Chutzpa! (It’s a Fun Word, and I Used It In a Sentence)

Q:  Oh, my dear, neglected blog, will you ever forgive me for temporarily abandoning you?

A: YES ’cause I don’t really give a shit that you’ve been away, but now that you’re back . . . Hey, girl!  Whatcha been up to?


I have the tendency, as a human being, to be what is best described as . . . overzealous.  I have very little free time as it is, and I choose to fill what free time I do have with . . . what is best described as . . . a lot.  In the past few months, I have gained traction at becoming even further behind with responding to pen pal letters.  In fact, I have not written a response letter since April.  I have zero traveling postcards via Postcrossing.  I have not picked up my knitting needles, flute, or guitar.  I have read less books in 2018 than in past years, and I have been writing only half-hearted (Goodreads) reviews, if I write one at all.  My gym time has dwindled, and I have not written, what I would consider a decent blog entry, in months.  Recently (recently as in just a handful of hours ago), I gave myself permission to give up some control.  Let me explain . . .

I love swap-bot; I run several groups, and I host a lot of swaps within said groups.  In addition to those swaps, I also host public swaps.  Without getting too in depth and too involved in the swap-bot jargon, being a founder and a host takes A LOT of work.  Frankly, if it doesn’t take a lot of your time and energy, then you’re probably not doing it right.  There are exceptions, I’m sure, which is why I have written “‘probably’ not doing it right” (or at the very least, not to the best of your ability).  Swap-bot, because I manage many groups and many swaps, and because I take deadlines very seriously, has been taking up the majority of my limited time.  I love devoting time to putting together quality swaps and creating happy mail, sending RAKs, etc., but the constant hosting and management responsibilities is a prime example of my overzealousness.  Note to self: just enjoy swap-bot, Amy, without taking on additional tasks.

I have missed so much all of the other things that provide me with a well-rounded and happy life.  So, I’ve reached out for assistance with hosting and founding my groups.  That is a big step in beginning to enjoy my multitude of hobbies again, albeit not the first one.  I have also decided that I will maintain X number of pen pal relationships.  I do not need 50+ pen pals to deem this a worthwhile hobby.  In fact, much like my IRL relationships, I much prefer to maintain a few very close and meaningful connections over double-digit acquaintances.  I will continue to send postcards via Postcrossing, but it is OKay to have a handful traveling at a time; I do not need to sit and send 25+ in one sitting.  I will continue to organize my favorite postcards into category specific albums, but I no longer feel the need to scan them into Flikr as well.  Overall, I am working on reigning in my overeagerness and proneness to do ev-er-y-thing full boar; moderation is key, even in regards to the undertakings I love and enjoy.

The first step I took to ensure a newfound commitment to creativity and creating . . . I cleaned my “home office” and my craft room.  My, what I also refer to as workspaces, were beyond cluttered.  I found it nearly impossible to focus on anything, let alone follow through with a hobby task (writing, knitting, reading, painting, whatever it may be), with supplies scattered on the floors, piles of stuff scattered about, half started projects stacked upon one another and set aside, etc.  So, during my much needed staycation last week, I got my spaces squared away.  Gone is the anxiety I previously felt when I would tackle these particular cleaning and organizational tasks, attempting to get the job(s) done, all at once.  Now, when I open the door to either of the me time rooms, I feel exhilarated to be in there, ready to sit at my desk to write a letter or a postcard, able to find the extras I want to include in an outgoing swap, and capable of focusing on whatever venture my heart desires.  Speaking of (errr, writing about) other ventures and my heart’s desire . . .

With the (work) gym closed, my training and efforts to workout have taken a downturn.  I am fortunate in that I have a well equipped gym in my attached garage / basement, but I certainly need to work on the discipline aspect of using it.  I have grown so accustomed to busting out an amazing workout before noon, which is ideal for me because the workout is done for the day, and I can devote my post work hours to the other adulting that must be done.  However, there was once a time when I only used my home gym; I was once willing to put myself first, before all else, and I need to tap into that energy again, guilt free.  Although I have not been logging the gym hours that I normally do as of late, snow shoveling and construction on my rental unit have at least kept my stamina on point.

