That’s not all I’ve done to make my life more enjoyable because, well, it’s not just about the birds.
I’m not proud to admit this, but at 50 years old I’ve probably allowed myself to slip into the most unhealthy lifestyle ever. There’s a term I never thought would apply to me — sedentary. Many things have led to this departure from my true self that loves adventures of all kinds, thrives on pushing myself to be my best and yearns for new things in my life.
But, life often takes those detours we aren’t expecting — financial stress, job stress, family stress, death, and the list goes on. I fell into a routine of work, eat, eat, eat, sleep, eat, work, and so on and so on.
There were some things I had hoped to accomplish by the time I turned 50. Weirdly enough, one was to have a tattoo. Got that last year just before my birthday. It’s a reflection of part of my life — a treble clef that goes into a heart beat.
Music has always been a deep part of me. I sang in church, school chorus, went to All-State Chorus in high school and sang in the college choir at Anderson University. When I moved from South Carolina to Tennessee 30ish years ago, it kinda went by the wayside.
I had taught myself to play guitar at age 10 or 11, but I even put the instrument down. I played intramurals at East Tennessee State University and league softball for a few years after that, but eventually that fell by the wayside as well.
I finally had a “come to Jesus” meeting with myself a few years ago and broke out of my shell to start playing my guitar more. By then, I had picked up the mandolin and fiddle. I’m still learning those but I’m already itching for a dobro and banjo and upright bass. I’m a sponge for new things, but too often my endeavors become difficult and I give up.
I’m trying to push past that part of myself — the giving up part.
One way was to start talking to a fitness coach. I met him through my hairdresser, who by all accounts should be dead from the recurring cancer she’s battled for a decade. She introduced me to her coach, Shawn Dunn, who has helped me see myself in a different light. I’m slowly integrating healthier meal options into my daily eating, and hope to go all organic soon. I’m easing into it so I won’t become overwhelmed.
I’ve been doing a group workout with Shawn and a great bunch of people at iTrain Fitness on Saturday and had a few sessions with just Shawn. Those workouts are similar to a Crossfit workout, although I’ve vowed to not push myself to the point I throw up. I do push myself, however, and I’ve never been so sore in all my life. I do have to admit that I’ve taken naps after those workouts. Still, I haven’t felt so good as I did after those workouts since I was in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in 2002. That’s another story I might get around to writing later, and no, I don’t consider myself a veteran.
Another new part of my life is consistent chiropractic care. I’ve been to numerous chiropractors — really good chiropractors, I might add — over the years, but I never kept it up consistently. I started going to see Shannon Myers in November. Because I sit so much for my job these days, or stand for hours at a time at the scene of a breaking news story, I have lots of back and neck pain.
No, the back and neck pain aren’t gone completely, but with consistent chiropractic care it’s definitely better.
The most recent change I’ve made is setting my pride aside and use a CPAP to help my sleep apnea. I didn’t want to admit I had it, but the constant tiredness after a full night (so I thought) of sleep led me to have a sleep study several years ago. It was right before I had a tonsillectomy and after that procedure, the sleep apnea improved considerably — to the point it was borderline that I needed the CPAP so I opted out of it.
Since then, I’m ashamed to say, my sedentary lifestyle has led to weight gain, which I believe contributed to the return or worsening of my sleep apnea.
I’m writing this column on a Tuesday after having worn the CPAP for the first time at home. It was the best night of sleep I’ve had in a very long time. I’ve heard it’s addictive, but I hope it’s not like one of those drugs that the first time is the best and you keep doing more to get that same satisfaction. If that’s the case, I’d probably sleep forever.
Anyway, pride set aside, the CPAP is a keeper. Shawn Dunn is a keeper and Myers Chiropractic is a keeper.
Why am I telling you all of this? Just to say — find your own keeper and keep on keeping.