Resolving to Revolutionize My Life

WWLHappy New Year!  This is it.  This is the one.  This is the year when everything changes:  You will make and save more money than ever before.  You will loose those last (or first) ten pounds.  You will find a meaningful hobby.  You will volunteer in a way that changes lives.  You will fix up the house, get a new wardrobe and read War & Peace.

This is the year that you climb the mountain of apathy, plant the flag of determination and take the stance of self-assurance.

This is your year and nothing will change your mind.  You will set your sail, stay the course and find new adventures over every horizon.

Or…you won’t.  You might just stay the same…or worse.

You might make less money and spend it foolishly.  You might blow up like a human balloon because you can’t control your eating and your emotions.  You might live a year of sloth; no hobby, no meaningful service, or no home repairs.  You just might sit around in Cheetos-stained t-shirts watching reruns of Happy Days wishing you were as cool as the Fonz.

Instead of blazing new trails, you are afraid to mow your own yard.  Instead of leading the charge into a life of adventure, you cuddle under your Harry Potter Snuggie in the dark of night.

This is it.  This is your year.  And it could go either way.  Which one will you select?

Day 191 – A Little More Info

2013.08.31 SaturdayI posted earlier today about falling behind and now I want to add some more info about my day.

This day was amazing.  We spent the day doing our usual Saturday stuff and decided going to church in the afternoon would be a good idea.

But before we left for the service, out of the blue, I strapped on my tennis shoes and my headphones and went for a run.  I haven’t hit the pavements for quite a while.  In fact, it was before we went to Colorado.  But while we were there, my friend Dan taught me about the Zen of running.

So, I decided to give it a try.  I didn’t break any land-speed-records but I did run 3.58 miles on one of the hottest days of the summer.  It felt great!

After a cool shower, we loaded the car and made our way to church where, as usual, we were touched by the content, moved by the music and challenged by the message.

Now that we are empty-nesting, we don’t have any more obligations at home so we went from church to the movie theater where we watched “The Butler”.  WOW.  I’ll say it again, WOW!  This movie is so deep with talent and the story line is so rich.  Think, FOREST GUMP meets THE HELP…only better on both counts.

It was a great day.  I ate well (not meaning that I stuffed myself but that I made good choices) and increasing my Niacin and Fish Oil.  Combine that with my running and I’ll have my cholesterol under control within a week or two!

Day 105 – A Week Nearly Over

Keeping a smile on my face as I prepare to hook up another sleep study in a far-off location.
Keeping a smile on my face as I prepare to hook up another sleep study in a far-off location.

My day took me as far southeast as Greensburg and as far northwest as Lebanon.  I started the day with a home visit and ended the day with a sleep study in the patient’s home.

I figure I’ve hooked up more than 200 sleep studies over the course of the past four years.  That’s a lot of sleep studies, a lot of home visits, a lot of second hand cigarette smoke, and a lot of travel.

I don’t mind it too much, really.  It gives me a chance to meet people where they live and I nearly always get to watch TV while we hook the patient to the equipment.  And it’s rarely the same viewing from house to house.

I’ve seen everything from Ice Road Truckers to slasher films.  I’ve been challenged by Jeopardy and nauseated by MTV.  I’ve watched late-breaking news and Entertainment Tonight.

Once in a while, the TV watching is interrupted by a family pet or child.  Several times I’ve had to concentrate on my work while the patient’s dog (s) bark at full volume at my ankles during the entire procedure.  Other times, I have to shoo cats away from my equipment.  Children pull wires, ask questions and hover.  I’ve had to feed one child because he wanted more Gold Fish and hot dogs but mom was mid-hook-up.  I’ve been sniffed by dozens of dogs and only bitten by one cat.

Sometimes we don’t get to watch TV because they don’t have TV’s…Or furniture for that matter.  In fact, there was one patient who had nothing more than a single light bulb and an over-stuffed chair in their home and we completed the study by the equivalent of candlelight.

What makes it worse is if the study didn’t work the first time (wires come loose, equipment is removed by the patient, or some other disruption occurs).  Then I have to go back and do it all over again another night.  For instance, tonight’s study is a repeat because the patient removed the blood oxygen monitor from their finger, making it impossible to know if their apnea resulted in desaturations.

My work is a challenge and difficult to put into words on a resume.  It’s something I never thought I would be doing 15 years ago.  And it is certainly something I hope I won’t be doing 15 years from now!

Day 62 – Another Frosty Start

2013.04.24Every time I think about my Journey to 50 and my slow going, I simply remember my garden to re-assure myself.

