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The 27 day Winning-at-life Challenge

You are what you do everyday.

By that definition, I’m a recovering caffeine addict with sucrose issues who sees the inside of a gymnasium once every quarter. I also have a wakeup routine that involves a daily head-rush because the jump out of bed looks more like dash out the door to meet the way-beyond-grace-period start time. Also, off late, looking down or sideways in the mirror has meant holding my breath to keep the food baby out of sight and out of mind. And the same book has been spending too much time in my bag.

Honestly, I’ve had enough (or maybe it’s one of those weekend-is-approaching-so-let’s-make-promises-to-turn-my-life-around type of things that won’t last). It does feel different this time though. For one, I am going to blog shame myself (even if there’s two people with 1.7 second attention spans reading). Second, there’s a trial period of 27 days (countdown to the start of a trip sounds about right). Third, I started today, a Thursday, which seems to be a good day for being born, starting to date, getting married, going into labour and other life changing things. Fourth, as someone who turned vegetarian one midnight and stayed that way for seven years (until the calf I was carrying made me crave flesh again), I have prior experience in sticking to will-powered plans.

Why all this need to shake things up you ask? Well, it feels like the days are meeting nights sooner than I can down a drink and they must be slowed down and absorbed and enjoyed and caught in many a breath. And there is the hope that during this shaking up, things will fall apart to eventually assemble into semi-neat patterns (who am I kidding, when has that ever happened).

But if life is a sum of days lived and if I have to make the days count for something and make them come together mostly nicely, well then there have to be rules.

Rule 1: Wake up early enough to stretch and smile.

Rule 2: Workout baby workout, atleast 30 minutes everyday.

Rule 3: Ditch processed s*** . Yes, cashew biscuits, we’re through (until further notice). Also you red meat. You’re bad news.

Rule 4: Dial down (or preferably dial out) the sugar darling.

Rule 5: The being-off-coffee-that-gave-you-jitters routine you’ve been practicing, well stick with it. No naked bean dreams, no midnight sniffing cravings. Just no, okay.

Rule 6: Read and write something that’s not an email, a report, a newspaper article. Alice Munro, Proust (again), that short story you almost wrote. Stick to the page and do do do.

Rule 7: Relax.

Rule 8: Hug more. That trick never gets old.

Rule 9: If you can’t keep at it, quit by all means but remember YOU blew it. Not Trump, your partner or the guy at the cupcake counter. It was all YOU.

Now armed with these guiding principles I set forth for 27 days of discipline and self-discovery, hoping to come out of it without a mid-milestone meltdown. I shall report from the front regularly (let’s not say daily, though that’s the dream).

Wish me luck and stay glued (ocularly not olfactorily).

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The Week That Was: How I (Almost) Lost My Mojo

You know how, when your parents are doctors, they make you take an annual full-body scan (around your birthday). What? Yours don’t? (Too late in the day to call child services. Oh wait, we don’t live in Canada).

So where were we? Ah yes, body scans (that don’t involve hot Polish flight stewards). There’s this hoopla around my birthday each year (because that’s the only way I’ll remember it) involving blood letting followed by numerical shame. So far it’s been sane. But this time I flunked, miserably. Having prided myself over being a non-fainter, a fever-avenger who only discovered what a body temperature rise feels like at boarding school flu epidemic, age 10 (Oh, so that’s what a fever is), my blood count in the recent test has fallen below borderline, causing much eyeball widening action by the medicine man & woman. Truth is, I wasn’t surprised.

For the first time, perhaps ever in the history of my life, I was sapped of energy, of mental faculties, of interest in everything, for a whole week. It was like my body was begging me to stop, catch a breath, lay still. It was unpleasant. It was not me. I knew I wasn’t eating too well, working out or even breathing normal. Work, by nature, is always frantic. Toddlers are always unpredictable. And yet after going through the motions for months, I was suddenly losing steam.

And after all the promises of doing something about it, “making time for myself” was not on the to-do list. Until the numbers came.

Single digit haemoglobin counts are not my thing, me of the floating above average on the body tests. But suddenly, with the enemy being real and writ in ink, I seemed to be jolted out of running through the day on high speed rails. I was forced to acknowledge each breath, to make it count, to slow the heck down. After weeks I stopped to look at the sunset (without & through my camera lens), to flip through the bedside poetry book, to hear my heart settle, without scrambling ahead.

