It’s Good to be Alive


Another year passes.  Some people take off their birthday, but when it hits in the week, I see no point in that.  I had some friends over on Saturday.  We drank some good liquor, had some tasty nom noms, and I got to have a laid back evening.  My friends know me so well – I wasn’t expecting gifts, but I got some chainmaille earrings (squee!), cask strength Maker’s Mark, single barrel Evan Williams bourbon, vodka from Russia, a cool cat necklace, and flowers.  It feels good to be loved by my friends.  I don’t know if they know how much they mean to me, but I am blessed.

Tonight I just have the girls.  They are so fun, getting so big.  They make me laugh all the time.  And I’m watching one of my favorite movies, Contact.  Certain stories touch us, bring us in tune with our inner self – this one is one that resonates with me.

I do love my life, but wonder still how I can make a difference.  I am still in Grihastha, the householder stage.   I have responsibilities, including giving my kids lots of love and teaching them how to the best humans they can–at least as best as I can teach it.  But it doesn’t feel enough.  I am restless underneath it all.  There are reasons why I am where am, but what do you do when you’re just a little blood cell in a large body?  Just carry your oxygen to and fro, day after day?

I was 15 or so when “A Brief History of Time” was published.  It rocked my world.  I think I read that book with tears running down because it was so beautiful to have my mind opened.  That the world was not as grey and as dull as I had imagined.  I wanted to do that – learn that, expand upon it.  But I went to a school with a lot of bright students, brighter than me.  My classmates went to Harvard and Yale and MIT, but during those years my depression was so bad I didn’t have the faith that I could be like that.  I did apply to MIT, though I was rejected.  I picked my battles and for me, it was getting better.  You can’t do squat for the world when you’re miserable all the time and just trying to put one foot in front of the other.

And here I am, with my suburban life.  The kids and the ex-marriage and a good job.  It’s actually a great job for me, because it keeps me growing and it’s a good place for me now.  I have little to complain about.  And perhaps there are parallel versions of me in parallel universes, different marriages, different divorces, different kids–the reality where I died and the reality where I got my shit together 10 years earlier.

But if there is love for yourself, and love for your kids, and love for your family and friends, how does it spiral out from there?  We have so much work to do to get past racism and xenophobia – but what if our baseline was love for all humans?  Where would we go from there?  Love for animals, love of our planet as a holistic organism rather than a disposable vessel for our lives?  But to see space, to see the galaxies – I cannot put into words the feeling I have in my soul when I think about that.  And if it’s a thought in my head, and a thought in other people’s heads, and we get past this crazy teenage age of humanity where we might just kill our entire species in acts of stupidity – it’s neat to think that we might be able to attain that.

So perhaps, as the kids get older and my responsibilities towards other people get less, I should look into that.  How can I help that effort, an effort that will take generations?  I guess I should be reading some Elon Musk.

Getting Mad and Fitting in my Pants

No pic today.  I would add a pic of the hill at Elver Park, but when I go there to train, my phone is the last thing on my mind.

Every year, I like to bring in the turning of the time with a new theme, and this year I chose Stewardship.  There have been quite a few things that I haven’t been paying as much attention to, and so this year is all about cleaning up the loose ends and taking care of the assets I already have.  I usually start with the Chinese New Year, as it allows me to use January as my planning month.  It can be about work, about home, about myself, but I usually align each month to my yearly theme.  Each month has had a different sub-theme, and this is kind of how it’s gone down:

February:  Papers, Filing, Organization, Taxes

March: Paying off Debts, Starting Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover

April: Hot Yoga, Dating

May: Dating (cont.), Bootcamp

June: Bootcamp

Ahh, the bootcamp thing.  Generally speaking, I eat fairly healthy and I take care of my body.  But lately, I’ve been slacking off.  So much so that many of my favorite pants are tight–muffintop tight.  I don’t like that for two reasons.  First, I have this weird tactile thing where I like form fitting clothes. Maybe it’s from reading too much X-Men and other comics, or maybe I’ve just always liked constriction–but I like the yoga pants, the tank tops, spandex in general.  I try to keep my proclivities from being too obvious, but I still love catsuits, Spanx, and those kinds of fabrics are not forgiving.

The second reason is that I have a certain percentage of Scottishness.  Apart from my 25% English, my 7% Cheap Scottish Bastard genes comes up occasionally, and it has to do with buying new things.  I don’t wanna buy new clothes.  I especially don’t want to buy new pants in a larger size.  The Cheap Scottish Bastard in me refuses!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a 42 Day Bootcamp Challenge.  Mostly so I can fit (nicely) into the jeans I already own.  It has been brutal.  Man, I really let myself go and I’m so mad at myself.  The thing is, it’s not just about getting up at 5:00 and working out at Elver Park (including sprinting up that hill for multiple rounds).  It’s also about the food I eat, the portion sizes, the sleep I get, the amount of water I drink, all the while accepting where I am but still reaching for a better level.  It has been somewhat exhausting and I have been rather grumpy.

But I’m finally starting to come to an equilibrium in Week 3.  Not that it isn’t still tough.  I haven’t yet sprinted up the hill at Elver Park in one go.  But when I can’t run anymore, I walk, doggedly, knowing that sometime I will be strong enough if I just keep going.  My weight has gone down a bit–my volume is actually my primary focus but weight is quick barometer of progress, so that has been kind of nice.  And lots of logging into MyFitnessPal to keep me on track, along with a big bottle of Sriracha.  Hot sauce makes things more tasty with less calories than other things.  My new favorite in the morning is scrambled eggs and spinach with a generous dollop of Sriracha.

So I practice being healthy in a sustainable way, and we’ll see where I am at the end of 6 weeks.