Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Retrospective

I honestly can't say that I'm sad to be parting ways with this year.  It's true.  Ugh.  

I looked back at last year's 'wrap up' post and remembered what a crappy time 2011 was in so many ways, how I was relishing a new start.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have gone into total hiding to try and escape having to deal with what was to come.... however futile that attempt may have been, it would have been instinctual, that's what self preservation is.   The upside?  I'm still here.  I'm smarter, faster and stronger.  That's what having your ass kicked repeatedly will do to those tenacious enough to just ride it out in between firing off defensive punches.

Look, it was certainly not all bad.  Because I'm getting older and my memory is beginning to run together, this post is being created strictly so that I can remember exactly what went down, not to wax poetic about it.

1.  I started my new job.  I love my job, and it's the first time since 2004 (when I was still doing hair) that I could genuinely say that.  That, in and of itself, is a great accomplishment.  Leaving behind a perfectly respectable and financially sound job with killer awesome hours and TONS of vacation time (all summer and any holidays that kids get) may seem crazy to some, but even as I sit here at work for the first time EVER in my working career on a New Year's Eve, I wouldn't trade my decision for anything.   So good on me for taking the risk and making the change.  Just patted myself on the back.

2.  I took trips.  I went to New Orleans.  I went to Nashville, which is now in my top five favorite US cities, took a small weekend getaway mother/son trip to Chattanooga with The Kid and went to NYC solo and had a great time.  I suggest that everyone travel alone at some point in their life.  It's good for you and you will experience your destination in a way unlike any other.  Honestly, it's become one of my favorite ways to travel. 

3.  I made new friends.  Now, this is notable for a couple of reasons.  Mainly because it goes hand in hand with the fact that I re-learned how to enjoy having a social life.  After so many years of spending all of my time being a wife and mom, I admittedly lost the inclination to willingly put myself in social situations more than a couple of times a year, anything more than that caused me an inordinate amount of stress and I was far more content home with a book or movie.  I still love that, but feel like a much more well rounded person now that it's not solely how I spend my time.    Meeting new people does come along with the territory of leaving your house, and I'm incredibly pleased to have broadened my very small circle of friends with more quality individuals.   I still come close to being a borderline loner/introvert when left to my own devices, but there are a few more people in my world worth bucking that inclination for.   I have allowed the right people to become closer to me and it's paid off.  I've become a bit more emotionally and physically accessible.  This makes me truly happy.

Then there was all of the horrible stuff.  If you know me, then you know all about it and I certainly don't need to recap it all here.  If you don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about, then you missed it and I'm still not going to recap it.   I'm glad that with age, I have gained the ability to learn from the bad instead of letting myself drown in it for too long.    I have learned that avoidance of troubles is only going to compound said troubles, so you may as well take the bull by the horns and deal sooner than later.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to find any resolution.   Procrastination = BAD

This year reminded me that even when you haven't done anything to warrant drama, horrible times and big trouble, you can't control what the people around you are going to thrust you into.  When you love someone, sometimes their actions inadvertently take you along for their hell ride and you suffer along with them, even if you aren't the one that went looking for it.  Fair?  Hell, no.  Real life?  Yep. 
I've made it through what seemed unthinkable in many ways, and rather than it kill me, drive me insane or ruin me forever, I'm just a bit worse for the wear and a whole lot smarter and capable.   So, that's something.

I'm incredibly unforgiving and hold a grudge forever.  It's genetic, I'm telling you.  This year has made me ponder when it's appropriate to forgive.  Sometimes it's the right thing.  Sometimes, if you stomp your foot and refuse genuine sentiments of remorse and a desire to make things right when it's coupled by a pattern of action supporting these wishes, you just end up shooting your own foot off.  No one wins.  Regrets happen down the road.  It's all avoidable.  I'll continue to try and find that balance.  When you're an all or nothing sort of gal like I am, this can be the hardest thing to do.

I've learned to stop ignoring what my brain is trying to tell me.  I've pinpointed that as the root of so many problems.  My instincts always scream at me about people, and in a misguided attempt at being more open minded, more forgiving, less suspicious, judgmental and harsh, I ended up not listening to myself and that has been the direct cause of so many issues.   In the end, I'm usually right about folks.  Trust me, getting rid of people you've let have access to you after they've been in your life for a while can be trickier than shutting them out straightaway.  It's just not worth it.   Go with your gut, even if it makes you look like a jerk.  I'd rather be perceived that way than feeling stupid later and having to kick myself repeatedly. 

