Charcuterie Board/Rome Italy Regret, a normal human emotion, was the topic of conversation in a recent interview of Daniel H. Pink on the CBS Morning Show. His book The Power of Regret, encourages us to think differently about the feeling, … Continue reading
If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?
One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?
The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.
I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.
Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”
He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.
I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.
Now, I was not only older, but weaker.
Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.
The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.
However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.
Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White. Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.
However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.
She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.
So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.
Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.
Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.
. . . . just saying
Have you heard of the horse that never won? Zippy Chippy is his name. He is a thoroughbred racehorse who ran in one hundred races, has eight seconds and twelve thirds, but never won. However, his tenacity for staying in the race made him a popular horse to watch and voted one of the year’s “Most Intriguing Characters,” by People Magazine in the year 2000. “Winners don’t always finish first.” became his charge.
I imagine how he felt showing up at the gate thinking; this race can be won, because I also set New Year goals then fail to achieve them, and like him, come close.
I wanted to lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day in 2018. You could say I took second place, losing and regaining the same five pounds throughout the year, but finished the year at the same weight, somewhat a winner because I did not gain a pound although my underwear feel tight. My vertigo has improved and I walk crooked only occasionally. I spent three nights in Boston and traveled to Washington D.C. to see the White House decorated for Christmas. Melania’s “Red Trees” looked spectacular. I dropped the ball on blogging but started other writing projects.
In 2019, I have the same goals; lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day.
Where is the horse that never won today?
Zippy, retired from racing in 2004, had a brief second career as an outrider’s pony at his home track in the Finger Lakes. Thanks to his longtime owner-trainer, Felix Montserrate, he currently resides nearby at “Old Friends at Cabin Creeks” where this winner still loves attention from fans and appears happy.
Today is January 6, 2019. There are 359 days left in the year to achieve my goals; lose five pounds, travel more and write every day, or at least finish with a second or third place.
Winners don’t need to be first!
. . . . just saying
My New Year’s Resolution is to start writing and stop complaining, in other words, stop complaining about not writing and start. That was sixty-five days ago, I have not done either, which leaves me on the brink of becoming a statistic, joining the 92% of people making resolutions who fail to keep them, or since we are in the first week of March, part of the 80% who give up. Sounds grim.
But let’s think this through, if there are 365 days in a year and we are sixty-five days into the year that leaves 300 days to turn things around, so too early to give up. Right?
On the up side, although I have done no writing, zero, zip, zilch, twenty-one days have passed and I am not complaining about it, well at least not aloud.
Twenty-one days is considered a benchmark in establishing a habit, good or bad.
Sounds like progress, but maybe not really, the complaints stay in my head, and find visual outlets, strong ones.
For example, when my husband (aka Mr. Wonderful) reminded me for the third time to return a friend’s phone call; rather than my ranting he had already reminded me several times, and that I had NOT forgotten but plan to do it later; I smiled and said, “Thanks for the reminder,” then envisioned stuffing ten indoor snowballs in his mouth.
Not the best outcome, but I am not complaining, well not aloud.
Will Bowen author of “A Complaint Free World” deviates from traditional views about complaining and touts this popular American pastime as being helpful. I agree but have failed to convince Mr. Wonderful complaining has value.
Bowen says the first step to a complaint free world is to define complaining. The dictionary definition is “to express grief, pain and discontent,” his; a complaint is “an energetic statement focusing on a problem rather than the solution,” and if we stick to the facts, and remain neutral eliminating negative attitudes, we will engage in healthy communication.
So on Sunday when Mr. Wonderful questions, before noon, for the fifth time, if Ellen is coming on Saturday, I correct him without the “tude” and say, “remember we discussed going to the Funky Pelican for Happy Hour on Friday and the Bass Sports Store on Saturday, there is a free lecture on Fly Fishing. She is coming on Friday afternoon,” feeling I am making progress and understand he has been distracted by the Daytona 500, and Phil Mickleson’s one point off the lead golf performance.
In his lectures, Bowen delivers a strong case that once engaged in discussion that focuses on the solution rather than the problem we will discover how we want the world to really be.
I like his point and realize we do not have to keep quiet about Donald Trump’s tweets nor resort to a strong visual, as Kathy Griffin did, what was she thinking.
The next morning Mr. Wonderful asks again if Ellen is coming on Saturday, I focus on the solution, not the problem and suggest we write her arrival on his calendar.
