Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Back on Track

I have been floundering.   Three years of my life were spent going to medical appointments and recuperating from knee and cancer surgeries.  I had to give up my volunteer activities and my physical activities, both of which have always helped to keep me centered.   After my last surgery in April I took some time to allow my body to heal.  By the beginning of summer it was pretty much healed and yet I was still being a slug.   I decided to consider my laziness as discernment time - trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the next chapter of my life given these factors:

  • I had semi retired so I had a lot more time off to do something else.  (well, in theory.  I find I am working home more than ever)

  • Volunteering had become a drag - mostly because I usually volunteer with the elderly and they kept dying, or having to move to greater care facilities.   And after having lost way too many friends in recent years, it was starting to get to me.  And in truth, I had become a little bit selfish about my time.

  • Backpacking dwindled as my hiking partner had family issues to address and, quite frankly, my body I had become quite weak and was seriously rebelling  against the rigors of mountain hiking or anything too physical.  

So summer ended and I was well into Fall and still not knowing what to do and becoming more and more of a slug and knowing I wasn't happy about it but still not being able to get myself going in any direction.

And then I talked with a life coach.  Yup, a person who makes a living telling you what to do with your life.  Or more accurately “guiding” you to those decisions.  And what did I learn?  I learned that talking to a life coach was a waste of time.  No, that’s not fair.  Talking to a life coach made me realize that she knew absolutely nothing about me and that no one knew better about my life than I did.  And so I forced myself to get off the couch and get back in the game.

  • I have been taking shorter but very scenic hikes locally. And I have now been spending more of my free time at the gym.  I have continued my weekly Body Pump class with my daughter and have progressed from whimpering for days afterward to actually increasing some of my weights.  I am still the oldest person in the class, by far, and my weight bar looks like a Q-Tip next to the others, but I can feel myself getting stronger.   And that is extremely important to me both mentally and physically.

  • After talking to the life coach, the very next email I received from the caregiver group I work with listed a woman who lived close to me and needed help with her weekly grocery shopping.  Okay, I could do that.  And I am so glad I did.  Ethel.  87 years young.  She has balance issues so she scares the crap out of me when she lets go of the shopping cart and teeters.   She is always waiting in her lobby for me to pick her.  Always gets in my car and starts asking if she has her glasses.  It becomes like a Burns and Allen routine.  “I think I left them in my purse.  Is my purse in your car?”  No.  “Well, never mind, I don’t need them.”  “Oh, wait, where is my purse?”  I don’t know.  Do you want me to go upstairs and look?   “No, no, I don’t need it.  I have my wallet in my pocket.”   “Wait, where’s my wallet?”  In your pocket?  “Oh, let me check.  Oh look, here are my glasses!”  And then she laughs.

          Same thing.  Every week.
She spends at least a half an hour picking out only organic fruits and vegetables and then another half hour in the chocolate aisle.  She buys a lot of chocolate and Nutella! and with a little playfulness in her voice she proclaims (every week) that she loves sweets.   (I think I am looking at my further self)  She has a fantastic sense of humor and laughs at herself most of all.    To me she is a gift from the universe.  

  • And I looked into taking class at our local community college.  There were a few that interested me, but only one at a convenient time - The history of witch trials in Europe.  Sounds cool, right?  Although I just looked up the tuition - it will cost $465 to take the class.  So, maybe it’s not that cool.  Maybe I’ll call and see if I can just audit it, for less.

Anyway, I do feel that I am finally getting myself back into satisfying, healthy activities.  And that is a very, very good thing.   


  1. LOL! That's kind of my feeling on life coaches, too. A friend of mine is going into that business, and I'm trying to be supportive, but my real reaction is 'meh'.

    It sounds to me like you have picked yourself up and rediscovered what you like. It's a version of what you were doing before, but it sounds very satisfying. And, Ethel? What a treasure! We should all age so well, eh?

    Keep being your beautiful self, 8. You are an inspiration.

  2. i have to put in my two cents about life coaches: anyone can say that's who they are and what they do. there is no license or certification requirement. i'm snobby about this because i have a background in counseling and career development and there is no doubt that there are skills involved in both!

    might be heading to stockbridge for a day of festivity in december. (wink). and writing an enthralling book, working on a research project (what the heck opportunities exist for physicians?) and now, as you know, thinking about gift and cookie making and the holidays. i force myself to the gym twice a week (hopefully) and i wish i were at the point where i craved going. (nope)

    i am glad to hear you are weighing and doing what why and where and how. what a difference it makes, eh?

    that course is way too expensive! check out adult ed programs in your town :^)


  3. Fortunately, I didn't pay for this life coach. It was a barter situation. But its funny how she did get me back on track by being kind of worthless : )

    kj - I am not sure anymore that being so deliberate about my life is such a good thing. It has been a necessity for me to function for a lot of years but I think I may be past that. Now I think a little spontaneity would be not so bad.

  4. Sounds like you are getting back into the swing of things and that is AWESOME! I loved your comments about the body pump class. I often feel like I'm the oldest in my work out classes as well. The important thing is that you are going and making progress and getting stronger with each workout. Way to go! And I think it is so great how you are helping out Ethel. She sounds like a hoot! 87 and still eats a lot of sweets - I say good for her! I'm betting you make her days a whole light brighter.

  5. Auditing a class sounds like a good option, if they'll let you. And good for you on the hiking - I always feel better after a walk outdoors, whether a neighborhood stroll or a hike in the mountains.

  6. I am impressed you are still in that fitness class! Awesome job. Ethel sounds like a stitch. It is nice to have options of what to do with your time.