my new “normal”

I hit a lot of roadblocks this week, and I’m pretty sure that I’m responsible for each one. Let’s start with my unrealistic expectation of trying to maintain everything I was doing at Silver Hill while also keeping up with a house, a job, and my insatiable need to please others. The “Silver Hill behaviors” include daily physical therapy, meditation, maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet, and sleeping at least seven hours a night. And don’t forget about doing something that will enhance my spiritual life, my social life, and my need to make money and maintain my home.

Yes, my list is long and full of a lot of behaviors that are new and a bit unnatural right now. Nevertheless, I placed this expectation on myself and, unsurprisingly, fell short. Let’s explore how shall we?

  • Diet : I’ve consumed too much sugar this past week and I’ve allowed my caffeine intake to creep upwards. I’ve also eaten meals that lack the foods I know my body needs [i.e. raw almond butter on a gluten-free bagel is not lunch]. And I ate Chick-Fil-A the other day so…
  • Sleep : My sleep quality [and quantity] is trending downwards. To combat my tiredness I’ve allowed myself extra caffeine, but I’m confident that this variable is now the culprit for my unrestful nights. I need to resist the urge to replace an earlier bedtime with an extra cup of coffee.
  • Exercise : I have pacing issues when I’m working out, and my physical therapy is no exception. I worked on this a lot with my team at Silver Hill, particularly the physical therapist, but I’m far from mastering the skill. I’m currently bouncing somewhere between “too tired to work out” and feeling so good I have to eventually force myself to stop.
  • Meditation : I have meditated a grand total of one time in the past two weeks, yet this is something I should be doing daily.
  • Spirituality : Big fat zero on this one.

One of my many goals is to create an existence where my pain is a reality but not a lifestyle. I want to accept it but not focus on it. For this to happen, the behaviors for which I’m struggling to find time are going to have to become my new normal. My meditation practice needs to be as automatic as brushing my teeth. My bedtime won’t be a point of negotiation but rather an assumption. I’m hoping that by establishing these healthy patterns my focus on any physical discomfort will shift to the back burner. That may seem illogical, especially if I’m describing it as poorly as I feel I am, but I’m going all in.

So…that’s my little plan. Easy, right?

 

coffee break

For a year or so I didn’t drink coffee because it wasn’t on the anti-inflammatory diet. I’ve never been the type of person who couldn’t wake up until I had a cup or two, but nonetheless, coffee was a big part of my morning. I made the switch to a green tea I learned to love, but cutting coffee was a real bummer.

Then I was introduced to Bulletproof Coffee beans which are grown in a way that minimizes toxins, mold, and acid. It’s the ideal coffee for people with a slew of health issues, including chronic illness and inflammation. I placed an order, and just like that, I was {almost} drinking coffee again!

Still, I needed a bit of assistance. To start, the beans were whole, and I was fairly certain my spice grinder wasn’t up to the task. Second, the pricetag was higher than I was used to, and I wanted to get the most out of my purchase. Thankfully, I had guidance from my brother and sister-in-law who recommended a proper grinder and canisters in which to store the beans so they remained mold-free. They also warned me against purchasing a countertop coffee maker {as they can harbor mold} and suggested I brew my coffee using a french press or the pour over method.

Since then, I’ve played around with my equipment and recipe, and now that the weather is finally starting to change I’m making hot coffee again. And after a couple of cups that were best described as “meh,” I am determined to learn how to make a seriously delicious cup of coffee. Using only non-dairy milk can be a challenge, as is not having any expensive equipment, but let’s face it : I have nothing but time to figure this out.

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Now here’s the part when I bring this post full circle and try to make you believe it has something to do with chronic pain.

It can be difficult to fill my days with things my body can handle. But fixing coffee is right in my proverbial wheelhouse. When I’m tired and hurting following a long night of painsomnia I’m even more motivated to spend the time to craft a tasty cup. And on the mornings when I wake up feeling like I usually do, I’m happy to put the kettle on, grind the beans, and meticulously go through the steps. I may not always take the time to sit at the table to enjoy my coffee, but I genuinely enjoy the preparation.

If anyone has any tips tweet me or comment below. As you can see from the last image of my coffee cup I still have a lot of work to do!

 

 

 

 

 

seinfeld and life lessons

seinfeld

I went to my parents’ home today to use them for their pool. Not only is it miserably hot and humid in New Orleans, but Celie was restless and needed to run out some energy in their yard for a while. We caught up while she was darting around, and began discussing a discovery I made last night.

Now, let me first say, I’m not 100% sure about this, but I’m fairly confident that my dog is a mix of a Labrador Retriever and a Great Dane. This realization made us all laugh and led to my dad reminding us of the Seinfeld episode where George decides that since his life isn’t the way he wants (or the way he imagined it would be) his instincts must be all wrong, and to fix this he is going to go against all of his natural inclinations.

You see, when I set out to get a dog I figured a medium-sized one would be a good fit. I’m a 5’1″ girl with zero upper body strength, so a 100-pound animal would be a bit of a challenge. The easy thing to do would have been to select a breed that was small, but I tend to go about things the hard way, so I picked a Lab mix with a 35-pound mother. I figured this little pup would top out at 40 pounds and I was safe. I didn’t make this determination logically, but rather took my feeling as a fact, as if no other scenario was plausible.

Well, she’s growing, and every day she looks less like a Lab. She is all legs, has a lean frame, and is an embarrassment to all other Labradors because she can’t stand the water. Sure, she is less than four months old and has a lot of changing ahead, but this dog that looked “all Lab” when I got her clearly is not. And at fifteen weeks old she weighs twenty pounds – not exactly a big dog, but also not a dog who will be done growing any time soon. A quick Google search brought me to a picture of a Labradane (which I didn’t even know was a thing) that looks exactly like Celie.

The more I read about this hybrid breed the more I was convinced. Thankfully her growing rate is nowhere near that of your average Labradane puppy, but it’s cracking me up to think of how big she could grow to be, and how my intentions will likely not materialize.

For the past five years or so my “plans” have slowly started unraveling, and lately it seems that everything I do, no matter how calculated and thought out, turns into a sitcom storyline. When a person has a chronic condition your intentions can be completely foiled at any moment. You might spend an entire week laying low so that you’re ready for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday, and then one hour before that party have a flare up that keeps you home. Or you go out and plan to leave by a certain time. But then, through no fault of your own (and let’s be honest, it’s never your fault) you arrive home an hour later than you expected to, your pain is through the roof, and you’re messed up for the better part of the next week.

I was one of those people who, even as a high schooler, could tell you what I wanted my life to look like ten years down the road and how I was going to get there. Now, I have a hard time predicting more than a month in advance. Part of that is being single, part of that is being twenty-nine, and a big part of that is having chronic pain.

While I’m not going to take the George Constanza route and do the exact opposite of what my instincts say, I may stop trying to plan so much. Perhaps it’s time to stop trying to predict how things are going to pan out. I’ll focus more on reacting positively to the twists and turns ahead, and not try so hard to see the things I can’t.

Or maybe I’ll just keep complaining every time the opposite of what I intended happens and not change a thing. I don’t know…I’ll keep y’all posted.

 


 

Image courtesy of https://www.google.com/search?q=seinfeld&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKkc71-cnOAhVMySYKHQBAChUQ_AUICigD&biw=1280&bih=648#tbm=isch&q=seinfeld+diner&imgrc=VknC_5Nxxc_DCM%3A.