List-basing the next 8 months

A few minutes are all that is left of August. Then we’ll pivot into September and for me it’s the beginning of the meh months, which span about 8 months.

But there are three more weeks of summer and that’s what makes September the easiest of the meh months \o/

In order to look forward to them, I am thinking of approaching them with lists of things I want to do.

One of the lists I need to make first is that of the things or activities that bring me joy and satisfaction. Because these don’t make themselves obvious at the times I need them the most!

Another is about the things I will need to do (outside of work, that is, where I am all set with TODOs, reminders, actions, issues, one-on-ones, weekly meetings, fortnightly ones, etc.)

I feel I might need a third list, but I don’t know yet if it’s right, or if it is a subset from list number two. But it’s an important piece and perhaps that’s what warrants a specific list: one area I read want to dig in is keeping imposter’s syndrome at bay and learning to enjoy where I’m at. Here’s what I mean:

1) one has skills without necessarily realising it, and 2) one may not know how to enjoy the place they’re at when they are right where they’ve worked hard to be.

Screenshot of the fitness app showing the illustration for a new move goal

How do you get to name those skills as personal assets? How do you bask in their glory (without becoming a pompous infatuated egomaniac)? And what list to you build for this journey?

Red moon rising

Today marks the 133rd consecutive day I’ve been exercising \o/

Every night I do 2 to 3 activities, usually running, walking, and core training or yoga.

I ran exactly 90 times. At the moment I spend an average of 1h45 per week exercising, and run 14 kilometers per week on average.

Tonight I ran 7K (my longest run) at 7:03 minutes / km.

And on the walk back, I saw the red moon rising and was spellbound:

The moon, which was full three days ago, rose on the horizon on the Mediterranean shortly before midnight and it was a sight to behold! Bright red with a halo, and casting a fiery light on the water.

2020: midlife

I am going to turn 45 this year and I think I might be at midlife. More and more I feel it.

memoji-skeptical

I can’t say it’s because of the salt and pepper in my hair because that crept up on me several years ago. It isn’t either the wrinkles on my forehead and round my eyes – those came as I was raising my toddler. No, I am referring to physical signs that started last year :

  • Vision (1): my left eye now scores 10/10 while the right one remains at 12/10.
  • Vision (2): I used to see clearly real close (15 cm) but I now see clearly a little less close (20 cm). I continue to see clear real far.
  • Knee: my right knee aches now and then.
  • Right leg: I now can barely sit cross-legged and can most definitely no longer sit in the lotus position.
  • Periods: I’ve had only 4 inconsistent periods last year and none this year so far. I experience the unpleasant hot flashes almost every evening and at night.
  • Weight gain: unfortunately, another aspect of menopausal transition was weight gain. Far from being chubby, I rapidly gained enough weight (8 kilos or 16 pounds) that I had to put away a few of my favourite pants and skirts that were a strict size 36 (FR) or 4 (US), that the inside of my thighs now nearly touch each other, and that I have “love handles” (and no one to handle them but this is all right.)

There were also some hard realizations: people no longer call me miss, I have celebrated 21 years with my current employer, I can no longer learn as well and as fast as before.

What am I doing about it?

It took me a while to put two and two together, for starters, and to work on a plan.

I have a minimal plan of action to close all of my activity rings as much as possible. My smart watch sees that I do, although I’ve had it seven months so you could say it took me a while to make a plan. Better late than never!

screenshot of the apple watch showing the three activity rings closed

New Coralie exercises and tonight was the fourth day I jogged. I go with my dog who runs about four times more (and most times ends up splashing in the river along which we run). I run and walk for 20 or 30 minutes. Every evening so far I have run more than the previous day. This is encouraging! I’m keen on making steady progress.

That is all.

October 2020 update

I took this exercising plan very seriously and now it’s part of my daily routine \o/

How did it work?

  • I became addicted rather quickly, thankfully, because otherwise this would not have been a thing at all!
  • The other thing that helped was that I was also very curious and enthusiastic about my rapid and steady progress, therefore I was motivated.
  • And lastly, I set myself up for success: only non-ambitious goals, realistic expectations, and achievable plans. In practice for me it meant it had to be easy enough to do that I would not give up. For example, taking the dog out for a walk or run was good for me too. Or walking to the beach to eat a picnic. Or doing yoga or core training in the comfort of my living room, following a YouTube video series (yoga with Adriene, in my case).

It took me 6 months to lose that extra weight (it was in the vicinity of 10 kilos —20 pounds). some time in September I was able to put my favourite trousers again \o/

But there were other benefits that I discovered early on: more strength in the core, legs and arms, more mobility. Two concrete examples:

  1. When I started running I needed knee braces, especially for the right knee. That knee had been giving me grief for a few years and I didn’t think it could be fixed, but gaining strength did! After less than a month, I could feel the braces were no more useful. Since then, I no longer have knee pains, ever.
  2. My right hip gained mobility after a few months and I was able again to sit in cross-legged position without needing to lift up my leg to ease the pain. I now no longer have hip pain.

Stats

March:
Workouts: 30
Time: 15:06 (average: 00:30)
Kcal: 4579 (average: 152)
Runs: 19
Walk: 10
Fitness: 1

April:
Workouts: 63
Time: 26h59 (average: 00:25)
Kcal: 7622 (average: 120)
Runs: 26
Walk: 18
Fitness: 18

May:
Workouts: 79
Time: 45h21 (average: 00:34)
Kcal: 11797 (average: 149)
Runs: 23
Walk: 31
Fitness: 25

June:
Workouts: 54
Time: 35h15 (average: 00:39)
Kcal: 9200 (average: 170)
Runs: 16
Walk: 14
Fitness: 24

July:
Workouts: 67
Time: 45h12 (average: 00:40)
Kcal: 12451 (average: 185)
Runs: 18
Walk: 14
Fitness: 35

August:
Workouts: 46
Time: 23h02 (average: 00:30)
Kcal: 4764 (average: 103)
Runs: 4
Walk: 7
Fitness: 35

September:
Workouts: 60
Time: 35h14 (average: 00:35)
Kcal: 7312 (average: 121)
Runs: 4
Walk: 13
Fitness: 43

The physical experience of anxiety

I mainly physically experience anxiety in two ways, best described by the following two-word hashtags: #wringlung and #mochibruise.

I believe I get #wringlung when I’m lying down and #mochibruise in any other position.

#wringlung

wring transitive verb To twist, squeeze, or compress, especially so as to extract liquid. Often used with out. + lung noun Either of two respiratory organs in air-breathing vertebrates, occupying the chest cavity to provide oxygen to the blood while removing carbon dioxide. = #wringlung

That’s the closest description I could muster for the sensation of the air being swiftly squeezed out of my lungs.

#mochibruise

mochi noun A (delicious) Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice. + bruise noun An injury to the flesh with a blunt or heavy instrument, or by collision with some other body; a contusion. = #mochibruise

The sensation, which happens in my stomach, is that of a soft and light mochi dropped on a bruise that suddenly aches.

How do you physically experience anxiety?


And to make things worse, my friend Guillaume recently reminded me of the photograph series he took of me thirteen years ago, where I was happier, fitter and worry-free.

woman in a white bathing suit sitting on the grass in the sun, face hidden by her hair blown by the wind
Coralie Mercier, June 2006, photo by Guillaume Laurent