serious deterioration that could have been prevented. If we take care of our whole selves, we can reach old age and even chronic illness with some - or much - vitality left to us."
This part really resonated with me. I'm so glad I'm taking better care of my health and as hard as it is, that I started running recently. I'm still waiting for any indication that I'll love it and that may never come - that's OK. For now it counts as both exercise and as 'curiosity and learning new things' which is equally important. There are other things I'd love to learn to do, such as using power tools (I'm a big Halloween buff and have annual parties but props are harder to come by here and very expensive if you can find them, so I'd love to make my own). And of course I want to focus on singing again, as I've mentioned before, even if just for pleasure. I would like to meditate more - I do on occasion but not as much as I'd like. I do feel it's important to keep learning and growing throughout life, and that this will help me greatly in my later years.
Lastly, this chapter reminded me that "treating ourselves as a best friend is an important factor in the quality of our current living and will be crucial in our late years. Being familiar with - and able to articulate - our wants and needs gives us some control over our lives, and is absolutely essential when we are old and may have to rely on others to do what we can no longer do for ourselves.
"In late life, knowing yourself well enough to know what you need is the only way you will be able to hold your ground in the face of hierarchical care-providing systems. There are medical personnel who are exceptions of course, but ... a majority of professionals hold the firm belief that they know what's right for you, regardless of what you think. If we can not clearly state our preferences and needs and negotiate our situation - standing our ground with emotional strength - the likelihood is that others will make the decisions that affect us. And even the care providers who are compassionate and caring by nature often find it hard to appreciate the nuances of being old and tired. They tend to be younger, and often they have been better trained at 'doing' than at 'listening.' While they may mean well, their agenda will not always be the same as ours. If we cannot speak for ourselves in the face of their power, we will lose our own."
That is perhaps something I won't need to worry about, being as my husband is 8 years younger than me. But there are no guarantees in life. I could wind up alone and in a nursing home one day, and I hope that I'll be able to live my life graciously and not be bitter and unhappy, but also be able to ensure my needs are met and my wishes considered in all aspects of my care. Naturally I'd prefer to stay healthy throughout my life and never have those nursing home years, but as I said, there are no guarantees in life.
So being my own best friend truly is important for so many reasons. Since I don't have my best friends from home here with me every day it's even more important that I take the best possible care of myself, love myself, support myself and be my own best friend. It's also wonderful that I have a loving, caring and supportive husband. Anyway, that's what I took from Chapter 1. I'll be heading into Chapter 2 tomorrow, since they advised me to bring 'reading material' so I suspect I'll need to kill time until I get to come home and can eat solid food again. I sure hope this experience pays off on the scale! :)
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
Hubby was taking pictures of the ducks, and then snapped one of me before we headed back to the car. I knew I'd look awful but at that moment I didn't even care. This is me, hot, sweaty, tired, and with rain falling on my face after running 20 minutes at 203 pounds. Oh, and the picture of the ducks he wanted to share as well. :)
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
STUFFED PEPPER SOUP with CAULIFLOWER RICE
Before I get to the weigh-in, you may notice I've changed the look of the blog. The old format didn't always display well on mobile devices, and this one suits me heaps better. What do you all think? Plus I can have more menu items at the top, so I've given Photos their own page. I'll be adding new progress photos soon - having started at 287 pounds, I took pictures at 253 and again at 225, so now I'm hoping to get below 200 pounds for the next ones.
After weighing in at 93.0 kg (205.03 lb) last week I went back up to 93.5 kg (206.13 lb) and stayed there pretty much all week! Even after all the running and walking I've done, I didn't get a drop, and it was frustrating I must say. I wasn't expecting the monthly gain for another week, but then mother nature has been messing with me more frequently these days. Still, I am happy to report I have dropped this morning to 92.9 kg (204.81 lb). It's really not much of a loss at all from last week - 0.1kg (0.22 lb) to be exact. However, I have lost fat and gained water, so I'm guessing I'll soon have better results. My loss to date is 37.4 kg (82.45 lb).
Having spent the last eight months working towards improving my health and fitness (evolution of body) and recently tackling some of my fears and the belief that I could never run (evolution of mind), I would like to focus on my spiritual evolution as well. No, I'm not going to get all religious on you! Organised religion is so not me. But if you've browsed my Shelfari bookshelf in the lower right of my blog, you'll notice that I'm interested in spiritual matters, it's just not been the focus of my blog. And I'm not saying it's going to become the focus, so don't worry if that's not your thing! LOL But I did title my blog "An Evolution in Body, Mind and Spirit" because I'd like to experience self-improvement in all three areas.
Currently I've been drawn back to a book I've had for years. It's called "A Life Complete" - Emotional and Spiritual Growth for Midlife and Beyond - by Sallirae Henderson. I started reading it a few years ago, and found it interesting then, but now that I'm 50 the topic is even more meaningful to me. The Shelfari description reads:
"Once we reach middle age, the harder questions about how it actually feels to grow older -- and closer to the end of life -- begin to surface. Difficult as these questions may be, Sallirae Henderson assures us that our desire to find the answers is both a mark of maturity and an opportunity for growth. A Life Complete envisions midlife as a rich, reflective period that gives us the chance to begin a process of discovery. With Henderson's sensitive and knowing advice, we learn how to make emotional and spiritual choices that can help us confront the past and welcome what the future holds. A Life Complete offers six simple skills that guide us through this period of change and inspire feelings of satisfaction and joy: Befriending Yourself, Learning to Grieve, Recognizing that You Always make a Difference, Maintaining a Sense of Personal Evolution, Finding a Larger Context for Your Life, and Accepting the Help of Others. Remarkably wise and thoughtful, A Life Complete is an inspiring reflection on what may be the most meaningful period of our adult lives."And an excerpt from inside the jacket: This book explains how the choices we make in midlife can become distilled and irreversible by the time we reach our last years. It offers a practical plan for healing in middle age so we can avoid elderly regret, unexpressed grief, and unresolved spiritual issues before it's too late. In a culture that ranks the fear of living in a nursing home above the fear of death, this book serves as a reminder that the end of life is also an organic part of life. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to grow old gracefully, with a sense of meaning and purpose.
As I've said before, longevity is not something my family members have enjoyed by and large - and though I'm doing my best to improve my health, if I only have another 20 years or so on this planet, I'd like to ensure they are both happy and healthy - in body, mind and spirit.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Yes ... and no. I did the first eight minute run and it was hard! But I did it so I felt great. Then the five minute walk and I started the second eight minute run. I got about five minutes in and could feel myself slowing down, which normally I don't worry about because I'm going for endurance, not speed. But at that point I almost felt like I'd trip over my own feet and I just didn't have it in me. So I walked the next two minutes and ran the last minute before cool down started.
I am a bit frustrated because I didn't want to quit. But I know even seasoned runners have off days so I am not giving up. I will repeat today's training on Friday instead of trying to run 20 minutes straight. Probably Monday and Wednesday next week as well and try for 20 next Friday I think.
That's it for now, I just wanted to let you know how this morning's run went. Happy Hump Day everyone.