Oops, I did it again! Return of the chipmunk

A little bit of cockiness combined with taking my eye off the prize has bit me in the ass once again. Oh I can blame this or that, but the truth is I got cocky and sloppy and last night I got confirmation from the Spousal Unit, I have gained weight or to use our code which means red alert “Your cheeks are starting to look a tad chipmunk like”.

I admit last night I fell into a restless sleep asking myself what went wrong. I practice yoga several times a week and while it won’t take a ton of pounds off, I do some walking as well. I eat relatively well, had been maintaining my weight more or less except for a few extra pounds but clearly I have crossed the line.

Then it hit me! Back late last year when my dreams to move my agency to larger and nicer location became a reality and a lot of hard work, I fell into some old traps. Not eating properly, skipping meals and my old nemesis, portion control. The old, well I didn’t really eat breakfast so I will eat a larger lunch. I realized I have been doing that more than I care to admit, of course I know skipping meals is never a great idea but I didn’t think I had been doing it that much. Add in the fact that my office is now mere steps away from a pizzeria that gives a generous discount, yeah, it didn’t take long to figure out where I went wrong. I admit though that having stopped my weekly baking habit as well as giving up calorie laden coffee drinks, I figured I was all good to go. The truth is I set myself up for this plain and simple. Also after year of working with no snacks at my desk, I must confess at this moment, there is an organic chocolate bar, a bag of granola and a bag of hot chips in my desk.

I have toyed with going back to Weight Watchers in the past, where I hold a lifetime membership and this morning I realized I really need to go back. Weight Watchers does one thing for me that I know I need help with and that is accountability. Something about paying $12 a week to be weighed by someone who won’t let me explain away the numbers is what I need at this moment. Based off my visit to the bathroom scale, I would say I have 20 lbs to say good bye to, while part of me is saddened about this, the truth is I have not gained back even half of the almost 50 pounds I took off some years ago. So despite this set back to the land of chipmunk cheeks, it’s okay, weight loss and maintenance like much of life is a journey, sometimes it’s good and sometimes….well you just look for the next day.

I have been public over the years in sharing my struggle and journey with my weight but I admit I didn’t plan on sharing this, I felt a bit of shame. Yet this morning when I realized I felt shame, I knew that was more a reason to share, to keep myself honest. Hell, most of us at some point in life gains weight, shit happens. Now let me get back to my tasty salad!

On jackpots…gratitude and being in the now

It’s probably no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am an avid listener of public radio, so much so that my alarm clock is set to wake me to the sounds of the local public radio station. As usual today the clock went off at the normal painful time of 7:25am and I took the first few minutes to listen to world happenings while finding my bearings. The hot story this morning was the Mega Millions jackpot which is up to some ridiculously crazy sum of money, in my groggy state I really didn’t pay much attention until I heard a man say he was praying he could win the jackpot so that he could finally start living life. I am not sure why, but that statement stayed in my head throughout my prayers and meditation this morning.

As I hopped online a little later, I noticed many people talking about what they would do if they won the jackpot. There is nothing wrong with playfully fantasizing about what we would do if we won a jackpot but as I strive to be more mindful in all areas of my life, I often think how many years I wasted not enjoying the life I have at hand.

Look, I am not saying anyone is unhappy with the life they have at present but I do believe words have power and what we speak is powerful and can impact how we feel. For someone to say even in jest that winning a bajillion dollars will allow them to finally starting living life, actually says a lot. It says what most of us think, that life finally begins when we lose weight, get our degrees, get a partner and the list goes on. I most certainly have been guilty of thinking that if I accomplished XYZ that I would finally be living and nothing could be further from the truth. I spent 6 years or so in my late 20’s to early 30’s going to school getting my undergraduate and graduate degrees. When I was in school, I gave up a lot, missed a lot too; always thinking that once I received my degrees life would be grand. Well those papers are nice, but life didn’t magically change other than I owe a shitload of cash. I don’t regret going to school though I regret that I went at such a pace that I missed a lot of life because I was under the impression something special would happen once I met my goal.

