loss

Every Day is A New Day

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.” 
― Arnold Bennett

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Hello Again Fellow Thrivers!

First off, I am overdue in updating on the Fitness Challenge.  This past Sunday I weighed in at 141.8, which is about 2 lbs up from the week before.  While I may have indulged in some chocolate and 2 slices of pizza during the week, the extra 2 lbs was more likely related to being bloated (with my first real menstrual cycle in years… ugh! I miss my birth control already 😦 ) and having not worked out immediately prior to my weigh in.  In reality, I think my weight has just plateaued back to what is was pre-holiday because I have been hovering at 140 the rest of the week.  At this point I am already running, cycling, lifting regularly, AND watching what I eat, so not much else to do there.  

Our challenge this week is to plank 15 minutes each.  Each person is allotted two attempts per day to reach a cumulative total of 15 minutes.  I finished my planking this morning, and the hubs has about 7 minutes to go.  Don’t worry, he still has one day left.  Aside from our challenge I’ve logged 9.7 miles on the treadmill, over 19 at spin, and just over half a mile in the pool so far this week- with one day still to go. This has me right on track for my mileage goals for the year: 49/500 miles running & 107/1000 miles of biking.  I should probably also set one for swimming, but I have a much harder time getting myself to swim than anything else…. I know, all the more reason!  Okay, I’ll think about it.

Yesterday was actually my first day back in the pool in I’m not even going to mention how long.  I think with all the stress at work Image(major upheaval there.. per usual… and I just interviewed for a supervisor position… yikes!) and all unfortunate stuff (gross understatement) going on with my friends, I just needed a break from feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I had forgotten just how calm and relaxing it is to be in the water when the pool is empty in the morning.  It is truly a meditative experience.  Usually running is my go to sport for stress relief, but, in this case, a good swim was exactly what I needed.  Submersed in water and weightless, it was the complete opposite of how my life has been feeling.  No chaos, just quiet.  No commotion or need to hurry.  Instead I found myself falling into a rhythm and effortlessly gliding from one end of the pool to the other.  Previously, I’ve never had an experience where swimming was anything but anxiety provoking, but this was entirely the opposite.  It was as if I escaped to a land of tranquility for a solid 30 minutes of my morning.  I left the water feeling completely refreshed and energized… and this was after surviving a particularly grueling spin class prior to the swim.  So, perhaps, there is hope for me and swimming…  Maybe this is the beginning of a love affair (just don’t tell running).

It is funny though how thirty minutes of exercise in the water can reshape your entire perspective on a day.  With all the craziness going on lately, I desperately needed to hit the reset button and charge my batteries.  Now that I have, I feel happy that even in the midst of all the sadness around I can still ground myself and find my center.  I am grateful to be at a point in my life where I can empathize with other people without letting it consume me.  Rather than get depressed, I have found that I can feel badly for other people and still feel happy and grateful for the life I have.. and not feel guilty about it.  I am no help to anyone if I let their problems and tragedies drag me down in the muck.  Instead, I have been finding more productive outlets to channel my grief.

When my friends and I started the We Support The Wilcox Girl’s fundraising page, it was exactly that.  It was a way to cope and try to help someone we cared about deeply.  There are only so many times you can tell a person “I’m so sorry for your loss” before it starts to feel hollow.  By setting up the page, we weren’t saying we felt for her we were showing her.  It was our best effort at saying “we are here for you”.  We never in a million years imagined what it would morph into.  

Based on the estimate that a single funeral costs $10,000, I set our initial fundraising goal at that value.  I figured if we could alleviate Imagethe cost of just one funeral it would be a blessing.  We decided to post the site on Saturday, and by this morning we had already surpassed that goal.  What’s more, the page filled up with hundreds of words of condolences and support.  Beyond that, our Facebook newsfeeds blew up with multiple shares of our page.  Newspapers and the town patch featured it, and even Channel 3 picked up the story.  The overwhelming support that has poured out for our friend and her family is beyond anything any of us could have imagined or hoped for.  As awful and tragic as this situation has been, the response has been uplighting beyond words.

