Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘health’

On Productivity and Getting Older

I am notorious for not being productive in the winter months. I don’t know why I am in denial, but here we are again in the winter and I’m not really writing. I see the pattern before me and it is always the same. I write a little bit in the first three months of the year and then sometime around April, I get me groove back and get productive again.

So right now I am woefully underwriting my goal for the year. I was supposed to be aiming for 500K, but so far I have finished 1 story at 1,114.


Right now I’m blaming my back. A week ago, I was jolted awake by my neighbor’s friend banging on their door around midnight. Apparently, her phone was dying and she was trying to wake the person up. Woke up everybody, but the actual neighbor. My back is paying the price for the jolt. I sit now in front on the computer propped up with pillows, drugged up on Advil, and periodically using my heating pad to relieve my strain.

It’s so clear now that I’m getting older.

I was never really in serious denial, but once in a while there is a moment where I realize that time really has passed. In my stories, I find myself writing about people older, wiser, not so fresh-faced. Even when I write about kids, I don’t make them typical. But it has been a while since I wrote mainly about a child.

My novel’s main character is 30 years old. I can’t picture her younger. It seems perfect. When I first started, she was older and had a different profession. But I tossed that beginning and started fresh. It feels much better, more exciting. For the first time in a long time, I can see myself finishing this novel (we will see if I actually do).

It makes sense that a lot of writers get their first novels published in their late 30’s/early 40’s. Yes, there are 20 somethings who get published. I know a few of them. But I’m glad I didn’t get my first story out until I was in my 30’s. There isn’t an ounce of me that wishes for things to be different. The writer that I am now is happier and better for it. The writer that I am now is grateful for it.

Well, the first two months of the year are a bust so far. Let’s see if I can turn things around in March. Heck, I can’t really move around anyway so… where’s my notebook. 🙂

Also just as an update, I’m still submitting my stories. I’m up to 43 rejections. So this weekend I’m going to have to search out some new places to submit.


Making a Plan

So I finally started P90X this weekend.  It’s hard, but I will try and stick with it.  (Plyo is hard!  Forget waterboarding, make terrorists do Plyometrics!) It is something different, so I like the change.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do certain things.  Why I continue certain actions even though it might not make any sense, or even be good for me.  A good example is something that happened when I was cooking.

A few weeks ago, I went and bought a tub of that new cooking cream by Philadelphia.  There was a coupon in the paper for $1.50 off and I decided to try it out. The dish tasted well, but the following morning I had a serious case of acid reflux.  It was bad.  So bad, I had to choke down a cup of the very nasty tasting throat coat by Yogi teas.  It tastes horrible, but it is very effective.

I started thinking – Why did I add the cream?  I remembered thinking that the dish was good before I added the cream.  Yet I went ahead and used it.  But why?  Yes, I wanted to try it out, but I KNEW before I used it that it might be a bad idea.  So why did I go along?  Because that was what the recipe said to do.

I started to think this might be a habit with me.  I do certain things, because I’m just following the directions.  My instincts may say that it is a bad idea, but I just follow like a lemming.  Where does my brain go?  I just have to get better about seeing the big picture.  Not just with food, but everyday things.  What is my life going to look like in 5 years? 10?  I don’t need to have  fully detailed plan, but I do need to be long term.  These last few years, I’ve been kind of drifting and I need to stop.  In less than a month, I will be 34.  Time to have a plan to take me to 40.

Big life questions aside, I still want to enjoy the random funny things that happen.  Sometimes the unexpected is the best life moment.  Like when I went on that money hunt and I found a DVD set of Sex in the City Season 3.  That one left me scratching my head.  I have no idea where it came from, but now it is in my collection of DVDs.

Or last weekend when I went to visit my aunt.  I hadn’t seen her in a month or so and we started talking about movies.  I mentioned that I finally saw The Social Network, which lead her to exclaim, “And did you see the Academy Awards!  I couldn’t believe that was Trent Reznor.  That’s the same guy that was screaming and running around on stage a few years ago at that concert.”  I laughed for a good five minutes.  My aunt is in her late 50’s.  How awesome is it that she knows who Trent Reznor is?

I need a plan, but I want it to be adaptable.  In some ways, I just want things to be on autopilot.  But I guess things like life planning shouldn’t be that way.  I don’t want to add a bad ingredient that ruins the whole dish, just because the plans said so.  If you do that, you just end up making yourself sick.

I think I held the string too tight…

I heard this story once– Buddah was sitting by the side of a river when he heard a fisherman (sometimes it is a violinist instead) speaking to his apprentice. The fisherman said, “If you hold the string too tight, it will break. If you hold it too slack nothing happens.”

I think for the past month I held my string too tight. As I stood on the scale this morning, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had gained two pounds. My heart sunk. “This is bull@#$%!” I muttered and got ready for work in a huff. I just couldn’t figure out where I went wrong.

