Friday, January 30, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) It's Friday! I'm excited for Friday, just because. I hopefully should be out on a great hike with friends this weekend (though weather might make the plans change; this is life.) I think I'm also more excited because I feel a little less overwhelmed with life. There's a lot going on, but I'm chugging through, you know?

2) One of the things that I think is helping with feeling less overwhelmed is the whole budgeting thing. I've been at it one week and one day, and it's not like there have been any magic new savings in that time. In fact, I actually had to spend a lot more money than I expected to this week. But it was okay, because I knew exactly what I had, I knew where it was coming from, and I felt like I had control of things. It was a decision that I made weighing all of the reasons for it, I had the money for it, and it was worth it. I kind of like love the feeling of being in control of my money rather than wondering if I'm doing the right thing or if I'm going to put myself in a world of hurt.

3) I should really be in bed by now, but I'm not. If it was just the blog keeping me up, I'd like to think that I would have canned it by now. Instead, I was working on the never ending paperwork that is part of my job. It's done now, and I can not think about it for 2 whole days. I'm finally learning to suck it up and do it the night of. Since I'm a morning person, sometimes I wait to finish the morning after, but then it sucks some of the joy out of a day off. This way, I don't have to do any of it until Monday. It's a great feeling! You know what that means? Maybe I can start on taxes this weekend. Joy!

4) Okay, my paperwork's done, so now I'm getting tired, so I'm just going to skip this one.

5) And maybe this one, because I'm a big huge cheater.

6) I heard an interesting assignment the other day, where people were given an essay where the topic was "If you could talk to a million people what would you tell them?" I think it's a fascinating question, and I want to know what your answer would be.

7) A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to be out for a pretty fantastic sunrise.

Sky's on fire!
Head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Adventures in Budgeting

Okay, maybe not adventures. I'm kind of bummed about the whole deal right now. See, I've been thinking for quite some time that I needed to get a better handle on my budget. I'm certainly not in debt like some people, but it seems like I do a lot of taking two steps forward and then one or two (sometimes three) back. I don't feel particularly ready to make big budget cuts yet, but it is an area where I would like to figure out how to move forward instead of bouncing around so much. Moving forward requires taking a step in the right direction... My first step is to track my money. Figure out what I have and where it needs to go.

I have tried this before, with mixed results. When I do it somewhat well (if inefficiently), I like knowing how much money I have when the bills come in and I don't have to try to do the math in my head to remember if there is still money that is on it's way out that I forgot about. However, I tend to only get so far before I start to forget to add things, or I start to ignore it because there's something that I want, whether the budget says so or not.

I have enjoyed some of Amanda and Jonathan's posts on budgeting, like this one. I will admit, it's one of those things that makes me look at people that are younger than me that are much, much closer to where I'd like to be than where I am, and makes me wonder what I've been doing all this time! However, although it wasn't listed, I'm pretty sure never getting started will derail the budget pretty quick, too. Plus, they made some very drastic choices that I admire, but (as I said) I don't yet feel prepared to make. However, even if I can't go back and make better choices, and even if I'm not ready to radically alter things, I can do better than I'm doing now. You have to start somewhere!

My absolute favorite part of their post is that they linked the YNAB (You Need a Budget) software. I wasn't getting anywhere with my inefficient tracking (I tried both paper and pencil and tracking on the computer... Too much for me to keep track of!) I decided to give the free trial a shot. I love the way this is set up and the way that they recommend budgeting. It's perfect for me. It has you take a look at the money you have, and assign that money to the categories that will require payment before the next time you get paid. None of this figuring out what your needs might be and what your income might be (mine fluctuates).  I'm a visual person, and after I filled out where I was, and was able to add categories for most of my goals (even though I couldn't put money in many of them), I could see how I was doing. I'm better in some areas than I thought and worse in others.

My former attempts at tracking things have not been in vain. It helped me see how much it could help when done right. It helped me see what I felt that I needed in order to track things more efficiently. It also helped me see that YNAB is a fantastic fit for me. I love the idea of the envelope system, but that is never going to happen for me. I'm just not going to be consistent with the cash thing. This lets me do the same idea, but digitally, so it's something I'm likely keep up with. I think I'll buy the software, but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks. First, I want to make sure that I continue to like it as much as I do after the initial set up. Second, it's not in the budget this paycheck!

What I'm bummed about is that I do not get to go cross country skiing tomorrow. It's a beautiful day, the mountains are beautiful, and I just want to get out and enjoy them. The part about budgeting that makes us all cringe is the part where you don't always get to do what you want. In the end, though, budgeting is not about denying yourself (though it can happen in the short term), it's about getting what you want. Having more stability and awareness of my money is really important and occasionally having to say no will be worth it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In the Beginning, It Was Not So

Friends, in the last couple of weeks, I have been doing very little besides nerding out over biomechanics and the way that we were made to move. It's fascinating. Not to mention, I'm finding myself starting to move better than I ever have. Besides improved patellar and toe alignment, I have less neck pain and tightness, and even my massage therapist commented on how much less tightness I have in my neck and quads. PLUS, I have always been the biggest klutz on slippery conditions, but I'm finding myself a lot more comfortable even there. I was not expecting that kind of a change!

Here's the thing about biomechanics. Everything is interrelated. How we move at the ankle affects the knee and the hip, then the pelvis and the spine. How we sit affects the pelvis, then the spine above and our legs below. How well our spine moves affects how well our arms move. Beginning to correct things in this chain brings about changes you would not expect. One of the books that I've been reading is Move Your DNA. I absolutely love the point that it makes that what we perceive as normal (because everyone around us moves the same way) is not actually optimal. It's not how we were made to move, and it's not the best we can do. We can do better.

I don't know if I can fully explain this on a biomechanical level, but it is a cascade of effects. It reminds me a lot of this incredible cascade as you see in this video.