The thing is every day we wake up, in reasonable good spirits with a relatively healthy body/mind and a roof over our heads, food on the table and people who care about us, is a great day. We live our lives as if time is infinite and that we know we will get 90+ years and the fact is not even our next minute is promised. Life can change on a dime, ask Trayvon Martin’s parents…he went out to grab a snack and never came home.

There is nothing wrong with a little fantasizing or even daydreaming about the what if’s, but far too many us ignore our now and stay focused on things that are not promised thus missing what we do have. This has been a struggle of mine and one that in the past year I have worked to deal with, because more times than I care to admit I realized I was ignoring what I had in hopes of what I wanted.

Last night I shared on twitter a tool I use to keep me grounded in my now, every night before I go to bed, I go low tech and grab a pen and my journal (remember those?) and write down what I call gratitudes. Gratitudes are 5 things that happened over the course of my day that added some value to my life, made me smile or were just cool as hell. I admit it was hard at first, initially my list was pretty redundant: man, kids, house…you get the point. Then I really started looking at my days and saw gifts where I had never seen them: staff member who made my day easier, cuddles with my kid, great conversation, sunrise that made me stop and so on. Some days the gratitudes just pour out and some days I admit they are hard but the point is to see what I have and in looking to see what I have, it makes me more present in my life.

Winning a jackpot probably does add a lot of value but often times what we need and what will truly make us happy goes far beyond money. So good luck if you played but even if you don’t win, remember you are already a winner!

Navigating life…wisdom from the elders

I was an only child until I turned 8 years old and because of the gap in years between my brother and me, we often joke that we were functional onlies. By the time he reached an age I may have wanted to get to know him; I was already out of the house. As a result of that age gap I spent a lot of time around the grown-ups. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s when I was coming up, entertainment options were limited, no cartoons past 11am, parents back then did not tailor their social lives around their kids either. In many instances kids just got brought wherever parents went and you adjusted. I suspect that is why I was a big reader as a kid, no iGadget to plug in, limited TV channels. So reading and overhearing the grown-ups talk was what I did once toys no longer held my attention.

Looking back, I am sure I overheard quite a few conversations that probably weren’t appropriate but as I became a teenager, I was actually allowed to be a part of the grown up conversations and for that I am eternally grateful.  In fact I grew to love those grown up talks, when the grown-ups in my life primarily my parents and grandmother and other assorted relatives would talk openly about life and the challenges that they faced. I knew early on that marriage was hard work; I also realized that adults often hit an age where they seemed to need to figure out who they were. I knew that at almost 50 my grandpa took off for his family home in Texas to figure it out…leaving my Grandma for a couple of years. As a kid, I remember being confused about why Pa-Pa had left, eventually he did come back and they stayed together until he died. Years later when I was a battled scarred young adult leaving my brief and tumultuous first marriage, my Granny told me their whole story, again it still didn’t make sense since even though I was already relationship weary, I still believed that love and marriage was a straight line, that it either worked or didn’t. Now though? I get it, I totally get why he left, why she was fine with it and why he came back and they were fine.

This morning I found myself thinking of those talks within my family as I realized yet another person I know is at what I am starting to believe is the crossroads. That place we get to, where all of sudden we need to align our dreams and hopes with who we really are, where we no longer want to be anything less than our authentic selves, no matter how messy.

Yet I fear with my generation, Gen X and the younger generations we are losing the wisdom of the elders that we all once had to assist us in this journey. As more of us are no longer geographically near our tribes or simply not as close as previous generations used to be, we lose the voices and wisdom of grandparents and other loved ones letting us know we are normal. Instead now we have a generation approaching middle age, or already there that on the outside looks fine but inside is wondering what the hell?

For all our technological savvy and connectedness though, we lose something when we don’t have wisdom from those who have walked before us in this journey of life. I suspect this is one reason blogs especially those written by women and mothers speak to so many of us; sometimes you just need to know you are not alone in this world. After all, even though our elders didn’t have all the gadgets and accoutrements we have that make life easier, something’s remain the same.