Thursday, December 1, 2016

Just keep moving...

An empty street stretches out before me.  Off to the side, a door hanging by a single hinge bangs against its frame in the breeze.  A tumbleweed bounces across my path and skitters off to parts unknown across the barren landscape.  A few stray mice dart in and out of the holes in the rotted building foundations, while a hawk on a nearby burned-out car watches and waits for the opportunity to swoop down upon her dinner.  The wind whistles through the bones of a few decaying trees, and nary a soul is found wandering this God-forsaken place.  Off in the distance, a train whistle blows long and lonely, crying out to the lifeless expanse around it.

Oh, wait.  That's just my blog.  Sorry.  

Yeah, I know, it's been awhile and my updates are few and far between, rendering this blog a virtual ghost town.

And that's kind of a big problem lately.  See, I love to write.  And even if I have a grand total of three people who actually follow it, posting to the blog seems to keep me grounded and focused on something.  It's like another tool in the box that helps keep me on track and gives me some accountability for my actions and decisions.  It helps me get out the millions of thoughts that are constantly swimming in my head (yay ADD) and gives me a platform upon which to display them in some semblance of order.   From my weight loss journey to wedding planning to the current state of the world, I have a lot on my mind - and while I have several people I *could* corner with nonstop chatter about these things, I'm not always (a) in the mood or (b) sure it's proper etiquette to force someone into captive audience mode. Hence, the blog.

My excuse for lack of updating, of course, is that I'm busy.  Everyone is busy; it's not an affliction confined to just me, I get that.  But even by my standards, my life lately has been crazier than normal.  If you know me in any capacity you know that I'm always on the go, always doing something, always trying to figure out how to be two (or three or four) places at once, always wishing I could clone myself.  My life is guided by a color-coded planner (a paper one, no less - I'm old school like that), a fistful of highlighters (for the aforementioned color-coding), the occasional need to decline invitations as much as it sucks to do so, and is kept afloat by gallons of coffee and a mantra to "just keep moving."

Except sometimes I do stop moving. I had to quit ice skating lessons because while I could conceivably fit a one-hour lesson into my schedule once a week, I could find no open ice time for practice that worked for me between the lessons, so I felt like the lessons were essentially a waste of money.  I wasn't progressing at all due to lack of practice, so when it came time to figure out what to cut, unfortunately the skating had to go.  I had started back to yoga in the spring (ironically to help with the balance and flexibility required for skating), so I turned my focus to my yoga practice instead.  I practice at least twice a week, but I would go more if I could - and over the summer before I went back to Starbucks I was going three times a week and life was just swell.  I joined a new gym and even hired a personal trainer for the first few sessions, but my cardio and lifting workouts don't happen with any regularity anymore because of my schedule.  Some days I'm faced with making the call on whether my body wants exercise or if it wants rest.  It's actually a pretty horrible choice to make.   Both are equally important.  I'm not lazy, but I can tell you that a workout or a yoga set when your body is completely taxed to its limit and you've worked 40 out of the last 72 hours on 4-5 hours of sleep per night is neither enjoyable nor beneficial.  So sometimes when my alarm goes off at 5:45 am and I've only just gone to bed sometime after midnight after a 14-hour day, I just can't do it.  I skip my 6:30 yoga class or the scheduled gym workout and tell myself "it's okay, you need the rest."  But then I wake up two hours later feeling guilty.  So I can't seem to win on any level with that one.

People ask me all the time how I do it.  That's relatively easy to answer.  The above-mentioned planner and highlighters and coffee and mantra, and the unfortunate turning down of some invitations...that's pretty much it.  But there are times I stop and wonder WHY I do this to myself.  I mean, really.  Why DO I work insane hours and sing in a chorus (which I love) and play in a band (which I also love but has only been an extremely part-time thing which makes me really sad because I would love to be more involved) and practice yoga and stay on track with my diet and still try to maintain some semblance of a social life? 

