I love my little house but at nearly six feet tall by the time I roll out my yoga mat, I’m bumping into furniture or walls in every room.
The one exception is my kitchen.
That said, besides whipping up delicious meals (and the occasional dance party) my kitchen serves as my yoga studio. I can close doors to keep Tipper and Biscotti (my curious cats) at bay. It also means I vacuum and wet-jet swiffer the floor every time (out of respect for my yoga mat). It’s worked well but between the cleaning and then my 40-45 minute routine, I don’t make the time for yoga as much as I’d like.
Seeing these yoga moves that can be done in bed made me realize that if I prioritize my practice I can fit in a form of yoga every day.
The BUGS (Blogging University Graduates) bi-weekly prompt is to track our 2015 New Year’s Resolutions at mid-year.
FILING: Starting after the New Year, I combed and sorted through countless boxes, piles and bags of paperwork that have accumulated for more years than I’m willing to admit. A supposed “priority” upon retiring in 2014 – until I committed to “just do it” in 2015, it seemed overwhelming. Once started I nearly burned up our shredder, found things that were important (and ridiculous) even discovering a little black velvet drawstring bag of quarters ($20). For someone who is a control freak, this felt out of control but once completed, I felt euphoric.
MOVING MOM: Not a resolution per se, but a significant commitment for three weeks in March was flying to Florida, helping Mom pack up her home of 26 years and share the drive north to her new home in Michigan. Having my MacBook in tow and the blog established, I chronicled this in my 20 part series called “Moving Mom” (I’d be honored if you wish to check it out). It was a once-in-a- lifetime experience and I’m glad I documented it since in the moment, it was a blur of activity. What could have been contentious and stressful was in fact exhausting but a bonding experience unlike anything I can imagine. I’m so glad we took that journey together.
NEW BED AT LAST: I bought a bed after at least six years of bitching about my too soft bed. Procrastination and misconceptions had kept me from even starting the process, prolonging my insomnia, aches and pains. In my series “59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Twenty” I wrote about this experience. What I learned is “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I’m grateful I took a rainy day with nothing on the agenda and DID IT ALREADY.
FIND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH SOLUTIONS: I finally sought out alternative treatments for my aches and pains after realizing that pain meds were simply a bandaid. Besides my yoga and meditation practice, I recently found a doctor who is an osteopath, acupuncturist and physical therapist. At 59, a lot of my “structural” issues can’t be fixed but can and do seem to be responding with better flexibility, toning and some improvement with pain. At 59, I’ve accepted that “we’ve all got something” and feel blessed that any and all health challenges I’ve had are just part of living this long. And given the alternative, I’ll take living any day.
GARDEN – DONE AND SCALED BACK (well sort of) Completed my garden for 2015, and scaled back on my typical annual expenditure. Yes, I’ve given myself tennis elbow (which incidentally is very painful), strained my back and both shoulders from what I called “extreme gardening” pushing to the point of “feeling the burn” then usually 30-60 minutes more to finish up. But hey, the garden looks fabulous and from here out it’s just weeding and dead-heading.
I still have the following things to complete be they resolutions, goals or simply my to-do list:
Perfect my gnocchi recipe
Learn to make crepes
Learn to make tamales
Learn to make “bath bombs”
I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your resolutions…….leave me a comment!
I began living on my own at 19, taking a wrong turn into an ill-conceived first marriage at 21 (including 2 moves) followed by a blessed divorce at 24. From the time I left the marital apartment, I was a bit of a vagabond, moving no less than 6 times in the next 4 years. The only good thing about perpetual moving is 1) I didn’t have as much stuff and 2) every time I packed, I purged what wasn’t needed. I remember my young self watching my ex-husband carting away my collection of record albums (that was painful), my griddle (the man once called and asked me “how much water do you use to boil hamburger?” Seriously, I came home to evidence that he’d boiled hamburger) and numerous other things that were mine prior to our brief union. I remember sitting on my dining room table, clutching my two cats, Snooks and Bandit thinking “take it all, it’s just stuff”. But I digress. Fast forward to the autumn of my 28th year. From a one bedroom apartment, I moved into the house I’ve called home for thirty years. Three bedrooms, large kitchen, pantry and…….a basement. I remember a thought running through my head “however will I fill these cupboards?” followed by the thought of “haha, you’re a funny and pretty blonde”.
