The Start of a Journey

The start of a journey is happens with the first step or in this case, the first rotation of the pedal. Sometimes a dream motivates a person to take a first step toward an end goal. Sometimes a first step is really a matter of ‘let’s try something new’. Cycling wasn’t on my radar growing up. I learned to ride bike practicing with my brother and sister, going down a grassy knoll in the school yard until I could ride. Then we moved to the farm where there was less opportunity to ride bike. We did live at a dead end and I did ride a few kilometres to visit friends so now that I am reminiscing, it seems I may have had a bit of a bent toward cycling, or perhaps all kids were riding bikes that much or more.

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This was 1990 after I rode from Calgary to Seattle with a friend. My husband came to pick us up and my friend Kim took this photo of the two of us. 

When I met my husband, he was a cyclist. He and his friend had done a couple of trips. One of our first activities together was a bike ride. I wasn’t really comfortable on a bike. My bike didn’t fit me really well and I had a substantial a$$ over tea kettle incident going down a hill on a rocky city trail a few months before. Fortunately the extent of my injuries were not serious but included scrapes and holes from pebbles and extremely sore muscles likely from tensing up while I was going over the handle bars.

Another reason I didn’t feel comfortable riding was balance. I have always struggled with balance. I walked late and to this day struggle with standing on one foot for more than 2.3 seconds. On a bike despite my confidence now, I still struggle if I have a very narrow path on which to aim the tires. I prefer a 1 foot width for wiggle room.

The year after we got married I got a new bike. He had a 1986 Myata 610 already and we found a 1987 Myata 610 a young lady was selling due to a bike accident that had caused a cycling limiting injury. We started training and the next summer took 6 days and road our bikes from Calgary to Kelowna. The following year a friend of mine and I rode from Calgary to Seattle in 13 days, took the ferry up to Victoria, then road to the ferry and took it across to Vancouver where my husband met us. We stayed a couple days with friends in Vancouver before making the trek home.

The next summer we had our first child. Cycling took a hiatus through the next few years with children. Still the feel of the open road was in my system and in time my cycling legs and ambitions returned. It’s interesting looking back on an unplanned journey to try to figure out what the instrumental point was when it all started. I am not sure there was one specific moment but I believe marrying my husband was definitely the biggest reason I took to cycling.

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Start By Starting

Think back to that moment when you were terrified to start something that you ended up doing anyway. What was the outcome? was it easy peasy right from the beginning?

I learned to ski as a teen and then after having children, did not hit the slopes for 12 years. Then one time the kids and I went with as part of a school group.  While they were in lessons, I took the tow rope to the top of the bunny hill. I stood there for 5-10 minutes, considering taking the skis off and walking down, thinking to myself, “It sure looks steep, what if I can’t turn, what if I hit someone, what if I can’t stop?” Skiing was something I had done adequately in the past, yet the delay in time made me feel like I was going out for the first time.

Contrast the experience with my first time on a snowboard at an age when women don’t usually start new sports. I had been skiing for a few years again, I was working out, I was cycling (strong quads) and I had lost some weight. I went to my first lesson with confidence and did surprisingly (to the instructor) well. I was still fearful of falling, I was still worried I wouldn’t be able to turn or stop. I fell many times. But I started anyway and I persevered.

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Sometimes we have opportunities crop up and we pause and wonder. Will I fall? What if I don’t know how to do something, what if I fail. What if it doesn’t work out. More often for myself, I consider whether I want to add one more thing to what I am doing. Do I really want to spend my energy doing the new thing? This is usually exasperated if I am tired or not feeling well.

Sometimes we are bogged down with the what ifs and never start, never pursue that thing that is niggling in the back of our mind. I can pretty much talk myself out of anything, especially exercise.

Is there a solution? I believe the number one solution is to just start. Start by starting. This might not mean starting without thinking, but it means that if you are only thinking of ways you may fail then the thinking isn’t productive. If the thinking is an effort to work out solutions to soar, then a little thinking can help. One thing that I have learned though, is when a person works out all the details, they often fail to start. Finding a happy medium is best. Most things you learn when you start because most times, you don’t even know what it will be like until you are immersed in the process.

Looking back at the things I started, and pursued, I sometimes consider what would have been different if I had not started. What would I not have learned by now. There are many things I started and did for 5 or so years and then moved on. And sometimes the fear people have is also connected to the feeling of permanency. What if I don’t like it? Time isn’t wasted in doing something where you are learning. Through the seasons of our lives we do different things, we learn, we move on to the next thing in the next season. I will be giving up chickens by attrition. They served well through the years with fresh eggs but now the commitment is too much with other projects and the plans for travel.

