Create a Healthy, Happy You: Longevity

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Eva’s Gizowska’s book, “Things to do now that You’re…Single Again” has eight chapters. And while for the most part I’ve been busy completing the first one, Seize the moment, I am starting to integrate chapter two, Create a Healthy, Happy You, into the mix.

Chapter two address the “health risks” we can face during the dissolution of a relationship. I understand how silly that sounds but let’s not fool ourselves, break ups at the very least cause stress, and stress can take a powerful toll on our body and minds. According to Eva’s book, “A number of studies suggest that the trauma of breaking up with a partner can lead to all sorts of health problems including migraines, skin problems, depression and insomnia-even heart disease”. And as someone whose “break up” occurred according to death, I’ve experienced all of the above in the last year or so, expect heart disease.

So with all that in mind, I’m embarking on a new chapter to get healthy again!

The first tid bit I found accomplishable was Eva’s suggestion to add some greenery to your work place. You may remember one of my earlier post in which I attempted to grow some plants; rosemary, lavender, spearmint. They never took off. L So this time around I simply bought an already blossoming orchid. Something I’ve wanted for quite some time! I purchased it on sale at whole foods for 10$ though I learned after you can get them for $5 at home depot. Boo.

What’s the point of this?

According to Eva, “With no partner to rush home to, it can be tempting to spend longer hours in the office. This could earn you’re a promotion. But all those long hours in front of the computer won’t do your health much good. Research show computers and office equipment all emit invisible yet harmful pollutants. One simple way to protect yourself is to place green plants near computers, photocopiers, printers and faxes. Even a small cactus plant, for example, can help counteract the effects of radiation, and green plants generally can minimize effects of pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and other chemicals from office machinery”.

(I didn’t know plants were so fuckin’ awesome! I mean I know they help with pollution, but I’m about to dec my room out with them!)

Still unsure why I picked an orchid for my room?

My workplace changes daily, but at the end of the day I come home to spend hours on my computer either doing school work or running a nonprofit organization. A 40 hour work week would be a luxury for me, as I start work at 7am and work well into the night everyday.  Ever since my boyfriends passing I’ve used work, school, and the non profit to avoid grieving. Saying it’s “tempting” to spend longer hours in the office is an understatement, it’s an addiction for me, and I can’t seem to stop or restore balance to my life.

Recently I’ve dropped one of my jobs to allow myself a day off as I often work most weekends too. But no sooner did I quit that job, I picked up a volunteer opportunity. I have this problem where I believe when I’m not doing something productive, I’m doing nothing, I’m worthless. Whereas most people would just say, “they are relaxing”. And it’s much deserved!

Still, I’m working toward making my schedule more accommodating to some downtime. I’m experiencing health issues that the doctor believes is a direct consequence of stress and while likely be irreversible if I don’t slow down.

I know a plant isn’t going to fix my problems, but flowers in distress wilt and die. I can’t help but recognize the correlation between them and that of human health. So this flower, that sits next to my computer as I’m working into the evening is the reminder to slow down, stop and go to bed. Somethings can wait til tomorrow, my health, my happiness, they can’t.

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Creating a Happy Healthy You: Single

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How do you look back on your life? So much of my life can simply be categorized by relationships. I remember meeting the guy who became my first boyfriend in sixth grade and all his dorky friends. Pathetic, I know. I remember moving on from him to my first “real” relationship in highschool with one of the most popular guys in school. Within a year a new period in which I lost all my friends because I was so wrapped up in that relationship emerged. I remember the time period during which I made new friends. My closest at the time, a crazy strawberry blonde girl whose world had no boundaries and consequently brought me extended limits. Through her I started a relationship with a guy who went on to be my boyfriend for eight years. During our time as a couple I likewise, can classify our eight years together by the three and half years before our son and the three and half after him.

Relationships, they are the markers on my timeline in life.