Needless to say, I found that filling cupboards and closets took little time and by the time Spence moved in 7 years later and added his belongings, well you get it. Over time I found that I had a lot of “junk drawers” and a sense of clutter hidden just out of sight in closets, cupboards and particularly….the basement.
Back to the subject of filing. I’m not going to say that I’ve never filed anything. I have taken it upon myself, on a cold or rainy day off to drag up a bag or box of paperwork that I’d put in a “good place” in the basement and sort through it. (usually around tax season) For every pound of paperwork that I combed through, 75% of it went into the recycle bin or shredder. Even then I still kept a lot of “stuff” that I’d never need but felt compelled to create a folder for nonetheless. I continued to accumulate more filing than a working gal would ever get to, especially when there were so many other things I’d prefer to do. And it was out of sight though not quite out of mind. I coddled myself into thinking, “when I retire, that’ll be one of the first things I’ll tackle.”
I retired on 2/28/14 departing almost immediately for a few weeks in Florida to “clear my over-filled head and embrace my new normal”. If you’ve read my blog, you know that since then I’ve been having a grand time, experiencing new things, traveling and living the dream with Spence. In short, the thought of tackling “the filing”, while in the back of my brain, just wasn’t a priority.
Enter the phase I’ll call “focus and inspiration”. Since April of 2014, I’ve discovered the joys of yoga and meditation which have created a sense of “focus”. It took till 10/31, but as I’d promised I started my blog. I mention yoga, meditation and the blog because I’ve successfully committed to making them a part of my everyday life, while still having lots of fun and adventures. Those three things have created “focus”.
“Inspiration” to get organized came from my mom. At 81 and in good health, she returned to Florida (after a summer in Michigan), decided to sell her home and move to Michigan to be closer to my sister and I. She met with a realtor before the holidays and began the process of getting her home ready to show by January. It went on the market and sold almost immediately. Downsizing to an apartment, she was now faced with what she’ll keep and what must go. This has resulted in numerous emails as she’s given “right of first refusal” to my sister and I on those things she’s parting with. With every email, a spark was lit in me. Realizing the enormous favor she is doing for us by moving on “her terms” and sorting through things that under different circumstances we would be overwhelmed by, I knew that could no longer put off the inevitable. The time had come to put my house “in order”.
In fairness, during the beautiful Michigan Spring, Summer and Fall, I adore gardening and Spence physically cannot do much to help me there. It is a full time job, though in retirement I don’t have to cram it into the rare day off when the weather cooperates. Seduced by sun, fresh air, my hands in the dirt, creating a symphony of chaotic loveliness, frankly – I wanted to be outside after the winter, not in the basement contending with filing.
Fast forward to early January. Armed with purpose and Christmas behind me, I made a commitment. The time was NOW. I started dragging up the bags and boxes, sifting through years of paperwork. Every single day. (okay, almost every single day) In fairness I should mention that I pay the bills; it’s “my domain”. Spence occasionally gives me something to file but though he’s been retired pretty much since I’ve known him, I’m too much of a control freak to hand over the sorting and filing of our important paperwork. He’s fine with that but in retrospect, perhaps I should have considered delegating it? Woulda, shoulda, coulda……
As of yesterday, I brought up and sorted through the last box of filing. Hurrah! In years past, if I’d pitch 75%, I’m now at 90-95%. Everything had to be evaluated – “shred it or recycle it”? I remarked to Spence, “should I die first, you have no idea what a favor I’ve done for you”. His reply, “if you die first, I’ll leave it for whoever comes in after I’m dead”. If you knew him, you’d know truer words were never spoken.