Seeds and bulbs are planted.  New growth is beginning to show.  The green leaves and colorful flowers are peaking out.  It looks like it is almost time to bloom.

And then the frost hits.  Something cold and unplanned stunts their progress.  They don’t stop growing but they slow down their Journey to full bloom.

I’m getting there but I’m not there yet.  I’m walking.  I’m mowing.  I’m eating less and meditating more.  I’m finding positivity in all things and fretting less.  I’m reading pages and striding miles.

I won’t let a little cold air stop the journey.  Neither should you!

Day 60 – Monday, Monday, Monday

2013.04.22Some days are very productive.

This wasn’t one of those days.  But that doesn’t mean the day was bad.  It just wasn’t perfect.  In fact, when I think about it, the day was better than good.  The day was GREAT!

It started slow with our monthly meeting with our financial adviser who helped us learn about all the money we don’t have.  Next, I went to my first home visit where the patient decided he didn’t want a visit after all.  I suspected my day might be one of THOSE Mondays.

Thankfully, the day got better.  I had a great lunch with my friends/co-workers, got some good file work done and completed another home visit later in the evening.

At 7:30 I was on my way north and enjoying the fantastic weather.

Now I’m ready for bed.  But first, being true to my Journey, I willl drink three glasses of water, do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups and get in a good 15 minutes of meditation before I hit the hay.  That’s a good way to end a great day!

Day 48 – Man’s Best Friend

2013.04.10My dog gives me joy.  She doesn’t care if I’m overweight.  She doesn’t flinch when I’m grouchy.  She doesn’t judge when I make the wrong decisions.

My dog loves me for who I am.

She’s been a part of my life for four years now and finally, and very thankfully, she is able to sit quietly at my feet without crazy-making.  She licks less and loves more.  She twitches when she sleeps.  She desires nothing more than to be with me, whether dreaming or awake.

I’m trying to take a lesson from her.  My life should be one of loyalty to others, without judgement.

My life should reflect the very best of others.

But most of all, I thinks she’s teaching me that I should nap more…Yes.  That’s it.  A nap is the perfect lesson.

Now where is my floor pillow?

Day 29 – Smart People

2013.03.22I’ve had a great privilege of working with really smart people.  It makes going to work every day a joy.

Today was a great opportunity to set around the table with a dozen brilliant scientists, statisticians, and researchers.  We discussed a new research study, the details of the science, and the action that will need to take place to make it a reality.

The meeting only lasted 55 minutes but it set a fantastic tone for the next two-and-a-half years of research.

I’ve never been known as a bright man.  It’s true.

Funny? Yes.  Sincere?  Usually.  Loving and honest?  Always.  A man of science?  Never.  But surrounded by these men and women of studies and science, these amazing people of knowledge and training, gives me a sense of pride.

The journey through this next year will require diet changes, increased activity, renewed spirit and energy and an effort to surround myself with brilliant people.  Perhaps a little of their smartness will rub off on me.

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Day 26 – Oh, To Be Young Again

2013.03.19My son and his singing group were honored tonight by the school board.  They received a gold at the state choral ensemble competition and they earned the praise.  It really was quite an accomplishment, especially since this was their first year as a group.

My son’s outfit was the perfect choice for the award.  It was also appropriate for the Madrigal singing group, of which he is a part.  He loved the outfit and even said that he was sad to have to turn it in.  You could tell, it fit his youthful mindset and his inner personality.

But watching him strut around in the velour robe and high-top boots reminded me of something I’ve forgotten over the years:  Sometimes it’s good to swagger.

After all, we were born to be Kings and Queens.

But somewhere along the way, life becomes burdensome, our memories become hazy, and our royal demeanor diminishes.

Over the decades we allow mortgages, car loans, countless hours of work, home repairs, and medical bills to distract us from our true calling.  We carry responsibilities that are too heavy and mundane and in the process, our shoulders sag under the weight.

But in truth, we were made to live larger.  We were designed to rule our lives, rather than allowing our lives to rule us.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten to wear the cape.  We’ve failed to lace up the gauntlets.  We no longer think to tighten the belt another notch and move forward with purpose.  We’ve forgotten that we are royalty; rulers of our own land and throne.  We have abdicated our position to the cares of this world and the search for riches and treasure.  We have failed to pursue the grand adventure that awaits us all.  We’ve forgotten that we must throw off the shackles that bind us and rush forth as one with authority and power.

After watching my son tonight, I desired nothing more than to lay aside my burdens and walk with pride and purpose, as is my royal privilege.  And, by Jove, I intend to do so!

Now, where did I put my crown and sword?

Day 25 – Image Problems

2013.03.18My dog seems to have a problem with her image.  She’s been spending a little more time with her head in a corner.