For over a year now, I’ve been doing what I need to get by, always going through the motions, staying overwhelmingly busy. I was already working full time, plus overtime, but I decided to throw in school, and when I was able to accommodate that, I threw founding and running a nonprofit organization into the mix, and when that was manageable I added more hours to my work week. All the while grieving, very very secretly grieving.
I can’t tell you how many days I woke up not wanting to get out of bed. How many nights I cried myself to sleep. How many times the realization that my son was fatherless would smack me in the face and take my breath away. Or how many times the few close friends I have, listened to me retell the same emotions and stories that are constantly going on in my head on replay. While trying to keep a smile plastered to my face for the rest of the world.

With my relationship ending in death I swore off love and resorted myself to being single. As if it were a bad thing.

However earlier this month I came to a number of realizations that have given me new perspective.

-No one ever can and ever will replace the love I lost. No relationship will feel that way. But death aside, that’d be the case as well. So I may as well be open to the idea that I may find happiness with another lover somewhere down the road.
– Being single my not have been my choice, but it is now. All the opportunities I’ve had to date, I’ve turned down, or purposefully lacked the effort it takes to build a relationship.
-Relationships take effort and time and work and commitment, and quite frankly they take more then I’m willing to give. I’d rather be selfish at this time in my life, focus on me for once.
-I am enjoying this phase in my life, the only time period on my timeline that’s marked by singleness. In the past year I have grown and matured and learned more about myself and others and the world then I could have imagined. There has been so much value to all of it.

All that being said, I leave you with these quotes from Eva’s book;

“When one door of happiness closes, another one opens. But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us”. – Helen Keller

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time”- Edith Wharton

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I am creating a healthy happy me, one day at a time.

Seize the Moment: Call a friend

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The first chapter, Seize the moment, of Eva Gizowska book, “Things to do now that you’re…single again”,  starts with an encouraging preface about looking around to discover the countless opportunities for happiness that surround you. (Despite not necessarily feeling like it)

Some are challenging, some require planning, some promote spontaneity, and some are simple.

When my boyfriend passed my close friends and some very dear friends from my grade school days were there to support me. Furthermore, they persuaded me to not give up on living.

I’m not referring to any suicidal innuendo, more or less they wanted me to cheer up and make me view death as a very big bump in this journey that I would “make it through”. They wanted me to healthfully grieve ofcourse, but also understand that I could still go out, do things, and be happy again.

(See the similarity between this book with its “break up perspective” and me and my friends with a “coming out of a relationship due to death” perspective?)

These friends, Dani and Lyla, they were there at the funeral and they were there the first time I stepped out of the house to be social again, which for the record required a wig to make me unrecognizable . That’s what best friends are for! And the wig? Well that was for the nosey judgmental people who’d be coming up to ask me stupid questions like “how are you?” and “what happened?”.

Again for the record, “my boyfriend of eight years died, no I’m not going to give you details about who found him and where, also I’m not ok but I’m still kicking.” OBVIOUSLY!

What was surprising to me, was that friends who I hadn’t seen since gradeschool came to the funeral, despite our lack of connection over the manner years since then.

That being said when I found Eva’s suggestion to “pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t spoken to for months” I knew who to call! I called two of my best gradeschool friends who I haven’t really spoken to much in years and rather than chit chat on the phone we met up for dinner. In that short 2 hour period we did our best to get up to speed on each other’s lives since graduation and ofcourse what was most currently going on. It was completely refreshing and reminded me just why I had always loved them so much.

Despite the distance, the time, and such, those girls will always mean so much to me. And much like they were there for me, so too will always be for them! Seizing the moment, and the past!

Seize the Moment: Share your knowledge, Save a life!

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Most of Eva Gizowska’s first chapter, Seize the Moment, in her book “Things to do now that you’re…single again” are self-centered. (Which I say in a positive light).  However the suggested task I completed this week was focused on sharing.

“If you have a talent, share it! Pass on your skill to someone by becoming their teacher- it could be anything from learning how to use a computer to baking a cake.”

