You’re Not Always Gonna Crush It

About 2 years ago, i was crushin’ it. I had 15 months of sobriety, was sticking to a hiking program and planning for a through hike, had quit smoking for 5 months had paid off most of my debt, bought a house, and had my creative ventures in order and thriving. I made it to one year of being purposely single, had a couple thousand in savings, and had lost 15 pounds. It was a lot. It was a heady experience, and not the first time i’ve been in similar situations.

Then in May of 2020, things started going a very different way. The pandemic was upon us. I was getting very discouraged about my aging and had suffered through a few rejections from men ( nothing serious but they added to my decreasing self esteem). A venue i had had for creative endeavors fell flat on its face due to a miscommunication and the collateral damage from that. I started smoking again, stopped hiking, started eating unhealthy, and started a new relationship in which my new partner ( although a fantastic person and a great match , even now) was a drinker, so naturally i started testing the “moderation” waters again. I was still paying my bills but savings dwindled as my new home required some updates and repairs. I was not riding that wonderful wave anymore. This lasted for about 6 months and i realized where it was headed. Once again i dived into fixing everything.

Then 2 months later i landed in the hospital with stress related heart issues. Once again, my world turned upside down as i struggled to regain balance – financially, health-wise and mentally. My depression , which had been mild to moderate for about 9 months, took a steep dive in severity.I struggled for 4 more months until i finally got my head above water and since June of this year, have been doing well in all areas.

I am at the gym 4-5 days a week and making great gains. I just got a newer car, upgraded an 8 year old cell phone, and am refinancing my house to save some money over the long haul.I have paid off several credit cards and made some home updates and repairs. My relationship is excellent and i couldn’t be happier. I rarely drink because i have better things to do and when i do, i am harshly reminded that it puts a damper on any progress i have made or want to make ( i.e. a hangover can make me not feel like getting to the gym, just going to work seems daunting, and i lose all motivation to create art and this can last up to 3 days.- That’s # days of LOST TIME and progress!)

I still do dreaded chores and errands. I still pay bills. I still sometimes lose sleep. I am sore, I am tired. But i keep going.

My point is that life has its ups and downs. As Forrest Gump’s unintentional motto says- “Shit Happens”. And when it does, it is not how you handle it at the moment, it’s how you look ahead to prevent as much of it from happening again in the future that matters. Use it to learn from. For example:

Because of the hospitalization, i added about 5 waiver plans to my health insurance- including disability insurance. This way, at least i will get 80% of my wages if i am off work for any medical reasons.

Because i struggled to meet mortgage payments for a few months, i decided getting out of an FHA loan and into a conventional was not only feasible but smart. i will save about 120/mo with a better interest rate and when i go to refi in the future i have even better rates and options to choose from.

Because my health came into sharp focus from the hospitalization, i committed more fully to lifting weights- something i enjoy much more than hiking, and so, more likely to continue. Seeing visual progress is a huge motivator, and i just wasn’t seeing much from walking and yoga, personally.The side benefit is feeling better about my appearance, and less depression/anxiety!

My phone had been on the decline for awhile. Ironically, one of those times i was drinking, something spilled on it and made the buttons start sticking so bad i knew an upgrade was imminent. With my upgrade, i have more options -i can download helpful apps, not worry about discharging all the time from an old battery, and this time i added a protection plan in case of damage for only $8 extra /month with a $75 deductible- well worth it.

Things happen for a reason.And in hind sight, all of the those things led me to a better place- eventually. Had i given in to despair, or accepted that i would never get my life in order again- i would be worse off than ever before.But i kept grinding away, day after boring, depressing day- because that’s what it takes.

You won’t always be “crushin’ it”.And indeed you may feel like you’re just being crushed instead. But keep going.

If you aren’t seeing results- keep going.

If you are frustrated and depressed- keep going.

If you are exhausted- keep going.

When everything seems to be falling apart- keep going.

Don’t stop. The sun will shine again. The clouds will come again. But strength is developed through how we handle our adversity.Trust in the process!


Somebody That I Used to Be..

“From the lavender surf rolling in while i laze about in my robe, to the soft sandy carpet my feet play with while lounging with a book – what is there not to love about the beach?…. as i drank coffee from the balcony, my first view pure pleasure of began with the sunrise…..a large school of dolphins came swimming & playfully jumping through the waves – closer to the shore than even (the kayaker)! i have NEVER seen definite dolphins from my house down here. I watched with awe & glee , delighting in their absolute loveliness. A second school went by a few minutes later.When i was more sufficiently dressed, i walked the whole two minutes to the pier and paid the dollar to walk it. Fishermen littered the edges, along with coolers and i listened to their local dialect discussing their craft. Today i hope to amble around on the juicy icing -like fingers of the sea.”

These are some combined excerpts and a photo from my other private blog which i have been keeping since 2008. Once in a while i go back to some random year and read the post correlating to the date/year i am currently in.This is the one from September 2009. Yes, i used to be this person.

