Today’s topic is all about Changes and making them.
This year, I have decided to invest in myself and my well-being.
Number one on my list was the state of my health.
I started getting serious about my health by hitting the gym. Yes, exercise. The word I detest more than anything else. I have to be completely honest here, I have always been allergic to exercise. You have no idea how much I hate exercise. The biggest irony is that I was always active and sporty in school. But that was THEN and THIS IS NOW. Exercise is my most hated activity in the world. Yes, hate is such a strong word. And yes, I am using it a lot just in this paragraph. I think everyone gets the idea. So, I force myself to get it out of the way, early in the morning after my daughter goes to school. The last 10 minutes of the work out is always the hardest. Because I feel like bolting out of the gym the minute I arrive. Thankfully, I have been disciplined enough to pull through 4 months now.
It isn’t so much about losing weight. It is really about getting toned and healthy. It’s not so funny when everything starts to flap along with every movement I make. And that climbing three flights of stairs can make me hyperventilate or go dizzy. I know this is the part of me which I have taken for granted for far too long – eating too much desserts, pizzas, ice cream, milkshakes and etc. All the little devils that will make themselves stubbornly present in the very parts of me which I wish to eject…to somewhere like the black hole.
There are, of course, easier ways to go about it – especially if you have the money to spare. Here, in Malaysia – we have all sorts of creative ways to help people lose weight – from the chili wrap treatments, to the cold wraps, to the new technology and gadgets available like “cool sculpting” and liposuction. The list is endless. Yes, they all cost a bomb. And yes, some Malaysian women do spend a lot of money on losing weight this way. There are so many of this so-called “beauty shops” and “salons” everywhere in Kuala Lumpur. However, I have decided to go with the old school way – work it out, and sweat it out. No pain. No gain. More importantly, I wanted to get healthier from inside out.
The changes have been good. I no longer pant like crazy when I get onto the treadmill. I can increase my “speed limit” now and go for a longer period of time. When I first started, I wanted to pass out within the first two minutes on the treadmill. Yes, I was that unhealthy. I think my state of health was the equivalent of a 65 year old. Then again, I do know of some 65 year olds who are way healthier than me!
Naturally, I have also adjusted my diet. No more sodas. No more fast foods and junk food. Well, in moderation. In fact, I rarely eat a slice of cake these days. So, eating habits have also changed accordingly. This is not to suggest that I had cut out all the fun stuff from my diet. I do eat what I want, but in moderation. I do not go out and finish a tub of Vanilla ice cream within one hour.
The thing I noticed about cutting out all these sugar and junk from my diet is that I do not feel as tired as before. And no drastic rise and fall of moods. I seriously think that too much sugar does affect our mental/emotional state. Anyways, this is just from my personal experience. The other thing I noticed is that when I cut a lot of meat out of my diet, I am less prone to anger, and much less inclined to blowing up like a short fuse. I wonder if anyone else has the same experience as well.
So, I am gradually getting healthier and I am glad that I am pushing myself each week to be consistent in this.
Upgrading my own skills or interests have always taken a back seat. There were multitude of reasons. Lack of time was one major issue. There were so many things which I wanted to learn or at least, discover but had to shove them into the “cold storage” of my life. I call it the “cold storage” because there is where all old dreams, personal life goals and even hobbies or recipes were sent to “sleep” for the time being. They do not die. They just get frozen until they can be brought to life, in their full regalia.
So, this year, many of them have been taken out of the “cold storage” and been given their long deserved lease of life. Some had not seen sunlight or touched fresh air for decades. It took a long while to stretch those limbs and muscles, especially, in the realms of creativity. Some even seemed a little out-of-place, or out dated. It is like taking out our old scrapbooks or photo albums and reviewing our lives. So, some had to perish as they were no longer relevant. I had to let go of some due to the fact that they no longer serve the direction I am heading. We all do change at various stages of our lives. This is all part of learning and growing, I suppose.