You could twist this suggestion into being quite self-centered as well. As you have to acknowledge a talent or skill you posses in order to complete this goal. Personally, I very much believe giving is receiving and typically find pleasure and self-fulfillment in doing so.

I however, steered away from talent. Honestly, I couldn’t think of any. I don’t cook or bake exceptionally well, I can’t sow, only sing and dance in private places, and I don’t really have any (or have time for any) hobbies.

So what now?

Well, I enjoy public speaking and i’m pretty good at too. (Thank you Chris Miller, all time best speech professor!) But I wouldn’t try teaching anyone how-to. Still, I could use it to share some knowledge I have.

Recently I was trained in opiate overdose prevention training for the non-profit I founded. I took it a step further and got trained to train others too! A few weeks ago I hosted a training session and educated twenty participants on how to prevent an overdose and how to prevent an occurring overdose from being fatal.

In Illinois, we have the Good Sam Act that allows immunity to those who call 911 in the event of an overdose. And it allows any lay person (with training, such as what I provide) to carry and administer Naloxone, the opiate overdose antidote. I trained people and provided them with this life-saving drug.

Since that training, a life has already been saved thanks to the Naloxone I gave out!

That wasn’t talent, that was saving a life! And if that’s not seizing the moment, I’m not sure what is.
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Seize the Moment: in the rain

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Eva Gizowska’s Things to do don’t always require a big production. The most recent goal that I accomplished was rather humbling, and simple. She suggests those coming out of a relationship, “Notice how many things you used to take for granted. Reacquaint yourself with small pleasures in life. Go for a walk in the rain and splash in the puddles. Notice how fresh the air smells.”

Sounds kinda boring.

It honestly probably would be if I went this one alone. Truthfully, completing this task wasn’t even on my radar. Walking in the rain seems kind of, well take your pick;
A. pointless
B. juvenile
C. less than brilliant
D. All the above.

I haven’t purposely spent time in the rain since I was a freshman in highschool and dancing in the rain was entertainment, but looking back on it, it was D. all the above. Between remembering that moment perfectly and dreading the rain when it falls while I’m running errands now days, I really couldn’t see why this assignment was important.

Interestingly enough, someone from my highschool days has recently showed up in my life and in an effort to hang out with me, has taken up going on walks late in the evening.

On our first such occasion it happened to be drizzle just the slightest bit, and I do mean slightest, after quite an eventful storm. The air was certainly fresh, and thick. The fog was so dense we couldn’t see much ahead of us. Infact, as we walked into the park near my house we couldn’t see even a few feet ahead of us. We played like school kids loosing each other in the foggy night and yelling “Marco Polo” til we stumbled into one another. As the fog lifted we noticed how bright the stars were and stood there for awhile pretending to point out the big dipper.

That night was quite entertaining and we’ve since taken up walking on a semi-regular basis. This tradition blows my mind, as I didn’t care much for this guy in highschool. He was frankly, a douche. We had what I described as a love-hate relationship, minus the love. He was a trouble making prick that I thought could use my help. I always felt like he immaturely “gave me shit” like a school boy with a crush. Turns out we were just two people with bad impressions of each other, though even he admits he was a prick.

Now we are enjoying each other’s company. He’s unknowingly helping me accomplish goals and I’m diminishing whatever negative thoughts he had of me. I’m reacquainting myself with him and with the small things, the simple pleasures in life.

Something as simple and mundane as walking in the rain has turned into a stress relieving routine that leaves me feeling rejuvenated .

Next time it’s raining, you’ll find me seizing the moment.

Seize the Moment by breaking the rules.

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Often times, I wonder how I’m going to accomplish some of Eva Gizowska, “Things to do now that you’re…single again”.

Such as this one, “Sometimes, if you want to break out of a rut, you’re just going to have to break the rules”.

What does she even mean? What rules?  How am I supposed to do this?

Really, my rap sheet isn’t squeaky clean or anything, but I’ve always been a responsible person, even more so after becoming a parent. I not only haven’t acted my age in the five or so years that I’ve had a child, but I can’t even figure out how exactly, someone my age, is supposed to act. Hell, I can’t be sure of how old I even am.

