Taking a Detour

My life changed forever in one night in 1987 when I was 22.

I had to take a detour that lasted for 13 years. You got that right–13 years.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic I want to talk about taking a detour.

Let me tell you a detour is not a dead-end. It’s a pit stop along the way to a different path.

Maybe you’re not supposed to get what you want quickly and painlessly.

That is the goal as I see it–to embrace the struggle for what it is– a learning of something you need to know in order to get what you want.

I care a lot that in this pandemic everything seems to have been put on hold. A sunny day can be harder to envision.

I would say my life didn’t get better until I turned 35 and started my library job and moved to Brooklyn.

Sometimes where you start out isn’t where you should remain.

That is the ultimate purpose of a detour: to cement in your mind the one true path you must go down to be happy and fulfilled.

You don’t often figure out until you experience firsthand a setback the truth about who you are and where you should be going in life.

Again–I think of these things during the pandemic we’re living through. Of how it can seem like this is the end of everything–the end of your hopes and dreams for whatever you had hoped to achieve.

I say: use this time to engage in active reflection.  Get out a notebook and sketch out what your goals will be when the pandemic is over.

Shore up your good feelings while you shelter in place.

Remember that after things get better there’s so much life for all of us to live.

Moving Forward in the Blog

I want to start to talk about things no one else has dared talk about.

The number-one takeaway I’ve come away with while having been inside my apartment for 3 weeks is this:

Art is a Guaranty of Sanity

like the refrigerator magnet I bought proclaims.

My destiny appears to be to use the creative process to turn my ideas into reality.

By blogging and writing books to educate, entertain, and empower my target market.

Which as I see it is people who want to recover and need to recover.

My goal is to advance my vision of recovery from whatever a person is in recovery from.

This can be from an illness, from a micro-aggression, from any kind of setback hardship or obstacle either internal or external.

No–we cannot go back to the way things were in society before the CO-VI19 outbreak.

Egotism and bigotry must not prevail.

People cannot continue to hate and judge each other.

We need to halt acting greedy and seedy pursuing power at the expense of other human beings.

I identify as an Artist.

As an Artist, I believe in the transformative beauty of creating art to make the world a better place.

There’s so much that’s not right in society. I would like to do my part to change the frequency in terms of shifting the needle to the left of the dial.

To start a dialogue where everyone is free to speak the truth about who they are and why they’re here in this lifetime.

To use the blogs as an outlet to help others believe that recovery is possible.

To continue to write mostly about topics geared to mental and physical health.

To give readers a shot in the arm of confidence to express themselves without fear of reprisal.

I firmly believe that each of us is possessed with a power bigger than our pain.

The CO-VID19 outbreak will end.

It’s time to plan for a better future for ourselves, our loved ones, and the planet.

 

Recovering from an Illness, Setback, or Crisis

As a creative person I’ve learned that doubt and confidence go hand-in-hand. You can’t “always” be confident and “never” doubt yourself.

In terms of recovery a person might be afraid to have a relapse or setback. This is only natural.

Again I will refer readers to the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

While sheltering in place and continuing to write the new novel I’ve seen that doubt can be a constant companion.

The goal in recovery as it is in life as I see it is to persist in the face of doubt.

You might doubt that things will return to normal after the pandemic. Or after you’ve faced any kind of struggle or hardship. Rightly so.

I believe that living through this crisis and surviving will give us the courage to go after our goals. Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting to be called into the game.

This is my sincere hope that something good can come of having sheltered in place.

I’ve decided that returning to “normal” can’t be my goal once I’m carrying on outside again.

My mantra has always been that it’s just as easy to dream big as it is to settle for less.

Why not believe that recovery will be possible in whatever guise it comes to you as?

Why not go after your goals with gusto?

Why not?

Having Hope for Making Changes

I want to use my own experience as a beacon to guide readers in making positive changes.

My own life could empower you that there’s hope.

Even when it seems like there’s an obstacle: you’re too old, too out of shape, too ill, whatever “too” that you think is holding you back.

Exhibit Chris: I didn’t start lifting weights until I turned 46 in 2011. For about five or six months before my birthday I rarely did any exercise.

From the week before Christmas until this week in January 2020–for about one month I hadn’t done a walk/run on the treadmill. And I lifted weights only sporadically until this week too.

The point of this story is that you need to take the long view.

A temporary setback today has no impact on your success in the end.

Exhibit A Guy I Know: He hadn’t held a job in a number of years. He turned 55 and said: “This is it. No more inactivity. I’m going to get a job.”

Change is possible at any time along the road in your recovery or your life. I went to graduate school with a woman who was 70.

Danica Patrick in her book tells readers to simply do the next healthy thing. After you do this thing, do the next health thing after that. And so on.

This is how sustaining following through on your goal happens: you set sub-goals along the way.

I liken this to compartmentalizing your efforts. When you do this you can be effective for the long-term.

Just to tell readers that you’re not alone. You’re not unusual.

