Saturday, June 25, 2016

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I am out of shape. There. I said it. I stopped exercising after last year’s Avon Walk, which was in May. During the fall I gave up on my healthy eating habits. I’ve put on weight. Basically, I have let myself go. By the end of the year I decided I needed to do something. So, I committed to yoga three days a week. I have read many times that all you need to do is make one small change, and once it is habit add on. So instead of going on a crash diet and hiring a personal trainer to work me until I was drained of all energy, I committed to yoga. Three days a week.

I stuck to it. Mostly. There was a three week period where I did not do anything. By March I found myself doing yoga five mornings a week. Because I wanted to. One of the YouTube videos I follow is Yoga With Adriene. She has a 30 Days of Yoga series that has intrigued me, but I always have an excuse to not commit to 30 days. I’m traveling for work. I have weekend plans. It goes on.
Recently I decided to give it a try. Even though I was traveling for work and would be away from home for five mornings my trip was local enough that I was driving and could pack my yoga mat. So, I began my quest to try 30 Days of Yoga.
I’ve stuck with it. There are days when I cannot keep up with her video. It’s too advanced. But overall I can do most of her sequences, even if I have to modify the pose. On Day 20 I wanted to skip. I wanted to give up. But I had done 19 days; more than half. There was no reason to give up. So I did day 20. And Day 21. I just did Day 28. I found I have more strength in my arms. I can do three-legged dog. Who knew? And I want to do more in terms of exercise. I’ve even started walking more!
In October I will walk in my sixth Avon Walk.* This time in NYC. I should be training for the walk. I bought a FitBit® in the hopes that it would guilt me into walking more. It hasn’t. Or maybe it has. By tracking my steps I have noticed a pattern of activity (or lack thereof). Last week I took a walk at lunchtime. Twice. This past week three times.
Weekends are my worst time for activity, but last weekend I intentionally took walks. Make one small change. Commit to it. It does wonders. Most of all, never give up.

I wonder what next week will bring?

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Alone at the bar
I sit away from the small group
That is gathered at the other end

The martini hits the spot
After a long day of driving
And wretched heartbreak

Two workers
One young, one middle aged
Are here for a job

That couple seems cozy
Clearly they are in love
He buys her another glass of wine

The bartender asks my business
I am here for personal reasons
I wish to remain vague

A second martini
Takes me to last call
Soon the bar will close

The young man offers
To buy a last round
I am included

I opt for wine
I’ll pay for it in the morning
We share a toast

To anonymous friends
And travelers from afar
A brief encounter

Turns out
The couple is not together
The bellhop calls her a cab

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Thank You, Miss Burelle

I recently had the opportunity to visit my hometown and reconnect with several women from my teenage years. Our common denominator is the high school we attended. My school district was so small that we all knew each other and had friends from several classes. We took over the local bagel shop. The other patrons must have thought we were crazy with all the squeals of delight and identifying each other by our former names.

After 35 years we did not necessarily recognize each other’s face, but we knew names. As we shared memories from the late 70’s and early 80’s I could look into the eyes of my companions and see the younger face that I remembered. At one point, my renewed friend called out to one of the patrons. It was her aunt. We started talking about her aunt. Given the last name I asked, “Did your aunt teach kindergarten at Chaplin Elementary?” Why yes she did. It was my kindergarten teacher!
We reconnected. Of course I had to give her a hug and have Becky take a picture to post all over social media. Who wouldn’t? It’s what we do these days. She remembered me. And as Miss Burelle shared her memories of teaching, she asked me what year I was in her class. It surprised me to realize that kindergarten was 1969. Miss Burelle shared that she often wonders if she made a difference, but seeing us all together made her realize she must have. After all these years we chose to come together for an informal reunion and reconnect. (Miss Burelle almost had skipped the bagel shop that morning).
It startled me to think she would doubt her impact. So let me tell you, Miss Burelle. Yes, you made a difference. You made a huge difference. You took a tall, awkward girl who did not know her place in the world and introduced her to school. You taught a child who was bullied right from the start how to love learning. This girl grew up. Not only did I graduate from high school, I went on to college and eventually law school. I continue to love to learn, and I do not tolerate bullies. My parents and classmates would say I’m a success. It all started with you Miss Burelle, because you cared about me. You loved me, and took care of this shy, vulnerable child. Eventually, I blossomed.
Thank you, Miss Burelle. Yes, you made a difference.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.