Why Is Now Any Different?

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy

People say that we endure two certainties in our lifetime. First, we have to pay taxes and second, we all die. Those are facts. I believe at this point that a third must be added. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc throughout the world, the news reports every day that this week will be the worst in regards to deaths due to the virus.

At the same time, some people are writing and sharing that this should be a time of renewal, that we should take this lesson and become better humans. That we should treat each more kindly, as we have been doing since the start of the virus. They are sharing and hoping that during this time we have been able to become more introspective and that this will lead us all to a higher level of thinking and behavior.

But this won’t happen. Unfortunately, the half life of our memories isn’t that long and once things get back to the new “normal”, we will forget all about helping our co-workers and neighbors. We will go about our lives until the next disaster happens and we are called upon by our government or a higher power to help those we love, we know and we don’t know. And then the cycle will repeat itself.

The reason I say this and believe it to be true is throughout history humans have never ever learned from their mistakes.  Whether it comes from a terrorist attack, a virus or a natural disaster, the end game is people want to get back to their lives with as little trouble as possible. Once the shock of the incident wears off and the dead have been buried, we all will crawl back into our holes and tend to our own. And that is the third certainty. We don’t and won’t ever learn from our mistakes.

Do you think I’m wrong? Do you think I’m being too pessimistic? Do you believe that this is the event that is going to actually carry over and force a shift in the way we think and act?

I say no. Convince me otherwise.

What Are You Doing??

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!”-Anonymous

So what is everyone doing during this time of uncertainty? With the global pandemic overtaking our every waking thought, we need to think positively. Even with that, when it is the appropriate time to do so, we have to dig deeper into the root cause of the virus as well as its effect on the global community.  UPLIFT, an online site that deals with wellness and mindfulness, sent this in an e-mail:

“This is the beginning of great shifts, for humanity and for our planet. Forces beyond our control are asking us to stop, be still, and look deep within. The unknowns we are facing, individually and collectively, are presenting us with an opportunity. An opportunity to choose how we respond. May we all choose to stay present with our hearts and remember that, together, we will rise.”

I believe at this time the human race is at a crossroads. In terms of the Corona Virus, we here in the US are still wallowing in its infancy. The peak for us still won’t be seen for several weeks and may continue to months.

So how do we respond to this threat? Will this end up being a culling of the herd? We see people hoarding toilet paper. People stealing toilet paper from gas stations and convenience stores. What can a person do with 100 roles of toilet paper? So now we are standing on the ledge, waiting for the next bit of bad news.

I would hope that during this incredibly stressful time that everyone remains positive. Find things that you like to do, even if it is at home. Read a book or listen to some music. Use the time to re-energize yourself. This too shall pass. But, please, don’t be the person that sits in front of the boob tube taking everything that the bobble heads on the news stations throw at us as gospel and you end up worrying about what? If you are doing what the officials say, then you are one step ahead of the game.

So what am I trying to say? I am trying to say that this is another time in history where it is of the utmost importance to come together. If you are hoarding toilet paper or anything else for that matter, give some of it to a needy neighbor. I guarantee that you will feel much better knowing that you actually helped someone.

Listen to that shift. It’s happening. Pay attention and do the soul searching that seems to be what we need right about now.

So what are you doing with the extra time that you may have?

I’m Baaaaack…And Grateful To Be Alive!

“I’m as serious as a heart attack.”-Samuel L. Jackson

“Stress is a major component of cardiac events. It may not cause disease but can trigger a heart attack.”-Anonymous

Hey Folks,

I know that it has been a long time since I posted anything on this site. I am now officially retired from teaching as of 2:46 pm on 3/16/20.

So what am I doing with myself? Let me give you a little background.

First, I’ve had Congestive Heart Failure for just about six years. On December 26, 2019, I had a heart attack and spent nine days in the hospital. The doctors first thoughts were open heart surgery, but after several tests, it was determined that due to the weakening of my heart, I would not survive the surgery. So plan B went into effect. They ended up placing two stents in the arteries that run to the heart.

So, since January 3rd I have been just trying to get my heart stronger. I go to the gym six days a week and try to keep my stress level at a minimum. I have to admit that this has caused a dramatic shift in my lifestyle, especially what I eat. I have always exercised, but I’ve never really paid that much attention to the foods that I ate, Now, I eat tons of chicken, oatmeal, and everything is low fat, low sodium, and no sugar. I haven’t felt this good in a long time,  My cardiologist says with the exercise and vastly improved diet, I should be feeling better.

Now that I am retired, I have all of the time in the world to get to the point where I can back into the woods, hopefully, sooner rather than later. I’m not going to lie-I miss being out there. It has been months since I have felt the soft dirt under my feet, the warm sun on my face and the solitude of just being outdoors. At this point, however, I have to take it slow and listen to what my doctors say.

So what are they saying? I have to go back on 4/6 for an echocardiogram. At that point, I’m assuming they will make a decision as to whether or not I will need a defibrillator placed into my chest. Here’s hoping that they don’t!!!!

So my goals for the immediate future work hand in hand. I need to keep walking on the treadmill to get my heart stronger so I can get back out into the woods. At the same time, the goal is to also have my heart working at a rate where the defibrillator won’t be necessary.

 

Walking, Walking And More Walking

“Breathe in, Breathe Out, Move On.” -Jimmy Buffett

“Don’t me why I walk. Ask yourself why you don’t.-Anonymous

This weeks goal was to get at least a couple of longer days in even if it was just 15 minutes more to make at least an hour. The closest I got was 55 minutes and I was happy with that. Every day I felt good and on a couple of days, I was able to do some hill work by experimenting with the incline. I’ll keep playing around with that to get some harder workouts in. I was able to walk for a period of time at around 3.3 miles per hour and for the time that I did, it was faster than I ever move when I am hiking!!!

