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Life is Good (but too fast)

Monday, June 11, 2007

I had the pleasure of going to a retirement party on Thursday night. It was for four educators had put in their time and survived! For me it was more like an anniversary party. It was almost exactly a year ago that the party was for me and a few of my fellow teachers. It seemed remarkable that a whole year had actually passed by, but at the same time it felt like a lifetime ago that I stood daily in front of large groups of adolescents that really didn't want anything to do with being in school.
I liked my job, but since I retired, I've lost 20 pounds, my blood pressure is way down for the first time in 25 years and I no longer take medication for acid reflux symptoms (also started taking those medications about 25 years ago. What does that say about the stress level of the job?!
It makes me laugh when people ask me what i do with my time. I am busier than I've ever been. The difference is that i usually get to chose what my schedule includes today. Boredom has never been a problem for me.
My biggest goal now is to just stay fit so that I can continue to enjoy my active way of life for many many retired years to come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUNSAHM 6/14/2007 4:09PM

    Wood - I'm sure that your job had more than its fair share of stressful times. I'm not trying to 'suck up', but I ALWAYS thought that you were a great educator. You've impacted so many people in a positive way. I'm not even sure that you truly know.

...anyways... I'm glad your blood pressure is down and that you are having the 'time of your life'. I love having you (and Luv) a part of my life. You are both very inspirational.

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CASSIOEPIA 6/13/2007 8:47AM

    Wood, don't you just love reflecting. Seeing where you were a year ago. You have come a long way in a year, so Congratulations! I love your Independence goal of getting off medication. That will be such a great one to check off!

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KITS4CHANGE 6/12/2007 8:44AM

    Educating the young has got to be one of the hardest job on the planet! I'm glad you survived it! Sounds like you are now enjoying life to the fullest. You are sorely missed on the deck though when you are gone.

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Being invisible

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Recently I responded to a friend's blog in which she stated among other things that she often felt invisible. Recently, I'm afraid that I've shared that feeling a little too often.
In day to day life, it has always amazed me how some people can totally ignore you. How often have I walked down a street and said "hello" to people passing me going the other direction and they totally blow me off like I wasn't even there! How many times have I walked into a room full of people and experienced the "if I look the other way maybe I don't have to acknowledge him" syndrome. How is it that people can be so unfriendly?
Here at Sparks, most of my experiences have been just the opposite, especially with my friends on the Outdoor People team. I can't imagine anybody in that group blowing off anybody else.

However, over the past couple of weeks. I have found myself becoming the invisible man! I've tried out a couple of new teams. One that I just found on my own, but the other I was invited to join by a friend who was already there. In both cases, I had a few, (very few) people welcome me when I introduced myself, but then when I started to post on their threads - I was totally blown off like my post weren't even there to read! What's up with that!

I'm not angry about the incidences, just disappointed! The lesson I've learned from this though is to make sure that I'm always responsive to the new people who try to join in!

Thanks again to all of you out there who treat me as a friend! I deeply appreciate you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNZA 5/19/2007 1:09AM

    Hey Wood! Happened upon this blog and I understand the feeling! I think it happens to all of us at one point or another. I have stopped posting as much for that exact reason! Hopefully it won't discourage you as all that have gotten to know you love you!

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    I joined one team and had the same experience. I promptly left the team and joined Rookie Running Group (and also A Spark in the Dark). I have found both teams to be incredibly supportive. Another team, to which I belong, isn't that active, but I do try to check in every so often on them. The main thing is if you're finding the support somewhere here on SparkPeople. It sounds like you still are finding that.

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JENJEN26 5/10/2007 10:50PM

    Wood I think feeling disappointed is worse than being angry. I think we can all relate to being blown off, I'm not sure why people do it but I'm glad it's not contagious on the deck. It's one of my most favorite places online, I always feel welcome there. Thanks to you and all of our new pals on OP.