I often mourn for the relaxed , seemingly Zen person of the 10 years i spent in a stable, married life.And although it would be nice to re-visit for a day, I know i must have been more stressed in other ways than i was able to write about at that time. After all, i gave up everything to leave the situation. A big beautiful house, more money than i needed, a regular schedule, a middle class lifestyle and ( god love us all when we ruminate like this) a more youthful /healthy body and appearance.

I know better. I know that i will never be that person again. And that i need to embrace who i am now- love myself for who i am now and all of the things i have survived and accomplished since then. Love even the lessons i have learned. Be grateful for all of it.

But sometimes it is nice to look back, if only for a fleeting moment and recall the past….for our history is what makes us who we are today, and despite all of the mistakes, wrong turns, scars and other experiences- there is no one like ME. I am formed and sculpted , chiseled and wonderfully created.


The Pitfalls of BodyBuilding

Yes, i go to the gym, and this has been of tremendous value to me as far as feeling better about myself and helping with chronic pain, stress, and the awful depression/anxiety cycle i was on. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t pit falls.I am training like a bodybuilder yet have not decided whether i’ll compete or not. I still suffer with lots of acute pain from the workouts and sometimes once i get home, it is all i can do to go about the rest of the evening . I hobble in the door, pack my lunch, do whatever chores i can manage, then go lay in bed on a heat pad with my shiatzu massager off & on until i have to leave for work, stretching at intervals. The 45 minute- 1 hour drive can be excruciating- not every day, but on most days, even sitting is painful.

Some of this is also due to DOMS( delayed onset muscle soreness) from the work out the day before.Doing workouts with DOMS is like layering the pain. I recently discovered i suffer from restless leg syndrome as well. I never realized what those horrible shooting pains were from–the ones that feel almost like a terrible tickle sensation but are only relieved by more moving/walking. They come and go and last as long as they want.

I have also recently learned about another condition called Rhabdomyolosis- which explains some of the symptoms i have had on occasion. It is most common with athletes and those who work in extremes- like firefighters.Pushing too hard can be a bad thing.

On top of this, eating lots of protein can be pretty tough on the body. It means your body is working harder to burn calories than the usual carb calories.I usually am fine with my first meal of the day – normally salmon or chicken breast with veggies & rice-and then waiting an hour to go work out.I do feel kind of full but expending energy at the gym helps. When i get home i drink a protein shake.I feel bloated some days and it gives me excessive gas ( which just smells awful ) but other times i deal with nausea / indigestion/ abdominal cramps. Gas x , Tums, and a heat pad can be my favorite things . Before work, if i can manage it, i try to eat another snack-usually yogurt . Then at work it is usually a salad or more salmon/chicken or beef with veggies and rice, cottage cheese, and a protein bar at the very least. Lots of calories, lots of protein is not for the faint of heart.

At work , i don’t have much in the way of physical labor usually but the down side is i wind up sitting in a chair all night, trying to stay awake. Not sure how many of you reading know this , but sitting for extended periods can be more painful than an active job. Yes, i do take regular stretch breaks and walk around a little, but there isn’t much space to walk in. Then comes the dreaded 1 hour drive home. Still , i cannot imagine having a manual labor job and trying to do all of this.Those people are genuine super heroes.

Another part of bodybuilding that many outside the sport don’t really understand is the mental part of the bulking phase.Many women who start out tend to desire a lean athletic look right away and are unwilling to carry the extra weight needed for energy to build muscle. A spare tire and over all body fat actually increases and may have to remain this way for 1-3 years before “shredding” to see the muscle underneath. It can be pretty depressing unless you have the correct mindset. This is why trainers become so important, especially if one does decide to compete( and not everyone does). They can seriously help to manage your diet, lifting and provide much emotional/mental support when you are exhausted from everything and feel like giving up.They can be expensive, but a good one is worth it.I will be using one at some point, though i have a great amount of knowledge and experience already, even professionals have trainers.

The bottom line is, when you are an A personality like me, it is easy to push your limits. I am re-learning mine. I have to watch myself.I need extra sleep whenever i can get it.I need to watch my fat intake because i tend to eat too much of it and this can lead to chronic fatigue.I forget to drink enough water and drink too much coffee.I get stressed out over not making gains.

I think most people go to the gym for toning, losing weight, and trying to feel better/healthier. If that’s you- stay away from body building. It’s a whole different animal.Yes, it can help with all those things over time, but they aren’t the goals.

Just wanted to share.


We All have the Same “Time” to Commit

While browsing through one of my favorite youtube subscription channels for bodybuilding, I recently stumbled upon a musician who writes music geared toward accomplishing goals. At least, that is the best way i can describe it. It is motivational, empowering and inspiring . The artist and his wife are also bodybuilders. The music itself is a combination of heavy metal hip hop-perfect for working out . It’s an obvious win-win for me.

