As 2012 was coming to a close, I did what the majority of people in this world do: reflected back on the past year (let’s be honest here, my 2012 sucked!) and how I could make improvements in my life moving forward. Here is My Top Ten List of things that really stunk in 2012:
1. I was in pain more often than not
2. I was exhausted almost all of the time
3. My head felt like I was in a fog many days.
4. My business was impacted because I did not have the energy to seek out new contracts.
5. My income was therefore impacted.
6. As a result of medications and lack of exercise I gained weight. It wasn’t a terrible amount, but enough to make my clothes tight and me uncomfortable.
7. My once fit body, could no longer consistently walk my dog, Henry around the block.
8. My relationships changed. Overall, I have a supportive family and amazing friends, but, to be expected some dynamics changed. A couple of friendships were/are strained. It’s so hard to make future plans and commit to things when you don’t know how you are going to feel from day to day.
9. My dating life was barely existent. See above and add in trying not to look like you are not in severe pain and enjoying yourself while getting to know somebody new, hoping they don’t want to do anything that involves a lot of physical activity or walking, and trying to figure out “When is the right time to tell this person?” (Clearly I could write a few more blogs on this one).
And… 10. As a result of all of the above, I became really depressed and isolated myself even more.
So, as the New Year was approaching, I knew I needed to make some adjustments because the status quo was not going to cut it in the long run. I needed to be more social and stop isolating myself. I implemented the dietary changes. I also made a commitment to more exercise. In an attempt to attack many of the items on that list at once, I decided to start going back to the YMCA to exercise. I had stopped going there for a couple of reasons: getting there could be a chore in and of itself somedays, I needed to conserve my energy to walk Henry, and I was embarrassed.
I use to be fit. I belonged to the 5:45 am Boot Camp. I could run, lift weights, and keep up in a spinning class. Now what was I going to do? When I was first diagnosed, I did some aquatic therapy. That helped. However, I was doing water aerobics in a small pool with the Senior Ladies, and this was a tough pill for me to swallow. I decided to start swimming laps. This was great until I tweaked my back and reignited the car accident injury. This overexertion also led to a flare. Truthfully, after that I gave up. I still made my monthly gym donation though, just in case.
Knowing I had to make some changes, I made the commitment to get some exercise 5 days a week and get to the YMCA for 3 of those days. Then I did something a little crazy. I decided to go to the Y at peak hours! I just wanted to feel like part of the living, and not the living dead. With my schedule, I could go during off hours, something that I used to love being able to do. Yet, I was not often surrounded by folks my age, and now, I am also trying to be more social.
I returned around the first of the year. My first week back was interesting and humbling. I went on a Monday evening around 4:30 pm. I walked up to the machines area. One gentlemen looked right at me and said to his friend, “A lot of new faces- all of the Resolutioners.” I got defensive in my own mind. I had a conversation (in my head) that explained that “I am not new. It is just a new time frame.” I then had an epiphany. I use to be this person! I have had gym memberships throughout my adult life. During my more disciplined times, I felt a sense of entitlement. I really disliked the New Year and the Resolutioners. I was territorial, and I had a routine that ‘they’ threw off. Now, I was lumped in with them.
I got right on a tread mill, and I walked for 12:30 minutes (I had already walked Henry for 20 minutes earlier that day). There was a handsome 30ish yr. old man running next to me. A few times, I caught him looking over at my monitor. It’s an unspoken thing that happens on the treadmills at the gym: you sneak a peak to see what your neighbor’s pace is and what type of incline they are on. Well, my pace was a walking pace and there was no incline. I wanted to crawl in a hole, but I kept my head high, put on a smile and finished my time before heading off to the room for stretching. What have I done?? While stretching and lying on the mat staring at the ceiling, I talked myself off the ledge. I’m happy to report the rest of the week went better.
When I leave the gym, I feel good. It’s not that runner’s high ‘good’ I use to feel from endorphins. However, I am proud of myself and my wounded ego. I’m looking forward to this evening’s trip to the Y! Do me a favor, folks, hold my feet to the fire on this one. This is one resolution that just needs to once again just become part of my lifestyle!