Beautiful day – how shall I use it best?

It's off to see the trees, with me...
Off to see the trees, I go…

I have a commitment this afternoon, and I have to leave the house at 1:30. It’s nearly 12 now. I figure I can get a quick hike in, then be back in time to shower and change… and get on with my day.

I got some of my major chores out of the way, early this morning. And I really do need some alone time in the woods. I have other things I need to get done, but I was so product and busy yesterday, I really do need a break – some time off the leash, so to speak.

So, off I go to the woods.

Later today, I’ll get a quick nap in and then do some more chores. It’s all good. And there’s time enough for everything, if I plan it well and follow through as I know I should.

To my 24 new followers – welcome

Welcome, all! I'm glad you're here.
Welcome, all! I’m glad you’re here.

I have been looking at my WordPress stats, following up on who has recently followed this blog.

In the last 2 weeks, 24 of you have joined me on this journey (22 via WordPress, 2 via email), so welcome. I don’t mean to be rude or take you for granted — please know that I appreciate you following, and I hope I bring something positive to your life.

I’m about to go out for my morning walk on an amazingly beautiful day, and before I do, I just want to say:

Whatever brought you to this blog, was probably for a very good reason. People come here all the time, not knowing what they will find, then they discover something that helps them. It’s both by accident, and by design. I don’t have any particular “content strategy” in mind, other than writing about the things that matter to me, as a TBI survivor dealing with an invisible set of difficulties, a regular person trying to build the best life possible, and as a member of the larger community who is sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

There are times when I am annoying, I whine and bitch and complain and am not my best self by any stretch of the imagination. I can be petulant and cranky and self-absorbed, and I can be a real trial at times — especially to myself 😉

Be that as it may, I have an incredible amount of goodness in my life, and I want to share that experience, as well as show others how I’ve gotten there through a combination of hard work and perseverance, and using my noggin to determine if what I’m doing is actually working. The times when I fail are the biggest lessons — and at times the most valuable.

I’m not afraid to fail. I just get a little tired of getting back up all the time.

But then, don’t we all…?

I know I am not alone in my frustrations and challenges. I’m human, and whether you’re dealing with a brain injury, another sort of injury, past trauma, ongoing difficulties in your life, or a hidden condition that others can never suspect is going on, we are all in this together, and we all have so much to share, if we take the time and put forth the effort.

The effort is not easy. But it is worth it. I start most of my days on this blog, because I remember all too well what it’s like to go through life in pain and frustration and despair, and feel so terribly alone. Some days I’d rather be doing something else than typing into a machine, and I can go for days without writing a word. But I know this is important — to me as well as others who find their way here and really value hearing someone else talk about life in ways that they can relate to.

That happens all too seldom. But I hope it won’t happen here.

Joining us today from...
Joining us today from…

So, to all of you — followers, as well as new readers from all over the world — thank you for your support. I’m happy you’re here.




Building up my stamina

I had a heck of a weekend. Lots of activity, and not nearly as much rest as I needed. And this morning, I’m really feeling it. I’m fuzzy and slow and not nearly as sharp as I need to be on Monday morning. I’m fumbling and bumbling and it’s taking me a while to get my act together.

But, I had a great weekend doing things I haven’t done properly in what feels like forever, which is huge progress for me. I also figure I’m in roughly the same shape as someone who partied all weekend… but I’m not hungover, I didn’t kill brain cells (I probably added some, actually) and I was doing things that were really, really good for me, so I can cut myself some slack.

Plus, I have my list of things I need to do today, and I’m clear on what I need to accomplish, and how I’m going to do it, so I’ve got structure in place to let me succeed. And I plan to succeed. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

The main ingredient of my planned success today?

Not taking on too much to do, focusing on what I need to get done, and doing it to the best of my ability.

My plan for how to make it all happen?

If I get stuck (and there’s a good chance I may), pause to take a deep breath, focus on my breathing for a few minutes, calm my system down, and consult my notes to see where I’m at, and what I still need to do.

I am constantly amazed at how large a factor anxiety and agitation is with me, when it comes to getting things done. I get so charged up, so revved, that I become anxious and scattered, and then I cannot follow through on what I’m doing. But when I pay attention to what’s going on with me, and I center in on what I want to go on around me, it gets me back on track and helps me start anew.

Starting anew is a hugely important activity for me. It takes me out of a frame of mind that is STUCK and gets me back in the swing of things. If I think of getting stuck as pulling into the crew pit during a stock car race, I can accept it better, than if I think about it as a sign that I’m failing. I have a pretty powerful engine, and I run high and hot a lot. So, of course I’m going to need to pull over, now and then, to change my tires and fuel up again. I just can’t stay in the crew pit.

Anyway, the weekend was awesome — very social and very active. I caught up with people I haven’t seen in many months, and I discovered a new locale to hike in. I also got to know someone better who is a friend of a friend and has a lot of shared interests and has been looking for a hiking buddy — just as I have. We both have similar styles in the wild — be smart about your choices, dress properly, don’t take chances, but still be open to exploration and don’t shy away from mud and water and the un-beaten path.

I am physically bushed from all the work I did and all the movement.  But it’s a good kind of bushed, and it frees me up to eat well to replenish my energy stores. I messed up and had a bunch of junk food yesterday, but today is a new day, and I know what I need to do, to get myself back on track.

And so I shall. Because this newfound activity of mine — this renewal of my once-active life, the return of my energy, slowly but surely, has been a long time coming. I struggled so terribly with anxiety and agitation for so many years, that I had it in my head that I was consciously choosing to stay away from people and social situations. I was so freaked out by open spaces and unpredictable circumstances, that I designed a life for myself that was indoors, controlled, and quite limited in scope. Of course, I told myself, I was studying and learning and working online, so I didn’t have time to be out and about. But truly, I was excusing myself and my limitations and imagining them to be deliberate choices in favor of something good, rather than handy excuses for not doing something better.

When I look back on so many of my projects of the past years, I see that for the most part, they were designed to alleviate stress and anxiety, and give me a way to channel all my nervous energy into a controlled activity. The goal was not to do something useful and meaningful, but to relieve stress and chill out my tweaked system. Now I see that I can do the same thing, by getting out in the world and hiking up a mountain with a trusted co-traveler. I can do the same thing by working out in the morning. I can do the same thing I once did in sedentary solitude, by doing something social that’s physical as well.

And the great thing about social physical activity is that the more I do it, the more I enjoy it, and the better at it I become. Unlike solitary sedentary life, it builds me up and strengthens my system, and it helps me go even farther, each time. Plus, it helps me sleep like nothing else. I was up twice last night, but I was able to get back to sleep almost immediately, which rarely happens when I’m sedentary.

I’m tired, yes, but I am building up my stamina. One weekend at a time, one experience at a time… It sounds so rudimentary to me, to say it. And I feel like I should already know this. But truthfully, it’s been a long time coming. And I’m just glad it’s here now.

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