Sneaking up on the New Year
I've never been any good at New Year's resolutions. And I don't know anyone who is. They seem to be such bright, sparkly things – A New Year! A Fresh Start! Time to Change! And for a lot of us, the thing to change is the extra insulation we've accumulated around the middle.
…but it's January, and even though the days are getting longer, that happens none too fast, and habits are strong, and a person still has to contend with leftover Christmas cookies. So by mid-January, all but the most determined resolvers tend to give up and say, "Maybe in Spring…"
I used to do massage, and for 25 years that gave me a fair amount of exercise. When we moved to Canada, though, my license didn't translate, and the red tape and expense of becoming recertified put that off for at least awhile – most likely forever, and since my intention had been to change over to writing eventually anyway, well…
A person doesn't burn nearly as many calories sitting at a computer as she does working on aching bodies. I knew that intellectually, but it kind of hit home when I got out my winter clothes and found that some of them had unaccountably shrunk. I know that if I could get back into spending a couple of hours a week on my elliptical machine, I'd get back into my favorite winter jeans. But making exercise a New Year's resolution? Guaranteed failure—and over a month away.
But a birthday resolution? Might work. As the big 60 looms, I know that 'use it or lose it' isn't just a slogan.
So I went downstairs, let the dogs out (if I go downstairs, Watson assumes I mean to let him run outside) and did a whopping two minutes on the machine, during which my body wanted to know what the hell I thought I was doing. Two minutes – according to the meter, that's 35 calories, a whopping 10.4 of them fat calories. These numbers? Probably inaccurate, my machine is the low-end of a decent brand and the serious equipment wants a bunch of body data to calculate accurately. But the numbers are a target, and a target of 100 calories – 6 minutes – was something I could reach pretty easily. I started keeping track of minutes and calories on the kitchen calendar, and though I missed a few days in November, when I retired the 2011 calendar, every day in December had something at the top of every day square.
This is not quite as virtuous as it sounds, because I've given myself a fudge-factor to stave off discouragement. Once or twice before Christmas, I got so busy I forgot to visit the machine… so rather than tear my hair, etc., I made a rule that allows me to make up one missed day, as long as it is done within 24 hours. Two missed days means a blank square. No excuses. So missing December 17 meant that I had to do two sessions on the 18th – two separate sessions, not one ten-minute one split into 2 fives. And I did two sessions on December 24, and gave myself Christmas off.
I suspect that fussing with the details is preventing boredom—until this routine becomes as natural a brushing my teeth, I'm using every trick I can come up with, and so far that's working. It's very satisfying to look at the calendar grid and see that I've fought the good fight every single day… more or less.
Every day? Yes, I know that serious training works best if a person takes a day or two off every week. But I also know that my inner couch potato is very good at days off and truly awful at resuming practice. So one or two days a week, I do a short session, 4 or 5 minutes, and the rest of the time I aim for ten. Which, some weeks, I've hit. Last week, with New Years, only averaged 6 minutes a day. Not much. But… it means I've exercised every day this year, and that's the kind of silly-ass encouragement I need.
So if I had made a New Year's resolution to exercise regularly, I'd be keeping it.
But I didn't.
Which means there's a good chance I will….
Happy birthday, Clare, and may any resolutions you made be so easy to keep you don't even think about them.
About Lee Rowan: I've been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, after learning my craft writing fanfiction for some 30 years. In earlier times I'd have been called "a lady of a certain age," old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a spouse of many years, I'm kept in line by a cadre of cats and a dog who get me away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.
Until I was in my 40's, I thought romance was utterly unrealistic--a pretty dream, but little more. What I'd seen of relationships didn't seem worth the effort or the pain. A big-hearted dog and a few wonderful cats kept my own heart going, until, in the first weeks of the new millennium, I fell in love with a friend I'd known most of my adult life. How did that happen? Well, I'd just written Ransom, and I could not find anyone who was willing to read it and give me feedback. I got feedback--and the love of my life as well!
We have just celebrated our tenth anniversary as life-partners. In 2007, we moved to Canada, where our marriage is legally recognized. Real love isn't just a pretty dream, though. It's a lot of work--but it's worth every minute.
The stories I write are usually--not always--about two men, which may seem odd subject matter for a woman who's married to another woman. But ... well, so what? I write with my mind and heart, not with what's in my pants; I write the sort of stories I want to read. While many girls were dreaming of walking up the aisle and wondering what they'd name their children, I was dreaming of running away to sea or riding across the prairie, and wondering what I'd name my horse. I was intrigued by how people lived before cars, TV, modern medicine, and what touched my imagination were stories of adventure and adversity.
I never did get the horse... life ain't perfect. That's why we need dreams... and stories.
Love, honor, courage... those aren't male qualities or female qualities. They're the very best human qualities, and I think we all have the capacity to experience them, no matter how different we may be when it comes to sex, age, color, or any of the other tiny subcategories. We are all human, and we all have dreams.
I'd like to share some of mine, and so I write.
Visit my Website and Blog.
Jessewave's Blog gave me an "Author Spotlight" day last March, which included an interview and reviews of all my books. You can find that over HERE.
From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).
FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.
Check up on:
Prior years fun HERE and
The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.