That Colorado Spring visit solidified our pick for the "last hometurf of the future". We do love it there, and have been dreaming about the day we move non-stop - especially Larry, searching for homes basically daily as a "practice activity". We actually know the exact perimeter we'll be buying that home in, and the style and footage we're looking for. Oh, the place with the weather seasons, the mountains, dry fresh air, and smaller town's living!!! Paradise. What do you know, it is less than a year and half away now!
Instead of a quiet end of the month, we were invited to be a part of a great get-together at the annual craw-fish party put out by a Cajun native couple. It was awesome to see all of us at the same place, like good old times. What a fantastic group of people I get to be a part of.
To celebrate those things, we went "cultural" and visited Dallas/Fort Worth museum district. Boy, did it impress me, and I am hard to be impressed, coming from Russia and Europe!
In October, two good things were memorable. We put our annual "used-to-be's" party in the backyard with our running friends (oldies but goodies), and I am so grateful for the group of folks who treat me as a friend - all showed up, enjoyed time reminiscing, and what an amazing group that is. A week later we went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to chase Fall colors. Oh, yeah, I turned 48 that month, too. Thus the party and the trip:)
One more important thought with comes with that: I am thrilled, now, 4-plus years after my body gave up on my running, that it happened. I went through depression, questions, all kinds of treatments and trials...and now, coming out of the deep end on the other side, I feel grateful for that to be gifted. Really. It IS a gift. I now get to explore life and places I want at the pace I want, not get consumed to always train and the tie all my traveling to racing (quick in, run, and out). Those were amazing years behind, and I am so fortunate to have them, to see so many beautiful corners of this country, meet interesting and truly awesome people, grow stronger belief in myself and my mental and physical abilities. And now I am blessed to have a different set of years, and if I wasn't forced to recognize it, I might have still being on a hamster wheel. Life has its stages, thank God for that, and is SO multidimensional!
What brings me to health and balance in life, to resolutions of sorts. This year marked me working one job only - and at one location only. Myo Massage Austin has become my single employer, and I am happy on so many levels there. I feel in the right place, I know what I am doing, clients love me (and say so in all kinds of reviews), I enjoy making others feel better and am really good at it, the people around me actually like me too, with all my quirks and odd ends, my pragmatism and sarcasm, and my "rough around the edges". With that, not only did I stopped doing out all kinds of side jobs and gigs, I also, slowly but surely, cut my hours from 38/week (it is a physical job, ya know) down to 25. And I forced myself to learn how to take a day off every week, and stick with it!
My biggest accomplishment in terms of exercise is that, despite this whole "I can't run as I know it", I went out 6 days a week EVERY WEEK of the year! I woke up every day before the crack of dawn, laced up my shoes - and got my ass out the door. Some mornings were better than others, and I appreciate the bouts of "I feel like a real runner today" thrill. But I take it as it comes, and never dwell on the many more days when it's a shuffle, a pain, a struggle...and as I make it back to the door, I have a smile on my face. I believe this is the proudest achievement in my running "career", and not the 120-some ultramarathons, 100 mile races, or even wins.
I also stuck with a class of yoga a week - if my memory serves me well, I missed all of 4 weeks out of 52, which is not bad at all! Those were hard and far travel weeks.
In other notes, in April I, at the ripe age, started journaling daily, after reading a book - as a challenge. Before I knew it, I developed a habit, and I still journal. Last month I might have missed a day or two, but the simple act of writing had served me exceptionally wonderful, to sort through some thoughts, put ideas, or sometimes just to have a routine set. This task also helped me to stay off Facebook - something I keep trying. I was able to have my account deactivated for, I want to guess, 11 months out of the year, only popping once or twice a month to post a few pictures (as above) and check in on my friends.
Speaking of friends, I lived a real life, without social media, and had many a coffee with my local girlfriends, plenty of lunch dates, and Larry and I went for couples' dinner dates with people who we enjoy spending time with. I also kept up with people who matter via emails, texts, and phone calls - you know, things besides virtual "it's a beautiful life out there". On a related note - I stayed "deactivated" from FB during my birthday. I have 12 people (friends, besides relatives) whom I consider dear friends, whom I care about deeply, and hope I am for them as important as they are for me. On my birthday and around, without a social media reminders, all but 2 of those remembered - and I am so grateful to, without a plan, confirm, that life does, indeed, has true friendships, beyond the hype of "click and like". I am one lucky gal.
Without FB I had fulfilled another goal - I read "at least 12 books" this past year. I read more, and a hefty part of it was in the first half of the year (summer really sucks life out of me here), so I would love to keep up with it for the year(s) to come.
And I returned to a craft of cross-stitching. I finished a project and started a new one, and this very involved hobby really allows me to take my mind off the worries when the bad times strike.
This brings me to the final challenge I faced this year. Somewhere at the end of August I got very down on myself as my clothes became fitting tight, and looking into the mirror - painfully depressing. I gave a call to my friend, who happened to be a nutritionist, and she set me straight. Nothing ground-breaking, just a confirmation of what I always knew, and what always worked for me, empirically. I won't go into details, as she does do it for a living. But, on the brinks of "I need a liposuction!" scream, I started something so simple - yet so empowering. And the results blew my expectations away. Here we go, no filter, numbers don't lie. In a span of 3.5 months, I lost total of 16 pounds, 11 of them - pure fat, which constitutes 6.6% body fat loss. There was no plan for the "final number", yet it is so nice to be able not only button all the pants easily, but swing freely in them. And this was ALL in the KITCHEN only, since I quit my gym membership in July, and the state of my running training is marginally "maintaining" (still, though, hovering at 30 miles weekly). Simple does it, no pills, no gimmicks, no crazy exercise routine, no magic, no restriction on what to eat, no name-diets...You, too, can.
I heard a phrase today, and while it has been said many times before, in all kinds of books and personal workshops, it is worth repeating: "When you make choices, you choose consequences".
On that note, make your choices, live your life - and love every moment of it, damn it! Because it's the only one we got.