Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nurturing strength of spirit

Well, 8 months into my list and I'm making progress. I'll have pictures very soon of house-related projects (getting an iPhone at the end of the month! yee!) but here's a quick update on the rest of my endeavors.

I've had some health challenges in the past 6 months or so--a bulging disc/pinched nerve that has caused my legs and feet (most prominently my right) to go numb. It's caused all sorts of issues--loss of balance, 2 falls, knee pain. I haven't been able to work out or in the worst of it even walk Henley or do my laundry. It's been tough. I've had to dig down deep and find ways outside of exercise to deal with stress--and facing this as an otherwise healthy 27-year-old who lives alone has been a giant ball of stress in itself. I've learned that you cannot for a moment take your health for granted--it is a cliche and it's what people say after freak accidents or at funerals, but I mean it in earnest. To have my legs slowly go numb, to have my doctors look at me like its in my head, to have to fight for diagnostics has been a nightmare, but I have learned to rely on myself, trust myself and advocate for myself.

I'm getting my second steroid injection a week from now and I am hopeful that I will continue to have good results. After that, I will have 1-4 more injections and head back to physical therapy for another 8 weeks. It's been frustrating not being able to do stuff around the house or get outside, but I am hopeful that I am on the mend. Once again, the Desiderata has been running through my mind--

...Nurture strength of spirit to sheild you in sudden misfortune. But, do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and
lonliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself...

That being said, no matter how good my results are over the next 6 months, it is pretty likely that I will have to revisit my 30-before-30 list and replace a few goals with others that are more in line with where I will be at physically in the next year or so. In the words of my wise mother, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

As for my progress to date--

6. Buy a great sofa. Check! This summer I found a leather couch and chair on Craigslist. My parents and I drove to Iron Mountain to pick it up, and a couple hundo later, my living room has a lot more style. It's still a disaster in there, but Henley is loving her new chair as she watches passerbys during the day while I'm at work. I call it the Cadillac of dog beds.

7. Hang old family photos and create a space for new memories in my stairwell. Making progress! Pictures to come. I have one wall complete and a LOT more space to fill. Currently scouting places to find cheap frames. :)

11. Teach Henley a new trick. Check! My baby can shake! Now my task is teaching her when it's NOT appropriate to shake. Such as, when meeting someone for the first time or playing with a 2-year-old.

21. Go vegan for 4 months. I've actually done better--I've incorporated veganism into my lifestyle. For about 2 months now, I've eaten about 80% vegan. My friend Allison gave me some great advice: give yourself a break! So, I give myself a few cheater meals a week, usually when I'm in a group setting and it would be hard to eat vegan. My digestion has improved dramatically and my skin is brighter and clearer than ever. I feel great and I have really enjoyed finding new recipes and challenging myself in the kitchen. This has been key to getting through long evenings when I cannot physically do much else. I'm sure I'll write a lot more about this, because I am very excited about it.

25. Have 50 lunch dates. I'm only 8 months into my 3-year challenge, and I've had 21 lunch dates. It's helped me to check in with my friends and make sure I'm seeing a smiling face during my work week. Nine of the 21 have been with my friend John, so I think this means I owe him Border Grill for helping me reach my goals. :)

I haven't made New Years resolutions in a few years, but this year I felt strongly that I wanted to focus on the things that I love and have always loved. Get back to my roots, so to speak. I feel like when you become an adult, you are pulled this way and that, always needing pay this bill or take care of that errand. By the end of the day I am usually exhausted and with my physical challenges added on top of that, I've been drained in the spiritual department as well. These are the times I remind myself of the small, simple things that have always made me happy. Like quotes on sticky notes. Or reading by lamplight, well past bedtime, even if its just reading the Times in bed on my Blackberry. Like a messy kitchen. Like getting my thoughts down on paper.

It's kind of nuts--I always forget to write, mostly because I do it for a living. But it always surprises me that I forget that I love to do it. This was my worst fear in college--that making it my job would cause me to neglect the therapeutic side of it, the creative side, the only act that seems to straighten my head out completely.

What I'm trying to say is that I hope to be here on this blog more often in the coming year. I've avoided it because I've been frustrated that I couldn't blog about the things that I have been dying to do, but I realize now that I've avoided the very thing that brings me back to life. I know that there are good things in store, and in the mean time I am being gentle with myself and working on my spirit, with a few gallons of paint, a labrador that won't stop trying to shake my hand, and the Desiderata by my side.