So, if there is something you have been holding back on trying, a language you keep thinking you should learn, a vacation you haven’t booked, a business you want to try or an exercise program you want to get started. It’s time to just do it without thinking too much. Just start by starting.

Making Tracks Toward the End Goal

Last week a friend invited me to go walking with her in a sports facility near home. She was going and desired some company so we made arrangements. Making tracks is so much easier when distracted by good conversation. We walked for about an hour and 45 minutes (over 11 km) around the track. That’s a lot of talking and walking. It was a great substitute for my running efforts that were foiled by the cold weather the last week. It looks like we will have really cold weather again this week and finally warming next weekend, so my plan now is to go to the track on Tuesday again and this time walk and run and get on the spin bike, then next Sunday I will run outdoors when it is nicer.

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Making tracks which I am doing in snow right now but dreaming of making them in sand.

My efforts to go out and run on Sundays and Tuesday is my way to increase my days of exercise. I currently have hiphop dance on Monday evenings so that gets me moving. Wednesday’s bootcamp is a mix but is mostly strength work, and sometimes I sub for wallyball in the evening for 2 hours of play time (I will be doing that this week). Thursdays I play wallyball for an hour and half in the morning, and basketball in the evening for more than an hour depending on how many show up. Fridays has me cleaning house and other chores that often involve movement by not cardio or strength. Saturdays I rest for the most part but I have gone for runs or bike rides on occasion (but not recently).

I haven’t gone snowboarding this season and completely missed last season. The last 2 weeks we got a lot of snow so as the weather warms my desire to hit the slopes will increase. I was thinking a lot of it today. Last year, time got away and there wasn’t much snow; conditions seem better. I feel an urge to get a couple days in as my goal in learning to snowboard at a later age than most people, was to one day be able to go snowboarding with my grandkids. That will be when they are between 4 to 8 years old, because after that they will be so much better than me. Still it is something to keep me motivated by having something to work toward.

I am really pushing toward getting my cycling legs in shape. With the hold on our cross Canada tour, I have been a little less motivated to train hard on the bike. In fact the last couple summers I haven’t got on my bike as much as I would if we were going on a trip. This spring I will push myself to hit the road on my bike as soon as possible. It is in the spring that my running takes a back seat when I get on my bike seat and head down the road.

The last couple of years I have done less than I previously was. Don’t get me wrong, I still do (was doing) more than many people but some things have fallen by the wayside. I am feeling better now and will work toward getting my strength and activities up again. With good training and nutrition (and thankfully few injuries and joint issues), my increasing age should be a small influence on my activities. So I go into the next 11 months of 2018 with much hope and anticipation. What gives you hope and anticipation?

 

 

Just When I Think…

Just when I think I have my act together, it falls apart. Or so it seems, it seems the world is conspiring to sabotage all the efforts, to wear me down, to poke holes into my resolve, to keep me from my goals, from success. Such was my week last week. I started out Sunday last week with energy, and accomplishments galore. I went for a run planning to run again on Tuesday (the forecast was for nice weather again). I had my other sports/workouts on the roster and I felt rested and motivated. Monday went just as well, and then…

Tuesday happened. It isn’t always a Tuesday but this particular Tuesday was the day. We were getting ready to take Furgus to the vet when my hubby started feeling pains in his back. By the time we got to the vet 40 minutes later my hubby was doubled over and almost passing out. I dropped Furgus off with the receptionist, signed the examination consent form and drove Lorne to hospital. Drugs and drugs helped his pain and tests and tests and the next two days more tests, finally revealed the sharp object moving in his urinary system…yep kidney stones. That was Thursday.

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You can see his right leg is swollen. He rested a lot. He also got his boosters when he went to the vet.

Back to Tuesday. The day was spent in the hospital, waiting, so much waiting and not knowing when the doctor would come in, and no food, no planning was involved…How do you plan food around an emergency visit to the hospital anyway? Furgus was okay, his swollen leg the result of a cat bite and treated with antibiotics. Arriving home in near dark having animals to feed and us to feed, I did not go for a run. The sheer exhaustion of the stress from the day did me in to the point of feeling ill. And we had to go back in the morning.

Wednesday morning did not start out with my scheduled bootcamp (nor Spanish class which is also on my dream board) and the day passed with a bit more stress being told, no stones showed up so you have to go to a different hospital tomorrow for a CT scan. That appointment was set for the afternoon.

Thursday I got to play wallyball in the morning as is my custom. An hour and half of good fun and exercise does wonders for the mental state. After getting the CT scan in the afternoon, we returned to the original hospital. After waiting there for over an hour we got confirmation of the moving stone, size and plan of action. Another late day and late feeding of chickens, eat quickly and head out to basketball.

That too was foiled with the sudden and rapid falling of snow. No visibility, I turned around and cancelled basketball.

