Posted in Healthy Living, Inspiration, Post a week

Fitting Forty: Your Mirror

Here is a funny story. I remember when I was 25 years old and I was visiting my Grandmother in her apartment. I was living outside of Chicago and I recently went back to school to finish my degree while working a full time job. Not easy by the way but I digress. I was sitting with her and just chatting. During our talk, my Grandmother paused and looked at me silently. I looked back at her pensively and asked her what’s wrong? She then said to me, and please imagine a very thick Jamaican accent, “Cindy, you’re not married, you don’t have children, you don’t have a boyfriend! G’yal, what wrong wit ya’? Ya’ G’YAY????” If you have not guessed, the last word was an attempt to spell in patois phonetically the word gay. I kind of looked at her and then began to laugh. My Grandmother was a very matter of fact woman and never took time to hold her tongue about anything. Pretty much, NO FILTER! As much as I wanted to give her an answer, I really couldn’t because I was too busy laughing at what she said to me. Really Grandma??? That’s how you feel??? You had to have been there!

At the time, I did not date. On the surface, I was focused more on finishing school since I messed up the first go round. I wanted to get it right and make an attempt to educated myself and become a self sufficient adult. The underlining reason I did not date was because I was obese and I did not think myself attractive and I did not think anyone would think I was attractive either.

Fifteen years later, I am much like my former self in my relationship status. I am still unmarried, I still have no children, but no I am not gay. I have dated since that conversation (or should I say accusation) I had with my Grandmother but nothing really panned out in my favor.

Now please do not get my wrong. This post is not an all men suck rant because that is simply not true. Recently, I felt myself very low and I did not know what to do. I sought some spiritual advise and the main thing that was told to me was, “Mirror, you need to look at yourself”.

I really had to ponder. What does that mean? Before I get into explanations, let me ask some questions. Have you ever been in situations that just did not work out? What were the situations? Did you try to start a business, date, or lose weight and it did not work in your favor? Why didn’t it work?

If you really look at each situation you find yourself and it did not work, you have to look at the common denominator. That common denominator is and will always be you.

Often times, stuff doesn’t work out for a lot of reasons. In order to truly analyze and find solutions to problems is always best practice to look at yourself and see the part you play in it. This is what it really means to look at yourself. Look into yourself. Reveal all parts of yourself. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Recently, circumstances forced me really to do some serious soul searching. In a way, I had to break out my spiritual mirror and start looking at myself. I came across a quote during my introspection that I like to share.

  • A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. (The Winning Life – The World Tribune Press)

In life, we are often bombarded by different situations that can cloud our minds and cause us to be blind essentially walking in darkness. If we continue in that state, we never realize our true potential. We often find ourselves reacting and never truly get down the road of our lives.

I personally decided I need to polish my mirror everyday. I have to look at myself, everyday. I say have to instead of had to because this work never stops. It is essential if I personally want to realize my goals and endeavor to becoming a better human being.

Is there something in your life that is keeping you from moving forward? We all have something. No one is immune. Problems, situations, and circumstances are all part of living.  I encourage you to break out your mirror. Really start to look at yourself. Polish your mirror everyday. You’d be surprised on what it will reveal. Take heed to what you find. You will be better when you commit to doing the work.

-CAM

Posted in Dads, Healthy Living, Memorial, Post a week

Fitting Forty: His Hands

June 18, 2017, was Father’s Day. I decided that I should spend the day with my Dad. Most people will take their Father’s to a restaurant, maybe go to a ball game, or even make a grand dinner. I however spent time with my Father at his grave.

My Dad had a battle with prostate cancer that he lost on January 2, 2012 . He ashes are interned in a Veteran’s cemetery outside of my hometown of Chicago. He was a Korean War Veteran  that served in the Navy as a Seaman. He ended up doing 2 tours staying in the Navy for 8 years in total.  Although he served his country and held several titles in his life, the one he held for me is my first Love.

My Father and I did everything together. When I was a kid, I would spend my weekends with him. He had a 1977 charcoal convertible Volkswagen Beetle. The car had no heat so you could only drive in the spring/summer. It had a pull out radio just like the movie McGruber. He and his friend Rip rebuilt the car from the ground up and he would go to an auto parts store called Wachowski’s in the South Loop constantly buying car parts because the thing was super uber sensitive!

I loved that car. I supposed I loved it so much because I knew that every time I got into it, it would be an adventure that only he and I would share together. The adventure could be as mundane as going to dentist or the grocery store or as fascinating as  a Chinese dinner in Dalton or China town. My Dad and I shared a deep love for stir fry.

I often reflect back on the times we had together, like watching Miami Vice on Friday Nights (it was cheesy but we cared not!), practicing the piano in his living room (He loved Beethoven), or watching him build a doll house for me that we go to the north suburbs for parts (drove my sisters crazy he built it for me! ha ha!). No matter what we did, it was always special to me because I was his running buddy and his reflection in female form. I looked just like him from the speckles in this hands and feet to the wide smile that paints our faces when we find something funny. He loved to laugh.

