The (non) rational mind

logical mind

How I think I think vs actual reality!

I tend to think of myself as a reasonably rational and logical person. I generally believe I have a good grasp of reality (most of the time) and I have insight into my thinking and way of being. I have struggled with concepts around how one reacts to situations i.e. the belief system that one can ‘choose’ how to react to a situation. That our thoughts govern our responses good or bad. If we only harness our thoughts, then we can choose to respond positively to any negativity in our lives.

I still have difficulty with that concept. I find it intrinsically unfair. Sometimes things are tough and challenging and to force oneself to feel positive is a big ask. However, I have realized that I can quite easily stitch together my own version of reality depending on circumstances and my thoughts at the time and that stitched together version can be absolutely and totally incorrect. I find this somewhat alarming. Here’s a story:

Stitching together reality

I started dating a guy a few months back. We messaged each other regularly and saw each other on weekends. In one of those messages he asked me when was my birthday. I responded with 10 September and asked when his was, he replied with 30 November. I duly put that date in my calendar. I recall thinking at the time how nice he was asking about my birthday and that it meant he would keep the date in mind. I also felt it was a good early sign in this newly minted connection.

Two weeks later we were chatting over a glass or two of wine and he asked me if I had been to Bali (for Aussies Bali is practically in our backyard and it’s cheaper to go there than travel within our own country). I said I had but some years ago. He said he was planning a trip mid September and would I like to go with him? Well, my gooey heart just melted. I thought it was lovely to be invited, albeit a little early on in a new romance. So throwing caution completely to the wind I said I’d love to go with him.

My brain also decided that perhaps it was connected with my birthday (as the dates aligned) and it would be a lovely way to celebrate. I was convinced this was correct and that this lovely man was thoughtful and considerate and oozing romance (you can see where this is going, right?)

Bali
Bali – where I am not!

However, over the next few weeks there was no further mention of Bali or any trip together. I felt puzzled and wondered if he had forgotten or perhaps he would mention buying flights and accommodation a little closer to the time (I would be paying my own costs). I felt hesitant about bringing it up. Then I found from a conversation with his friends that he had planned a ‘boys trip’ to Bali for mid September. And it hit me that I had been ‘uninvited’ but without him actually telling me. That kinda stung.

This week it was my birthday. I waited all day for him to text, call or post something on my FB. He didn’t. Well, he did text me late in the day saying he’d been busy working all day and how was my day. I responded with fabulous – seeing as how it was my birthday. He told me that he is f-ing bad at remembering things like that. Really? No kidding!!

The next day he flew to Bali for his boys own adventure with his mate.

 

 

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George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

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But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

Trying to get rid of back pain – aka I got me a hula hoop!

Digital blue human rubbing highlighted red lower back pain

Research and Dr Google

I’ve been doing all sorts of research into lower back pain. I have plaintively whined at Doc Google for help and the good Doc has given me many options. There’s a lot written about back pain, some good, some fairly useless. You can do various back stretches (mmhmm, doesn’t help a lot for me); buy a new mattress (yup, only arrived yesterday so jury’s still out on that one); exercise (well d’uh!); keep your weight down (extra weight adds pressure to your spine and other joints); and back strengthening exercises.

Flexibility & stretches

I’ve tried yoga and pilates at various times over the years and I’ve realised I’m not particularly stretchy and some of the poses/moves in both disciplines can cause a fair bit of pain. For sure these work for some people and that’s fantastic. However, the rest of us non-bendy types feel like a massive fail for our inability to pretzel. It is definitely one of those things you love or not, unfortunately I’m a not!

Seattle Yoga Love

I have downloaded a guide to back stretches from Harvard Health – I think if I did them every day, they may have a positive impact. And that’s the thing. I’m really good at exercising pretty much every day, I eat healthily most of the time. I stretch after I go for a run and sometimes after the gym. But a routine of daily stretches is just one thing that I start for a while and then give up.

So maybe rather than whining about my laziness, I should just work back stretches into my daily routine! Right? You would think.

Or…

Buy a weighted hula hoop!

My gym has one and I idly picked it up a while back (last time I hooped I was 10 and fairly crap at it), gave it a twirl and away I went, magic! I felt quite proud of myself 😀 So, I researched the benefits of hula hoops and found that they are great for core strength, abdominals, obliques and wait for it – strengthening back muscles!!

me and my new toy!! loving it

You need to hoop between 10-30 minutes per day to gain any real benefit. So of course I started out at 30 minutes – easy! Give it a go, if you don’t quite get the hang of it keep practising. Most gyms have them, so if you belong you can try one out before committing to having one at home. Mine was $35, so it was well within my price range.