People with nothing positive to offer, who don't share fundamental attributes and perspectives can take a hike.  I'm a nurturer by nature (I know that can be hard to see if you don't know me incredibly well), but I'm not Captain Save a Ho.  I don't respond well to passive aggressive behavior, guilt trips and attempted manipulation by others.  It makes me mean, and I can be meaner than just about anyone I know if push comes to shove.  You'd think that with all that meanness flowing through my veins, I wouldn't allow others to treat me badly.  That's admittedly been a problem for me my entire life, and every year I become more adept at learning when to say that enough is enough.  No matter how much you care about someone and want them in your life, it's not worth bending on the standard of treatment you know you deserve.  I'm getting there.  I'll always be a work in progress, but aren't we all? 

So, just like any other year, it's been a totally mixed bag.  I have no idea what's coming to me in 2013, and I have begun to learn to have fewer expectations.  Life's a roller coaster.  Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air and give in to the experience instead of attempting to control everything.  Not only is that an exhausting way to live, it's just not entirely attainable.  I'm trying hard to be done with that mindset.

Thank you to the people who have made me laugh, comforted me when I cried and put up with me in general.  I hope that I've done right by the folks that I truly value and consider friends, because you're the only ones I really try with.... you're the ones that are worth it.  

New Year's Resolutions?   Um, no.  Except maybe cursing more creatively.  That's not a bad goal.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Years Resolutions and Lame Excuses: A Rant

What the hell is going on?   I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.   I checked my calendar twice this morning.  Let me explain.

So, I'm always relieved to be done with the holidays and relish going back to my structured life.  Upon pulling into my gym parking lot the day after Xmas, I was suprised to see it full.  The gym was packed with unfamiliar faces (I know everyone's face that has my gym schedule, I see them almost every day), but I lied to myself and said that it was evening regulars that were off of work making use of their morning.  When I went back today, there was no denying it any longer.  They were already here, ruining everything ahead of schedule.

In the seven years that I've been regularly going to my gym, I've become well versed regarding the phenomenon of New Years Resolutioners (we can shorten that to NYR) barging into my gym and taking up space.  It only usually lasts no more than six to nine weeks, then things go back to normal.   I was fully prepared for the same thing to happen this year, but had allotted myself another week of peace in the one place I go only for myself.  I was wrong.  They crept up on me.   Well played, assholes.

You may wonder why I feel contempt for these people.  After all, I'm genuinely fully supportive of anyone embarking on a path to bettering their physical fitness.  These people, though.  I can't with them.

Listen, I know that it takes guts to step outside of your comfort zone and go into a gym if you haven't been to one before.  They are intimidating, you don't know where to start, ect.  Trust me, I've been there.  Everyone, regardless of their current state of physical fitness, has had to start somewhere.  I don't take that step lightly and applaud folks for doing it.  But for the love of all that is right, familiarize yourself with gym etiquette.  Quickly.  Most of it is common sense, really.

*Don't slam your weights down, that's not necessary.  It doesn't make you cool.
*Wipe down your damn equipment after using it.  I realize you are not breaking a sweat, but just get used to doing it, anyway.
*DO NOT hold a cell phone conversation while sitting on a piece of equipment when someone is waiting to use it.  Matter of fact, don't talk on your stupid phone at all, people don't care about what you're saying, yet we are all forced to hear one side of it.
* Don't stare, not at me, not at anyone else.  I don't care why you're staring.  Know how it's rude to stare at folks on the subway?  Well, it's rude to stare at folks anywhere, so it applies here, too.  Don't do that.
* Don't try to strike up conversations with people at the gym.  Just don't.  People are there to do work, not chit chat or give you free advice.
* If you are on a piece of cardio equipment next to your buddy, keep your banter quiet.  If I can hear you over the blasting of my music from my earbuds, you are definitely talking too loudly.  Besides, no one cares about your kids or your new Vera Bradley bag.   People are turning around and giving you dirty looks for a reason.  Also,  you must particularly be an idiot if you're talking about SOMEONE NEAR YOU, LIKE ME.  I CAN HEAR YOU, BITCH.  Geez.

You can spot a NYR a mile away.  They come into the gym in brand spanking new workout gear from head to toe, which is fine.  The women have done their hair and make-up (which makes me want to drop to my knees and scream to the heavens, "WHY?".... but whatever)  and usually stick together in groups of two.   They wander around the gym like the Walking Dead in their shiny new clothes and two coats of mascara, smacking their gum and fiddling with their cool new water bottle, giggling with their friends like seven year olds at the hip abductor machines before finally settling on a piece of cardio equipment.  No surprises there.  If you want to do cardio between the months of January and March, you may as well go run in the parking lot.  The newbies are gonna be monopolizing that area.  You're totally screwed.

