Optimism in the Future

Even though I haven’t heard from many people besides family and a couple close friends,     I remain optimistic overall.  I get much of my optimism from reading science journals and intentionally looking for humanitarian efforts stories online.  Reading these stories from sites like futurism.com, human progress.org, future timeline.net, among many youtube science and tech sites helps to keep me optimistic overall.  I know we have problems.  But I just became sick and tired of always hearing how bad everything was and how it was never going to get better.  I have been hearing about how bad the world was and how bad everyone was since I was old enough to listen in on conversations.

Growing up, I almost never heard my elders or teachers have anything good to say about the future or the world in general.  That bothered me for many years.  I have been hearing dire predictions for years, yet most of them never came to pass or turned out to be manageable.  Several years ago I finally had enough.  So I forced myself to do some research and find out what was actually going right.  I had to do a lot of research over the last several years to see what we were doing, where we were going, and what had already accomplished.  We are doing some really cool things in the realms of science, technology, and humanitarian efforts.  You just won’t hear about them on Facebook or the news.  Granted this is not a license for problem solvers to get complacent or lazy.  Humans have an incredible ability to see into the future and spot potential problems long before they happen.  Not only do we have the ability to see what could happen, we also can plan and change accordingly.  And we change and plan so well sometimes we forget what the original problems were to begin with.

I haven’t spent much time on Facebook or twitter lately.  I still go to Facebook a couple times a day just to see what’s up with friends and family.  But, for me, Facebook is the internet’s version of looking in the refrigerator and hoping there’s still some left over pizza from last night.  Most of the time you’ll get stuck with hot dogs, moldy cheese, and old lunch meat, but sometimes you get lucky. I still drop in on my tech enthusiasts’ groups, but I don’t participate much beyond liking articles that are being shared.  Unfortunately, mental illness and social media don’t mix well.  Not much I can do about it besides staying away when I don’t feel well.

I still stay awake quite late most nights.  It seems to be when I get the most research and writing done.  But at least I’m still getting enough sleep.  I do enjoy the quiet and solitude of the overnight hours.  I may have odd hours and odd practices, but at least I can still function with my mental illness.

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Exercise Pain, Spring’s Renaissance, and Gradual Improvements

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I enjoy the spring season more than any other.  The weather is turning warm, the trees are blooming, the grass is turning lush green, and everything is brimming over with new life and new possibility.  I even enjoy the rain and occasional storms.  Spring is the annual rebirth of nature.

I live in a small town with several parks and lots of hiking trails.  I have visited a few of these parks on almost a daily basis for the last month.  The trees, bushes, flowers, lakes, and wildlife in these parks offer the added benefit of being able to relax and enjoy a little of the natural world while exercising.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve been doing that for longer times on an almost daily basis.  Walked in the light rain and humidity this morning for twenty minutes.  I was unhappy at first that I had to stop after a short time before the aches and pains came on.  What I didn’t take into account was I had been walking forty to sixty minutes four days a week for the last six weeks.  On the other days I was still doing at least twenty to thirty minutes a day.  I track all my exercise and eating on webmd.com in addition to keeping written logs.  When I reviewed these logs, I didn’t realize just how few days off I had.  I think I’ve had only two or three days of no exercise since April 1st.  Last year I made it a point to take at least one day off per week.  My aches and pains are no doubt from pushing myself harder and taking fewer breaks.

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Fortunately my mental health hasn’t suffered.  I probably should go back to the take one day off per week to stay fresh.  When I started exercising and losing weight, I wanted the project to be sustainable weight loss and small changes enacted every so often as my physical well being increased.  I never intended for this to be temporary or drudge work.  Last spring I started tracking everything I ate.  Last summer, I started keeping tabs on how much I exercised.  Other changes I made included decreasing my carbs intake.  I rarely buy or eat bread anymore because I feel sluggish after eating more than a couple slices. I love things like bread, rice with Chinese food, and spaghetti.  So this was a large transition.  It got easier because I felt better mentally and physically on days I kept the carbs low.

A big change I made starting on New Year’s was light weight lifting.  I did this for three times a week for four months.  I gradually increased the weight involved as well as the repetitions.  Gone easy for the last week as I was beginning to over do it.  My muscles let me know I was going too hard.  But it really helped me keep exercising and eating right during the winter.  Some days the weights would be my only exercise.  In spite of the decreased activity of winter, I still lost an average of one pound a week.

Been going pretty hard on the exercise since the first warm up in early March. I haven’t had many days off from exercise. I’m starting to feel it physically.  A couple days off from the grind are in order.  Need to reset and take a little time to reflect on how much has already been accomplished during the previous year.