Perhaps it has something to do with her recent weight gain or her non-stop licking.  Either way, I feel for her.

There are days when I’m not too proud of myself and wish I could join her in the 90 degree space.

For instance, I started my day with a healthy breakfast of Schwan’s chicken pot pie.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that I had two pot pies.

I know…I know…corner of shame.

But one just isn’t big enough and two are just right.  Who would have guessed that they totaled to 1300 calories!?

But the rest of the day I was pretty good and even though I’m 25 days into my year, this was only the second time that I was over my calorie target.  So it might be better to leave the dog in the corner by herself and go for a walk, with my head held high!


Day 8 – No Bread for You

2013.03.01I must admit that I’m a sucker for a good fruit cake.  I know, the brick-heavy, fruit bomb is not exactly high on the best-food list.  But there is something about all that dried fruit that gets me every time.

So I tried a recipe.

And it failed.  Disgustingly, shockingly bad.  Horrendous.

I’m guessing if I stick to a diet of water and this version of fruit cake, I’ll lose my goal weight in a matter of days.

The opinion was unanimous:  Don’t taste it, just trash it.

I’ll stick to my fruit in a more wholesome method in days to come.

I walked 20 minutes and kept my calories below my goal.  Another good day!

Day 7 – Chips, Please

2013.02.28This was a long day.  It started early in the morning with a conference that lasted the entire work day.  I drove to the church to run some lines for a short film I’m helping with and the day ended with a fun dinner with a friend.

Note:  Chips and Salsa are not bad for the diet.  Mushroom Quesadilla is not great for the diet.  TWO Mushroom Quesadillas are BAD for the diet.  Especially when they have so much salt!

Because I spent the day in a conference and the evening in practice, I didn’t get any more than 20 minutes of walking in today but that will improve, especially if I want to burn off the my beer.

Day 6 – Homecoming

2013.02.27After a month abroad, my daughter is home.  After picking her up from the airport, we stopped at Steak ‘n’ Shake for dinner.

She downed a cheese burger and fries.  I limited my intake to a serving of fries (400 cal), some cold slaw and baked beans.  I even had the will power to avoid the milk shake that was calling my name from the kitchen.

No walking today but my calorie count was down so I call this a good day.

Day 5 – Down the Pounds

Enjoying a very fine wine in celebration of my progress.
Enjoying a very fine wine in celebration of my progress.

I know I promised not to weigh myself until Fridays but I’ve felt pretty good and thought I’d just check on my progress.  I’m down two pounds!  208 lbs as of this morning.  I’ll take that every time.

And, yes, I know that the first ten pounds come of the easiest. I’m not kidding myself but I’ll take any success I can get.

The true secret is tracking my calories and eating better.

Here’s the shocker:  Yesterday, during a meeting at Paradise Bakery, I helped myself to a Peanut Butter Cookie.  Prior to this, I’d eaten a breakfast of on egg, polenta, and one slice of toast with home-made jelly (300 calories).  But that one cookie was 350 calories!!  One decision doubled my calories and it was only nine o’clock!

And that was the lesson.  Today, despite candy down the hall and evil Girl Scout cookies in the break room, I resisted and was thrilled.  At the end of the day, I still had over 800 calories before I topped my goal.  But I’m stuffed.  I age roasted vegetables and a fantastic fruit salad for supper with some apple-smoked cheese and a very nice Cabernet.

Five days in, two pounds down, and looking forward to Day 6!


Under Construction

Ben, Elliott, Javi and Mia: A few of my favorite people.

Last September we took a walk to the intersection of Hazeldell and 38.  At the time, it was still closed to through traffic and needed more work to make it the beautiful road that it is today.  Safety barrels were in place, large equipment was in use and piles of dirt dotted the landscape, ready to be moved to new locations and away from the work-site.

On this journey of adventure were four young people who are important to me:  Ben, my son, Elliott, Javier and Mia.

At the time, it was the walk to the intersection was just about throwing rocks into the creek and seeing the progress on the road.  But with each little adventure we’ve had since, I realize that the time we spend is so much more than a short walk to a construction zone.

Each moment I spend with these precious young people is a opportunity to help them grow, to strengthen their spirits, build their character.  Every time I hug them close, it is a reminder to them that they are loved.  Every dinner we share is an opportunity to listen to their stories, understand their passions and love their hearts.

Do you have someone in your life that is still under construction and could use some attention?  Perhaps they need no-more than a short walk.  Or perhaps today is the day to really get in there and dig deep.  Either way, it’s time to invest in the project and in the process, change a life.