Resilience…or, I’ve Been a Busy Girl

Resilience is what keeps us moving and growing. And I can honestly say that I’ve seen such resilience in Mister Bubby since my last post, that it’s inspiring.  Is that stupid? To find your fur baby to be inspiring? Even if it’s stupid, I still believe he’s a miracle. Since I last wrote, I found out that Bubby is officially cancer free! He’s moving around like the champ that he is and continues to amaze me every day. We’re just about back to normal with the exception of climbing the staircase to go to bed at night. For some reason, he just can’t muster the energy to propel himself. I just keep telling myself that we’ll get there. And we will.

His recovery period was a real bitch. Keeping him from licking at his sutures was a miserable experience for all involved, and we had to make a visit to the emergency room due to a bad reaction to pain medication, but we got through it. And somehow, even with putting him through the surgery and making sure he kept his tongue off of the incision site, he still loves me. The love that our fur babies have for us is simply incredible.

Let’s see, what else has been happening? Oh, big doin’s. I’ve been working with a phenomenal trainer at the gym for a little over a month, and I’ve started dead lifting and have far exceeded my expectations with what I thought were my abilities. Last week, I lifted 130 lbs. My goal was 120 and I just… kept going, adding more weight little by little. It’s really amazing what your body can do once your brain says you can do it. Lifting is something I never thought I would do. I never imagined that I’d reach the point where I actually look forward to picking up heavy weight.

I’ve also been working hard with my cardio work and sticking to the Weight Watchers plan, and I’m happy to announce that I am now 28 pounds lighter now than I was on April 22nd. And, I’m the incredible shrinking woman: my trainer took measurements of me when we started working a little over a month ago and every part of me is getting smaller. It truly is a wonderful feeling when you see results and know that your hard work is paying off.

I also just got back from a fantastic trip to Houston where I was able to spend time with my FES (fitness extraordinaire sister). It was so great to get out of the small town I’m in and meet new people and experience new things. I had a wonderful time having sister time and making memories; I even enjoyed it when we’d be trying to sleep and my phone would make a noise and she’d give me a death glare. There truly is nothing like the bond you have with your sisters.

Along with all of the above, I’ve recently just opened my own business. I’m now an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. I turned to this to add a little extra income to my pocket to achieve further financial independence, but I’m excited because this is something totally fun and different from what I do from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday.  This weekend will be my first weekend with the ability to hold appointments, and I’m totally booked up all weekend! It’s a terrific feeling. I’m looking forward to sharing some great products with lots of different women and making them feel beautiful.  If any of you are interested in any of our excellent products, you can visit my store . The beauty about Mary Kay is that while I’m an independent consultant and therefore, a small business owner, I’m backed by a global company who believes to thoroughly in their products that they offer a 100% money back guarantee.

So that’s what I’ve been up to since my last writing; I’ve been a busy girl! All in all, life is good. Our journey may lead us down some bumpy roads, but somehow you end up just where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.

 

Prelude to Colorado

This week is a prelude to my big trip: the big trip I’ve been waiting for since June. I have several hesitations about this trip, none of which have anything to do about where I’m going. Oh, where am I going? Colorado. That’s right: Colorful Colorado has been calling my name since I became friends with T and learned of all of its natural splendor.  I began hiking a year ago and found that plopping myself in the middle of the wilderness with a backpack stocked with water & food was the ultimate test for me.  It made me stop thinking and start pushing myself past my boundary of comfort.  I admit that since my last foray into the wilderness, I haven’t been back: dehydration in the middle of nowhere has a way of scaring the shit out of you. I intend to re-introduce myself to light hiking in the Garden of the Gods this coming weekend. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me; being an exercise-induced asthmatic has put the fear of God into me about doing anything physical in a place with such a high elevation. Thin air and breathing problems do not mix, my friends.