Everyone falls down along the way to getting where we want to be. Getting back up–being resilient–is key.

The Changeology book details strategies to employ when you’ve had a setback.

I’ll end here with my last words of encouragement:

Start where you are. Today is how it is and tomorrow can be different.

I hope that my own life experience can inspire you that change is possible.

Making Fitness My Priority

I’ve come to make fitness a priority.

Health equals wealth. The true definition of wealth is abundance.

With health you have what you need to achieve your life goals.

Being ill makes it that much harder to succeed.

Over the years through a series of events I’ve come to prize having a fit mind and a strong body.

The mind and body work together to give us optimal health.

I’m 54. Two years ago when I was 52 and started menopause my energy tanked. Would I have to accept that my old energy was gone for good?

My body is getting older. My mind is still youthful.

Could bridging this divide help me get back my energy?

At about the time I turned 52 and started going through “the change” of life as a woman other things happened.

I stopped taking any kind of vitamin or supplement. I had wanted to believe I could satisfy my nutritional needs solely through food choices alone.

This is also when I stopped cooking my own meals for dinner. I relied on boxed frozen food packages that were supposed to be healthier choices.

Folks, I ate a lot of this prepared junk for too long. To compensate, I started ordering food to be delivered to my apartment for dinner.

The restaurant food was healthful yet way more expensive every week.

The remedy came on in April of this year 2019 when on a whim I hired the health coach.

After scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast for the last six months my mood improved.

By exercising in the morning in my living room 2x per week my body got fitter too.

Last week I wondered if perhaps I could use other help. I ordered Vitamin D tablets from the FullScript link my health coach had sent me online.

I’ve started to take one Vitamin D pill in the morning with breakfast.

Would I see a return to my old energy level or at least an improved energy level?

I was motivated to resume taking a Vitamin D pill after reading the Eating Well special edition magazine Eating for Energy.

This book is a common-sense guide to doing what it says: eating for energy.

I also changed one other thing for the better. I’ll talk about what I did in the next blog entry.

My intent is to give readers hope that making positive changes is possible at any time in your life and your recovery.

You might not be in such great health. As always I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve achieved numerous goals in the last year by using the 90-day action plan detailed in this lifesaver of a book.

In coming blog entries I’ll continue to report on the results I’m achieving by making these small, consistent, incremental changes.

Making positive changes isn’t easy. It’s natural to resist doing what’s in your best interest when it’s easier to adhere to the status quo.

Only I tell you readers: the status quo wasn’t working in my life.

It was time to do things differently. I’ll tell you how things turned out: better than I expected.

Read on for the results.

Getting Help When You Need It

Sometimes you can’t make it on your own. We all could use a little outside help.

I’ve been in remission for over 27 years because I’ve taken medication every day as it was prescribed.

After witnessing a police event where I live in New York City I’ve come to have zero tolerance for stigma.

Stigma in society comes in many forms like sexism and racism and in other guises.

If you ask me stigma is a disease that needs to be healed.

Without love and compassion given it is harder for a person to recover.

Recovery from mental illness, recovery from ongoing microaggressions, and recovery from any physical illness or other setback isn’t easy when others in society judge you as not being worthy of compassion.

One month ago I was trapped inside a library with an active shooter situation in the building right next door.

This event only solidified the empathy I have for everyone.

“Everyone’s safer staying inside the library. No one can enter or exit your building” the lead cop told us.

A negotiation team straight out of a 1970s S.W.A.T. TV show episode was talking with a woman who had a firearm.

The cops wore body cameras and body shields.

I was trapped in the library for over an hour. Finally the lead cop came in and said: “It’s over. You can open up.”

The emotionally disturbed person (EDP) with the firearm had been taken to a hospital.

If she had killed someone or the police had killed her the incident would’ve been headline news.

Witnessing firsthand the prowess of the NYPD officers in negotiating with the armed woman I could respect and admire the cops that resolved the matter with no violence incurred on anyone’s part.

The event hit home with me the idea that there’s no cause to be hating and judging people.

“It could’ve been me in that armed woman’s shoes” is what I thought.

With a change of circumstance I could’ve remained permanently ill for the rest of my life. Only I got the right help within 24 hours.

I do not take lightly the need for love and compassion in the world.

In the coming blog entries I will commence talking about the Mind-Body Connection.

My journey of self-improvement started over the weekend with one tiny change.

Would making this change give me better health?

I’m going to document the link between mental health and physical health.

My stance is that I have zero tolerance for stigma.

I envision a world where every one of us is free to be ourselves.

I choose health. I choose to share the tactics that have helped me stay fit and active.

It’s my hope that I can empower readers to seek help if you need it.

For there can be no shame in seeking to get help for whatever illness, setback, or hardship you’re experiencing in life.

Getting the right help right away can make all the difference.

 

Chris’s Credentials

I’m 54 years old. I was born in 1965 in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

When I was 52 I started menopause. I haven’t gained weight or had hot flashes. My thinking is still sharp as a tack.