. . . . just saying
One of the most powerful forces in human nature is our belief
that change is possible. ~ Shawn Achor
I am limping into 2016 determined to make the year less crappy. We retired in 2007 and every year after has had a good deal of crappiness. This year I said, “Enough is enough!” and have declared this year, one of happiness.
I started by watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday television program, hoping to be inspired and I was. The show is a mixture of interviews with and lectures by Spiritual Gurus designed to improve your life. It airs Sundays, on OWN.
I was most taken by Shawn Achor who along with Elizabeth Gilbert author of “Eat Pray Love” has admitted to crying on the bathroom floor. Shawn has studied the Science of Happiness since his days at Harvard and talks about Positive Psychology and redefining Happiness. I was unaware that Happiness is a science, but what he said makes sense.
The traditional formula, Hard Work = Success = Happiness, does not work because happiness is on the backside of success. We are always chasing the carrot because it is moved continually . Since 90% of happiness is derived from how the brain processes the world, we can train our brain to be happy just as we train our body to be strong, with exercise. The train your brain exercises he recommends are; a gratitude list, journal about what makes you happy, exercise, meditation, and random acts of kindness.
While we have heard some of this before, Shawn supports the “Happiness Advantage” theory with findings. He found that people engaging in any of the activities for 21 consecutive days, were happier. In other words, happiness is a habit and good habits, like smiling, make a difference.
Since writing make me happy, and writing about what makes you happy is on the list, I am introducing the Happiness Series, with “Striped Sweater.”
Snow falls throughout the night into the early morning. Soft sugar like flakes that tickle your face then flutter gently to the ground, remind me of creating angels in the snow. We are snowbound. The roads are driveable but it is safer not to. The accumulation is six to seven inches and the air crisp.
Our eleven-year-old granddaughter is playing computer games with Aunt Janine and doing handstands on the living room floor. The Christmas tree is still standing with scattered presents beneath the artificial branches.
Alexandria Antonia resembles my side of the family: fair skin, freckles, hazel blue eyes, and her dad’s auburn brown hair. She will more than likely be tall.
Alex, as she prefers to be called, sings throughout the day, off tune. Her voice is wonderful to hear. She sings, “Striped Sweater, a sweater with a stripe” a song she wrote. There are no other words just this simple refrain. Papa wears an old green sweater that inspired the catchy tune. She denies liking to sing and in between handstands excuses herself to use the potty.
We then listen to her joyful rendition of Jingle Bells from behind a closed door.
This is happiness.
. . . . just saying
Aging & Attitude
Happy New Year!
It is hard to believe it is 2015 but it is.
Mr. Wonderful* and I celebrated by eating at McDonald’s on the way home from Orlando International. We were hungry. We were away for sixteen days and that return flight was our best choice, besides New Year’s is not about fun; we are retired and have fun all the time. New Year’s is about making changes, anyway; it was a direct flight.
One of life’s challenges is change or to move forward, because there is no standing still and consequently we will go backwards or decline. This is evident with aging, and the realization none of us will escape wearing diapers and eating soft food. We can only hope to keep up with the changing world around us. Perhaps these thoughts are the cause of my recent dwelling on the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell. You must recall the terms it made famous; Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2+2=5, and memory hole.
Reading the book as a sixteen year old scared the crap out of me. I could not imagine the year 1984, and doubted I would be alive to have Big Brother watch me. And if I were, would insist 2+2 equaled four and be convicted of thoughtcrimes .
It was 1964 and 1984 was twenty years away.
In 2015, I have the same predicament. I cannot imagine the world twenty years from now, and doubt I will be alive.
Not true! Senior Journal reports, “– Happy New Year! If you are age 65, and pretty much average, you should expect to live another 19.3 years, according to new life expectancy projections.”
Well I am pretty much average. In twenty years I will be eighty-seven and Mr. Wonderful eighty-six. Yes, I married a younger man. Our son will be sixty; daughter, fifty-eight and grandchildren in their thirties.
I am considering going vegan or at least eating blueberries for breakfast.
What will the world be like in twenty years? Will we get flying cars, personal robots and travel in space? Some people predict a Utopia existence free of pollution and poor health. Mandatory ID chips inserted in our brains will provide education and track our location so there will be no forgetting where you parked or left your keys. Right, we won’t need keys, nor be parking.
So now I am rethinking my New Year resolutions and changing my expectations. How important is losing five pounds?
. . . . just saying
*Mr. Wonderful aka, Bob, my husband