Day 96

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As I get near the end of my 100 day challenge I’m contemplating whether or not I can classify it as a success.

Did I purge something every one of those days? Did I go for a walk every single day? Have I blogged about my experiences 100 times?

The answer to the first question is yes. I have managed, in a conscious and considering way, to rid myself of something every day. I’m amazed at that. Because purging is not easy. That I have learned.  It makes you look long and hard at yourself and where you’ve gotten to in your life.

A big – no, huge – catalyst in this exercise has been my impending 60th birthday. Add to that the death of my father and the conditions were perfect for some kind of reflective action.

There have been times over these past 96 days that I have been achingly sad, uncontrollably angry, incomprehensibly furious, deliriously happy, boisterous with joy, as well as completely ambivalent about myself, my life and what I’m trying to accomplish.

Whatever I was feeling I forced myself to consider why. In doing that I was able to see that I was carrying a lot of old baggage, stuff that should have been relegated to the trash heap long ago.

I just finished reading a Stephen King short story called The Road Virus Heads North. It’s your typical SK offering – darkly funny, horrific,  and yet, somehow, representative of the reality of life. Weirdly, I think that the ‘virus’ in the story is very much like the bad stuff we carry around with us. Eventually, it’s going to get us, unless we get rid of it. Or, better yet, never pick it up.

Sometimes, like the poor sap in SK’s story, it’s not so easy to get rid of the crap that follows us. You can give up and let it get you, or you can face it and send it packing. It might take more than one attempt, and it may mean accepting some uncomfortable truths about yourself, but, if you want free of it bad enough, you can be.

Am I completely purged of all the garbage I’ve toted around for 50-some-odd years? No. But I have rid myself of a lot of it. Purging, I’ve also learned, is a life-long chore. The good thing is it gets easier the more you do it.

Now, for my other two questions.

I did not walk every day. But I gave it a good try. There weren’t many days that I missed. When the wind chills were in the minus 40’s, when we were busy with company, and once or twice when I simply didn’t want to.

Walking is one of my favourite things to do. I love the feeling of my body moving and covering ground confidently and surely. It’s my time to think and work things out. (See above.)

Currently, I have a steps goal set on my phone of 7000 steps/day. It’s pretty conservative and I generally walk quite a bit more than that; checking on that goal at the end of the day always amazes me. Did I really walk that much? Where did I go and what did I accomplish? It’s a great reminder that I was engaged, that I did something. It also keeps me committed to my weight-loss goals. If i don’t get those steps in, the weight won’t come off. And, if I don’t keep moving, the weight I have lost will creep back on. That ain’t happening.

Finally, I’m at number three. I have definitely not written/ blogged 100 times.

Writing was something I had all but given up on. When I started this I was almost embarrassed to start. It had been so long since I’d tried to write anything. But the moment I sat down to start I knew – this is what I’m made for.

I may not be a successful author, I may not write the stuff that the world sees, but I write. And, I love it. It’s my form of expression, it’s my vehicle, it’s my voice.

100 is just a number. It was a great way to get myself motivated. Whether I’ve blogged 100 times or 10 times,  it’s me, writing.

 

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#48

pexels-photo-259200.jpegWhat’s this? Posting two days in a row?  What the.  .  .?

Purging will be simple today – it’s just venting.

Vent # 1- aquafit/aquasize/water aerobics – whatever you want to call it last night. It was my second class. Because last Friday’s got cancelled. I had rushed to get there all enthusiastic and everything (and a little late, too) only to be told it was cancelled due to the Alberta Winter Games.

Well.

I knew the games were on but the instructor never said anything when she was telling us that our next class was to be held in a different pool because the one we were in needed some maintenance.

You know what they say about assuming things.  .  .?

Anyway, I made plans to go with someone to a class last night. (Double checked that the class was running, first.) We arrived and stood around looking lost because we had no idea where the class was being held – no signs to indicate which pool, no milling crowd of excited participants – just us shivering on the edge feeling conspicuous in front of the row of men sitting outside the steam room and the sauna. (We come to watch!)

Finally, I asked where the class was taking place. The instructor shows up and we get in to the water. The cold water. The deep, cold water. We were standing on our toes, water lapping at our chins.  Ever tried doing a skiers lunge in water that’s nearly over your head? Ha ha ha ha. We toughed it out, but were pretty chilled by the end of the hour.

