Tag Archives: improving

And Then it Was 2013

I’m one of those “13’s my lucky number” people. Friday the 13th? I find my lucky socks and rock that shit out.

So you know I’m keen on the year. Bring it. Good fortune, good times. I’m readying myself for it all.

Right now, I’ve got Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs CD blasting as I take a breather from remedying all that is chaotic about my world. One cupboard after another, one weekend after another, I’m resolving to go through everything I own and ditch all the shit I shouldn’t have around me. Clutter, bitter memories, broken shit, redundant stuff. All of it, gone.

Girl checks out the sunset on Victoria’s Dallas Road. By me. Some rights reserved.

It’s not a new year’s resolution–

(Happy new year to you all!)

…But it’s well timed to coincide with a nice fresh start.

This is my year of new priorities. Last year, it was kind of all about just getting to a new place and hanging the fuck on until I was settled. I was unprepared for my year to unfold as it did. I didn’t need to ride into a parking sign or have any of the other events unfold that fucked up my back. This year, I’m starting with my back in a better place than I have since 2009, and ready to buy a new bike shortly that I believe will end my back pain.

I mean, man, I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in a long, long time. I’m ready.

So the natural next step for me is that of tidying and organizing my world around me. Nothing says “I’m in control of life” like a freshly-purged home.

Getting rid of stuff will make my next home that much easier to bring to life. I’ll move again this year but not until I can swing hiring movers, since it’s not worth it with my back. I’m at that point in life when I believe Close isn’t Close Enough. I want what I want, and I’m fucking taking it, so that means a new home in this ‘hood I love.

Howdy-do, 2013.

***

Writing? I’m doing that, but for work and such. I haven’t been wanting to write for myself, not for a long time. And there are those who somehow shun this, like I’m making a colossal life mistake.

Really, it’s a break. Everyone needs one. I’ve written more since 2004 than probably most people write in 20 years. I just haven’t put it in proper formats, I guess, for making dough, but I’m real damned proud of my productivity.

I’ll probably have only a handful of years in my life, from now until my death, in which I choose to walk away from writing. And, frankly, my back injury was exacerbated by sitting, so it’s been a good year to take off, and instead go walking and do photography, which is also something that speaks to my soul, especially when I’m in places I love, like on the ocean or on bike trails.

Deep down inside, I’m confident I’ll hit one of those “writing everyday” patches in down the road in 2013, but it’s not something I care about achieving for your benefit, or anyone else’s. I’ll write when I’m ready. I’ve had a lot to deal with in the last year, and I’m really glad I’ve given it the focus it deserved.

I like my headspace, I like what I’ve overcome, I like the issues and troubles I’ve resolved in my life. Whatever you think about my “not writing,” the end result has been a pretty good thing in my world.

In my soul, I don’t have any regrets about my choices over the last year.

***

Gull checks out the sunset on Victoria’s Dallas Road. By me. Some rights reserved.

Resolutions? Fuck resolutions.

My new year’s goal is to end the year Better and Happier than I began it. That didn’t work out in 2010, but I did it in both 2011 and 2012. The 2012 year-end State of Steff was a far better thing than the one who began 2011. That’s all we can do, right? Just improve with age? I’m digging it.

This year, I’m all about keeping my place less cluttered, less dusty. I’m about finding a better home but not a new neighbourhood. I want to fall in love with writing again, and life, and love itself. I want to be health-focused but not sweat it. I want my walking-cycling lifestyle to become more cycling-walking, and to continue with avoiding buses. I want to eat more vegetables and buy better quality meat.

I’m pretty practical. My life’s been on a steady upward trajectory for 2 years, but I started in a really fucking dark place, so getting to the point where I see the light has only really began in the last few months. Every time I hit a new roadbump, too, I’ve solved it better than I have in the past, so I’m optimistic that even with inevitable ups and downs, I’ll be more “up” than I’ve been.

All in all, I don’t need resolutions. I’m on the right road. I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on. I love the life balance I’ve begun to have, know I can improve upon it, and I’m confident I’ll get to that place where I really start owning my island lifestyle this year.

But why put pressure on myself? That’s exactly what I moved here to get away from.

Eat a little better? Exercise smarter? Learn from my mistakes? Slow down even more? Fall in love with creativity, space, time, myself, and love itself? Have more fun? Find ways to smile more? Have more naps?

I can do those things.

I will do those things.

I will enjoy those things.

And that’s kinda where my 2013’s going.

But first I gotta get my stomp on and listen to more thumpin’ Tom Waits while I reorganize my workstation and my life. Think of it as laying foundation for building an awesome year. Stompa-stompa-stomp.

Have a fucking great 2013, people.

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Ratcheting It Up After a Slow Afternoon

Yesterday I cycled 42 kilometres.

