Exercise and New Year’s resolutions…

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“Exercise is a dirty word.  Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”  ~Author Unknown

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Not because I am afraid of commitment (well, that all depends on the commitment – ha ha!). My personal feeling is that I have all year to resolve to better myself, and that was exactly what I did last year.

Deciding to become healthier, I started buying more organic foods, used less cleaning chemicals, tried gardening, made my own natural toiletries, and I quit smoking (okay, I will admit one or two puffs on an organic cigarette in the course of a year, but hey, not bad considering the almost pack-a-day habit of last year.)

Well, what happens when one quits smoking? Metabolism changes, and sometimes snacking becomes the new smoking. Someone told me to expect a 25-pound weight gain.

Well, call me stupid, but I am thinking that putting on that much weight in one year isn’t much healthier than smoking.

But I persevered, didn’t smoke, put on enough weight to make me cry and want to throw things and even blog about being blue over not finding jeans that fit! (Remember this? httpssss://lynnecobb.com/2012/08/18/dressing-rooms-blue-jeans-and-a-midlife-crisis/ )

Of course, my dear husband (and any of my children who were in earshot) listened to my rants.

Now, over the course of almost 30 years, my husband, who is also a soldier, told me that the cure for all ills is exercise. For example, I might say, “I’m freezing.” His response will always be, “Do push-ups.” Or, me, “I’m tired,” and he’d say, “exercise.” And me, someone who thinks sweating is gross, rolled my eyes. Every. Single. Time.

So, as I saw I was getting a little pudgy and flipping out over it, I decided that maybe my soldier is correct.

So, I started walking. Success.

Then, I started biking. Success.

My bike is a retro-looking one speed. I call it a “me speed.” It goes as fast as I can go. It goes up hills, dependent upon – me. And the first few hills this I tried, well, let’s just say I walked my bike. Then one day, I made it up the hill.

I was hooked. On exercise. The thing I detested most.

Well, not hooked enough to ride my bike in the winter in Michigan. So, in the fall, I started floor exercises. I can now do over 35 crunches, and lots of tilts and even three Army regulation push-ups.

Success!

I am a machine!

So when my 15-year-old daughter, who is on the cheer team, told me she did side planks, I was curious.

And I Googled “side plank.” Good for strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Well, looking at that photo, I knew I could do that. Lay on my side, feet together. Elbow bent. Support my body weight. Feel the burn. Yeah, not the good “no pain, no gain” burn. Ow.

Success – no.

There are somethings a personal trainer should show you. Exercises are one of them.

Needless to say, I have been pampering my strained arm for four days. Writers type, and at the moment, typing can be very painful. Lucky for me, essential oil of peppermint is awesome at alleviating pain 🙂 And it is organic!

And dark chocolate is a great antioxidant, and releases good endorphins, which help manage pain.

I just hope this arm heals soon, because I want to exercise again. Yikes, did I say that? I did say that! I want to exercise again. Because you know that average 25 pound weight gain? Not only did I avoid that, I am down to my “smoking days” weight. And I feel better when I exercise.

So, needless to say, in this New Year, I have resolved to rethink my adversity to resolutions. And I resolve to consult with a certified trainer for exercises that are unfamiliar. Or at least consult with one when those exercises look “easy” on Google images

PS – laughter is a good pain medicine, too 🙂

Do you have any exercise “fail” stories you are willing to share?

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Bruised bumpers and the Blues

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  – Sophia Loren

A few events over the past week brought me to this “A-ha!” moment: With age comes wisdom.

Heading to lunch with my husband, I was busy reading email on my phone when a huge thud jarred me: figuratively and literally. Some debris, either from the car in front of us – or kicked up by said car – walloped our front bumper. Talk about being shaken.

It was then I realized that my calmness, as well as my husband’s, was a sign of the times. In our younger days, we would’ve been madder than a wet hen at the young driver. She was completely oblivious to the fact that either she hit something or lost a large part of her car. With her tiny dog in her lap, I noticed the dents and dings in her car. She was completely unphased, and we couldn’t get her attention – as hard as we tried – to let her know what happened.

I didn’t even think to yell or scream at her. Maybe I envisioned one of my own children, having car trouble that could cause a major incident, and hoping that an encounter with another driver would be educational and not dangerous. Even when we reached our destination and looked at the damage, we were both surprisingly calm. Back in the day, not only would we rant and rave, we’d wring our hands and wonder how we’d pay for this mess, that was no fault of our own. Instead, we were thankful it didn’t break the light-housing or come flying through the windshield, which would surely caused injury to one or both of us.

With age comes wisdom.

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to attend an art gallery opening. The featured artist, whom we never met, is the husband of a colleague and friend of mine. She and I chat several times a week online and meet for coffee when we can. To be able to see her husband’s incredible art was a moment in our lives that we felt truly blessed to be able to share – alongside them and many others.

