My Leap List

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One Month Down

     January is one of the months I dislike the most, but this year I experienced every day of it outside.  I set four goals for the month to help me get to my 2017 resolutions.  I promised myself I would share with everyone to keep myself accountable.
     Goal 1 - Post 4 or more blog entries for my emotional health.  I posted a blog entry on my other blog about a book I read and tonight's reflection is the 3rd post on this blog for a total of four.
     Goal 2 - Read 5 books for my mental challenge.  I didn't quite make this goal.  I'm on book 5 now.  I am proud that I did lots more reading this month with 1, 451 pages.
     Goal 3 - My spiritual goal is to help others, so I started working on a baby gift for my friend, and volunteered to be part of the "Lock Up Your Teacher" fundraiser at work.  The kids raised over $1,600 to buy diapers for the babies in the women's shelter.
     Goal 4 - My physical goal is to get healthy and give up Pepsi.  I did surprisingly well for the exercise part since I hate exercising, but I am still struggling with giving up the soda.  My goal was to walk 50 miles in January and to walk every day in January.  I decided to only count intentional miles outside of work and other obligations even though that wasn't required.  I also decided to do it outside because I wanted to experience nature in the winter season I usually avoid.  I walked every day in January and ended up with 137 miles.  The January pin is for walking at least a mile every day in January.  I will continue walking toward my 2,017 goal throughout the year, and will keep trying to give up the Pepsi.  Funny I thought that would be the easier of the 2 health goals I made.
     I'm happy January is over and am excited for one of my favorite months to start.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else I can do in a month.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Beginnings

     Nick has been fighting anxiety for a long time.  Often it causes hallucinations and panic attacks that keep him from leaving the house.  When he was 10 his doctor told me he would probably become agorophobic and unable to leave the house.  We have seen many doctors and therapists and tried numerous kinds of medicine, but it hasn't helped much.  I wasn't even sure he would be able to graduate because even doing school online was too much for him to do each day.  He turns 18 in four months and that has added intensity to all of our decisions for him.
     Two weeks ago he went to his doctor for his regular appointment.  She decided that it was time to have a difficult conversation with him.  She told him that we need to face the idea that he may never be able to get a job to support himself and he may need to apply for disability.  However, to qualify later he would need to work eight quarters (2 years) to show that he had tried.  That was a hard thing for him to tell me, but he was brave in trying to face his reality.
     The next day Nick told me he was going to apply for a job at his school so he could start working towards having the two years he would need.  He went to his school, filled out an application, and got the job the next day.  This week he got a bank account, met with his counselor to find out what he needs to do to graduate in May, made a new plan to finish the requirements for school, and asked me to give him advice on doing well at work.  Tomorrow is his first day.  I am nervous, and excited, and proud of him for making a difficult decision to even try to do something that is so hard.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Walking a Year One Step at a Time

     I am not someone who loves exercise; I live too much in my head.  My doctor loves to tell me that my Fibromyalgia would be better if I exercise and lost weight, but working and finishing my doctorate were good excuses to keep me inside.
      That started to change 6 months ago when my friend Rachelle invited me to do a Diet Bet she was hosting.  It motivated me to start walking more than just once in a while.  I managed to walk 62 miles that month even though I didn't lose as much weight as I'd hoped.  The month ended and so did my motivation.  I only managed to walk 26 miles in August, 17 in September, 5 in October, and nothing in November.
      When my doctor told me in November that in addition to the Fibro, I'm now getting Diabetes, I knew that something needed to change.  I signed up for a virtual challenge to do 50 miles in December figuring if I could do 50 miles in a cold dark month, I could do anything.  It was tough, but thanks to a week off for the holidays, I did it.  All that walking gave me lots of time to reflect on some hard truths about myself.  I realized that I do better if I have a goal to work towards and someone to keep me accountable.  I didn't want to stop walking and find myself in the same place six months from now realizing that I had let everything slide again.  So Mandy and I decided we would make a goal to walk 50 miles every month of the year, but I was worried that would be like so many resolutions that I start with a bang and fizzle out by the end of January.
      For some reason Facebook posted an ad for a challenge called Run the Year 2017.  I told myself that was a ridiculous goal, but something made me go back and look at it again.  When I saw that you could split it up any way you wanted to with up to 4 people, I decided that would be just what I needed.  I was right.  The group is full of all kinds of people with all kinds of goals working on improving themselves.  Some are marathoners, others are people with major health problems, and some are doing this challenge with babes in arms.  I met Jim in this group.  He is a veteran, trying to kick a life-long smoking habit, and recovering from a heart attack a few months ago.  I was thrilled to have him join my team with Mandy.
     The group has side challenges each month that are optional.  January's is to do a mile a day so your body gets in the habit of moving.  There were many nights I would get home late from work exhausted and want to do anything but go back out in the cold and dark, but one or both of my kids would go, "Come on, mom - you can do this," and off we'd go to get at least a mile in for the challenge.  It also helps to have the Run the Year group.  I'll get up on Saturday morning wanting to do anything but go out walking, and I will see a person in my group with brain cancer who had surgery a week ago who is back at it, or the mom running with a baby in a stroller with her cute toddler running next to her, or any of the other thousands of people sharing their challenges and successes, and I start lacing up my shoes.
      I had no goal this month other than to try and get my fifty miles I set for myself and try and do at least a mile a day, but everyone's motivation kept me inspired to do more until I walked 100 miles in 22 days - a personal lifetime record.
     It has been incredibly hard.  Walking on a fallen arch has given me tendonitis in my ankle and leg,and huge blisters where my arch should be.  I had a soft tissue injury in my knee that kept me from racing at Disneyland.  I've walked though knee high snow, slipped and fell on ice a few times, stepped in snow puddles that left my feet soaking wet with miles still to go, been chased by a dog, and pushed into blinding sleet to get those miles in.
     But it has also been an incredible blessing.  While I could have gone somewhere to walk the miles inside, I have loved reconnecting with nature.  I am seeing winter for the first time - from gentle sunsets, to sparkling snow, to hundreds of birds eating the berries I never appreciated, to the hushed solitude after the snow falls, to the kids playing in the snow.  I am also loving the extra time with Mandy and Nick when they come with me.  I've gotten to know them on a deeper level and appreciate what motivates them and how they motivate me.  When they aren't there, I enjoy the quiet reflection that comes when I have nothing to distract me.  These are gifts I would not have if I hadn't been blessed with the coincidence that is never a coincidence and found the exact thing that would help me get to today.  Today I celebrate 100 hard won miles.  Tomorrow starts the first step to 200.  After all, there are 2,017 miles in my year and I'm excited to live every one of them.