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CASSIOEPIA 5/2/2007 5:50PM

    I have had that experience on a few teams as well. If I join up, and get no acknowledgement after a few posts, I leave that team. I hold no ill will of them, and if they have a special bond together, that's fine with me. They should just make the team private if that's what they really want. But maybe the team leader doesn't know how to do that. Whatever the reasons behind any cold shoulders, I just leave it behind. It doesn't much matter, as there are other groups (such as Outdoor People and Rookie Runners) that are very welcoming. I felt at home with my very first post - and that's what's important to me. Thank you Wood for all you do for your team. It is appreciated!

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KITS4CHANGE 5/2/2007 10:12AM

    I think the reason your Outdoor People Team is so special is because of it's team leader! You truly are the best! So thoughtful and caring and you make each one of us feel important to the team. Thank you so much for that! I, too, haven't found another team that even comes close.

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FUNSAHM 5/1/2007 8:47PM

    We deeply appreciate you too!
..I get what you mean though. Some of the forums I try to join, I get the "cold shoulder". It's not a nice feeling, but I know that I do have some solid friends at SP. So, I try to focus/develop those relationships.

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Being me - Part 1

Monday, April 16, 2007

I started a short bio in my journal and decided to post it as a blog, but it's too long for one post. Here's the 1st section.

On Being Me

I’ve always been a philosophical kind of person. Even as a small boy, I would at times go off by myself to think. Frequently, I would venture off to the meadow of my grandfather’s farm which was located just behind our house. There I could find all I needed to stimulate my imagination and feed my curiosities. There was a small stream that fed the remnants of a pond whose earthen damn had been washed away. The little spring was home to salamanders, frogs, snakes and bugs all which held a fascination for me. There was the foundation of an ancient barn that’s walls somehow ceased to exist, but still was home to a horse drawn seeder and hay rake from an earlier times that I knew nothing about but still became part of me. Lumber from the old barn could be fashioned into a clubhouse or a fort or simply a hiding place where I could be alone. The meadow itself was alive with wild flowers, and rabbits and pheasants and just a great place for a little boy to begin to discover his place in a much bigger world.
As I passed into adolescents, I never outgrew this need to think about my place in this world. My introspective journeys at this point were not always pleasant ones and my self image was less than perfect. Much of my going off by myself now was to feel sorry for myself. I had entered a time when I had learned that people who actually care for you can be cruel. I was only in elementary school when I started to let people tear me down. I was overweight and wore “husky” sized clothing, something that my mother seemed to have need to tell everyone. I also had a couple of uncles who seemed not to understand that teasing a young boy about being “chubby” would leave scars that would last a lifetime. After being teased I would often retreat to my meadow or to reading a book (my other retreat). Actually, I would often take my books to the meadow where I could escape to the adventures of Robin Hood, Swiss Family Robinson, Davey Crocket, Daniel Boone, or Robinson Crusoe. What fun it would be to live the adventures in those books. I dreamed of being shipwrecked on a lonely island managing life on my own or of fighting evil knights as a favor to King Arthur. I learned that adventures were found not only around the bend in the road, but also found with the turning of a page.
The transformation from “not so little boy” to teenager was filled with the typical bumps in the road that probably everybody experiences. The lack of confidence in myself, the devastating fight with acne, the scary attraction to girls and the awkwardness that accompanies the attraction and not knowing how to handle it. But also during this time came a realization that adventure was really there to those who sought it. My father was by no means a naturalist. He was an avid fisherman and hunter, but his interest in the outdoors was limited to what he could shoot or catch. It didn’t matter, what was important was that he took me along and gave me entrance to an enchanting world that I still enter at every opportunity – the world of the outdoors beyond the meadow. I loved both hunting and fishing!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RILEIGHBEAR 4/19/2007 11:03PM

    Can't wait for part 2.... :)

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FUNSAHM 4/17/2007 10:22AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I already know you pretty well, but am enjoying the 'other side' of 'Pop'. It's no wonder you understand me so well. Though our experiences are vastly different, the feelings are much alike!

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KITS4CHANGE 4/17/2007 7:58AM

    Have you ever thought of writing a book? Seriously!