One of the major items on the list I wanted to accomplish was to seriously improve on my writing. And I am so thankful that I found a writing coach that was right for me, and could be there for me in Julie Gray. You can even read more about it in my interview with her. Julie has been patient and very generous with me. I always felt that it was extremely important for the “student” to find the right “teacher”. Otherwise, the learning becomes severely hampered and neither will gain anything from that interaction. I have learnt much more than writing itself whilst I am on my writing journey with Julie Gray. I am also discovering more of myself, especially my “written voice”. Some day, I plan to write a blog post on this writing journey.
3) THE BLOG UPGRADE
As some followers/readers may have noticed, I have made some changes to my blog over the course of this year. For one, I migrated from Blogspot to Word Press. And now, I am in the midst of making more changes in the back of house, as well as tweaking some of the design elements of the blog. Soon, a new “face” of the blog will be unveiled. In the meantime, within this week or so, postings will be halted or interrupted. Please bear with me. I am in the process of migrating my blog to self hosting and etc. The domain name will stay the same. The url address stays the same, but you will hopefully be pleasantly surprised over the next few weeks. I am excited because it is a giant leap from where I originally started. So, let’s hope it will turn out roses and peaches 🙂
I have always wanted to learn another language and to play a musical instrument. The language I have always wanted to learn is French, because I am a Francophile at heart, and the instrument I have always wanted to play is the violin. Yes, I know, I am too old. Yes, I know it is a very difficult instrument to play. Yes, I did try. The violin teacher actually begged me to stop, because I was just killing the violin. It was not pretty, especially for the violin. Apparently, my fingers are all too stiff from doing gymnastics when I was in secondary school. So, they couldn’t really “play” the fiddle all that well. The teacher recommended the cello instead. Fortunately for me, I found a Cello teacher who was able and willing to take on an adult student who has never studied music or played an instrument in her life. This should be interesting. I love Cello just as much, though I do wonder how I would cope. The Cello is much bigger than the violin. The idea is a tad bit intimidating. We shall see. And guess what, the Cello teacher is also French. So, I get to learn both the language and the musical instrument.
I know this is an ambitious undertaking, even for me. However, these are some of my childhood cherished dreams and I intend to give it a go. So, whatever the outcome may be, as we have not actually started as yet, I would gladly accept – but it would be AFTER I gave my best shot at it. Here’s hoping that I can make “sweet-ish” music with the Cello, and speak enough French to order my favourite French foods, or to watch some of my fave French movies.
5) ONE FAVOURITE THING A DAY
Lastly, I have managed to organize my time around so that I get to do some of my favourite things in one day. Again, the idea is to be able to do at the very least, one favourite thing in a day. In this way, I’d get to enjoy something I like on a daily basis. Previously, nothing was achieved because I was always running out of time or didn’t have enough time to spare in a day. There was always something to do, and work to attend to. In truth, these will never end. However, I realised that it is my relationship with them that must be improved. Hence, a little time management and better organisation were utilised to provide me with just that. It could be something as simple as an hour dedicated to reading, watching a movie and completing that movie in one sitting, enjoying a leisurely warm bath without haste or worry, or even to listen to music and just relax. Yes, you’d think I had time to do any of the above, but sadly no. I was so busy to the point that I had no time to even pee without haste. That is to give you an idea of how busy I was. Hence, the change of lifestyle was much-needed.
Above all, I am thoroughly enjoying spending time with my daughter and my parents. Again, it is done without rushing and dashing. I get to even cook a proper meal at home now, which is another huge change. We used to eat on the go. Now, we can take our finest flatware and silverware to have a full-blown gourmet dinner if the mood takes us. Or, we could opt to go out and try something different. It has been such a long time since I was back in the kitchen. Needless to say, I got cuts, bruises, scalded and etc. Kitchen-Battle wounds! What can I say, I was a good cook a long time ago and now, I am back to being an amateur. This is what years of no cooking, and non-practice does to me. Let’s hope the learning curve on this one will be short. Otherwise, we’d be safer eating out. With whatever spare time I have left, I help complete my parents’ Bucket List. These will become some of the most priceless memories of my life. I know it.
So, in conclusion – what changes have done for me? Well, I’ve learnt to live moment by moment, being fully present. Like Wayne Dyer said, “The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty or judgmental about any other time, the better I feel about the quality of my work.”
May we all give ourselves the permission to thoroughly enjoy every moment of our lives.
Start your own brand of fearless living and peace to all!