In January I indulged, barely worked out, and went all off budget. In February, I was like a Nazi and it still backfired. I had to find a middle ground. So on my lunch break, I sat down and reworked my budget. My plans for a new car will just have to be put off a little longer.

I also decided to change up my workouts. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a co-worker that I had always wanted to try P90X. She gave me her copy and said I could keep it. I just need to order a chin up bar. This will be a much more intensive program than I am used to, but I need to do something different. I think I have plateaued and P90X’s whole shtick is that plateaus don’t happen when you are on the program. As for the diet, that doesn’t scare me. I’ve been making diet changes for a while and the bad stuff doesn’t tempt me much.

And yet that new chicken sandwich at Wendy’s keeps calling my name. Damn you Wendy’s and your yummy chicken! Damn you!

Ah, let’s hope March goes better.

Other news, I was able to lower my insurance rates for my car. That will save me a few bucks. And eventhough I felt crappy today because of the scale, I still did my workout. As I went to shower off, I decided to use my most expensive soap, a scrub from Sabon and now I smell so good that it just brightened my mood. (Gotta love that vanilla, lavender, and patchouli.)

When the going gets tough, the tough take a spa day!  That’s my little nugget of wisdom for today!  I bet Buddah would agree…

Money Hunt! Money Hunt!

So we are coming up on the end of the month.  A few weeks ago, I felt pretty confident that I would be on budget… BUT that was before gas prices start to creep up.  Now it is the last weekend of the month and I have a tough decision to make.  Gas, or food???

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starving.  I have stuff in my pantry.  But those weekly things like milk and bread are nice to have around.  So with the last $15 in my budget, I will be getting gas.  This sucks.  This really sucks.

So how am I going to get the food?  Answer: Money hunt!  I have a box containing all the small change I’ve collected over the year and it is coming with me to coinstar tomorrow.  Also, I still have a gift certificate to a fancy grocery store leftover from Christmas that I can use.  Soooo, I’m going to be very creative this weekend.

But this situation worries me.  How am I supposed to have a solid budget if it is constantly changing?  My lifestyle fast is aggressive (by choice), and doesn’t forgive easily.  If I start spending more for gas, I either save less for a car, or eat less food.  Save less for the car seems like the natural answer, but when your car is constantly in the shop,  a new one suddenly gets pushed to the forefront.

Well, I do want to lose weight….

I’m thinking there must be other costs I can lower.  Either way, March is going to be interesting.  No gift certificates.  No money box.  I will just be me and the budget (dum, dum, dum!)  I’m going to have to be a Nazi about it.  But in a way this is good.  This month I put money away for the car, emergency fund, school, and started a Roth IRA.  I also believe I lost weight by sticking to my workouts, but my weigh-in day is the first of the month, so Tuesday will be the day of truth.  All in all, except for the spike in gas, I did very well.  We’ll find out on Tuesday, just how well.  So the fast is (somewhat) workable, I just need to be more vigilent.

Wish me luck!

Lifestyle Fast

So 2010 was not a great year.  Shortly after my last post I went to the doctor and discovered that I needed to have major surgery.  So all my time was either spent thinking about the surgery, getting ready for the surgery, or recovering from the surgery.  It seemed as if it consumed my life.  Happily now I am healthy and healed.

But that wasn’t the only difficult moment in the last year.  Two family deaths in less than five months took its toll too.

And then there is my car.  My cute, sporty, two-door sports car that I loved at 23 started to fall apart.  Now that I’m 33, I realize that it is time to replace it.

In short,  last year things went a little nuts.  So in 2011, I embarked on a “lifestyle fast.”

The lifestyle fast involves a few goals:

  1. Get back on track losing weight and eating healthy. (I gained some after the surgery and the holidays.)
  2. Save for a new car
  3. Apply and Save for grad school
  4. Boost emergency savings to eight months salary.
  5. Make an active choice to consume less and buy green products.
  6. Get more serious about saving for retirement.

So far January was a bust.  I didn’t lose any weight (didn’t gain any though…) and I didn’t save any money (paid off the credit card instead).  But so far in February, I am on track.  We’ll see.  I’ll write back with my results.

One good thing I did was start a new long story.  Hopefully sometime this year, I will finish a first draft. (Usually, it takes me 18 months to finish my short novels.)  But to just be starting something is good.

New stuff coming soon!!

I haven’t forgotten about the site.  Things have been so crazy over the past few months.  Decided to go on a health kick and get fit.  So far I’m doing well, but sometimes it is hard!  I have a lot of work to do on my body and I have to get back into a regular writing schedule.

But I’m trying to get back on track.  I promise to post a story this week, and hopefully in the future, I will post one a month.  Now, I just have to decide what story should I post first…