At any rate, Friday, far before the crack of dawn I’ll be awake, face painted and in the car on the way to Dulles airport to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Denver. The greatest thing about flying out west? I’ll be gaining time. Yes, I’ll be zombie-like from being awake for several hours by the time my feet hit the ground in Denver, but it’ll only be 7 a.m. by the time I get there.  This means that I’ll have an entire day to explore Denver and part of Colorado Springs with my friend Charity, whom I have not seen in at least six years. Via email & Skype during the last three months, Charity and I have been scheming and planning, planning and scheming to pack as much as we can into this trip; after all, this is our “summer vacation”: three days albeit a short vacation, a vacation nonetheless. I’m lucky that my travel companion would prefer to plan on educational excursions like museums and historical monuments.  After tons of research, thumbing through a Colorado Springs guidebook, a Frommers Colorado book loaned to me by a generous friend, and lots of internet research hours, we’ve decided to hit a few, if very specific sites. We’ll be visiting the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center so that Charity can attain one of her life goals: to have her picture taken with a wolf. Then, we’ll be heading to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to see lions and tigers & bears (and monkeys and giraffes and…) oh my! I haven’t been to a zoo in a long while, so I’m super excited about this one.

I’ve been fascinated by the Garden of the Gods since learning about the magical rock formations a year ago: Balanced Rock, Kissing Camels, Cathedral Spires. I’ve built this place up in my mind to be almost mythical: huge rocks jutting out of the earth in robust colors resembling creatures and magnificent manmade structures. How did they get there and how did they get their form? I so excited about seeing this park in person and taking as many pictures as possible!  Our next destination, Manitou Cliff Dwellings holds the same mystical status in my mind. I’m fascinated by Native American cultures, so seeing the abode of Anazasi tribe will prove, I’m sure, to be thrilling. I’m debating the opportunity to experience the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  This girl has breathing issues as it is at 410 feet above sea level, and I fear the problems may be amplified at 14,114 feet above sea level. However…when else will I have the opportunity to stand at the top of freaking Pikes Peak?

English: Balanced Rock in Garden of the Godsa segment of the "Cathedral Spires" ...

Kissing Camels red rocks from inside Garden of...

Kissing Camels red rocks from inside Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, CO. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With everything planned, now all I have to do is wait. And, anyone who knows me will agree that waiting is not my strong suite. Indeed, I’m incredibly impatient. The other hurdle that I have to hop is the three hour and forty-eight minute flight. Ugh. Flying. I’m not a fan. I’m good with the actual in-the-air part of flying…if I stay plugged into music, close my eyes, don’t peek out of the window at all and don’t think about the fact that I’m in a rather small enclosed space with over a hundred other people with recycled air. I’m not so good with the taking off and the landing parts of flying. Ugh. Flying.  I’ve decided, because I cannot drive to Colorado Springs in the time period allotted, that I can be an adult and grin and bear the flight. Honestly, I’m so excited about checking out Denver and Colorado Springs that I haven’t dwelled much on my fear of flying. Here’s to hoping that it stays that way!

 

Fortuitous Meetings and Living Life

*I’d like to preface this by saying I’ve been working on this post for days with hesitancy of posting.  I don’t want to talk too much about someone who’d rather not be discussed, but the individual mentioned below did have a life-changing impact on me and I feel it important to expound on that fact. Life is about transformation and experimentation; because of T, I changed my viewpoint and started living.

If you’re really lucky, every so often you come into contact with someone who makes you question the way that you live your life; I don’t mean question in terms of if you’re living your life “right”.  It’s more along the lines of stepping back and reviewing how you perceive your existence and how you approach the new and different things: the ideas outside of the box that you live in.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a person who had this effect on me a little over a year ago and I have tried to live my life differently ever since. This particular person, I firmly believe was put in my path for the very reason of self-analysis and transformation. He was a guy, about 30 years old who seemed to live his life with no fear of the unknown; he didn’t question the “what ifs” of any situation. He simply experienced each new venture with enthusiasm. We spoke for hours upon hours on the phone and the first thing I recall being blaringly evident was the fact that joy for living life emanated from him. He traveled because he wanted to and had a passion for experiencing and wandering. He chased tornadoes because he wanted to and he could. He sky dived because he wanted to and he enjoyed it (and, because I believe he was an adrenaline junky).

The way T lived his life was awe-inspiring to me. It made me reflect on the way I approached life and realize that my fears had kept me from trying and experiencing new and different things. In short, this realization bummed me out. So, in typical Lex fashion, I began to think and figure out why I approached new and different with such trepidation and steered clear of attempting anything new.

