Thursday, July 3, 2014

Stopping To Smell The Roses

Thanks to all of you who commented on my last post for your support!  I can report that my first week away from my old job is AMAZING.  It's definitely an adjustment and feels strange, but I also feel calmer than I have in a really long time.  Definitely no crazy numbness in my face, pounding heart or any of the other stress related nonsense that I've been dealing with.

The main great thing is that I'm back to being active again, since there is nothing standing in my way!  I've eased myself back into it in the sense that I am doing gentle activities to get my body back into the swing of things.  I haven't done much of anything since my half marathon in February, so I don't expect to jump back into my running routine and be like I was.  And honestly, I got really burned out on running and don't feel ready yet to get back into it, so I'm just doing things that are slow paced and relaxing, specifically yoga, walking, and a very guilty pleasure that I will divulge at the end of the post.

I really want to do the full 180 days of the Ultimate Yogi DVD set I have, but for now I've done the Yin Yoga DVD every day.  (Except I just realized I skipped today, whoops).  It is beyond relaxing, and it feels so good to start stretching my joints out again.  It also really helps my foot, which has started to bug me again since I stand for a long period of time in the tasting room.  If you've never tried Yin yoga you really should.  Basically it's the practice of holding poses 3-5 minutes at a time, and it really gets into and stretches the fascia.  It sounds easy, but it can be uncomfortable, and if you are one of those people who doesn't like to sit still, you will really hate it!  My main issue is trying to keep my mind from wandering and worrying about things, but I've gotten a better handle on that.

The walking this week has also been great.  I've been driving Molly to a nice, quiet neighborhood (in other words not MY neighborhood) and walking her.  The first day we went 1.6 miles and today we did 2.2 miles.  With Molly, the walks are definitely not power walks since she has to stop every 2 seconds to smell everything, or to randomly cross in front of me and almost trip me.  If you could picture a hummingbird on PCP, except the hummingbird is 66 pounds and on a leash that you're holding, that's what it's like to walk Molly, which is why I don't take her running with me!  The one nice thing about her dicking around so much on the walk is that it gives me a chance to really take in everything, especially the beautiful flowers that are all around us.

Hydrangea
 
A very pretty variety of clematis that I'd never seen before!

And of course, one MUST stop to smell the roses during a nice walk...


For those wondering why the distances we did were so odd, it was pretty much dependent on Molly and her energy levels.  People think of greyhounds as being crazy fast and energetic dogs, but in terms of their athletic abilities, they are sprinters with very short bursts of energy.  Typically the longest walks Molly gets (and even wants to go on) are a half mile.  The 2.2 mile walk we did today was the equivalent of a half marathon for her, and she was definitely feeling it towards the end so I was trying to be sensitive towards her.  I was getting a lot of sad looks, "I'm going to pretend sniffing this plant for three minutes is vitally important" stalling tactics, and desperate pulling towards the car once she was ready to go.  And of course once we got home there was quite a bit of dramatic sighing and insane sleeping positions, since mean old Mom took her on a death march.

In no way is she a drama queen AT ALL...

So my last activity and guiltiest pleasure involves a person I consider to be a national treasure, and that person is Richard Simmons.  Yep.  I said it.  I am fully aware how unhip and weird it makes me to admit to being a Richard Simmons fan in the year of 2014, but I don't care.  I love his crazy ass personality, his crazy hair, and his glittery fabulousness.  My heart filled with joy when he was on General Hospital (yes, continue to judge me), and I loved every minute of the crazy.  I love when he frightens David Letterman.  I am fearful that he will have a wardrobe malfunction involving his balls and the short shorts he wears, but I am at the same time fascinated that he has defied the laws of physics by NOT having a wardrobe malfunction.  Richard is a beautiful, glittery enigma.

Like most children of the 80's my mom owned a copy of all of the Sweatin' To The Oldies tapes, and she forced me to do them with her.  Of course I wanted to melt into the center of the Earth from embarrassment, but dutifully did the tapes with her.  Flashforward to a couple of months ago when I found myself ordering a DVD copy of STTO for whatever ungodly reason from Amazon, but it more than likely involved wine and "hey that sounds like a good idea".  I didn't do the DVD until this week, and I discovered that honestly?  It's kind of fun.

Let's make one thing clear.  I would rather be lit on fire than have anyone I know SEE me do Sweatin' To The Oldies.  I would rather my husband see me nude in a room of florescent lights than see me do it.  I am well aware of how silly and unhip it looks.  But admittedly, it's fun in a cheesy way.  It's pretty fast and wraps up in about 45 minutes, which makes it more appealing than some of these DVDs that are a freaking hour.  Most importantly I don't dread doing it.  Will you have a body like Jillian Michaels if you do Sweatin' To The Oldies?  Probably not, because it's really geared towards really heavy people and is really more about encouraging them to move.  It's not hardcore.  But that is kind of what makes it appealing.  Even when I just want to sit on the couch, I can still find the motivation to do the DVD since I know it will be over fast, and I can work up a light sweat without feeling like I'm going to die.  And I have found that doing it kind of pumps me up and makes me want to be more active.  Just yesterday I did yoga and a walk after doing STTO, because I felt energized just from being up and moving around.

