does your busy mean something?

Does your busy mean something?

I hear it all the time. I say it myself. You know what I’m saying. We ALL say it a lot. We say we are too busy. Too busy to make healthy meals. Too busy to workout. Too busy to clean my house. Too busy to take the dog for a walk. Too busy. Just too damn busy. Too busy for so many things.

In this life of work, gym, meal prepping, hanging out with friends, kids sports, enjoying some drinks, and anything else you can stick in here, the BIGGEST thing I hear is, “I’m too busy.” Do you really think you’re too busy, or do you think that’s an excuse?

I don’t know, sometimes when I say I’m too busy, I guess I am saying I just don’t really care if I do this or that or whatever. Fill in the blank. The experts always say, you have to want to do it in order to succeed. You have to make it a priority. You have to make yourself a priority. Sure, I can understand that, but sometimes I don’t really care.

Maybe I just want to be lazy once in a while. Maybe I just want to relax once in a while. This life is super fast-paced. We all are pushing ourselves to the limit. We are so stressed. We are so focused on our careers or we are so focused on ourselves. I get the whole fitness aspect of being busy. It really is an excuse, because maybe we truly aren’t ready to change yet.

Buuuuuut, moving on to the big picture of being busy. The life picture of being busy. The super important aspect of being busy.

The last few weeks in our community have been crazy. A local pharmacist passed away. 44 years old. So damn young. A local realtor had a stroke. Also 44 years old. So damn young. One of my clients’ mom is really, really sick, more than likely cancer. Under 60. So damn young. Another client took her husband in for chest pains. Under 50. So damn young. It is getting really scary how many health incidents are happening to younger and younger people. We just never know how our lives are going to turn out. Why not make it worth it?

take the time to enjoy your life
take the time to play with your kids
take the time to spend with your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever
take the time to be just a little bit less busy

When “they” say life is short, “they” aren’t kidding. I cannot believe how time is flying. My youngest child is on the verge of turning 18 and is a senior in high school this year. How the hell did that happen?

We all have choices. We all get to decide the road we take, right or left, up or down. What’s the outcome? We don’t know that. We do know that we can spend as much time as possible with the things that mean something to us. If eating healthy and exercising is important to you because you have a shitty family history and you know this will help, ABSOLUTELY do that. If you work 80 hours a week, but spending time with your family is important to you, knock those hours back and ABSOLUTELY spend time with your family.

We get so caught up in our careers. We get so caught up in everything. We need to take a step back. Take a step back and evaluate your life. Make it count. Don’t just go through the motions. Make it mean something. Make it important.

Make your busy important. Ummm, maybe your family.
Make your busy meaningful. Ummm, maybe helping the helpless.
Make your busy matter. Ummm maybe taking your spouse or significant other out for a date or a nice weekend getaway.

Life goes by so fast. It truly is the blink of any eye. It flies. We have no idea how much time we have on this planet. Make your busy mean something.

why didn’t you get the buns?

He asked, “Why didn’t you get buns?” “I don’t know,” she answered. “You went out specifically to get buns,” he said. “I know. I changed my mind,” she said.

You see, she was going to the store specifically to get buns for supper. She went out of the house not really thinking about how she looked. When she got to the store, she realized she had on shorts. She felt fat. Her legs looked gross. She didn’t want to go in the store. She sat in the car and struggled with herself. Talking to herself. Telling herself she looked disgusting and then telling herself she looked fine, but still not being able to make herself go into the store. Back and forth. Back and forth. She came home instead.

This used to be me. Maybe not buns, but that doesn’t matter and that isn’t the point. I would be out and about and then decide to run to the store to pick up some things. I then realized I had on shorts. Big deal, right? It is a big deal to someone who is not comfortable with their body, or not comfortable with how they look. They see every single flaw in their bodies. They see every single chunk of fat. They see every single dimple of cellulite. They see everything wrong and nothing right. The wheels are falling off and nothing seems to get you out of the hole. No matter how many times someone tells you that you look good, you don’t believe them. The windows are so far down, you don’t know if they’ll ever roll back up.

It’s crazy how we get so caught up in how we look. It shouldn’t really matter how we look. I realize everyone wants to look good. I want to look good too. The line is crossed though when there is a right way or a wrong way to look. Everyone is totally different, and how cool is that? How can society, or anyone else for that matter, decide what is good and what is bad? It should not be that way. We need to stand up for ourselves. Perception is a choice. Being healthy is a choice. We get a choice in how we look. We get a choice in being healthy. Key word is choice. The ball is bounced to you. It’s up to you.