I am very happy and grateful to belong to a community that reaches out to support each other in a time of need.  I am also grateful that on the day my friends and I attend services with this family, we can tell them how much they are loved and supported, not only by us, but hundreds of people.

If you have ever thought for a moment that a single person can’t make a big difference in the world, take a look at what four grieving women were able to accomplish by reaching out to their community.  What’s more, if the individuals who reached out to share our page, give donations, and offer support had though that way, our page Imagewould never have been successful.  Paraphrasing (loosely) Mother Theresa, “You don’t have to do great things to make a difference, just small things with great love.” Besides, maybe a single person can’t make a huge impact alone, but lots of people with a common purpose can literally move mountains and make miracles happen. 

Every day of your life is a chance to make an impact on this world.  It’s a new chance to live the life you have always dreamed of.  Nothing is life is guaranteed or given, and most of us willing never know how much time we have left.  Leave your mistakes and regrets in the past.  Tell your loved ones how you feel about them often.  Be grateful for what you have, and consider what an impact a simple act of kindness can make in someone else’s life.

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Trying to Make the World a Better Place

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.

It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’

Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

-Mr. Rogers

 helping-hand-quotes

I have been feeling fragile lately, as if the world itself is weighing on me.  While I had an amazing 2013 filled with adventure and love, many of my friends did not fare as well.  I feel like I knew more people to who lost loved ones this past year than in any year in my life to date.  Perhaps it’s just part of getting older.

Lately though, it seems there is more and more bad news everywhere I turn.  As much as I try to focus on the positive and avoid negativity, good news seems to be in far fewer supply these days.  I keep thinking at some point someone is going to have to catch a break, and then another call or post to the contrary happens.  Just in the past week I woke up to texts that my best friend’s husband (also a friend) was in the hospital and needed surgery.  Later that day my two bulldogs got into a fight so intense that one passed out (I thought she dropped dead and totally freaked out)… which lead to the excruciatingly painful decision that the younger one needs to be re-homed.  The whole situation is a long story, but suffice it to say it has been a long time coming, and we have tried everything to improve the situation including working with a trainer.

Already reeling from the heartbreak of losing one of my fur children, I found out today that a friend of mine who already lost her mother to lung cancer around Thanksgiving and then her father suddenly a few weeks later near Christmas has now lost her sister unexpectedly.  This latest development has had my head just spinning.  I just can’t reconcile having faith that no one is dealt more than she can handle with the fact that this girl has just lost three members of her family in less than 3 months.  No one should have to deal with that.  I have had all I can stomach of loss just from everything my friends have been going through, and here she is having to pull herself through burying yet another close family member.  How can you not think life is out to get you at that point?

1555472_10151987446654807_983311388_nSo my friends and I brought our heads together to try and figure out the best way to show our support.  We not only wanted to help, but to remind this girl that we will be there for her.  We wanted to show her that there are parts in life worth living even in the face of unfathomable grief.  We wanted to show her our love for her.  What we came up with was a fundraising page through gofundme to help alleviate the financial burden of three funerals, medical bills, and lost wages from missing work.

When we were planning the page I was excited.  I was so happy to be able to do something to help.  However, the instant I posted it I had a pit in my stomach.  I am an introvert by nature.  If only there were a way to save the world anonymously...  I immediately worried that I would not be able to get people to rally they way I envisioned they would in my head.  I worried about failing…. and then I worried about what would happen if we were really successful.  I worried about what people would think of me and about whether they would have a problem with me stepping up to do something publicly when I’m not part of the family.  I was afraid of offending people.  Am I the only person who gets this conflicted over a simple fundraising page?

Really, the issue comes down to putting myself out there.  You can’t help other people while sitting on your butt in the safety of your comfort zone, not if you really want to make a difference.  Does putting myself out there and attaching my name to a fundraising page make me uncomfortable? Absolutely.  Do I think this girl is worth it? Absolutely.  At the end of the day, does it really matter whether I am super successful at it? Probably not.  To someone struggle with the loss of three family members, my success or failure with raising money is probably not even a blip on her radar.  What matters, I hope, is that her other friends and I cared enough to take a leap and make an effort.  In the end, I hope that at least the thought that went into it will mean something.