At some points I felt rather discouraged, especially when I was feeling particularly exhausted. At other points I just went with it, because that’s really all you can do. I also felt encouraged because despite the chaos that was my life in those few days, I still got in some exercise, I still got in time to do Spanish homework, I still had a tidy house and still made good food choices (when I finally got to eat). Despite the upheaval, the things that needed to be done were done. Despite the stress of ‘not knowing’ at the beginning, we got the good news of kidney stones…yep good news because we know that ‘this too shall pass’ and all will be right again. Not without some pain (oh he will suffer greatly still) but then it will be done.

What my hubby was going through was terrible, that is his experience, his story; I am not saying his situation was about me. Still when my loved one is going through something, I am affected and that part is about me. That part is my experience; it is okay to feel it, to know it, to accept it, to talk about it. It is what is happening around me and does influence what is happening in my world. It changes my plans, it affects what I am doing. In accepting that part is about me, I can accept what I can’t change in the situation. In accepting what I can’t change, I can discover what I can control and in that way, I am empowered and not beaten down by the things I can’t control.

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I become aware of how terrible others have it. I am grateful for the ‘smallness’ of my struggles. When I think I have it together, it sometimes feels like the world conspires against me. In those moments I remember ‘This too shall pass”, to relax, to take a breath, and know that I can still be successful in some things, even if not in what I had planned.

 

Dreamscapes

Dreams do come true. It is really easy to say if you haven’t dreamed really big. Sometimes we don’t dream big because although we believe that the small dreams and goals can happen, believing something bigger isn’t possible is way more difficult. This weekend I made my first vision board. I worked on it for a couple hours from start to finish and came up with something I am pretty happy with. As with many of my creative works, I will revisit it to rework parts of it. I missed some items I had forgotten until it was put together. So I won’t be posting a photo of it just yet.

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One of the things included was my list of current commandments for myself (of which I missed one on the list and there is not space for it). I got the idea after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She has 12 commandments and a list of Secrets of Adulthood. I was inspired to do up a list of commandments for me. The first one is Be Dawn (her first one is Be Gretchen). I think it is important to remind myself to be true to myself. One of the others I have is Write. In an effort to keep that commandment my goal is to write a blog post every Sunday. I love to write but as with many things, it gets put to the side when life gets busy. As with most things I need to schedule what I want to do or it will be neglected.

I am wanting to write more about cycling. I started that last summer but…well I already went over that. So I will get back to that in the next while. It has been pretty nice out lately (for here), and when the shoulders of the road start clearing and the sun is high, I get the bug for cycling. It is a bit premature in January to get excited. Yes we have a trainer upstairs, but it isn’t quite the same. With the nice weather, I went for a run today for the first time in months. I didn’t really think about out it, just went.

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Sometimes you just have to start by starting, but starting can be difficult, because there is always a ‘reason’ to not. In fact, if I think about it long enough, I am pretty good at talking myself out of anything. I am better off not getting in my head; not a great place to hang out. So starting without thinking is my go to way of starting. Continuing is done the same way. Making a habit is a great way to stop thinking and just doing. So many things to work on.

Having said that, today I got a ton accomplished. I had a ton of energy. As I have mentioned in the past, I have struggled with some age related health issues, as well as incident related injuries. Over the last few months I have been concentrating on my insides and it is beginning to pay off. Having a ton of energy is super helpful in reaching goals, smaller ones and lofty ones.

With my vision board on my wall and my energy up, I have hope for the future. I will keep you posted.

My Comfort Zone Won’t Stand Still

Where is your comfort zone? Are you always in it? Do you have to be forced out of it by outside sources only to recoil in fear and push against it with all your might? The one thing about being comfortable is…it’s really comfortable. That voice inside us resists moving from that place. The other voice inside us tells us to move. Usually the situation isn’t so glaringly obvious, but as we age, this type of situation can creep up faster and faster. If we wish to create a world that is bigger, to have more abundance, we can do so by pushing back on our comfort zone by leaning into the uncomfortable.

If your comfort zone is the top of the mountain, reach for the sky.

When we are young, we learn by experimenting and doing. A child learns to walk and talk by observing and trying. A teen learns to branch out on their own by trying new things and finding what works and doesn’t. In our 20’s and 30’s we are experiencing new jobs, relationships and sometimes parenthood for the first time. Then we get comfortable, not necessarily in the every day (those who are parents realize they face new things daily), but we often get comfortable in our lifestyle. We have small growth activities through outside sources (interacting with people) and we upgrade at work, learn new technology, read a book, but often don’t do something big that scares us. That something might be small to a twenty year old who is all about adventure but the forty year old self is losing sleep over it. By fifty, the voice of ‘I’m too old for that…’ is resounding more often. Continue that theme into the sixties and by seventy a person can have one foot in the grave even without health problems.