Negative body image and crappy self-esteem can take a long time to work through. Just know this, once you realize what is going on and once you start to figure this out, you need to own it. Once you own it, you can then begin to take the steps to work through it. Realize it’s your choice. Once you start that mental toughness of not caring what other people think of you, because really, you are the only one who should care about what you look like, then things start to change. Things start to feel different. You start to feel better about yourself. You start to toughen up. Beauty isn’t just on the outside. Everyone is their own kind of beautiful. Own it.

You have to search for it though. Find your nuts and bolts, find your center, find your core. Only then can you begin to get past the insecurities that haunt you. The insecurities that jump on you and don’t let you see the real you. When we are constantly telling ourselves negative things, well guess what? We start to believe them. We start to believe we look fat. We start to believe we look terrible. We get a shift in our mindset. We start to feel self-conscious. Make the decision to change. Make the choice to change. It does not happen overnight. It takes time. Get yourself settled in and get some popcorn for the movie. This is going to take a while. Don’t give up on yourself though, you are definitely worth it.

There is beauty in toughness
There is beauty in confidence
There is beauty in owning your shit
There is beauty in figuring this out
There is beauty in not giving a fuck about what other people think
There is beauty in feeling top shelf about yourself.

So go get those damn buns and go get them while wearing shorts.

life is short, even in its longest days

Usually when I get up on Sunday mornings, John is already downstairs getting ready for church. He and Tayler go, I don’t. Not because I don’t believe in God or anything, I just don’t go. I come downstairs and get coffee and go plop in the chair to visit with him for a few minutes before he leaves. And by visit with him, I mean we are both sitting in the chairs just being. Not really talking or anything, just being in each other’s presence.

Sunday Morning is always on. I find most of the stories very informative. They had been teasing this particular one for a while. I also saw it on Facebook. John Mellencamp was going to be on. If you know anything about me, you know I LOVE him. I wrote a blog post about him. You can read it here if you are at all interested. http://peggielarsen.com/under-the-influence/

I was excited to watch the piece on him. Jane Pauley was going to visit him in Indiana, and talk about life, his music and his art. Oh, and his smoking. It was a good interview and it was interesting to just listen to him and for him to tell how much he has evolved. She blasted him a little bit about his smoking, which yeah, I get it. He had a heart attack when he was 42, but that has not deterred him. He likes how it changed his voice. The rasp. The scratch. The money maker. He doesn’t drink. His theory is that if you smoke AND drink, then you will have problems. Otherwise, you’re good.

One thing he talked about, which didn’t make the story was anxiety and panic attacks. There was a bonus interview on his website. I had to watch it. Because stalker. He said in his early 20’s he was paralyzed by panic attacks. His words, “They jumped all over me.” They are real. He said there are some things called drugs that people can take to help with them. I love listening to the inflections in his voice, the scratchiness of his voice—hello cigarettes. He said he has no gray area concerning his health. He’s either okay or he’s dying. He said he goes straight to cancer. So interesting to listen to him open up about that. So interesting also that my friend, Heidi, you know the one who I dragged to his concert, she does the same thing. Straight to cancer. Funny.

He said he wants to learn something or make something every single day. The creative process–tapping into it–being available. I love this. You have to be available in order to create. You have to show up every day. You have to work at it. It’s not some simple little thing. It takes effort and time AND being available. With the creative process, there are no wrong turns. You create.

He reflected on life quite a bit. He talked about the lyric in the song, Longest Days, which says, “Life is short, even in its longest days.” He sure is right about that. Life is so damn short. The meaning in this song is about being sick, and even though the day is long, life is still short. I put my own ideas into that phrase, not taking away at all the true meaning of the song.

My absolute favorite thing he said though: “I’m 65 years old. I can see the finish line from here. I only have so many summers left and I intend not to waste them being old.” LOVE.

SO effing relevant in today’s society. So many people don’t live. They just exist. They don’t smile. They just scowl. They don’t enjoy things. They just go through the motions.

Some day, they will realize that life is short, even in its longest days.

eye in the mirror. the one that sees all the flaws, all the fat, all the fear.

Eye in the mirror. The one that sees all the flaws, all the fat, all the fear.

Is it your eye? Do you look in the mirror and see flaws? Do you look in the mirror and see fat? What about fear? Is it in your eyes?

As I was sitting at the orthodontist’s office today during Tayler’s appointment, there was a little boy sitting in the chair near me. He was probably about 8. He wasn’t right beside me, but another chair over and beside him on his right was his mom. It was silent for a minute and I heard her say, “I love you.” He responded, “I love you too.” So sweet. It made me tear up and think of my own boys when they were little. Such unconditional love. Unspoiled love.

Such unconditional love before we are told not to love ourselves unconditionally. Such unconditional love before things get spoiled. Before we are told that there are conditions. Before we are told that fat is ugly. Before we are told to see every single flaw with our appearance. Whatever happened to unconditional love with ourselves? Why do we find the worst things we can about ourselves and then hone in on that and focus on that and let that occupy our thoughts? Does that eye in the mirror reflect back at you and tell you that you are fat? Does it tell you that you are ugly? Does it look back at you with fear?