As of yesterday, I am officially registered for 2019’s Maine (half) marathon.  I have also decided that when the application becomes available, I will be applying to be a 2019 race ambassador.  (Here we go with the overzealousness again!).  However, I made my decision to (definitely) apply for the ambassadorship in October, exactly a month from today, actually.  On October 28th, I ran in the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5-Miler in New York City!  Since I was sporting my 2018 Maine Marathon shirt, multiple people approached me and asked about the Maine Marathon.  I was considering applying for an ambassadorship before this date, mainly because I envision myself as a valuable resource in that I can put others at ease.  In anticipation of my first half marathon, I was terrified and nervous and jittery on top of excited and proud.  I’m a classic, “If I can do it, you can too!” example, and I sense that I have the ability to motivate, encourage, and calm others who may be skeptical or hard on themselves.

BUT . . . more about New York City!  For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@idiosyncratic_unicorn), you have likely already seen my gushing post, brimming with pride in myself, as well as excitement at meeting Peter Ciaccia.  Briefly, I was so so so SO very proud of myself for doing this run.  Much like my IG post reads, my delight was mainly because I ran in an out-of-state event.   When I first started entering 5Ks, I never anticipated that I would have the chutzpa to do one alone, let alone in another state.  I also never imagined that I would increase my distance from the 5K, but oh, how I have evolved as a runner!  Running has been so positive for me, not only in regards to my health and physical appearance, but in my overall confidence (not related to body image but related to my shyness).

I have gone from whether or not a friend is running with me as a determining factor for race entry, to participating in whatever the heck race I want to.  When you are as shy, introverted, and introspective as I am, it is daunting to go it alone.  I was also pleased beyond measure because I ran this particular 5-miler in under an hour, walking only to drink water (I’m not coordinated enough to run and drink without choking), and I stopped briefly for a photo with Peter Ciaccia.  Approaching (and taking a picture with) someone I have never met before – also giant strides that required a lot of prowess on my behalf.  SO, it is these experiences that solidified my decision at becoming (or trying to become) a Maine Marathon ambassador.  I think this program will not only benefit me but benefit from me.  For those of you who do not follow my IG, I’ve thrown in some pictures from the NYC Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff at the end.

Suffice it to say, I do suppose that I am on the correct path to eliminating undue stress and anxiety in my daily routine, all the while rediscovering time management and diversity in my efforts.

Cicciarun2run

 

 

 

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I LOVE ME: Mission #1

Full disclosure: I stole the title.  The I LOVE ME: Mission #1 is a swap that I am currently participating in via swap-bot.  It’s a lovely idea, but it also saddened me that it was so difficult to complete once I sat down to do so.  The gist of the swap is to write a notecard length letter to one partner with a list of five things that I like about myself.  I have yet to write my notecard out, but I brought the supplies to work with me so I can complete it during a break.  The ideas floating around in my head for my five likes:

  • My drive, particularly regarding my goals and aspirations
    • No matter how extensive or how minor my goal may be, I give 100%.  That’s not to say it doesn’t take me a long time to achieve my goals, but I don’t have an ounce of quit in me, despite obstacles along the journey, once I set my sights on something.
  • My unruly, curly hair
    • If I get caught in a rainstorm or windstorm, no one is able to tell that I’m having a bad hair day due to my hair’s natural unruliness.  In fact, my hair is a barometer; I know what the weather is doing even when I can’t see outside, especially when it’s humid!
  • My laugh
    • From what I can tell, my laugh is infectious.  I’ve been known to make others laugh just because I am laughing so hard.
  • I’m fastidious about leg shaving
    • Enough said
  • My eyes
    • They’re big and probably the best example of loving myself despite others’ negativity.  I remember, in middle school, being called “bug eyes” incessantly.  Joke’s on you, you cruel children, ’cause when I traveled to NYC, people were stopping me in the streets complimenting my eyes.

I wonder if the 11 other people who joined this swap also struggled to compose their lists.  If the swap required a list of don’t likes, I’d probably be 100 in by now, and I don’t think that is unique to just me . . .

 

New May, New Me

Well, it is the 1st of May: a new day, a new month, and new goals!

From one of my forum interactions, in one of my many swap-bot groups, Healthy Journaling . . .

“I am thrilled! I have finally started a journal. Well, by started … I mean that last night I took the time to choose one, put some washi along the edge of page #1 with a matching / complementing sticker (pink flamingos for those who dig details ;D), and I brain stormed what/how I am going to journal.

I decided that to journal should make me happy, which is why I plan to decorate and embellish each page. I decided I don’t want to sit and write, write, write, but I want it to be useful in tracking…

SO, I have decided…

-make a daily goal for myself,

-throw in a motivating quote – I have several applicable Project Life cards I can paste in for that,

-write down my activity (total miles, work outs I have done, etc.), and

-notate cals in vs. cals out (I won’t include the itemized tracking in my journal because I track everything I eat and drink meticulously in my Fitbit).