I was 50 years old when my father died. The cancer killed him. He has Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This was the deciding factor in my desire to continue to exercise and eat healthfully.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I started lifting weights. Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5 pound weight. In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds.

This is how I know it’s possible to make positive changes at any time in your life.

I believe in the beauty of making fitness the number-one priority.

Living in health harmony and happiness is predicated on having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Over the years through a series of events happening to me I’ve come to figure out what my life’s purpose is.

I’m here to advance my vision of recovery from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

My mantra for the blogs is: “No Judgments.”

When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a medical condition. I’ve been in remission for over 27 years so far.

What happened to me I wouldn’t want to strike any other person.

After I recovered fully, my goal was to aid in healing society of stigma.

It’s my belief that healing is possible when each of us honors, accepts, and embraces our individuality and that of others.

I’m a Girl on the Left. My favorite color is Green. I have 12 books I want to publish before my time here on earth ends.

And I think the world needs less judging and more compassion.

I’m going to record my journey to get fitter and remain healthy.

First before I detail the changes I’ve started to make I want to relay in the coming blog entry a scary event I witnessed in New York City.

I want to talk about what happened to dramatize the truth that no human being living on earth has anything to be ashamed of.

Wanting to better yourself is not a sin.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

My goal in wanting to help others live full and robust lives springs from the fact that I had no help in my own life. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps at a time when it was thought recovery wasn’t possible.

What I know to be true: choosing to make fitness the number-one priority in my life has made all the difference.

Who are you? Stand up straight and tall and tell the world.

Using An EAP – Employee Assistance Program

A lot of readers might not know that when you work at a job you might have support options in place within the company you work for.

This is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that some businesses offer. There is no cost to talk to an EAP counselor.

For any kind of stress at work or home that is impacting your success on the job the EAP counselor can help you with resources at your disposal.

In 1991 at my first job I talked to an EAP counselor for one session or possibly it was for two sessions.

The point is that challenges on the job can be managed better with the available EAP support you might have.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about different kinds of jobs.

Getting and Accepting Support

My goal is to share the insight I’ve gained with blog readers and followers.

What’s true: success often hinges on collaboration and cooperation.

Before you can be successful at a job or any other endeavor it pays to have a support network in place.

In society for everyone regardless of our challenge type getting support isn’t easy.

For a lot of us accepting support turns out to be hard.

My thinking might be off base. Yet I think too many people are so wrapped up in living for their self-gain that they don’t care about taking time out to help others who could use a hand.

The myth of the rugged individual has persisted in America for too long.

You’re told your weak if you don’t buck up and handle your business on your own.

Only when you could use an assist hardly anyone is willing to come forth to aid you.

This dynamic is a far worse condition than any type of stigma in countering a person’s success in recovery.

My stance is this: I’ve been here on this Earth over 50 years so far.

My first corporate office job career was an attempt to make the big bucks.

After I crashed and burned working at these jobs that were an ill-fit, I went back to school to have the right-fit career.

What I’ve learned in my over 25 years of employment I gladly share.

The things I know to be true—like the fact that recovery is possible for a significant number of people—I’m willing to share in the blog too.

It’s a myth that “the vast majority” of people can’t recover.

Having support, utilizing self-care, working at some kind of job (even if it’s a dedicated hobby or volunteer work), and doing what you love are tools in the tool kit to use to have a successful recovery.

Recovery starts with getting and accepting support.

It’s time to give the hateful outdated rhetoric the boot.

For too long opposing sides have said and done things to inflame each other.

I’ll end here with this: recovery is easier to achieve with support from others like family, your treatment providers, friends, and lovers.

Having a job you love is easier to obtain using the support and resources that are available.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about support that exists for employees at a company.

Showing Up As Yourself

In my life when I let the illness define me I thought that doing what “normal” people do would be the cure.

The world tells you what’s acceptable. You think you’re supposed to do these things.

Only you cannot repress your soul and expect to be well. Ill health is the result of being cut off from your true self.

The ultimate goal as I see it in recovery is to become who you are.

Show up as this person wherever you go.

Self-doubt and confidence go hand-in-hand. As I wrote in You Are Not Your Diagnosis:

My employment history shows that one of three things is possible:

  • You’re just starting out and haven’t yet figured out the ideal workplace.
  • You loved your job or career when you started it and today it no longer thrills you.
  • You thought that this particular job or career was the one you wanted. It doesn’t work out and you’re forced to change.

Knowing yourself and what you are suited to do and not do is the key to success.

If you have to act false to yourself on a job you’re rolling a wheel up a hill over and over like Sisyphus in the Greek myth.

I say: get a second job to supplant your primary income rather than continuing to show up as an imposter to a job you’re not happy doing.

If you’re not happy doing your job you won’t be motivated to excel so how can you be effective at it?

This is the definition of “spinning your wheels.”

In a coming blog entry I offer a remedy for dissatisfaction.