Let’s take it a little bit further. Do you have daughters? Do you have sons? Do your kids know what you think about those perceived flaws. Do you ever say out loud in front of your kids that you are fat? Do you ever put yourself down in front of your kids?

Because of my issues with body image and issues with food, I have made it a point to never say anything negative about my body in front of Tayler. I don’t want her to become obsessed with food or obsessed with some cellulite on her legs or obsessed with anything else about her appearance. I want her to be comfortable, no matter what she looks like. I don’t want to teach her that anything other than “Barbie” appearance is ugly. That is society talking.

If our kids are seeing us do these things and if they see us treating ourselves negatively and with self-hate, they are going to do the same thing. If we are constantly showing our kids that we hate our bodies by constantly being on a “diet,” how do we think they are going to start looking at themselves? They are going to start obsessing over their weight, over their looks and over everything about their appearance. We need to teach our kids to love themselves unconditionally. Our kids notice and hear way more than we think they do. It’s time we gave them some positive things to hone in on. Teach them to respect their bodies and themselves.

Next time that eye in the mirror is looking for flaws, think about how lucky you are to have a body that has a purpose. A body that can walk and run and breathe and function. Our bodies do a lot for us. Focus on the good. Let’s start loving ourselves unconditionally and teach our daughters (and sons) to do the same.

I hated my fat thighs

I remember walking home from gymnastics practice every day. Monday through Friday. Seventh grade through 9th grade. Junior High. It was four blocks. I remember stopping at Corner Drug at least three times a week and buying an ice cold Tab out of the pop machine. I loved that pop. Who cares if the artificial sweetener caused cancer. It had frozen ice chips at the top and was in a glass bottle. I had to stay there and drink it, because I didn’t have the money for the deposit to take the bottle. It was so refreshing. I remember walking by the big picture window of the store every day and looking at the fat on my thighs. The reflection. You know, the inner thigh when you take a big step. The fat right there. I hated my fucking fat thighs. I hated my body. How could I look like that and be a gymnast? Weren’t gymnasts supposed to be in spectacular shape?

I remember a light blue leotard I had. I thought I looked really good in it. Turns out, not so much. Someone commented on how I looked. It wasn’t a good comment.

My issues with my body began then. My issues with food began then. I have written about this before. I had a gymnastics coach named Mr. Ball. I loved him as a coach. The first time he saw me he loved me. I was 12. The summer of 6th grade, going into 7th. I could knock out 15 pull-ups, easily. I was so strong. He loved that about me and of course, could see some potential in me. I lived and breathed gymnastics. I loved it. I loved going to practice everyday. I loved the hard work. I loved everything about it. I loved it until I was told I needed to lose ten pounds. I remember it. It was the summer of 9th grade. I weighed 116 pounds.

I remember questioning everything about everything. I remember feeling defeated and wondering how the hell I was going to lose ten pounds and why I even had to lose ten pounds. Maybe he saw the fat on my thighs. I struggled with this so bad. Because vulnerable age. Because vulnerable mindset. Because vulnerable.

Why can’t people think about things before they speak. I really don’t blame him. I guess it was a sign of the times back then. Nothing like now. Probably not meant in a harmful way at all. All in my best interests.

The weight loss journey began. Lots of different diets. Nothing worked. Surprise, surprise. I think I even rebelled and started eating candy bars and diet pop before practice. Because nobody was going to tell me what to do. Attitude perhaps. Of course.

I don’t even remember if I told my parents about it. I doubt it. I ordered a diet out of the back of Teen Magazine. It was a trifold piece of thick paper. It was pink. It was a high protein diet. I remember it had steak and boiled eggs. It worked, because I was slightly consistent. I may have lost a few pounds. Things do work when a person is consistent.

I have also written about my disordered eating and eating disorder as a result of this. I felt so out of control and the only way I could control this aspect of my life was with food. Bulimia hit me hard. This was awesome. Eat all the food. Puke all the food. Sure fire weight loss, right? Maybe. Sure fire health problems. It was a long and gory road. I had a lot of self hate. I remember seeing pictures of a gymnastics party at another coach’s house. Holy shit. Black circles under the eyes, cheeks drawn, but still fat.

It takes a lot of work to climb out of a pit like that. The self confidence is non-existent. Everything about yourself seems fake. Why did he have to say that?

I worked on myself for many, many years after that. The bulimia lasted through my junior year, I think. I didn’t go out my senior year. My beloved gymnastics career came to an end. I didn’t have the desire or passion for it any more. I was done.

I finally am starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t look in the picture windows anymore when I walk down the street. I don’t really pay attention much anymore.