That’s the fifth time I’ve ever bested 40km in a day. It felt pretty awesome, because it’s the first time out of all those times that I managed to Finish Strong.

Fitness, for me, isn’t just about health. It’s about proving things to myself. It’s about saying now that “That can’t beat me anymore.”

It’s about saying “I Win.”

There was a time when cycling a round trip of 7 km to my bookstore job would add about 40 minutes to my day. It once took me 74 minutes to cycle 12km home from downtown (with about 4-5km uphill), not including “catching my breath” breaks.

Now I can do it in about 34 minutes.

Being athletic isn’t about where you start, it’s about where you make it go. It’s a mindset, a way of life, a credo, and a pursuit. It’s about taking control of your health and dominating something, ANYTHING, in life.

Me? It’s been a long, long time of slowly improving and constantly setting new goals. “Okay, I did that. Now what?”

The only problem I run into, though, is who I was versus who I am.

I wrote once about how Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of The Tipping Point applied to me, personally, with my weight issues. Gladwell asserts it takes 10,000 hours to gain expert proficiency at any one thing.

Well, I spent 218,000-plus hours chasing the “expert” status in Being Fat. I mastered that shit. I came pretty close to being The Funny Forever-300-Pounds Friend.

Now, with all my weight-loss efforts, I’m probably over the 10,000-hour mark for Kicking Ass and Taking Names, but the 218,000-plus of fatty-school hours did some pretty intense conditioning to this Bear of Little Brain, I tell ya.

This week, though, I measure myself and learn I’ve lost 2 more inches off my hips and 2 more off my waist. Somehow, there’s this band in between that isn’t yet giving, but hey, movement in the other areas is fantastic. I’m closing in!

Today I’m learning about diabetes, and I’m reminded just how preventable that disease is.

I’m loving that exercise is such a major factor in how likely you are to prevent or reverse its occurence.

I’m loving that I can now describe myself, most weeks, as being “active”.

I can’t tell you the satisfaction of yesterday doing a ride that killed me years ago — when I used to do a 20km shorter version of it, and tackling on an extra 10km on an already-50%-longer route for the hell of it because I had “more left in me”.

It’s with a great deal of smugness I can casually state what I’m capable of doing these days, when the opportunity to talk about it comes up — only because I know how hard I’ve tried to get here. I’m the one on the other side of painkillers, ice bags, chiropractor appointments, and everything else I’ve had to learn to use to my advantage as I suffer through the acrimony of Becoming UnFat. I’m the one on the other side of asthma.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what I want you to take from this, why I’m writing it. I guess I ultimately hope that anyone who’s out there who’s not fit or active can learn what it’s taken me a long time to work through — that you don’t need to remain who you are today, that exercise does hurt but it’s supposed to, and it’s in that struggle and pain and recovery that we become new, better, more confident people.

Even if you’re “skinny-fat”, inactivity kills people every day, and the lack of self-esteem from being inactive cripples people every single minute of every day.

My athletic accomplishments make me stronger in every single life experience I face, because I know the mental fatigue I can overcome, and the physical strength I’ve shown. I KNOW it now. I’ve proven it to myself.

It’s not about filling 30 minutes with walking because the doctor says to do so. It’s your opportunity to set a goal and kill it.

If you’re not huffing, puffing, sweating, and wheezing, then you’re simply not exercising hard enough — whether you’ve got 10 minutes to do it or an hour.

Leave everything on the floor, and you’ll know it.

And a few hours later, then a few weeks later, and then a few months later, you’re gonna increasingly love it.

Today, I’m recuperating a little. Soon, after a healthy meal, a healthy snack packed, and hydrating a little more, I’m off to ratchet up at least another 25 km today.

Come Tuesday morning, I want to feel like I won the Weekend Warrior challenge.

It’s the athletic version of the old saying “Why do I keep hitting myself in the head with a hammer? Well, ‘cos it feels so good when I stop.”

If you don’t know that feeling, isn’t it time you started?*

*The first 3 weeks will suck. The best antidote to stiffness and sore worked-out muscles is to do it all over again. Ice. Advil. Whatever the common prescriptions are for overcoming training, go for it. In a few weeks, they’ll not be necessary anymore. You, too, will be a fitness machine, grasshopper. If I could do it? SERIOUSLY, you can.

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Taking a Moment to Appreciate a Moment

It’s Friday morning. I should be leaving for work. Instead, I’m enjoying the dregs of a French press of black, black coffee, and smiling rather enigmatically as I appreciate the changing daylight as thin clouds waft in front of the sun, toying with the quality of light seeping past my linen curtains.

It is a fine, fine morning. For the first time in… I really can’t tell you how long — I feel better this morning than I did at the start of my work week. My back feels great, I’ve got energy, I’m happy, I’m looking forward to my day, and I’m relatively stress-free.

It’s been a long, long time.

So I’m smiling a lot. Big! Continue reading

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