And it's actually quite charming in a nostalgic 80's kind of way.  In this day and age of super produced HD exercise videos where everyone looks perfect, watching the hot mess of STTO in its very un-high definition glory kind of does it for me.  The people in it are far from perfect, in fact they are all shapes and sizes and 80's hair.  And can we just talk about this one chick who is in denim OVERALLS:


I mean, maybe I am projecting here since I chafe in jeans just walking around more than a block, but were denim overalls for working out ever considered a good idea?  Apparently the poor man's Cyndi Lauper thought so.  In fact, several of the people on the stage are either in jeans or normal outfits with belts.  I mean....how do you not love it?

And in "you won't see that in a modern workout video" news, a guy rides a motorcycle on stage during one of the songs.  Because you know, why not.  It was the 80's and I feel like some cocaine may have been involved during the brainstorming of that idea, but why not.


And of course the star of the show is Richard and those tiny candy cane colored shorts of his that are so short, you just hold your breath every time he does a kick since you're certain you're going to see a testicle.  And those are the times I'm thankful HD didn't exist.  (And fun fact, my mom and I used to totally hate on the hussy in the orange outfit because she totally showboats the whole time.)  I'm also amused at the other chick who kind of looks like Sally Ride since she looks utterly perplexed and like she wasn't fully aware what she was signing up for.


Now that you guys know my dark secret, I will sign off in shame.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happiness

So I last left you with a cryptic post talking about big changes that I couldn't get into, but would write about soon.  The time has come to level with everyone about what has been going on, which isn't going to be nearly as dramatic as you might think.  I quit my job.  Finally.  That is my news.

I've never said outright where I work(ed) here on the blog, and out of respect for my workplace and my own privacy I still am not going to say, but if you're a reader it's no secret that I have been quite unhappy for a very long time with my job.  When I first started here almost 9 years ago, my work environment was not like that at all.  In fact, it was fun, crazy and exciting to work here but the last two years have been nothing short of hell on Earth.  It turned from a place where we played hard and worked hard to something much more sinister, but it happened so slowly over a long period of time that I couldn't see just how toxic and dysfunctional things had gotten until this past winter.

You may remember, you may not, but I took a sabbatical starting back at the end of December.  I truly did not expect it to be as life changing as it was, I just thought it would give me a two and a half month break and finally save me from the burnout I have felt for so long.  Then in January my husband (who also worked at the same place) was laid off, and my world kind of came crashing down.  That layoff, combined with some BS things that had happened to me before I left, made me realize that the place I once loved and was so loyal to no longer felt the same way towards me.  After that, the sabbatical became this strange journey of "who the F am I and what do I want from life?"  I was faced with a lot of death (a friend's dog I was close to, a distant family member, two people close to Eric), and nothing will make you question your life like death can, especially when you realize that you could die tomorrow, but are living a life by putting a lot of effort towards something that makes you miserable.

Other things happened.  I changed, but I changed into the person I was when I was younger.  Energetic, passionate, creative, and patient with people.  I began to dream again.  I began to believe in myself, and to lose the fearfulness that has built up in me over the years.  I had no idea that these traits still existed in me, as crazy as that sounds.  I realized that sometimes, the thing that will make you the most happy can be the thing that is most inconvenient and frightening, but that the happiness is worth it.  I have stability and predictability here at work.  I know how much I will make.  I know how certain things operate.  But I also know that I come home in tears at least once a week, that I am angry, that I feel like a bad friend/wife/daughter/etc because I am so used up that I never have anything left to give anyone.  I know that I feel unhealthy physically and mentally, and that my love of being active has been squelched by the pressures of being here. Sometimes predictability ain't great.  Stability shouldn't come at the price of every single hobby you love, your family and your health.  What is the point in living if that's the price you pay?

When my sabbatical was up, I came back here and hacked it as long as I could.  99% of that was biding my time until Eric could find his dream job (which he did!!).  Unfortunately things were worse than when I left, and the pressures of working here doubled.  I began to have panic attacks, wake up with my heart feeling like it was going to explode, crying daily, feeling angry, and feeling numbness in my face.  I began having memory issues, balance issues, and issues keeping my emotions in check.  I got a health screen and my blood pressure was so off the charts that I had to go on medication.  My family has a history of heart issues, so this really was the final slap in the face and sign from the universe of "this is not your path in life".  I knew that I couldn't last here much longer, and thankfully circumstances worked out to where I could just give notice.  So I did.  I chose happiness.

I am not totally jobless though.  I started working at a winery on the weekends for a little extra cash, and realized how much I loved it, how simple it was, and how cut and dry it is.  In other words, the opposite of corporate life.  I am going to be picking up more hours there, and doing something I like doing.  I ain't going to get rich off of it, but I know the happiness I'm going to gain is going to outweigh it.  I can write a longer post about it eventually, but for right now, that's what's going on.

Today is my first day of not going to work, and it feels pretty freaking incredible.  I got up and did one of my Ultimate Yogi DVDs, ate a healthy breakfast, made plans for house projects, and I did it all with a clear head and heart.  I can't wait to get my life in order, as well as get my health in order.  I have sadly let my body go due to depression and stress from the job.  My weight hasn't climbed up that much, however, the muscle I gained from running and yoga has basically turned to flab, which has really changed the shape of my body and how my clothes fit.  It's not where I want to be, and I am not happy with it at all, but I finally feel so proud and happy that I took a huge step (admittedly a scary, shit my pants step) towards putting myself and my health first.  This does mean you'll be seeing me post, and you'll be seeing me actually getting "waisted", and I just couldn't be happier.  :)