As we age, our world gets smaller. Our memories aren’t as clear, which makes learning a little more difficult which means keeping up with new technology can be overwhelming; there is so much information. Our bodies slow down and it seems things take longer and there are health issues even if we work hard to prevent them.

I have done some things to push my comfort levels to different places. I have learned to snowboard, I have started learning a new language and practicing. I have pushed myself to learn new technology and a new business and another new business and all that is involved with those things. I am getting comfortable and it is time to start doing something new. Tomorrow, I will start a video challenge on my fb page A New Dawn-Feeling Good. I am not sure if I will do it daily all month but have plans to do it daily to begin with at least and have some topics set out. My plan is for a short 2-4 minute video each time. If there is anything you want me to talk about let me know. I will try to fit it in if I know something about it. I am scared, nervous, really uncomfortable with the idea.

As we go through life, our comfort zone moves. We can allow it to push us into an increasingly smaller world, or we can push our comfort zone to the mountain tops or beyond. Where are you taking your comfort zone?

Somewhere In Colombia

Somewhere in Colombia, someone will buy a pretty pair of boots not knowing that one of those boots made a trip to Canada and back. This is a feel good story about boots. Boots and shoes have natural feel good properties (in my opinion). I mostly focus on sports shoes but have taken to all sorts of pretty shoes and boots over the years. New boots and shoes make me feel good. I think the next time I go to Colombia I will take a suitcase to bring back shoes 🙂 .

For those who are not in the know, one of the places I wanted to visit when in Colombia was the shoe store of my friend Martha’s cousin, who has a shoe making business with a storefront. Five years ago when Martha came back from Colombia with really nice boots it became one of those bucket list things. So, when we were in Colombia that was on our list for must go places. Once there, I was a little overwhelmed; I deliberated for a long time on what to get. Do I get a pair of shoes I will only wear once a month, or every day shoes or boots. I settled on a pair of boots for me and a pair of sandals. We were there for a very long time and I tried on the black ones first but at the last minute decided to get brown ones after realizing the black ones were not too different than some black ones I already own.

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Together again, my Colombian boots that traveled to Canada separately, one boot in front of the other so to speak.

As can happen when 6 Canadians converge on a small store trying on so many shoes and purchasing a whole bunch (I got shoes for my daughters also), there was mass confusion. There were other customers there as well, probably seeing the commotion and being drawn in to the excitement of shoe shopping. In a couple hours we had seven pairs of shoes picked out, some were getting stretched and others were packed and ready to go. Martha and family had a pile of shoes as well. The footwear went to the house and we picked them up the next evening along with the other bag of shoes from the store. We took them back late to our room, where we packed our shoes with our luggage and prepared for our flight early in the morning.

When we arrived home Sunday evening, we unpacked and gifted our daughters with their items. I showed them my pretty boots in the clear plastic bag, continuing to put items away from my suitcase. It was an hour or so later, my daughter was looking more closely at my boots when she noticed one boot was a size 38 and one was a 37 (the right foot boot). My right foot is my larger foot and it did not fit. Not that it would have mattered; it was noticeably a different size. That was kind of the beginning of my “It has been a week” from my last post. I messaged Martha right away since she was still in Colombia although she had flown out of the Medellin where the shoe store is because she could contact her cousin and communicate better in Spanish than me.

Back track an hour or so before the discovery of the shoe situation, we had learned another friend was leaving for Colombia on the following Saturday evening and I had decided to give him the Colombian pesos we had left over (about $5 worth). After messaging Martha about the boot, I messaged him to see if he would be going to Medellin where the shoe store was. He wasn’t, so we still didn’t know how to manage the shoe situation.

Fast forward to Tuesday when I messaged Martha about what to do. She sent a message back and said she had my boot and to send the small one with packaging with our friend to put in the mail anywhere in Colombia.

We picked up Martha and family at the airport late Friday night and she handed me my one boot from her carry on. The next day, I wore my boots and took the small boot in it’s bubble envelop with the Colombian pesos to our friend who took it that night to Colombia.

So somewhere in Colombia, some time in the near future, someone will buy a pair of brown boots, in size 37 that look just like mine and she will wear her boots, not knowing that the right boot on her foot, set foot in Canada in a small home on the tiles you see in the photo. She will never know the travels her boot made, and even though I won’t know her, I will know there is a boot in Colombia that came to visit me for a week.

Further, I know that even though something that seems like a difficult situation to remedy can work out perfectly and like I said in a post a couple weeks ago, money isn’t the only currency we deal in and nothing is better than the help of great friends who are at the right place at exactly the right time.