One of my favorite lyrics in a song he wrote is “We all got the same hours in a day. We all got the same time to commit”. This, along with many others, hit me square in the face.In fact, i find myself saying many of his phrases like mantras as i go about my day- encouraging myself to ‘Git ‘er done’.

Like most things I do ( art, writing, budgeting, working on nutritional goals, to name a few) bodybuilding takes practice, time, energy and commitment. It doesn’t happen over night. You don’t just “land in it.” Success takes patience, perseverance, and determination. You set goals , keep at it, and over time, you get results.

Of course this phrase tends to strikes a chord in many. It is often argued with:

” That’s just not true, i work “___” amount of hours every day”

“What about those with young children?They have less time for themselves”

“I am ( disabled/ old/ diabetic/ overweight/ chronically ill/ insert your own )- i have less time because of dealing with these issues.”

“I work night shift/ swing shift/ 3 jobs/ in a stressful feild/ insert your own…i dont have the energy or the same amount of time as some others”

“I wasnt born wealthy, i can’t afford to commit the same amount of time as some people”


While all of these reasons are somewhat legit, the problem with the argument remains. We all have 24 hours in a day. What you do with it actually your “choice”.We have the same “time” to commit to what kind of life we are going to have and what kind of life we want to have.

Granted, your obstacles many differ from your neighbors, your favorite celebrity, a famous athlete, or your friends. But bottom line- the hours in a day do not change for any of us.

And chances are, most of these”other” people spent a great deal of time getting where they are. There were hours and hours of practice. There were days/weeks/months of sacrifice. There were mistakes. There were 3 steps forward, two steps back. There was an exchange of personal pleasure for personal effort. On many days, it was harder than hell.

I am so glad I am always finding these inspirational people and stories. They help to remind me that my goals will not be easy to attain, but they will be worth it.

But most of all they help me to keep going.


p.s. please feel free to enjoy this bird:)

A recent piece i did titled ” Saving for a Rainy Day”

Build the Ark?It isn’t just Literal..

ahh, flash flooding.

It seems like it’s been raining and flooding the whole month of August here where i live- causing many problems for many folks. From water damage to their homes to getting caught up in moving water on the roadways to not being able to get to work, it’s truly a stressful time. All i can say is i feel bad for those in Louisiana, California , and other areas affected in much more drastic ways.

At the moment, i am waiting in stress mode – listening to unrelenting rain and wind outside- a possible 3-7 inches with my phone buzzing constantly with severe weather warnings. I know i have to try to get to work tonight but have no idea if i will be able to make it.

On a positive note, a large amount debt that was put on my credit report in error from the ex husband ( divorced in 2013) should be removed shortly. Thank goodness . I got the green light from my mortgage lender to trade in my car and get a new one as long as that is gone and i don’t go crazy in new payments. He says it won’t matter if it’s a “lateral ” move.Not planning on getting a Lamborghini, so should be okay. The new refi will get me out of an FHA into a conventional one and save me 120/month.That is good news. But it will add back on the 1 1/2 years i’ve paid in so far- back up to 30 years. The plan is, though, to keep my payments the same by using extra toward principle each month which will pay off loan in 22 years. I still plan on refinancing to lower rates and terms if possible in the future as i am of retirement age in 13 years. Will be watching the market closely.

So, although i wont literally be building an ark ( as fun as that may sound-not!) i am building my financial ark( a.k.a. planning and setting goals).As i express often on here, it takes determination and a strong mindset to refrain from making potentially dangerous choices. Thank goodness, i have learned my lessons and have the discipline not to give in to impulse.I have kept the same vehicle for 6 years now ( i got it used), the same cell phone for 7 years, kept the same job ( although i switched agencies last January to get the insurance and PTO benefits i did not have to switch cases) and have kept my credit balances paid off or make extra payments faithfully.I don’t eat out or spend on frivolous items. I keep a written budget that i stick to and check weekly. I upgrade my home as i can but make sure all my bills are paid on time before i buy anything extra – and usually anything extra i get is well under my budget for the month- putting most into savings or paying down debt. Yeah, it sucks to not have what i want. Yeah , it sucks that life can monotonous at times- but in the end, it’s well worth it to know i won’t have to stress (as much) during emergencies. Eyes on the prize , as they say.

But the biggest factor in all of this is making smarter choices in my lifestyle on the whole. I eat healthier than most, spend way less on food since i prepare and freeze home made bulk meals ahead. I wont say “never”- but very rarely drink alcohol and never use recreational drugs. I keep a check on my emotions and health-attending to self care- especially during times of crisis when i need to focus .I cannot stress enough how important these things are. They come into play in a big way when other things start to unravel. It’s all about survival.

I don’t say any of this to brag. God knows, i have made my share of mistakes. I am not perfect –not even close! But i do the best i can and hope that someone hears me when i try to pass on the wee bit of wisdom i have learned so far in this lifetime.

It’s dangerous out there. Stay as safe as possible. And if/when you start to build your own ark, make sure you don’t forget to pray.