Well, it turns out, this is one of those things that can’t be planned. I could leave this post right there.

The End!

 

 

But that wouldn’t be much fun. Recently, I’ve been told I have been doing this whole being single thing, wrong. So is breaking the rules, right?

I’m not sure how I could be doing this single thing wrong. I’m following a book for god’s sake.

I work multiple jobs.
I run a non-profit that I started.
I spend tons of quality time with my son.
I take night classes.
I’m in a book club.
I go out to eat with my girlfriends.
I volunteer.
I’m not afraid of hitting up a festival alone.
I am accomplishing things I’ve always wanted to to do.
I’ve been following the rules.
But I haven’t broken any.

So, fuck the rules! Last weekend I went out. I went out and stayed out. (I hear that’s what people my age do when they don’t have children to report to.) I enjoyed adult beverages. I irresponsibly left my phone in the car. (Though it was really just dead and on the charger). I acted my age. Which I discovered! (I’ll be celebrating my fourth twenty-first birthday in January). I made new friends. I danced. (Refer to one of my earlier post; Seize the moment Dance, in regards to my feelings on that). I had a good time, I had a great time! I was happy! Very happy! I broke the rules and seized every second of it.

I woke up with a hang over. And I won’t be doing that often.

 

 

But I’ll likely do it again. 😉

Seize the Moment: SON-kissed

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I’m going to keep this post as short and simple as Eva Gizowska’s suggestion.

“Head to the nearest beach and work on that sun-kissed glow”

That’s exactly what I did! Ok ok, not so much the sun-kissed glow part. I occasionally work on that in those disgusting cancer sentencing, addictive tanning beds, that suck money out of your pockets when the sun offers UV for free. Poor choice, I know.

Let’s focus on the part I did accomplish! Heading to the beach, though not the nearest one, I packed up the car and hit the road with my son. We got there, set up shop…well tent, enjoyed a picnic lunch and jumping in the waves. I was shocked by how much my son, who never leaves the stairs in the pool, enjoyed swimming out to the sandbar with me to take on the waves.

Afterwards we enjoyed dinner at a famous burger joint, Redamak’s, in New Buffalo MI. We followed that up with ice cream down the street at oinks. Both places I had spent many summers at as a kid with my extended family. It was great to share that experience and tradition with my own child.

I stopped at the store to buy my son a comfy pillow before hitting the road again, but he stayed awake talking to me for the hour and half long drive back home, hours past his bed time.

I experienced a new side to my child spending the day together doing something we hadn’t before. And at the end of it all he thanked me with a tight squeeze and big kiss. Talk about son-kissed!

A moment not just to be seized, but remembered for a lifetime.

Seize the Moment: I Dare You!

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Eva Gizowska’s book recommends I try to, “Be daring. Go to the funfair on your own. There’s no one to see you making a fool of yourself. So, try all the rides, eat candyfloss and scream when you’re scared!”

Funfair season is pretty much over, seems they all occur about the same time, 4th of July. But just last weekend Naperville hosted an Ale Fest. Now beer, isn’t really my thing. I actually don’t drink it at all. I tried it back in highschool, decided I didn’t like the taste, and didn’t force myself to learn to like it as everyone suggested. And while I know, hand crafted ales are more of an art than your gas station case of beer, this fest still wasn’t my…cup of tea?

It actually came about when my uncle’s buddy decided to start a business, Beer Dogging. Beer dogging is much like the Groupon for beer establishments except you pay for the membership instead of purchasing a discounted deal. You can sign up from a free membership and receive one time deals to restaurants, stores, and bars that have an abundance of hand crafted brews. Or you can purchase an Alpha dog membership for 25$ which includes a t-shirt and membership card that gets you deals every time you go to one of the many sponsor locations. It’s actually a pretty neat concept and if you’re interested in it you can check out the link below or download the app to your smart phone.

https://www.facebook.com/BeerDogging

Now what does is have to do with Eva’s proposal? Well I went alone. I didn’t know anyone there and I knew nothing about beer, but I went. I actually helped out at the Beer Dogging tent so I met an abundance of people, mostly young guys. (Which was a nice bonus for my eyes!)