It’s my opinion (and it could very well be wrong) that my “uptightness” started when I was a kid. I’ve been told I was a rather serious child.  I’m the oldest of four kids and have been told repeatedly that I took over as “little mommy” to my younger sisters when I was very young. I don’t know why I did this; I just did.  I guess I felt an intense sense of responsibility at a very early age.  While feeling a sense of responsibility is a good thing (after all, it was my serious nature and sense of responsibility that kept me out of trouble for the most part as a teenager), taking yourself and life too seriously can only prohibit you from a range of experiences.

I’ll now tell a short anecdote that very well illustrates how I used to be:

I went hiking with a friend (Amber) and her three young children about a year ago. We got to a point in the trail where we had to cross a river; the kids bounded rock to rock and hit the dirt on the water’s opposite bank. Amber stepped, hopped and jumped to the other side.  I looked at her from the other side of the river and said, “How do I do this?” She laughed, pleading with me to just step from rock to fallen tree to rock and onto the bank. “I’ll fall, I know I’ll fall….are you sure this is safe? That sounds dangerous,” I remember saying.  My new catch phrase became “That’s Dangerous” that very day.

Upon further analysis, I have found that I lived life so safely, to avoid being hurt or to avoid the unknown that subconsciously, I viewed living life as “dangerous”. Anything that I didn’t know how to do or perhaps wasn’t comfortable doing, I considered “dangerous” or off-limits. Up until a year ago, I never did anything outside of my comfort zone. Once I realized that I was probably missing out on really fun things that I was either A) too afraid to do or 2) had unjustifiably decided I wouldn’t enjoy. (Hiking fell into category 2). I decided my view simply had to change. I didn’t want to be the girl on the other side of the river, afraid to leap and see what happens. Even if I were to fall, so what? Would that be the end of the world? Would I break? No. Hell no.

I tried expressing some gratitude to T at one point; I wanted to convey that because of his completely different attitude and outlook, I realized a flaw and was working on fixing it.  He brushed it off, saying something along the lines of “get out of here.” He didn’t believe that he’d have in impact like that (but again, I am adamant that he did).

T and I are no longer in touch as we used to be, but he has forever left a definitive imprint.  Once I realized the things that I was probably missing out on due to my fear of the unknown, I started seeking out new adventures and interests. I no longer freeze at the prospect of new things.  The spring and summer that I was acquainted with him, I started actively seeking out new and different things that I hadn’t done. I started hiking and hiking and me began a fast and furious love affair. I went river tubing and despite almost drowning, I really enjoyed it. I went to my first beer festival where I was introduced to the joys of hard apple and pear cider. I went camping for the first time and found that I really, really hate peeing outside.  I was so proud of myself for doing and trying new things that for some reason in my mind, I’d decided I didn’t want to try or do.  I felt more free and happier than I had felt in a long time.

Now, I firmly believe that I will never jump out of a plane or chase a tornado, or even get on a roller coaster (I can’t explain my fear of this but it includes two things that I am deathly afraid of: height and speed. Pair height and speed with moving mechanical parts and all I see is disaster. Some people say this is irrational. My response to this is: I’ll throw up on you if you make me do it.) For the most part, I actively try not to box myself in;  I actively try not to knock something until I’ve tried it.

Since my fortuitous happenstance meeting, I’ve started to create a list of things that I want to do before I can’t (meaning before I get too old to fully enjoy them, or before I die). I’d like to learn how to mountain climb.  I want to travel, specifically out west. I want to hike in Sedona. I want to hike Pike’s Peake. I want to go to a rodeo in Texas. I’d like to try white water rafting and kayaking.  I’d like to attend SXSW. I’d like to see the  Amalfi Coast with my own eyes, not just in photos.  I’d like to walk through and around 13th century Scottish castle. The list goes on and on. I intend to check off at least the majority of the list.

I have found that once you start doing things that are a little foreign to you, you open up to the prospect of more new and different.  This then snowballs into a whole list of new and different you’d like to experience.  The prospect of something new doesn’t scare me any more.  I want to conquer (or at least try to conquer) the things that I never thought I’d be able to do, and actually enjoy the things I didn’t think I’d like. That is after all what life is about, isn’t it? Trying new things and figuring out who you are.