I definitely can feel some changes, my abdominals are firming up, my posture has improved (wasn’t expecting that) and I’m hoping the strengthening of my back muscles helps in easing or even better, getting rid of my lower back pain!! I’ll update y’all if it does! 😀

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I am dating at the moment did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

So now I like Rugby – apparently!

Belonging

child with balloon

We all want a sense of belonging, to know we fit in somewhere. A lot of teenagers feel a disconnect with the world. I recall feeling like I didn’t really belong to any group and I spent a lot of my high school years drifting between friendship groups looking for a landing pad. One thing to make us feel connected is to belong to a team sport – there’s loads of research to back this up (here’s a couple article 1 and article 2 )

Following a team sport also generates a sense of belongingness and a feeling of having found your place in the world. Having grown up as the child of immigrants, team sport was not really on their radar. Neither of my older sister’s participated in any sport, my father only watched the horse racing on t.v., so I was quite confused about the rules surrounding pretty much any sport.

My foray into Netball

When I was 14, coach decided to put me on the netball team. Not just any netball team, the A team, that played against other high schools in our district. I remember my first (and only) inter-school competition. I joined the other girls in the change room, they were all giggling and gossiping and I stood around smiling and trying to blend in. I put on my team colours and got on the bus to head out to the opposing team’s home ground.

On the bus one of the girls asked what position I was playing. Centre, I replied. I had no idea what that meant and when she looked at me with total disbelief my heart literally sank. She asked if I knew the rules and I shook my head. The rest of the trip I was drilled in the rules of the game by the rest of the team. Most of which was ‘pass the ball’, ‘don’t move your feet when you have the ball’ and most importantly “don’t mess up our game!!” – no pressure.

Varsity 09, Netball

We lost.

Didn’t really help with my need to belong. Back at school coach put me back in Track. He pointed at a faint strip in the grass in the distance and said, run and keep running until you hit that line. I did. I won. And there was the start of my love of running, something I could do without having to learn too many rules. Best of all, no girls screaming at me to “stop standing there and pass the bloody ball, you idiot.”

Rugby

So, onto Rugby. I’ve been spending time with a new man 🙂  He’s from Sydney (they’re all nuts for Rugby). I’m originally from Melbourne (we’re all nuts for the AFL – well except me. The whole town literally shuts down for the Grand Final in September, hell, they even have a public holiday for it. Actually, they also have a public holiday for a horse race! Starting to wonder why I left 😛 )

Anyway, yesterday we (the new man and I) were on a date or hanging out together (is it still called dating after a couple of months? I’m never sure about these things). Plan was to go to a craft-beer festival (yes I know, this is a health related blog, why is beer even mentioned here? Ahem, have you looked at the second word in my blog title? Healthywildand50plus? Ok, so yeah – beer festival). Except we didn’t have tickets and it was sold out. Who knew right? A sold-out beer festival!!

At a loss for what to do, he suggested we head to a sports bar and watch the Rugby game. I’m very much a go with the flow kinda gal, so I’m like ‘sure, sounds good’. We landed in front of a big screen in time for the national anthem – New Zealand All Blacks v Australia  (Bledisloe Cup Final). Then the Haka from the N.Z. players. I do love a good Haka (if you don’t know what that is go here All Blacks perform the Haka , have a look, then come back. I’ll wait for you).

The only sports I tend to watch are the World Cup Soccer, bit of the Olympics, Basketball and I have a fondness for American Baseball (go Red Sox!!) and I’m partial to the Rose Bowl. Rugby has not quite made the list, until now. Great game, the All Blacks annihilated the Aussies – literally smashed us. The final score was NZ 36  Oz 0

Kinda made me feel much better about my one and only netball fail 😛

Need to get stretchy – Yoga or Pilates?

Tell me what you think – yoga, pilates or comment if you have a better idea!

Back pain!

Y’all know I’m into being really active. I run, swim, dance, hike and walk George (my therapy dog). And I’m all for “feelin’ the pain” (actually no, I’m not, but you know that thing – “no pain/no gain” 😛 ) But this is a whole other level of pain! Dislike!

It’s worse in the mornings and it truly is a comical sight watching me try to put my socks on so I can get my joggers on. Luckily, there’s (usually) only George and my cat Blossom around to snigger at my sad attempts at foot sockage.

Seriously, I can’t actually bend first thing in the morning without excruciating lower back pain, so putting on socks has become no small feat (hahahaha feat/feet). I usually put my foot up on my knee and try to lasso the sock over my toes!