I may or may not include a short reflection to include how I feel about meeting my daily goal or how I can achieve it if I did not, etc.

The biggest obstacle for me, in regards to journaling, is that I get anxiety when it’s not perfect. If I see my penmanship as sloppy, if the washi tore and isn’t perfectly aligned, etc. It’s something I have always faced – I could get SO many more letters written and be journaling consistently if I could just learn to embrace the imperfections.

Anyways, feeling good about day #1 / page #1!! :)”

I am signed up for / involved in a lot of exercise themed and goal oriented swap-bot swaps this month.  With my first 5K being June 3rd, I am so excited to recommit myself to running and working out.  Though I am signed up for several events, there is something motivating about when that first event becomes impending rather than in the queue for a much later date!  To help me prepare, I have joined the Move It #2! 45 Miles in May swap, AND I am doing the Pacific Coast Highway virtual 5K, which is 113.2 total miles.

So, May is off to a good great start, and it is only 1100 hours!

-First, I have my new journal accompanied by a concrete plan regarding how I will utilize it and a format which will allow me to keep  it consistent and as aesthetically pleasing as it is useful.

-Though it was raining this morning, I still went for a morning walk with a colleague!

-Thus far, I am sticking to my daily goal.

I only have 13 pounds until I reach my goal weight, and I feel that it’s feasible to achieve that goal by Tough Mountain, especially if I can stay on target for a 2lb loss per week.  Tough Mountain is July 29th.  That’s nearly 3 months!  I can do this, and I am more driven than ever to do so.  I have finally turned the corner where I start to support the idea that it is OKay to put myself first by having actions that are aligned with the attitude.

It no longer matters how or why I fell off the wagon, nor does it matter how long it has taken me to get back on it.  I have given myself permission to stop dwelling on my perceived failures.  What IS important is …

I have that fire in my belly again.

 

 

Bot O’ Swap

Probably the most difficult aspect of maintaining my health and fitness blog is that I am attempting to keep it health and fitness oriented.  I am multi-faceted, as are most . . . OKay, ALL individuals.  I do not think it is feasible for me to not include other aspects of my life within my blog.  I think health and fitness are influenced largely in part by the well-being of our mind and spirit, not only a healthy BMI.  I have so many hobbies, and one of my greatest passions is snail mail.  I am a pen pal extraordinaire, a snail mail connoisseur!  I have intermingled my love for tangible mail with my love for a healthier lifestyle.  How?  With a swap-bot group named Health & Fitness Foray.  Note: Anyone who is currently using swap-bot is more than welcome (and encouraged!) to join either my HFF group AND / OR my other, quirkier group, Idiosyncratic Unicorns.

About Health & Fitness Foray 

“I have recently made several lifestyle changes in order to pursue a healthier, fitter life. Despite every calorie I have counted and every step I have taken, I have found that the most motivating aspect of health and fitness has been the support system(s).

Join this group to meet and swap with others who have similar lifestyle change goals. Goals can range from drinking more water to eating less carbs, from losing weight to taking more steps, from starting to exercise to joining a 5K. Etc., etc., etc. 🙂 This group is not only devoted to health of the body but also to the health of mind and spirit.

By definition, a foray is, “a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something.” Our goals do not necessarily need to be our enemy, but we can conquer them nonetheless!

Disclaimer: This is a group with the overall intent of being supportive, motivational, and influential. Kindness is imperative here. Anyone who is negative or degrading will be removed; bullying will not be tolerated.

I will accept all individuals, with a 4.95+ rating, who request to join the group. I do not want to exclude anybody who has a goal, but the group must be able to depend on each of its members to follow through with swaps. Therefore, a rating lower than 4.95 will not be accepted. However, consider requesting membership once you’ve improved your rating.

I am accepting of newbies as we ALL started somewhere, amiright!? However, any member who does not have any rating(s), within 3 months of joining the group, will be removed. In three months’ time, there is ample opportunity to gain ratings. 🙂 If you wish to earn some ratings ASAP, join the group’s swaps or PM me for a private swap.