The very first line in Eva’s idea is “be daring”. This whole chapter, seize the moment, seems to be about that. Trying new things, doing what you’ve always wanted, reaching for your dreams and such. Now I realize, her advice is given to help navigate the initial time period after a break up where you need to get out, stay distracted, and get over it before reacquainting yourself with who you are as an individual, but I like to dare myself to establish and maintain my independence often. Sounds silly but read on…

My cousins once told me it was a goal of hers to go to the movies alone, “it builds character” she said. I admired her for that and made it a goal of my own. I haven’t made it to the movies alone, but last year I went to Vegas by myself. I’ve gotten over eating at a restaurant alone and do it regularly now. (Something I pitied, ever since I saw a man in his eighties get stood up by a date. For his sake I always hoped that the old woman who blew him off had had a heart attack as opposed to simply blowing off their date).

Back to my point, doing things alone, is daring. And character building! Too often the second we are left alone we feel like an outcast and immediately grab our phones for security, like we’re busy, not losers. Because unfortunately, we often confuse someone who is by themselves, as a loner, and therefore, loser, when in actuality those people are demonstrating independence and confidence.  To engage in an activity alone in public is daring! Try it! It gets easy over time as you build your own confidence.

Not only did I attend this event alone, but I tried the different ales. I don’t just seize the moment, I own it!
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Seize the Moment: Quirky goal complete!

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Eva’s book Things to do now that you’re…Single Again has quite a few random quotes that I haven’t paid much attention to. However this one, said by Angelina Jolie, “It’s just such a freeing thing to set great challenges for yourself, to travel, to learn more about the world, to just go out there and get crazy and get free and get strong” inspired me to be proactive about the quirky goal list that I came up with last week.

And ok, so maybe my list isn’t as extravagant as traveling, baby steps people. I’ll get there, and in the meantime I am more than satisfied with the list I created. If I accomplished this list and someone gave a eulogy at my funeral giving a rundown of my quirky achievements, I’d be just fine, as a guest I’d be entertained. (Though maybe they should leave out the strip pole dancing.)

Regardless, one down! If you know me personally, you may have your assumptions about which quirky goal I completed. (I posted the above picture on Facebook) This Friday I attended the Eyes to the Skies Hot Air Balloon festival. Somewhere between 10-20 Hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes are blown up for the community to come see. At night it makes a spectacular display of light! You can walk right up to the baskets and ask the pilots questions, take photographs, feel the heat of the fire that fills the balloons with hot air, and kids can collect cards describing the height and weight of each balloon. If you’re lucky enough to know a pilot there, you may even get to climb in the basket and be a part of the crew, like I was!

Unfortunately, that was the extent of my Hot air balloon experience, for now. The balloons launch at 5:30 am and 6:30 pm if weather and wind conditions permit, which is rare.

But the festival has plenty of other things to do! There is a carnival full of rides, mass amounts of food vendors, a kids zone, stage for performances, and dozens of craft fair, flea market-type stands. Including a psychic reader!

Visiting a psychic at a fair wasn’t my plan, but I saw it and couldn’t resist. Of the four psychics sitting at small tables under the tent, I was particularly drawn to one gentleman. He asked for my name which I of so wit-fully told him, he was supposed to know. He laughed it off and asked me to spilt the deck of tarot cards any three ways. I couldn’t tell you much about the cards or the meanings each had individually but here’s what I got from my reading.

He quickly pulled a card that had to do with being a nurturer.
Check, I am indeed.

He pulled a relationship card and stated he was seeing three of us.
Interesting.

Three cards in a row the 7, 8, 9, of pinnacles suggested I was or would be financially stable and successful in life.
Good to hear, and I have some suspicions on how this could be very true.