Oh and to add injury to insult – here’s a pic of me at my last running event – The Perth Women’s Classic 10k fun run. I literally face planted on the finish line! Cut my chin open, but got free champagne and I still recorded a good time! (check the blood on my nice white event t-shirt! much ouch!)

Running pic
faceplant!

Research on back pain

I’ve done a bunch of research and discovered the following useful (useless?) facts:

  1. My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories and said “arthritis, it’s your age, get used to it” (rude!!)
  2. Google told me I need a new mattress, preferably firm/medium (there’s actually a research study on it and it’s a thing y’all)
  3. Google also told me to do back stretches when I first wake up (didn’t help)
  4. Then Google told me my sleeping position sucks and I need to sleep with a pillow between my legs and sleep on my side (y’ha, I do that – helps a little bit, but not enough to get my socks on!!)
  5. My PT at the gym told me to give up running! (not gonna happen)
  6. My girlfriends tell me to take up yoga or pilates. Trouble is they are all devotees of one or the other, so I’m kinda stuck.

Need your help to make a decision – there’s a poll at the top of this post, so vote your fave stretchy exercise and help me make a decision. Not to bias the poll, but I’m thinking of doing a Yoga Challenge (don’t see the point in just plain ole go to the community hall and getting my stretch on).

This one looks cool Yoga Burn Challenge

 

Running + Dating = Running/date is a thing y’all :D

Time for a run/date – how cool is that?

My ideal first date, go for a run and impress him with my sweaty awesomeness! And I got that opportunity on the weekend. I’d been messaging with a fellow I found on my dating site. A lot of his photos were of him at ParkRuns around the world and y’all know I love ParkRuns and travelling, so how could I not be impressed? Plus he’s good looking, came across as smart and genuine and obvs fit – can’t be doing all that running and be unfit, right?!

So, he kinda invited me on his local ParkRun on Sat morning and to go for a coffee after. Best first date offer ever!! Except I had to get him to come to my ParkRun as it was a special one for me, I was about to run my last timed run in my age category of 55-59 – I turned 60 on the 10 Sept! (more on that below). My ParkRun buddies were insisting I do a new PB on the day and go out with a bang! And that’s a challenge I just had to accept. So I invited my date to my run and coffee/breakie after and he said yes and came to my run 🙂 🙂

One of my running buddies offered to pace me 🙂 We’ll start off at a slow and steady pace for the first km or so he said.. mmhmm, his idea of slow and steady was my idea of ‘holy hell this is fast!’ He kept me at a steady rhythm with target goals along the way and a mantra to play out in my head. I noticed my date overtake us at some point and I was thinking – awesome, he’s faster than me! I spotted him as he was heading back after the turn around point and he stopped to take an action shot of me (there’s also a really nice shot of my date guy and I after the run – but I won’t post that just yet – early days people 🙂 ) Oh and I got that PB by 10 seconds!

running at ParkRun
My final 55-59 timed run and I got that PB and was first in my age category – thanks to my pacing buddy and everyone at my ParkRun cheering me on!

Then date guy and I went for coffee and breakfast afterwards. Really good conversation and he is lovely. We talked for ages, but I had to cut it short as it was my birthday party day and I had to get organised. He messaged me later in the day with photos and a thank you and on the mad spur of the moment I invited him to swing by my birthday party that evening. He said he’d love to and he did! He was totally at ease with my family and friends and they all loved him. So, how’s that for a first date? Running in the morning, celebrating my birthday in the evening AND running the gauntlet of my family and friends! What a guy, he’s a keeper – am I right?

Musings on turning 60

Turning 60 is awesome, I love milestone birthdays, it’s always an excuse to celebrate, throw a party and have everyone pamper you – what’s not to love? What’s even better is that at my party some of my friends gave me cards to celebrate my 50th and one thought it was my 40th (bless!!). I guess all that exercise and healthy eating and keeping a positive mind-set (and for sure I know that is not always easy, I speak from personal experience) has stood me in good stead for where I am at right here and right now.

There were some beautiful and thoughtful gifts, my daughter bought me a Kobo (an eReader). I’d previously not been keen as I love ‘real’ books – however I have literally run out of bookshelves and the books piling up everywhere looks a bit like I should open a second hand bookstore before I (and the mutts) disappear under the pile 😛

So here are a couple of party pics for y’all – take care, look after each other and if you’re approaching a milestone birthday – enjoy and eat that cake!! xoxo