Midlife Makeover!!


Remember being a pre-teen and feeling like “if I could just get one of those makeovers like in the magazines, I’d get…” or “I’d be….” Usually the answers involved popularity, boyfriends, etc.  No, you don’t remember? I do.  (Above, that’s really Heidi Klum in costume, not me after my middle-age makeover.)

Well, if you’ve read more than five posts here, I’m sure you know I have Fibromyalgia and I ended my 20 year teaching career about a year and something ago because of it, and I’m needing to reinvent myself. It’s not that I want boyfriends or popularity. I’m married and have a blog that gets at least three hits a day. What I want is health, confidence, happyishness (which is a term I’ve copyrighted, so I hope if it takes off and gets popular, it will make me popular too–oh, contradiction!). When I say “happyishness,” I mean tending toward happiness without being weirdly fake or Polyanna. Happy and with a range of emotions that show I’m really alive.

So I was thinking a few weeks ago that my confidence is just not where it’s supposed to be. At my age, I don’t really believe in my self doubts. How weird is that. I know that when a person identifies with a certain role for many years, and then stops, but doesn’t have anything to take it’s place (except maybe the role of “sick person,” ugh), they may get a little blah.  It’s not really real though (in the big scheme of things). So I decided that I needed to cheer myself up and buying new clothes wasn’t going to work, I needed to lose some weight so those new clothes would look good. I didn’t want to be a Cathy cartoon. bathing suit dressing room cartoon

I had recently stopped smoking, YAY! and felt confident that I could make another healthy achievement.  My sister-in-law recently lost 30 pounds through exercise and portion control, which was inspiring, but I knew I couldn’t exercise that much with my fibro.

Enter Whole30. I had been looking at it for a while. I am really hesitant to follow things that have lots of ads and lots of people on the internet going “wow! wow!” But I researched it. It’s free, well, I bought the Kindle book for around ten bucks.

I knew that Paleo had helped some people with Chronic Fatigue and Fibro, and I had wondered if it could help me. Maybe I could lose weight and heal.  I had been off wheat for about three years, but the other “healthy whole grains” like oatmeal and rice were still in my diet. I read recently that Robert Downy Jr. said of quitting drugs, something like, “It wasn’t hard after I really committed.” I knew this was true for me with smoking. So I committed. It’s only 30 days. Today is day 12. I have more energy. I still hurt. Osteoarthritis, IBS, but I’m figuring it all out. I’m happyish. (BTW, if you haven’t read my post about Methylfolate and Methyl B12 and how much it helped me, read it here.)

I’m totally committed and have been cooking really great food. Its a great cooking challenge. More to come about my food and my Whole30.  Be well.

P.S. In your comments, please refrain from advice-giving or judgments. Stick to your own experience. “For me…” is a lot more helpful than “You should….”

P.P.S. I know some people think Paleo and Low Carb are bad.  If you’re one of them, I know you’re out there, you don’t need to tell me and throw cold water on my enthusiastic experiment :-).

Weekly Photo Recap

My online photo class is over and I thought I’d put up the weekly photo recap today to celebrate! It has been a challenge to keep up with Nablopomo and Photo101 this month, and I feel proud and a little fatigued.  And strangely, a little bored.

I’m curious about the relationship between fatigue, boredom, and the ending of a chapter in one’s work life. I feel it with this month’s ending, a sense of relaxation and relief, mixed with a “what now” feeling.  It’s a microcosm of the ending of my teaching career. For the last year or so, I’ve been working at not working, and strange as it sounds, it’s not easy. I have to learn to be free.

What if there is no “they” out there telling me what to do? Telling me the “shoulds” and “have tos” of life?  Sometimes, it’s easy as pie.  Relax, do some crafts, read, watch tv, go for a walk, visit with friends, do chores. But sometimes, it’s hard, like, “how do I do nothing?” “Am I allowed to do nothing?” “What do I want to do?” How to we get so accustomed to just following directions, coloring within the lines, buying our lives off the shelf?

Tribute to Poet Galway Kinnell: “The Road from Here to There”

Photo courtesy of GalwayKinnell.com

It’s Halloween, and the spirits of poets are here with all the rest.

Alas, poet Galway Kinnell has died.  Born in 1927, Kinnell was winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award for poetry.  He was the Poet Laureate for the state of Vermont, and focused on themes of nature, social justice, and the subtle spiritual dimensions of life.  He was a man of the people who wanted to write poems that could be read and understood “without a graduate degree in literature.”

Recently I exchanged thoughts with a friend on Stanley Kunitz’ poem, “The Layers.”  We discussed how as we get older, there are so many memories and so many losses and so many people and thoughts that have gone by the wayside.  It can be sad and overwhelming at times.  Kunitz’ poem advises us to “live in the layers and not on the litter,” allowing us to appreciate our own histories in a respectful and heartfelt way.

My favorite poem of Kinnell’s also addresses this theme.  Traveling on a familiar road, we often think, “oh, here is where….”  As we get older, we think of so many things on our daily journeys, each tied to a certain space or place on the road.  So many memories.  Kinnell says “when the spaces along the road between here and there are all used up, that’s it.”

Maybe Kinnell’s spaces were all used up, his memory too full, it’s hard to say, what I can say though,  is that I’m glad he left record of his “spaces” for us.

The Road Between Here and There – Galway Kinnell

Here I heard the snorting of hogs trying to re-enter the under earth.
Here I came into the curve too fast, on ice, touched the brake 
	pedal and sailed into the pasture.
Here I stopped the car and snoozed while two small children 
	crawled all over me.
Here I reread Moby Dick, skipping big chunks, skimming others,
	in a single day, while Maud and Fergus fished.
Here I abandoned the car because of a clonk in the motor and
	hitchhiked (which in those days in Vermont meant walking
	the whole way with a limp) all the way to a garage where I
	passed the afternoon with ex-loggers who had stopped by to
	oil the joints of their artificial limbs and talk.
Here a barn burned down to the snow.  “Friction,” one of the ex-
	loggers said.“Friction?” “Yup, the mortgage, rubbin’ against
	the insurance policy.”
Here I went eighty but was in no danger of arrest for I was blessed-
	speeding, trying to get home to see my children before they
Here I brought home in the back seat two piglets who rummaged
	around inside the burlap sack like pregnancy itself.
Here I heard again on the car radio a Handel concerto transcribed
	for harp and lute, which Ines played to me the first time,
	making me want to drive after it and hear it forever.
Here I sat on a boulder by the winter-steaming river and put my
	head in my hands and considered time—which is next to
	nothing, merely what vanishes, and yet can make one’s
	elbows nearly pierce one’s thighs.
Here I forgot how to sing in the old way and listened to the frogs at
Here the local fortune teller took my hand and said, “what is still
	possible is inspired work, faithfulness to a few, and a last 
        love which, being last, will be like looking up and seeing 
        the parachute turning into a shower of gold.”
Here is the chimney standing up by itself and falling down, which
	tells you you approach the end of the road between here and
Here I arrive there.
Here I must turn around and go back and on the way back look
	carefully to left and to right.
For when the spaces along the road between here and there are all
	used up, that’s it.

-Galway Kinnell
From his book Three Books:  Body Rags, Mortal Acts,Mortal
Words, The Past.  
First Mariner Books Edition, 2002