This is what was great about the class – I got out for the evening, I spent a lot of time laughing, I got to spend a bit more time with a new friend, I got some exercise and I got to sit in a hot tub afterwards.

Vent #2 – Rewards programs.

Like 99% of the population I like rewards. I like the feeling that I’m getting a little something extra for my loyalty as a consumer.

Hence, we collect Airmiles. At the rate of about 10 a year. We have 2 travel points credit cards – which get used quite regularly, and which have been extremely beneficial. We also have a PC/Optimum card for groceries and whatever.

Generally, I don’t complain about these programs because I figure, hey,  it’s a bonus and it’s better than getting nothing. Right?

Riiiight.

In the last year our travel VISA through TD has changed the way you earn and redeem points. These were tagged as ‘new’ and ‘important’ changes.  Essentially what it means is that we earn fewer points per purchase but it costs us more points when we want to redeem.

I did the irate consumer thing and called to voice my dissatisfaction. All that got me was a “We value your opinion and we’ll be sure to pass along your comments” platitude. Despite my threat to cut the card up I’ve still got it, because, well, you know, something is always better than nothing. Right?

Recently, I’ve been forced into the PC Optimum program. This is an amalgamation of the President’s Choice family of companies and Shoppers Drug Mart.

I shopped at Shoppers quite a lot, and had earned a swack of points. I didn’t really shop at Superstore that much, just occasionally, even though I had a PC points card. So I really didn’t earn many points there.

When the switcheroo came my points transferred over and I thought nothing of it. Other than – now that the two programs are joined I might as well shop more often at Superstore, and any other stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program.

And that’s how they get you. Because you think there’s a benefit in it for you.  Well, not so much.

Now I no longer earn points on every dollar I spend. I only earn points on those items they choose to send me offers for. And most of those offers are for things I’d never purchase.

It’s an ingenious marketing strategy, and one I’m sure many producers are paying handsomely to be part of. Because now they can directly target consumers and entice them to buy their products through the promise of points that they can redeem for more of their products.

So many people use these points programs to enhance the quality of their lives. It allows them to put more food on their tables, take vacations, buy gifts they might not otherwise be able to afford.

When I consider this I can’t help wondering: if, instead of spending trillions of dollars creating these ‘loyalty’ programs, companies simply lowered their prices so that consumers could actually afford to purchase what they needed and wanted – wouldn’t that in itself create loyalty?

It’s a long one today – glad I got it all out.

47 rhymes with heaven. . . But not purging.

Well, that was just silly. But it made me smile. So.

Four days since my last post. I had a bit of a stomach thing going on this weekend. Did not feel like doing a damned thing. Seems, though, I have managed to purge myself of whatever it was, ’cause I’m feeling fine now.

Fine enough that I went grocery shopping.

I’m not one of those people who hates grocery shopping. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. I like checking out what’s fresh, what’s on sale and discovering new foods to try.

But today was a trial.

I swear every dough-head in town was in Superstore this afternoon. They parked their carts in the middle of every aisle I went down – and looked peeved when they were asked to move.

They stood smack-dab in front of the dairy coolers, doors open while they chatted on the phone, completely mindless that other shoppers wanted in.

They blocked the aisle ends so no one could get past while they stood there, gazing skyward in search of God only knows what.

They man-handled the produce to the point of obscenity. Seriously.

What I had set out upon thinking it would be a leisurely afternoon of browsing for groceries turned into an exercise in frustration.

Some days.

Glad I purged that out of my system!

Day 13 and Day 14 — Purging along

I didn′t get around to blogging yesterday about my purging efforts. Not that there was much to write about, though.

We were supposed to leave yesterday morning to get home early so that we could do some packing and errands prior to us leaving on our cruise. (I am sooo excited for this cruise!) However, there was a power outage in our building and we wound up having to stick around much longer than we planned. Tim even got stuck in the elevator once!

When we did finally get on the road it was 4:30 which put us in BA around 8:30. We went straight to the hotel where my DIL had planned a surprise birthday party for our son. We stayed til about 11 o`clock and when we got home I was so tired the last thing on my mind was to sit down and try to write.

This is what I purged yesterday: some face care product samples that I`d got at The Body Shop a while ago. I didn′t care for them, but I was forcing myself to use them because they were free and well, I felt obligated. Which is a little crazy, I know. So, yesterday when I was packing to come home I saw them and I thought throw these out! For a millisecond I considered not doing it, but then I walked over to the garbage can and let ′em go.