“This was the year for me”, he said. If I want to try a new business venture, relationship, or some other kind of challenge, this was the time for me to do it. I’d be successful.
This one sounded a bit phony, but I’ll take it.

He said children were drawn to me and followed that up by questioning what I do for a living.
Check, I’m a nanny.

He said he sensed some psychic awareness and followed that up with asking if I was a heavy dreamer.
Check and check. I do dream a lot, and deeply, and more real then I think is typical. When I was nine I dreamt my great-grandfather passed away and week later he did. That was just the first of my “psychic dreams”. Even just last year, a week before leaving for Florida, I dreamt while my family was on vacation someone in my family passed away and my mother had to leave early. Someone did pass away in my family, my boyfriend, and I was the one to leave early.

He referred back to the relationship card he first pulled and said he was still waiting for the emperor to show up so we could discuss what the cards said about my future as far as relationships are involved.  He said typically relationships are what psychics read the most of and discuss the longest. After going on for awhile he asked if I was married before suggesting that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to be in a relationship.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

He continued that others probably sensed that and when I was ready to be open to one, I’d have no problem, but the emperor never showed up.

Maybe you don’t buy into this type of thing. My sister’s theory is, “when it’s good news, I tell everyone. When it’s bad, I tell everyone it’s not real”. My father thinks it a waste of money and finds a way to rip everything they say a part. I consider myself to be pretty critical, I left my answer very opened ended, my facial expression never changed. I certainly didn’t make it easy for him to read me, as far as I’m concerned, he had to go based on the cards. I wouldn’t live by what the cards say, but I put as much faith in them, as doubt. It’s only fair!

Ultimately, it was thrilling to experience and brought a weird sense of calmness over me. I’m finding that combination of emotions to be my favorite. Perfect for achieving a goal, perfect for seizing the moment!

And I’m adding a nineteenth goal to my list!
19. Travel to another country to do some charitable work

Seize the Moment: Quirky Goals

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Make a list of quirky things you’d like to do now that you have time, such as learn to play bridge, throw a boomerang, make the perfect lemon mousse, dive off a diving board, stand under a waterfall, ice-skate backwards…Try to tick at least one thing off your list every month.

I’ve put this to do off. (I think I do that a lot.) It seems to me these tasks are becoming more difficult to accomplish. The problem with this one is that it requires adding more things to do to the already lengthy list that Eva’s Gizowska’s book.

But here it is, my personal “To do” list. It was simple really, these are things I’ve been dreaming up for years. You can be the judge of quirky they are. Quirky is one of my favorite words to describe myself. Though some would disagree with that self-description.  In my book, quirky goes hand-in-hand with weird in a good, mysterious kind of way.

A lot of people would consider this just a list of small goals to accomplish or a bucket list. I like to think of it more as secret talents I intend to posses. (As well as some activities I’m interested in but rarely if ever have the opportunity to do.)

I don’t necessarily have the time for them any more so then when my boyfriend was alive, but I do have a stronger desire to make them happen. I can’t keep living for what’s ahead of me and hope I’ll have the time.

Slowly, but surely, I am becoming less focused on what I’m supposed to do, what is expected, and more so on what I want, and what I want right now.

I’ll write about them as I accomplish them!

  1. Go to a cigar lounge
  2. Learn to pole dance
  3. Visit a palm reader/ medium
  4. Take up a self defense class
  5. Learn to make sushi
  6. Go to a wine tasting/class
  7. Pet an elephant
  8. Learn 5 origami shapes
  9. Take a hot air balloon ride
  10.  Learn to make 15 mix drinks and shots
  11. Memorize the alphabet backward
  12. Master making one unusual/difficult dessert from scratch
  13. Take up a salsa dance class
  14. Become a pen pail or send a message in a bottle
  15. Learn the ins and out of guns and improve shooting
  16. Have a boudoir photo shoot
  17. Master a card game
  18. Study one of my nationality’s languages until I’m fluent