When I visited his grave, I put my hands on his name stone. I often look at my hands and if I stare at them long enough, they look just like his. The more they look like his hands, I start to hear his voice. I hear him talking to me about when he was growing up, him giving me a chore to do (he really liked doing that) or hearing him sing a jazz song like “Angel Eyes” or an opera aria sung by Franco Corelli. The main reason why I have such a deep love for music (especially classical music) was all because of him.

My mind often wanders back to him and without trying. I would hear a phrase, a song, or see something as I walk by that would remind me of him. Even when I have life decisions to make, I think to myself “What Would Daddy Do?”

Making it to this age, I hope within my being that he’d be proud of me. If anyone wanted me to get my health together, it was him. I know I say I made the decision to get my health together to save my life, but I also say to him, “Dad, I did it. I finally did it.”

He was and still is my motivation to press forward in life. Although he isn’t present physically, I still feel him with me because I refuse to forget him. But why would I? He is a part of me and forgetting him would be forgetting myself. I miss him dearly but as time goes on, it does not hurt so much that he is not on Earth. Rest in Heaven Daddy. Please know, I love you.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Healthy Living, Post a week, Women's Health

Fitting Forty: All for Health’s Sake

An integral part about getting older is really being conscious about your health and well being. Let’s face it, you are no spring chicken and your body sends subtle (and no so subtle) hints this is the case. I know for me my hints come in the morning. Picture the sun starting to send it’s rays through your bedroom window. Your eyes start to flicker as you hear a faint tune of Morning Song by Grieg playing in your head (at least you wish because what you actually hear it that stupid alarm on your phone going off at 6:00 am in the morning!)  I am sorry, let’s go back to the ethereal scene. You then smile thinking of how great it is to be alive, how you are going to just Carpe Diem the hell out of the day, and then you decide to sit up and hear CRUNCH! That will be the sound a few joints you have to rub while you desperately try to gather yourself out of bed! Yeah, that did not happen when you were in your twenties! That was a case of cold reality hitting you in the face like a bucket of ice water!

This comes with the territory. Joints not always responding like how you want, your body not really doing what you want it to do, and you wanting to find some relief in it all. You think, should I exercise? Should I eat better? Should I go to the doctor? Should I drink this entire bottle of wine I picked up from the grocery store on my way home from work (Riesling being the favorite.)? I am going with wine!

Although wine is good choice for any occasion, getting older means being more serious about how your body is functioning. Since this is all about being 40 (read the title), I personally met another health milestone I had to take care of. The dreaded mammogram! Now, the only reason why I call it dreaded was because I would listen to my mom describe to me in mitigated detail her experience with mammograms. She described the cold plates. The two plates coming together like a car compactor smashing your breasts together and squeezing your very existence making you regret being a woman! Also, the walk of shame leaving the room because you subjected yourself to this torture!

I had all of these thoughts in my head when it was time to get my mammogram. I first had to get over the whole I am actually old enough to be considered to get this done part. When I got through that, I had to get past all the stories and the building fear coming to roost in my throat! “Okay Cynthia”, I said to myself, “Put on your big girl panties and take this like a soldier!” I step in the lab where the machine is, follow the instructions of the lab tech, and went through all the different positions and squeezing. My conclusion was that the mammogram was not that bad. The lab tech was also very nice and walked me through everything because she knew it was my first time and I was a bit nervous. But can you blame me???

Accepting this whole mammogram business is all a part of being very aware of your age and health, at least it was for me. Leading up to the mammogram, my doctor and I had a chat about what women of my age should be doing in order to maintain their health and well being. Here are a few things women in their forties should be doing:

  1. Do regular check ups with your primary care physician to make sure they have a base line for your overall well being and can monitor any changes. This should be done at least once a year.
  2. When reaching your Forties, get a mammogram to make sure your breast health is in order. If the breast have no abnormalities, this does not have to be done for another 10 years.
  3. Do self checks breast exams. Feel for any lumps or bumps. If you feel one, see your doctor to check them to make sure they are not cancerous. Often time lumps and bumps can be a result of acne or just cyst that are harmless, but it is good to stay on the side of caution.
  4. Stay on top of your pap smears. My doctor said you should getting one every 1 to 3 years. Also if you are sexually active, make sure to get tested for any sexually transmitted diseases. Getting tested should happen every six months to be on the cautious side.
  5. Adopt a healthier way of eating and exercise. The older you get, the more you are subject to heart disease which is the number one killer of women but often times can be prevented by making changes in this area to keep your heart healthy and happy!
  6. Find a way to live a more stress free life. Pick up a hobby or do something for yourself to make you feel good! No one can be better to yourself than you!

Getting older is inevitable but it does not have to be a strain or something to loathe. The best way to embrace your age is to make sure your health is in order. I said it before, I am in better shape and my health is better now at 40 than at 30. That is only because I decided to take the necessary steps to get that way. It was not rocket science, it was just taking one step at a time. Remember, only you can make this life the best for you. No one else can do it for you. You only have one life to live. Make the best of it!