For what it’s worth, I like walking on the treadmill as much as I liked riding the stationary bike. The good thing with the treadmill is no knee pain. I am walking in my backpacking boots and that may be helping. Each of the treadmills also has a tv attached to it which makes the time fly by.

Needless to say, I will keep walking so when fall finally arrives and the colors on the leaves are at their peak, I can head back out into the woods.

It’s all good.

Total Minutes-

9/9/19-50-365 (The Thumper was right next to me, the horror)

9/10/19-45-410  (No Thumper)

9/11/19-Rest Day

9/12/19-45-455 (Thumper two treadmills down)

9/13/19-55-510 (No Thumper but a dude older than me who smelled like he just crawled out of a dumpster got on the one next to me.)

9/14/19-50-560 (No Thumper) 

9/15/19-50-610 (No Thumper)

245 minutes for the week.

The Thumper

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Walking brings me back to myself.” – Laurette Mortimer

As I mentioned in my last post, even though I would much rather be outside,  time does not permit it. To be totally honest with you, I have found walking on the treadmill to be a pleasant change from hiking in the woods.

For one thing, I am able to control the speed that I walk and also walking on an incline has been interesting. The best thing, however, has been the people watching. For instance, no matter what time of the morning or afternoon that I have been there, I have seen a man running on a treadmill two spaces away from me. Usually, this wouldn’t be an issue, but this man runs with a sense of purpose that is truly frightening.

What I mean by this is his feet hit the treadmill so hard that it makes a thumping sound. A loud and rather annoying thumping sound. On Thursday I walked in the front door and I could hear the telltale boom, boom, boom of this mystery man running. I can’t believe that he hasn’t wrecked his knees running like this. If I didn’t know better, I would think he is stalking me.

Since I am going to the gym to train exclusively for hiking, I wear my backpacking boots on the treadmill and I don’t make half the noise that this guy does.

Anyway, I like walking on the treadmill. I don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes, I don’t have to worry about the weather, dogs or other human beings (for the most part), and I can adjust my workout depending on how I feel. Plus, every treadmill has a small tv on it. You can’t beat that with a stick.

So here are the days that I have walked and the time that I did. Of course, at various times I adjusted the speed and the incline only to test things out for the time being. When I get more adjusted to walking this way I’ll use some of the workouts that they have on the treadmill.  So far, so good.

Total Minutes:

9/3/19-45.0-180.0

9/5/19-45.0-225.0

9/7/19-45.0-270.0

9/8/19-45.0-315.0

Change Is In The Air…

nysc_logo

If you know me, I’m not a big fan of change and I like things the way I like them. So this summer when I injured my knee riding my stationary bike, I knew that I would have to make some changes. Now, mind you, I could still walk and hiking was not an issue, just riding that stupid bike. So I decided to join a gym so I could have access to a treadmill and a stairclimber during the colder months instead of relying on just the stationary bike.

Especially with school starting again, it’s going to be difficult to get out hiking after school so I figured since a NYSC is 2 miles away, this would be the easiest way to get a good walking workout in and then hopefully still be able to get out on days off and on the weekends.

Signing up was easy online and when I went for the first time this morning, the people at the front desk were really friendly. Since I had never used a treadmill before, I did ask one of the trainers to show me how to use one of them. I know, how hard could it be? I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t end up on one of those video shows where the person on the treadmill wipes out and goes flying. So I swallowed my pride and asked the trainer to explain it to me like I was a 5 year old.

Thankfully she took pity on me and did just that. And thankfully again, I actually figured it out on the first try. It wasn’t that difficult.

One thing that I did find strange was that at first, I found it more difficult to walk on the treadmill than on the trail. Maybe it is just something that I have to get used to. We’ll see. But since it was the first time on a treadmill, I decided that I would take it relatively easy just to get used to it. I started just to warm up at 1.5 mph and gradually increased the MPH until I was walking at 3 MPH. My entire work out time? 45 minutes.

I also used the incline on the treadmill and walked for a while on 1.0. It appears as though they have different workouts on these things so I will experiment with that as the days go by.

So, for a first impression, I give them a 5 out of 5.

As I do with my hiking, I’ll keep track of my workouts on the blog. Instead of miles, however, I’ll keep track of my minutes walked every day.

8/30/19-45.0-45.0

8/31/19-45.0-90.0

9/1/19-45.0-135.0

***I decided to include the minutes of the workouts from 8/30-9/1 in this first post. Since I can’t really post many pictures of views in a gym, I was thinking of posting a once a week entry to explain what I did for that previous week.

Just The Four Of Us

“A House is never Lonely where a Loving Labrador waits”

“He is your Friend, your Partner, Your Dog. You are his Life, his Love, his Leader. He will be Yours, Faithful and True, to the last Beat of his Heart”

My daughter follows a twitter account by the name of “Thoughts of Dog.” Today she sent me the latest tweet that said the following:

The small neighbor human goes back to school tomorrow. So we spent the whole day together doing our favorite things. I understand education is important but here’s the thing. So am I.

Even though I am am not the “small neighbor human” I am my dog, cat and rabbits owner and I have been on summer break for two months (I am a teacher). My lab and I have gone on many rides, played out in the yard and at times, just sat on the couch pondering our existence. Even though it will be a sad day tomorrow for both of us, I know that when I get home tomorrow, my friend will be waiting for me at the front door, happy that I have returned.

You can’t ask for more than that.