Happy tabula rasa


Tearing down the tree on NYE

While I think that January 1st is a rather arbitrary date to choose for a new year but so is every date so why not? Considering January 1st is cold and dark in many places of the world, it doesn’t necessarily give people that fresh, new start vibe. My friend Cory claims the new school year is – and always will be – the real marker of the New Year, where for years I felt the winter solstice was a better marker in my own life. The reality is that ANY date you choose to make life changes may as well be the best day for a new year for you. So today? Why not?

This year we marked the last day of the year by cleaning the entire house so that we could spend the next two days basically relaxing and doing some organizational chores. Mr. Tucker and I tore apart our office last week and got rid of a ton of old papers and junk, and now the only thing I need to do is file a few things. Today I even cleaned out the freezers and my first goal for 2017 is to make a plan to consume a lot of this food instead of buying more. I’ve already made a meal plan to tackle that.

So not bad, as far as fresh starts go!

Personally, as much as I don’t want to harp on it, 2016 was an absolutely awful year for me. I know people are hyper-focused on all the celebrity deaths but for me the three surgeries I had completely threw our lives, jobs, and relationships into complete chaos. I wasn’t weight bearing for almost a half year, which put the onus on Mr. Tucker to be the person who took care of almost everything from cooking, cleaning, child care and, of course, taking care of me. Being disabled was also incredibly expensive – and will remain to be – as I have another surgery and a lot of physiotherapy in store in 2017.

Still, Mr. Tucker and I tested the limits of our marriage and I think knowing we got through this past year means we can probably tackle anything. We also had two amazing trips: two weeks in Italy in the spring, and a surprise trip to Disney with the girls in the fall. Even after all of that was said and done, we ended the year completely debt free.

Of course, 2017 is a HUGE year for us financially. Saving almost 70k in a year and a bit is going to be an incredible challenge for Mr. Tucker and I. However, not saving that money would mean we would lose out on two amazing opportunities: buying back my pension & being mortgage-free. A million and one things can happen in a year (as I know) but it’s good to have goals, so as far I am concerned why not make them big goals?

A clean-up work in progress

But wait! There’s more!

In my last post I finished with these words:

“I can’t tell you the amount of times people have said something to me like “I am just not good with money,” or “I can’t budget,” but whether or not you enjoy it is irrelevant: money is a reality of life. We would never accept someone saying “I am just no good at working, so I just don’t do it.”

Smarter members of the reading public may have realized that this applies to more than just finances. As humans, we shy away from pain and are drawn to pleasure but sometimes we lack the ability to see how short-term pleasure can cause long-term pain (this message I try and impart on my kids the most, to deaf ears usually!). One of the things that I, personally, need to work on is getting more exercise. Granted, being non-weight bearing for most of 2016 (and looking to go through it again for a while in 2017) has really shone the spotlight on the lack of exercise I have been getting.

Historically, I have always been fairly active. I have always loved walking everywhere, I was a runner for a few years (before my spinal compression took that away), and I adore swimming. I discovered Dragonboat and completely fell in love with the sport (and the incredible women on my team who amaze me every day). Unfortunately though, when you start to lose your ability to function normally, the natural reaction is to do less, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. So for four years now my physical fitness levels have slowly declined alongside my increasing muscle weakness. That is not good.

So despite the fact I am facing more non-weight-bearing weeks in the coming months, I am determined to do more exercise – even if it’s done lying down. What I really need to do is up my cardio (because my poor heart!) and since I have recently borrowed an old – but serviceable – exercise bike from a neighbour, I plan to push my cardio levels over the next couple of weeks before the next surgery. After, I still have other exercises I have mapped out that don’t require me to put weight on my legs. I have researched a list of some bodyweight exercises I can do at home, which I will combine with a little cardio.

Ready to be taken outside so we can have our living room back

Enter my only real resolution

Time and energy are always challenges, especially for parents who both work full-time (and who try to have lives, ha ha…ha…hah). You get up, get everyone ready for work or school, commute, work, come home, deal with dinner, homework, activities, chores…the list goes on and on. So it’s no wonder that at the end of the day, when the kids are in bed and the work is done, the only thing you can muster is Netflix or some internet usage. Refreshing facebook is my biggest time suck and that is because I have no energy for anything else.

So in 2017 my only true resolution is to get up earlier to put myself first. If I put myself first before the day starts, even if I only get 20 minutes on the bike it’s more than the nothing I am getting now. I am enlisting Mr. Tucker into the early riser army as well (he’s thrilled) and hopefully our mornings will be a lot less chaotic overall.

Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day so my plan is to just start slow and then work my way up to rising a full hour to an hour-and-a-half before I do right now. Hopefully over time I will also add more exercises (on top of my current physio) and my goal is to be healthy enough (and weight bearing enough) to be able to start biking to work this spring.

…wait…that’s it?

Yep. That’s it. Of course, when I put it above, it seems like kind of a froo-froo goal, “get more exercise” could mean anything. But I do have a plan to increase the types of exercise and the length of working out over the next couple of months until I reach a peak were there is no value-added for time spent.

Exercise is an investment much the same as money is, except it’s an investment in your biggest asset: yourself. Having 2016 be the year of medical interventions has pushed this reality to the forefront and so in 2017 I am going to focus on making my body as healthy as I can given my limitations. I hope by the spring I will be given the all-clear from my doctors to ramp it up and do even more.

So there you have it: one simple resolution to create a habit that will increase my health in 2017. It’s SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic & time based) so as I track this goal in 2017 my hope is to be continually encouraged by the small successes I have and build on them to achieve an overall larger goal.

A fresh start to 2017

3 Comments on “Happy tabula rasa

  1. Love reading your blog! I too had to put my ass in gear a couple of years ago when my doctor told me if i didn’t get more fit and active by 40 the health repurcussions can really start. I lost 30 lbs last year but for me it was much more than that.
    You are one determined cookie though i see that house paid off in the next year and you mapping yourself all over the city on that bike.


  2. Yay, biking to work! I hope it all comes to fruition.