It's all so off putting.  Some of you may not understand why, and the best way that I know how to explain it to you is simply because we all know that ninety five percent of them will be gone by mid February.  We'll never see them again.  Enter all of the lame excuses.  "I wasn't seeing results."  "It's too hard."  "I have back problems."  "I don't have time to work out."  "I don't know what I'm doing at the gym."

To this I say, BULLSHIT.  All of it is garbage.  Why don't you just say what the truth really is?
I don't want to do this.  I'm a quitter.  Boom.  That is the truth, and either of those statements I can  accept easily.  But anything else that you may say, it's an excuse.  Period.

If you don't ever become comfortable in the gym and feel like you don't know what you're doing, then utilize the class schedule. Lots of gyms have complimentary orientation sessions where someone will teach you how to use the equipment and what it's for.  If they don't, or if you aren't seeing results, hire a trainer, at least for four sessions or so, to give you basic education on what you should be doing to meet your personal goals.  They money is worth it.  Don't want to spend the money?  Then pick up a damn book.  Watch a YouTube video. Download a stupid workout app onto your smart phone.   Educate yourself if you don't want to pay for someone to educate you.  This is a society where people want everything spoon fed to them.  I hate that.

Perhaps the gym legitimately isn't for you.  That's fine.  Great, now you know.  Find something physical to do outside of a gym, and remember next year what you learned so that this exact situation doesn't repeat itself.  You probably shouldn't have spent so much money at Sports Authority on your clothes, though.

You have an injury, bad joints, are you just really out of shape?  There is not one person on this planet that can't do some sort of appropriate exercise that can fit into their ability level, it just takes some creativity, guidance, education and a desire to actually meet a goal plus the perseverance to find something that you can begin to enjoy doing.  I don't want to hear anything stating otherwise, cause as I said, it's horse shit.    So is saying that you don't have time.  Everyone has time if it's important enough to them.  It hurts?  It's supposed to hurt, but it's never going to get better if you just quit.

Look, maybe I just have a terrible personality, but I still don't buy that I'm not right.  I don't know how trainers do it, I'd be screaming in people's faces constantly... my trainer has no mercy on me and I appreciate that, but I've grown to see that I must obviously be the minority.  I have always been surrounded by people who decide they want to be my new 'workout partner' and then dump me after two days because they say I'm awful to be with in the gym.  The truth is, they're probably right.  I have no tolerance for complaining, wasting time, being a baby, constantly repeating 'I can't do it',  flat out refusing to work out certain body parts, and most of all, wishy washy attitudes which leads to giving up.  Ugh!  I work better alone, anyway.   No loss to me.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  No one forced you to start working out, so just stop if you want to (cause ultimately, I don't care one way or the other if you exercise, it's not my business), but save the lip service.  Also, save the insulting commentary.  "We can't all be naturally thin."  "Wish I had your motivation."  "Wish I liked to work out as much as you do."  Ultimately, throwing those statements out to me takes away from my own struggles, in general it somehow insinuates that others have it easier than you do.   Again, total crap.  More excuses.

Guess what?  I gain five pounds in a week if I don't watch it, and when you're five foot two, that shit shows.  Not only do I NOT have superhuman motivation, I have to solely motivate myself, because I'm largely surrounded by people who don't care at all about being healthy, exercising or eating well.  I screw up and fall off of the wagon constantly, no one is there to raise a brow when I inhale a box of cookies, instead they practically shove them into my mouth, so it's up to me alone to put myself on track.  It hurts me just as much to get back into the gym after a hiatus as it does you.  Think I love my workouts?  Then you've never seen me puke into a trash can after a hard training session.   Also, I hate running more than just about anything, but I do it anyway.

I hate mental weakness, lack of drive and bullshit.  I do not expect people to have my same priorities, I don't give a shit if you never exercise a day in your life.  I don't care how anyone else chooses to live their life.  It's only when stupid things like temporary New Years Resolutions drive people to inconvenience my already established routine that it is a blip on my radar.   You want to succeed in any endeavor of your choosing?  How about you make a decision, research what the best path towards your goal is, make a sensible plan of action and then stop talking and start doing. Talkers are the epitome of lame and spin their wheels forever whilst giving everyone a headache.  Doers tend to get what they want.  Simple.  I'm not talking about fitness.  I'm talking about life.

And why the hell would you want to wait until New Years to 'resolve' to do something, anyhow?  It's basically stacking the odds against you.  Don't believe me?   When's the last time you heard someone talk about their New Year's Resolution in June?   Yeah, that's what I thought.

End of rant.