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.

 

 

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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 😛