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Numbers will stay below (blood) poverty line for a while. Routines will follow the clock I often lose to. But I’m hoping I won’t forget to keep my promises, to me.

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Are We There Yet? OR It is the Penultimate Day of the A-to-Z Challenge, Yay!)

“I must write something” she whispers to herself, sitting by the balcony trying to save the letter ‘A’ on the machine from being pulled out by the toddler.

I wonder if anyone stays in the apartment in the opposite building. Never seen anybody there but that empty clothes rack and mop in the balcony surely belong to someone.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. I wonder if “I’m hungry” is as contagious as a yawn. Really wouldn’t mind a fruit yogurt right now but who’s going to walk to the grocery. Laziness is a disease with no cure. Talking aloud about hunger helps. Husband offers…banana, apple, garlic bread…no prizes for guessing which one I’m going to eat.

I have a very tricky relationship with bananas. Mother never tires of telling me of the goodness of that (godforsaken) fruit. Maybe because I know its so good, I can hardly ever bring myself to eat it. Buy it I do. Perhaps that helps me stay comfortable with the idea of ‘healthy eating’. Maybe if someone chopped it and served it in a bowl with tangy masala on it I’d gobble it down. But you see, laziness is a disease with no cure. If banana and I were the last thing on the planet, would I eat it? Sure. Until Armageddon, pass me something else.

The sound of a basketball dribble. Don’t get me started on that either. Not basketball, but exercise. Its kind of like the banana situation. I know its good for me but I can’t get myself to do it. And the garlic bread is here. Now I type with little finger as others are smeared in butter and I’m not done eating so why get up and wash hands. But I will not wait for Armageddon to start exercise…just not today honey.

“Life is ours, we live it our way”, Metallica to the rescue of all rebellious children (and certain adults). So I saw them Live last year on my birthday. How I managed to make it happen is a helluva story. You should stick around long enough to read that when I get to it.

There is now most certainly melted butter and cheese running through my veins. Shoot me and you’ll see.

“I must end this” she whispers to herself, very aware of the ridiculousness of all the words above.

Forgive me oh unfortunate one for your eyes have witnessed this dreadful scene.

May the lord above grant you dreams of happy places and may you find no further reason to utter “Oh the horror, the horror”.

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Fighting Feeble Foes

Fever has to be the most unexciting malady. Doctors don’t take it seriously, it makes the worst excuse for missing work, and family/friends think you should sleep and all will be well. Also, you have no right to stake a claim to special invalid status from those around you because in reality you aren’t feeling all that bad.

Thermometer tests are the all-determining factor. You get a score below 100 and you’ve failed to make it to the elite category of high-fever, even if you’re not feeling like a happy child on a spring morning. And heaven forbid, should your forehead be anything short of burning hot, you lose all chance to garner sympathy for your miserable self.

Your limited vocabulary comes to naught when you have to describe ‘exactly’ how sick you’re feeling. I wonder if this inability to express fever-emotions is the reason behind saying the words “you give me fever” to significant others (even if they don’t appreciate the analogy).

Only under fever-related delirium can a normal human being utter the words “I don’t want to sleep”, for you’re allowed to do little else. If such noble thoughts were a permanent feature in the minds of men and women, a lot could be accomplished. After all, under no other circumstances would one recognise that there is such a thing as ’too much sleep’.

But it is still nothing short of hara-kiri to mention to loved ones that you’ve got fever. They fuss over you and give you detailed instructions on healthy food-habits, leaving you feeling like a train-wreck incapable of exercising judgment. All you can do at such moments is look around guiltily as no defense is strong enough against the obvious fact that plain simple fever caught up with stupid you.

And finally there’s the wait for fever to exit your system, allowing you the pleasure to state that you’re doing just fine thank you very much. Should that exit take too long coming, you may have more ‘serious’ things than fever to worry about. Otherwise, you have reasons to rejoice over the exit of a foe whose presence got you in trouble with the health- food-habits authorities (husbands, mothers et al), got you on the list of probable fever magnets and showed you up to be armor-less against feeble adversaries.