I will be monitoring members’ ratings. Any members whose ratings begin to drop will be evaluated. I don’t expect every member to have a perfect score, but if there begins a pattern of flaking or complaints from partners, membership may need to be reconsidered. Note: I am well aware that life, forgetfulness, chaos, stress, postal error, etc. happen so no one will ever get the boot from the group for a mistake, especially when it’s obvious the situation is being rectified. If your account becomes suspended, partially suspended, or you have not logged in for a month or more (with no communication), you will be removed. However, once your account status is rectified, you are encouraged to re-join the group.

There will be type 1, 2, and on occasion, type 3 swaps hosted at HFF. If you have swap ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to host! I love to have an active group!

Let’s reach those goals, ladies and gents!

Because I want this group to be as active as possible, ALL members will upgraded to officer status. Officer status allows you to invite fellow friends/swap botters AND host swaps. You are encouraged to do both as much as your heart desires!”

Current HFF Swaps

Kick The Bucket

“Kick The Bucket . . . but not really! Here’s the thing . . . we ALL have something we put on the back burner. We all have a “bucket list” of sorts or just a bunch of “stuff” we want to do, but somehow, we never quite get around to it.

For this swap, pick something from your bucket list, and do it. At the very least, start it. (Some tasks are far more time consuming than others).

Send your assigned partner a two page letter (letter set), one page if you write on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, outlining what you chose to do, how you feel now that you can cross something off your list, and maybe throw in a few other things you have on your bucket list 🙂 If you don’t have a bucket list, feel free to come up with something you’d like to do, just for the sake of the swap. What you choose to do can be WHATEVER you like; it is not required to be health / fitness related.

Who can join: ALL members with no recent 1s or 3s (current / previous month). Swap is open internationally.”

Profile Deco_April

“We have done this one before, and I think it’s time to do it again, perhaps on a monthly basis! Let’s decorate our partner’s profile with something motivating / encouraging. This can be a quote, a meme, a photo.

ALL members are encouraged to join. This is an electronic swap, but the same expectations of tangible swaps apply – decorate your partner’s profile by the deadline AND recipients are expected to rate in a timely and appropriate time frame.

Please decorate your partner’s profile with a MINIMUM of 2 of the aforementioned.

Anyone who needs help / instruction on how to post images to a profile, I will gladly assist you and offer up my profile for practice – just PM me.”

Give Up

“For this swap, send your 1 partner a PC outlining at least 1 thing you are giving up,or at least TRYING to give up, for the month. The thing you are giving up should be something that will benefit you in regards to your health / fitness. A short explanation as to your choice is also required. If you are not trying to give anything up but trying to ADD something to your life / lifestyle, that is applicable also! Don’t forget to explain why 🙂

PC is sender’s choice, all members of HFF are welcome to join. PC can be sent naked or in an envie. 🙂

I can angel, but I don’t expect I will need to.”

Bullet Journal Fun Swap

“For our first HFF:Bullet Journal Fun Swap we will exchange a letter telling our partner what drew you to bullet journaling and one flat bullet journal surprise!

The letter can be typed or handwritten. You can write it on pretty paper or a card or plain paper. Be as creative as you want. Just be sure to tell your partner why you started bullet journaling. For the flat surprise it could be anything you can use in a bullet journal. Stickers, washi tape, tags, etc.

I will angle if necessary!! And don’t forget to put the swap name and your user ID.

Have fun and happy swapping!!”

Move It #1

“This is the first in a series I hope to host monthly, with the mileage increasing (at least over the summer months!).

For the month of April, move an intentional mile every day. Take a walk. Go for a quick run or light jog. Bike. Swim! Row! Elliptical. Change it up. Maybe you can’t get out every day–just make an effort to reach 30 miles by the end of the month.

Track your progress each day (or each mile, if you prefer).

Around the middle of the month (April 13-17th), send a Swap-Bot message to your partner letting them know how far you’ve come. This is meant to provide mid-month accountability and allow you to course correct as needed. This is part of the swap requirements.

At the end of the month, send your partner your tracking log and at least a few sentences about the swap experience. Also include a flat surprise such as a postcard, notecard, stickers, tea, etc. Check your partner’s profile for ideas and avoid allergies, but this is sender’s choice.

In sum:
1). Move a mile every day (average)
2). Track your progress
3). Send a mid-month check-in of your mileage to your partner via SB message
4). Mail your log, reflections, and flat surprise at the end of the month

Hope we all enjoy this and come back next month! Let me know if you have any questions.

Looking Ahead
In May, we’ll attempt 45 miles.”

Needless to say, I intend to update my blog with HFF’s swaps each month.  Why not spread the word?  After all, these swaps are assisting me along my path to achieving my goals!