Exactly a week later, we had another great opportunity. Our neighbor and friend has been in the fight of her life. Diagnosed with a very aggressive, late-stage form of breast cancer, this woman has been a courageous inspiration for many. And just as it seemed that surgery, chemo and radiation had done their job, the bad news came. This fighter now had to face even more extensive surgery, just as she thought she had gotten back to her life. After six weeks of healing, doctor appointments and rest, this trooper was on back stage last night. And we were in awe. I firmly believe that The Blues were written for her to sing. Confident, smiling and blowing us away, she beat the crap out her cancer, and we were there to watch her comeback gig – completely in awe of her amazing talent. Who knew that this tiny little powerhouse could sing?!

But the most amazing thing happened after both of these events – and it was the humbled response of these artists. While we were so thankful for being invited to share in one of the most memorable moments of their lives, they thanked us for attending!

Hmmm…I think I am beginning to get it.

With age comes wisdom.

Back in the day, when I was a younger woman and desperately trying to seek fame and fortune through my writing, my focus was completely wrong. Please don’t take this as a judgement call, but in our twenties, many of us embraced our gifts as “ours.” We didn’t share – we had what I will call an arrogant talent. What will my talent get me? Some of us foolishly pitched that gift when it didn’t bring us the income or fame we thought it should.

Additionally, some of us shelved that talent when we started having families and felt pursuing a dream was a waste of time when there were kids to raise and an income to earn.

But as we got closer to or reached that half-century mark, the talent that was buried for various reasons began to sprout back to life. Maybe because we now have more time to nurture it, but maybe, I think, we have just come to realize how important that gift is.

We realize how fast time is ticking. I think, too, that we become confident in our place in life. Maybe we are a little less shy in sharing certain aspects of our lives.  Seeing that life has smacked all of us around by the time we hit this age makes us more humbled for sure, and most often, kinder to others. We have felt the sting of loss;  whether it was a job, a house, a loved one, or health. We embrace good news, and to celebrate accomplishments and talents of those around gives us time to pause from the mundane and experience joy.

We also change our attitudes when it comes to our talents. Instead of wondering what we get from it, we are more concerned about what others get from it. Our motives don’t revolve around making it big – they revolve around making a difference.

Will Doug’s gift of art inspire someone to experience the smell of paint and the feel of a brush meeting canvas? Will Annie’s gifted voice inspire someone to sing, take a dance class or play piano? Most likely, yes. But the biggest gift of all came from these artists sharing themselves – putting themselves out there for all to see. To bare their souls, not because they are awesome (which they are), but because of their choice to share their gifts with others.

God has graciously gifted everyone. Some have the gift of art, music, photography and such. Others have the gift of service; some have the gift of teaching. Still others can build and repair anything. Then there are others that can turn ordinary grocery items into the most extraordinary meals. Or grow beautiful flowers and delicious produce.

Our gifts are endless.

No one could have ever convinced me that going into decade number five would be one of the best times in my life. And, admittedly, there are days I long to be in my twenties again. (Sometimes it is because I long to see myself minus the little wrinkles forming around my eyes, or so I can wear short shorts because I’m not sporting these awesome varicose veins!) Seriously, though, revisiting my twenties is more because of my want to go back in time and smack that twenty-something me in the head, then bestow upon her all this wealth and knowledge and insight that I have today.

With age comes wisdom.

Here’s to settling down and not flying off the handle over the little things in life. Here’s to enjoying your older, wiser self. Here’s to sharing with others. And if you are burying that talent, unearth it today. I double dog-dare you to share that God-given gift of yours with others. In doing so, you will experience a joy that can’t be described.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

A quick note to say thanks…

 

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.  ~Author Unknown

Just taking a quick moment to thank you all so very much for your support. As many of you know, I am relatively new to blogging. The fact that people are reading and responding to my posts is not only humbling but truly rewarding. The past few days I have received so many wonderful comments. Your “likes,” comments, personal notes and constructive suggestions are keeping me motivated.

There have been many changes in my life in the past few years, some good and some not-so-good. Transitioning from print media to other career ventures is just one of the changes and challenges! Personal changes, such as my dad’s struggle (and then his death) from Alzheimer’s; friends dealing with health challenges – both their own and that of their parents’ or children – and then losing friends way too soon have made for the more challenging times.

But the good has totally outweighed the bad. Had not these challenges been laid before me, my faith in God wouldn’t be where it is today. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now – writing. I wouldn’t have met new friends. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reunite with old friends, create stronger bonds within my own family or leaned on my dear friends for strength.

I would not have gained an attitude of gratitude.

Again, I say from my heart – thank you.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb