Days 69-72: Rising Above it All

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I am going to come right out and say that this week hasn’t been the best for me. From putting hydrogen peroxide in my eyes, to missing my morning alarm, to just feeling crappy in general.

I took a run on Monday and felt great, but not the usual great. I didn’t feel the zip that I usually got from burning some energy. I guess you could say I was in a funk. On Tuesday, I was looking at myself in the mirror, trying to make eye contact and figure out why I felt so shitty. So, what did genius decide to do? Well, I shaved my head. I got sick of my hair, sick of fixing it every morning, and shaved it all off. I felt like I wanted some major change, to break free from…something. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was the constant rain we were getting. Maybe it was the daily, everyday grind. Whatever it was, it turned out to have been a good choice.

The next day at the school, my head drew lots of attention. It didn’t stop the day after either.  My head was rubbed over and over, by colleagues and students. At first I would say,”Yes, I cut my hair. ” The second and third time as well. The sheer (get it?) amount of people who noticed I had cut my hair was overwhelming.  I couldn’t step into any room without someone saying something. Don’t get me wrong, it was never mean. It’s just that, despite liking to teach, and working with the people I do, I am shy. Yes, you read that correctly, shy. It became unnerving. But, while driving home today, still regretting the buzz cut, I realized that all those people felt comfortable enough to joke with me and rub my head. It’s like a family.  I thought, “How fortunate am I to have found a place, so far away from where I was born and grew up, that is my home as well.” I was immediately filled with a warm, safe feeling. I went from the dumps to gratitude in one short drive.

I had another major funk breaker when I Facetimed a friend back home on Wednesday. We chatted for over and hour about anything and everything. By the time we said goodbye, I felt a tinge of excitement and hope again. Sometimes it’s good to just talk and let it all out. Sometimes the person you talk to comes up with better ways of looking at things. Sometimes they give you ideas. I was lucky to get it all. One idea was to look back at some of my first writings here to see if I noticed anything,  to reflect on where I was, and where I am today.  So, I went back and looked. What did I find? Holy shit. I have grown. I am feeling better. Life is better.

That’s some good stuff.

I lived today. It was awesome. 

 

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Days 46,47 and 48

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Today I’m going visual.  Here is a simple  representation of my plan.  Results and evaluations are below the chart. Screenshot 2015-04-26 15.47.50 The first 100 Days are broken down into three parts. That is what I felt worked for me. I could have, for example, gone week-to-week, or day-to-day.

Results and Evaluations: 

Health: I am down over 30 pounds and feeling more energy than I have in years. Running and eating right are things I will continue to do. I do plan on finishing 5 kilometers, without stopping, by the 100th day. I am comfortable with my eating habits and will continue with them. I feel good! Strength training and stretching will need more attention in the coming weeks.

Mind: My mind is much more in the present. Mindfulness has helped me move through my life in a very peaceful way. I am less stressed and notice the things around me more. There is more work to be done, but I am on the right path. When I wake up I feel grateful and excited about the day…most of the time. I could use more meditation and reminders to be in the present.

Money: This is a tough one. I have a budget and am sticking to it. The hardest part, since moving in November, was having to buy so many things that I gave away when I moved in with my ex. I’ve had to buy new utensils, appliances, furniture… you name it… almost everything.  It’s costly and makes budgeting tough, especially in this very expensive country in a one income household. Things are getting better though.  I like living simply and don’t feel the need to fill my house with lots of “stuff”. Minimalism makes me happy. Overall, the months ahead will be much better, as I have gotten most of what I need now.

Unfinished business: This includes ridding myself of relationships that hurt me, and things that I needed to personally deal with in order for my life to run more smoothly. I have completed around 80% of it. The other 20% is already planned for this and next week.

Step it up: The last 33 days will be to stick with the habits I have developed, and then go further. It may be to run more. It may mean biking more, or tougher strength training. Budget wise, maybe I will find areas that I can trim and save more. The last 33 days will be about putting it all together and making these changes a part of my life in a way that they become instinctive. I want them burned into my being. These habits will be who I am.

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The Next 100 Days of Awesome: It’s tough to say what it will be. The first 50 days of it will be spent on vacation with family and friends. As always, it will be so much fun. Sure, I’ll run and exercise there, take time to read and be mindful of my time. I also really want to take in as much as I can of the moments I have with all of these friends and family. I want to be there 100%.

The Third 100 Days of Awesome. – It’s exciting to think of the possibilities! Travel more? Closer friendships? New friends? Volunteering to help others? Writing a book? The possibilities are endless.

I can’t remember a time when I was so excited about my life, now and in the future. 

Today has been awesome. I lived today. 

 

 

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Day 28 and 29

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Tomorrow I go back to work and the kids go back to school. I decided to look at my last 9 posts,private and public, and reflect on how the vacation went. It turns out is was a good learning experience. I also accomplished 90% of what I intended to do. I am rather proud of myself.

What I am most proud of is that I am living more in the present now. I am so much more mindful of where I am. I am me and happy to be. It was a sudden realization earlier today. My mind wasn’t full of to-dos and what ifs. It was quiet.

If you asked me 29 days ago if I could quiet my mind, deal with adversity in a positive way, exercise, write everyday, and be present in the moment, I would have said no. But here I am, living proof.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it takes 30 days to build a habit. After that, just keep at it. I am becoming a believer. Day 3o will be a long one at work. Somebody decided that, the day after a 9 day vacation, we should have a 12 hour work day, with normal classes to teach and then meetings and teacher workshops. I feel some of the productivity may be lost from that decision, but will just grin and bear it.

My plan for Day 31 is to do a complete evaluation on my progress and set new goals and habits to address.

I lived this day. I will fall asleep smiling and at peace. It was an awesome day. 

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Day 25: Just Start

DgbMpv5I love all the comments and private messages I have received.  Just wonderful. Lots of people sharing their thoughts and feelings about the 100 Days of Awesome.  I love every message and comment. Please, keep them coming.

Two days ago a friend commented about Day 22’s post. He said:

 “Why should live (sic) be awesome? There is no richness in that. A robot will always have an awesome day. We are not robots, thank God. Huge like on this post…”

I agree completely. Happiness, or awesomeness, is not just smiling and laughing. It is not just the good times.  It is life and everything that comes with it. Why does the caged bird sing? How did those who survived the Holocaust manage to move forward and even find happiness during and later in life? How do people, despite so many hardships, manage to still have peace, happiness and … awesome?

That’s at the heart of this project. It’s recognizing the beauty even in the worst of times. It’s being present for it all.

I still remember the day I argued with my professor about a short story, by James Joyce from the “Dubliners.” It is called, “Two Gallants.” I am a little hazy with the story details after all these years. What I do remember is that the two main characters are, as my professor put it, “Wretched, anti-heroes. Their character and behavior does not conform to what a civilized society would consider appropriate.”

I looked at it differently. I saw them as people raised under different circumstances than most, and still contemplating their lives and futures. I saw them making the most of their situation despite how they lived. * I looked at them as heroes, in a sense. I liked them.

The point of all of this is that our perceptions of things, regardless of what we face, is the deciding factor in how our lives will be. Good and bad will happen regardless. Every person you know and see faces their demons daily. Why are some able to still enjoy their lives? As much as no one wants it, pain and misery can be beautiful. What I need to work on is seeing it.  I can get lost in what was and may never be. I often miss the beauty of it all.  That is where I struggle. That is why I put so much focus on mindfulness and living in the present. That is a key part of achieving awesomeness. 

With all that, I will spare you the details of the day, only to say that I accomplished a great deal, lived in the moment, and have loved this day immensely.

I lived today. It was awesome. 

*If anyone has read it recently, feel free to correct me. I could be getting the story mixed up. It’s been about 20 years.

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Day 20: !! F#*@ ing Great Day.

It’s Day 20! I am 1/5th of the way there! A Guinness is in order!!!

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In the last 20 days I:

1. Jogged at least three times a week and have a lot more energy.

2. Got an official cheerleader who, by the way, said I write well. I think it may be a cheerleading tactic. Cheerleaders are like cheer ninjas, sneaking motivation in without you realizing it… the good ones at least.

3. Wrote a lot every day. Personally and publicly.

4. Ate very healthy.

5. Was mindful of my life and feel… here now. I am present more than I have been in many years.

6. Figured out a great budget for living well with good savings.

7. Fixed, resolved, worked on personal things.

8. Become a much happier person and have started to find myself again.

9. Have reconnected with my kids. We were good before. We are better now.

10. Read more.

11. Was a better teacher.

12. Lost weight that was weighing me down. That was a bonus. I really don’t care so much about that part.

13. Made new friends.

14. Learned a lot.

15. Struggled but overcame.

Today? Fucking great.

Yesterday I was worried about falling out of my routines. Being conscious of it helped. I ran this morning . Yes, on a Saturday morning. I went faster than any day yet. Not as far, but faster. Oh yeah.

I then went to task redoing the girls’ rooms. It took a little time and effort, but they helped me as best they could. Had to wash the floors really well, and prep it for painting. The floors are 100 years old. I finished the walls when I first moved in, but the floors needed some help. Finished with the first coat today and tomorrow will be a piece of cake. It took all day but looks amazing.

One fun part was sitting there painting while my oldest sat and watched me, asking me questions about life and the universe. It was… fun. Working, scrubbing, and painting, was fun. Seriously.

I am very, very tired now… Going to sleep like a baby tonight.

And that brings us to the end of Day 20. If this keeps up, day 21 will be even better.

I lived today. I loved today. I laughed today. Today was awesome. 

 

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Day #2

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I knew today would be a challenge. It’s always a long day with lots to do. I chose to focus on mental aspects and the small things throughout my day.

My list included:

  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Making sure I breathed correctly
  • Focusing on really hearing the people I talk to
  • Helping someone with something
  • Eating well
  • Meditation
  • Weight training.

Every goal was accomplished.. .. except the weight training. My head was glued to the pillow this morning. No big deal. Running again tomorrow.

The mindfulness was what stood out the most today. I caught myself drifting into worlds of, “What if?”, small worries,  and junk that took me away from where I was at the moment. I focused at these times.

My most memorable mindfulness moment was when I made dinner for the kids. I opened a window and, as I cooked, I smelled the food I was stirring, listened to sizzle in the pan,  while a cool gentle breeze drifted into the kitchen. It was such a peaceful moment.

The other was talking with a good friend for a little while today. It was such an honest and open conversation. I appreciated it…Laughed some too.

So, there was no major moment where I jumped out of an airplane on a snowboard. There was no reaching the top of the mountain with my arms in the air screaming, “I did it!”  No, it was only many small moments that I appreciated. I was here today and I am grateful for it. 

 

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The Year Ahead

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I need to take stock in the past, and look towards the time ahead. I need an overview of what I have done and want to do. Living in the moment, as strange as it sounds, requires looking behind and ahead. If you walk through a forest without a map, you may end up getting lost. This week I am using some time to do a task called the The Year Ahead.  You can do it too.  Shouldn’t everyone stop, once-in-awhile, reflect, and look towards the future?

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