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Here today. Gone tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2007

SP has been a wonderfully inspirational place for me. All the pieces of the getting fit puzzle sort of come together here, but there is one thing that sort of bothers me. We tend to make quick friends here. Now that by itself is a very good thing. We meet a lot of people with similar goals and desires and we come up with an instant support group that is custom made for just us! How perfect is that!! Well it's not quite perfect. The part that bothers me is that these new friends disappear just as quickly as they came. Today they're here with all their enthusiasm and friendly words and then suddenly they're never heard from again. What happens that causes this phenomenon?

On the most part, I'm afraid it's just that same old "falling off the wagon" syndrome. Enthusiasm today. Old bad habits tomorrow.
I don't know, but I do know that i enjoy friendships and losing new friends so quickly just doesn't feel right.

For those of you, my friends, that are reading this blog, I'm glad you're here. Let's continue to support each other and enjoy this life.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RILEIGHBEAR 4/19/2007 11:07PM

    Oh, one more thing! I am reading Nietzsche today and ran across this quote: "In the interval between who we are and who we want to be one day must come pain, anxiety, envy, and humiliation. We suffer because we cannot spontaneously master the ingredients of fulfillment." His main point was that we're not going to become who we want to be in one day - it takes work, and above that, it takes perseverance. I know this uplifted me - I hope it does the same for you!

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RILEIGHBEAR 4/19/2007 11:05PM

    I can definitely relate to what you said about "enthusiasm today, same old habits tomorrow." It seems like the harder I try, the more I rever to my old habits - sort of backwards to the way it should go. Anyway! I hope you are finding the encouragement and team support here that you need to get over that. Anytime you want a little pat on the shoulder from someone who has the same problem, just send me a note!

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Falling short

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm always disappointed when I fall short of what I know I'm capable of doing. I don't expect perfection from myself, but I do expect myself to honestly work toward being the best that I can be. Over the past 6 weeks, I've been very happy with that effort overall. 80% or better of the things that went into my mouth were of the healthy choices. Snacks were minimal and alcoholic beverages were usually restricted to a glass of red wine at night.
My exercise program has been diversified and fairly strenuous and includes a fair amount of running. I've been particularly happy with my running times.
Between the healthy eating and the exercise I have gotten into substantially better shape. I'd even started to develop a flat hard stomach. That's something I've been really proud of.
I've stayed intellectually stimulated through my readings and my communications with my friends here at Sparks.
I've fed my spirit through meditation and through my discussions with others at my place of worship.
In general, I was doing all the things i beleve so much in.

So why is it that all of a sudden when I'm doing so well, do I fall off from my winning streak and start going back to my old habits. I've snacked, I've had my mid week drinks and my exercise has not been as regular. I'm already deteriating physically. These bad times make absolutely no sense to me.

Understand that I will get back to the proper routine, but I don't understand what it is in me that let's me disappoint myself this way.

Today it's back to healthy living!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITS4CHANGE 4/10/2007 2:16PM

    Old habits die hard, don't they? I think we've all been there. Last week was an up week for me, this next week may be a downer....who knows. But, we need to just keep plugging along and not give up after a bad week. Heck, some of my bad weeks, I've actually lost weight and then other times when I thought I did great, I either gained or stayed the same. Makes no sense at times. We just can't let the ups and downs get to us. What's great about this site is that we have each other to get us back on track.

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FUNSAHM 4/10/2007 1:06PM

    I'm right there with you, Wood. I've been proud of my accomplishments thus far in our Sparks adventure. Blame it on the holidays, vacation, or simply comfortability....I've failed too over the past week. It's part of being human, I guess. And, as with most journeys, we're sure to stumble a bit. That's why I chose to go for my long walk yesterday and I'm making it a goal to log my food/drinks everyday. I think if I have to hold myself accountable for all that I eat and do, then I'm more likely to be honest and true to myself.
You're doing great! These healthy, life changing ways are just a mountain for us to climb. I'm glad I've got you to do it with!

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