I also tossed my poinsettia. Every year I buy one and every year I say this year this thing is going to live. And every year it dies. I try to nurse them along, but it never works. I keep them around usually until Spring and then I plant them out in the garden and hope like hell that they`ll make a miraculous recovery. It′s never worked. So, I spared myself all that watering and agony and just dropped the poor thing in the trash. At least it will turn into compost.

Today, which is day 14 was a busy day. A birthday dinner for my son and his family. Shopping, dealing with a shattered patio window and problems with my brand new front door.

We spent a good chunk of our day getting things ready to go on our cruise. The purging involved in that has been weeding out what not to pack. I tend to pack light, but I′ve never cruised before and I`m a bit nervous about exactly what I need to take.

I began with just about every item of summer clothing I own, plus a few new things that I′ve bought in anticipation of our adventure. I plan well, and know that I`ll be doing some hand washing, but, holy crap does it ever seem like a lot! My stomach is in knots and will be until we are on our way.

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On the twelfth day of purging

The purge was pretty minimal today.

A pair of dollar store insoles. That’s what I get for trying to save a couple of bucks. I wasted them instead.

Something I know I need to purge myself of is weight. I am about 30 lbs overweight right now. I’ve gained this weight over the last couple of years. Somehow it just seemed to creep up on me and now, regardless of my efforts, I can’t get rid of it.

Wait a minute! Regardless of my efforts? My efforts have been pretty feeble if I’m going to be perfectly honest. Sure, I go out for a walk everyday – except today – it stayed around -33 all day and I just couldn’t convince myself that it was a good idea to go out in that kind of cold.

But I did do push-ups.  Five really hard push-ups. Tomorrow I’m aiming for six.

I’ve decided to add another 100 day challenge to my list. Push-ups. I think they’re like doing mini planks. Planks are good, so push-ups must be even better.

I really need to figure out a strategy for losing this weight, though. I know what I need to do to lose it. I need to find my will power again, and, I need to let go of this self- defeating notion that, just because I’m a few months away from being 60, I can eat what ever I want and exercise as little as I want.  Afterall, who’s gonna care?

Well, a bunch of people, I hope, but, most importantly, me.

 

Day 11

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Photo courtesy Google free gallery

Once again, today was basically a non-purge day. There’s just nothing physical here I can throw out. We haven’t lived here long enough to accumulate enough crap that I have to get rid of it.

On an emotional level I’m doing pretty good, though. My daily walks are certainly helping with that.

One thing I have noticed about my personal well-being since starting my purging goal is that I’m feeling more secure about how I feel and how I react to situations that tend to cause me anxiety. I hope that makes sense.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that I’m not worrying so much about what other people might think about what I say or do, or, not do.

All my life I’ve been a worrier. I like to joke and say “if I don’t have something to worry about I’m not happy.” On the one hand I am great at saying how much I don’t care what people think of me, or the things I do, but secretly I worry about it all the time.

By performing small, easily managed tasks like tossing out magazines and old hair care products, and letting go of anger and guilt for things from my past, both distant and recent, I’ve made myself feel like I’m in control.

The very idea of being in control is such an illusory ideal, but it’s something we all long to achieve.

By focusing every day on one thing that is important to me for that day, regardless of how trivial it might seem, I am letting go of so much unnecessary worry and the self-recrimination that comes along with it.

 

Purge – Day 10 or, I’m one tenth of the way to making my goal!

20171209_204647.jpgWow.  Ten days. In a row. I haven’t written this much, or this steadily in a long, long time.

For my tenth day of purging, let’s just say I thought about it. If you consider housework – vacuuming, washing floors and dusting – purging, then that’s what I did today.

I did manage to get outside for a short walk. In the -28 degree weather. It was a SHORT walk. Fifteen minutes. But it counts. I figure I must burn twice as many calories walking when it’s this cold because of all the extra layers I put on and the speedy pace I set.

Tim came with me. He complained most of the time. “I thought this was supposed to be a short walk?” “My nose is frozen. I think I’ve got frostbite” “Where are you going!? That way is longer!” “I can’t feel my legs.”

Honestly.  I took him by the hand and told him we’d be okay.

I told dad that Tim was being a whiner. I’m sure he had a good chuckle. But I’m glad he came all the same. It was nice to hold his hand as we trudged through the dark and the cold.