That said, this new-found commitment to organization has become like a drug to me. If I open a drawer, closet or cupboard that hasn’t yet been tackled, I stop and clean it out. I’ve made tremendous progress and found a few treasures – a black velvet bag full of quarters (really? when did I start saving quarters in a little bag? Still, kind of cool) an entire checkbook that had gone missing a year ago, my replacement Amazon credit card that I knew I’d received in 12/2014 but which had “disappeared” and my player’s club card from the casino that Spence and I frequent every month, a recent loss to a cluttered drawer.
For the focus and inspiration that kicked in to “get ‘er done”, I’m grateful. It only took the looming deadline of my first year in retirement to do what I’d promised myself for years. And it feels great.
Next project, after moving mom and the arrival of spring weather, is the much-needed organization of the garage. No more excuses and for that project, I will enlist Spence.
In my yoga class yesterday we discussed the importance of asking “will it disturb my peace?”
Whether from situations, people or things, increasingly I find that I ask myself this question. As I have embraced yoga and meditation in the last year, I’ve found more focus and clarity. I’ve also found that I need to “clean house” both literally and metaphorically. It’s meant making changes. As a result, my health is better, I’m happier and I’m accomplishing more. I’ve also learned not everyone you know will understand or support the changes. And that’s okay. It’s just the path I’ve chosen.
Credit where credit is due, this is part of a compilation from a Facebook feed called “Beautiful and Amazing Photo Collection”. If you read my blog at all, then you understand, I had no choice in sharing this. If only I could get Tipper and the Biscuit to do yoga. They try and do it with me, not successfully but never without making me laugh.
Being a woman of both stature (6 feet tall) and shall we say, possessing a “curvy bod”, I’d always appreciated the sentiment in this song about the virtues of a prominent derriere. (for those of you not familiar “I like big butts but I cannot lie…”)
One of the great joys of yoga and retirement is the need for YOGA PANTS. I “needed” (seriously) new clothes in order to do yoga. Enter the discovery, via online shopping of Athleta.com who carries amazing stuff but to me, most importantly, Kick-Booty Yoga Pants – and in TALL SIZES. I ordered them, free shipping (hoorah) and then patiently tracked the package as it sped my way.
When it arrived I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning, racing upstairs and stripping off whatever I had on. I pulled them on, oh joy – comfortable, long, great fit all around. Then I turned around and checked out my “Kick-Booty” posterior in the mirror. It was magnificent! Needing further validation, I ran off to find Spence and model my new yoga pants. I think I even attempted to twerk (not something a woman of my age should try, but hey, it’s all about testing your limits – right?). Spence pronounced that I looked “amazing” and of course, at the end of the day, that’s what I was going for.
Look up “Grace” in the dictionary; my face will not appear. The tallest girl from kindergarten through high school, I was gangly, long-legged and klutzy. I became “famous” for my rather spectacular falls (though less admired for my unbreakable bones). Size 11 feet only added to the problem as well as my perpetual inability to pay attention to where I was walking. I also bruise like a dead-ripe peach and have avoided exercise nearly my whole life.
Now retired and wanting to fill my days with new experiences, I opened myself up to yoga. One failed attempt in a group class several years ago that went splendidly that night, followed by agonizing pain in my surgically repaired shoulder for a weeks after, I’d told myself “you can’t do yoga”. Well, never say never. At my first writing class, I met Jules, who among many skills, is a yoga instructor. Having relayed my dismal failed attempt at yoga, she offered one-on-one instruction with care to not push me beyond my comfort zone. All those falls, shoulder issues, knee and lower back arthritis, hmmm…..I was skeptical, yet intrigued.
I began with trepidation but quickly invested in a mat and just started doing it – gently. To my delight, I love it. Several months in, I feel better – more centered, less pain and flexible. I’m doing yoga not only every two weeks at class but every other day. I convert my kitchen floor into my “yoga space”. After some trial and error, I’ve managed to get Spence, Tipper and Biscotti to respect that when the doors are closed, yoga is in session. (Meaning, no asking of questions, meowing at the door or walking through the kitchen when those doors are closed.)
And yet another benefit of yoga……I LOVE YOGA PANTS. But more on that in another post!