Well, part of it has to do with necessity, at least with the work situation.  It's a long story, but I'll try to explain.  I don't get benefits from my full-time job but rather they are provided through my part-time job.  In order to retain said benefits I need to be paid 520 hours per each semi-annual audit period (time worked and/or vacation time). This works out to an average of 20 hours per week.   Some weeks I might work 24 hours, some weeks I might work 16 hours.  Sometimes I pick up extra hours on a holiday when I'm off from my day job, some weeks I work 8 and cash in a little vacation time, whatever. It all usually comes out in the wash.  However, since I was on sabbatical for the first 9 weeks of this current period, I was granted a straight 20 hours for each of those weeks. Then upon my return I only worked 10 or 12 hours the first few weeks, so my average got skewed and I've had to work consistently 25-hour average weeks to keep up my hours.  And with the audit ending on Christmas plus the holiday concert season coming up and all the time off I'll need for that, I couldn't risk it.  So I've just been consistently working 65+ hour work weeks between the two jobs pretty much since late September.  This usually involves me working a full 8:30 to 5:00 day at the office and then working at Starbucks from 6:00 or 7:00 until 11:30 at night. On occasion I will pick up an early morning opener at Starbucks and work 4:30 to 7:30 am, then go into the office.  And then there have been a few times I've done the opening shift, then the office, then back to Starbucks for a closing shift.  Whatever it takes to get these hours in, I'm doing it. Because I HAVE to.   

As for the extracurricular stuff, I do it because I WANT to.  But I think at the root it comes from a combination of having a gazillion interests and curiosities and having grown up with parents who were always encouraging me to become involved in one thing or another.  I'm not sure if they did it because they thought it would help me build character and make friends (which it did) and maybe win me a scholarship down the line (which it didn't) or if they simply just wanted me out of the house and felt better if I was doing something wholesome like piano lessons and Girl Scout meetings. And as I got a little older, that "getting out of the house" thing became more important than ever, and stuff like art clubs and music ensembles and volunteering and working became super handy excuses to get the hell away from my parents and be around people who weren't up my ass about cleaning my room and doing my homework.  It helped foster my independence, helped broaden my horizons, helped introduce me to new people and ideas and knowledge and skills.  And it all worked out great.  I've met some amazing people, learned some great stuff, acquired experiences that some people only dream about.

But it's backfiring, because I'm fucking exhausted.  Every night is something, whether it's working or rehearsing, and it stays like that until Christmas, for the most part.  I'm not hosting any parties this season, I'll be doing most of my Christmas shopping online, and I'm not even sure I'll have time to decorate for the holidays.  I can't decorate until I clean, and I can't clean until I have some time.  So the mountain of laundry keeps getting bigger, the bathroom is nasty, the kitchen is gross, and the living room and dining room look like someone picked up my house, shook it really hard, and then set it back down slightly off its foundation.   My fiance has figured out not to trigger my rage by mentioning the disarray, and also learned recently that it's best not to try and help me clean by throwing stuff away when I'm not home (we have not yet moved in together). I adore him for his attempt and his patience, though.

Speaking of my fiance, I have put a moratorium on active wedding planning until after the holidays in an attempt to reduce the crazy-making.  We've got the "Big Three" down -- the venue, the photographer, and the DJ have all been secured, contracted, and paid deposits.  The wedding isn't for another 11 months, so I'm pretty sure taking this month off from ripping my hair out over guest lists and designing my invitations is perfectly acceptable.

And since this is still at its core a blog about my weight loss journey,  I should mention that I've been doing the ketogenic diet with a small measure of success.  I've lost a few pounds and my clothes are starting to fit better.  I feel okay (other than the aforementioned exhaustion plus a few hard-learned lessons about sugar alcohols) but it could be so much better if I could work out more.  I'm not shopping for a wedding dress until I've lost more weight, though, so if I keep up with what I'm doing, maybe by the time the holidays are over I'll be at a size where I feel comfortable trying on dresses.  It definitely serves as a good incentive.  It'll come together.  I hope.  

It might take a little longer than I'd like, but for now I'll just keep moving...

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