It also makes me think of Theology of the Body, which is another thing that I am attempting to read (I'm one talk in, go me!) Fully understanding the dignity of the human person is not easy, but it is so important. I can't help but think that some of this horrible violence is because people do not understand their own dignity and worth, much less someone else's. Certainly, there is a chaos that is happening with regard to what we consider "okay" in terms of relationships and having children. We are not even certain what all effects these are having on people in day to day life. Obviously, Humanae Vitae predicts some of them, but I think that they are extremely widespread. The thing is, we were not made to be this way, and we can do better.

In all of these things, adaptations have happened. We are so used to some of the effects that we assume such things are normal. But in the beginning, it was not so. We were not made to move poorly and gradually gain more aches and pains throughout our lives. We were not made to be constantly hurting over broken families and relationships. This is not how it's meant to be. It's not "just how it is" We were made for something better, and we can have something better, but we have to overcome the adaptations that were made along the way. It's a step by step process, but it can be done, and it can lead to a greater freedom than we ever thought was possible.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Welcome, 2015!

I'm ready, I think, for the new year. More important than that, I'm ready for the new day. It's easy to think that this year will be different; maybe this will be the one where something will happen that will  make it all better. This will be the year that I conquer this habit or reach that goal. Then Monday comes, and it's the same grind, same routine, same things pushing our buttons, same anxieties, insecurities, over and over again.

This last year certainly had some hard moments for me. There were times of facing the death of people that shouldn't have had to die, but there was also that reminder that while death makes me very sad, it is not the end. This life is not all there is. There is one that conquered death, and that is a good thing.

I have been facing some insecurities at work. Some are always there and are currently just accentuated. The most frustrating thing about it when this happens is that I always think, "Not only does this stink, but I didn't even want to be doing this with my life right now. I wanted to be doing very part time work while I took care of my family, so I wouldn't really care much if the work load was light." The good news about things being a little too light is that I have time to do something a little different and actually do some continued study. Like I said in my last post, it's been amazing what it's done. I still don't believe the changes that I am seeing in my own body. It's not just in my head, either. I got a massage on Thursday from a massage therapist that I have seen off and on for a couple of years. She knows the state my neck is normally in, and neither of us could believe how loose it was last week. She also noticed that my quads and knees were much less "gunky" (that's the technical term) than they typically are.

There have been some moments (thankfully very brief!) of depression, but there have also been some great things to overcome and some wonderful reminders of what amazing people that I have in my life.

I guess what I'm saying is, 2014 in all it's various mixes of stuff was, in the end, a gift. 2015 is a gift. I don't know what it will bring, and I'm sure that I will complain in the midst of it, but it's a gift. Today is a gift. So is tomorrow. I don't know what will happen this year, but that's really part of the fun! I don't really have a goal for the year, but I have a goal for tomorrow: to keep moving forward. To keep pressing into what's uncomfortable. To focus on what I can do on this day. Specifically, that means that I'm going to the gym tomorrow, even though I'm feeling a bit of burn out (don't worry, I'm going to take an extra day off this week to fight the burn out, but I also don't want to give into it completely. It's a balance thing.) I'm going to at least make some sort of a record of budget. I'm going to get groceries (finally) and cook again, even though it seems to be one of the most pointless things that I do. I'm going to keep studying and keep trying to get better at my job, and keep trying to translate that into something that my patients will want to do. I'm going to keep trying tomorrow. Then on Tuesday, the specifics might look a little different, but the gist will be the same. That's why I can write a New Year's post almost 2 weeks in. It's not about the date, it's about today.

Welcome, 2015. Let's do this.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I'm a Biomechanics Nerd and Not Afraid to Admit It

Ah, man. 2015 gets real tomorrow. The normal routine starts. The normal schedule. The always going, rarely stopped. In some ways, I can't wait. I feel more ready for it than I have in a while. In other ways, I prefer to keep sitting on my couch in my fuzzy socks because A) fuzzy socks are fantastic, and B) who wants to be out in the public sharing all the germs with people who are not staying home when they're sick? Also, I've been really enjoying the watching movies, TV (Friends is on ne.tflix now), and generally relaxing.

One of the things that I have been doing with all of this time off is actually studying. I know, right? And I've enjoyed it. What can I say? I'm a nerd and I get to choose to study interesting stuff AND I don't have to take any tests on it. So, yeah. I'm loving it. I am completely geeking out over some biomechanics books. Y'all, I work with people day in and day out, and some of the things that I have seen over and over through the years have me asking all kinds of questions. These books are not only giving me some answers, but some solutions. I'm working on doing these things myself, and not only is my neck pain getting harder to aggravate, but my other nagging pains seem to be decreasing as well. I also notice that my toes are getting straighter (I was showing some ever so slight signs of bunions forming), my knee caps are not quite as far off track as they were, and in figuring out some issues with my spinal posture, not only does that feel better, but it's actually making my clothes fit a little differently (in a good way)!

It's amazing what we do to our bodies with our chronic postures. We think that neck and upper shoulder tension is just normal, and that's the way it is. We think that arthritis is just normal wear and tear and it happens. C'est la vie. We think that as we age, it's just harder to get up and down from the floor because we're "too old for that". We think that all the little nagging aches and pains that start to sneak up on us are "part of getting older". 

I don't think that's true at all. Don't settle! Aging doesn't hurt! There are other ways out there. Sure, they require a little more work now. Some of them seem absolutely insane to our Western, industrialized brains. But as I find myself moving better than I ever have, some of my nagging little injuries are decreasing, and even my bony alignment improving, I'm going to go ahead and say that it's worth the work! Our bodies are amazing, and I love discovering more and more about what my body can do as I start to take away some of the layers of stress that I have placed on it.