IntrepidWoman's Journey

A Mental Cleansing Begins . . .

Posted on: November 2, 2015

Change in life is constant. Our journey has forks in the road; we constantly have people enter and leave our lives as we trudge along through time. We move, we change jobs, (and sometime partners) and do our best to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Each of our paths is unique, but is filled with valleys and mountain tops. Life is often hard; we experience pain, loneliness and sorrow. Life is also glorious, filled with joy, love, and hope. If it was not for the valleys, could we really appreciate the mountain tops?

For me, retirement has been one of the biggest changes in my life. I moved through the adult years as a single parent struggling to juggle family and finances and finally stepped off the hamster wheel 21 days after my 66th birthday. My first year after was spent just recovering from life’s hectic pace. I was so exhausted!

Now in my second year, I am on a journey to cleanse my body and become the best I can be. Chronic illnesses have plagued me for many years. After a near-death experience in February 2013, and the recent realization that my life expectancy is not way into the future, I have taken control of my physical self.

First thing was to research to find out why there is so much chronic disease, obesity, and early deaths due to so many cancers and the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes. It all comes back to what we eat and the amount of exercise we get. Desk job + processed foods in the stores and quick-and-dirty drive-thru meals all add up to an unhealthy life style. Research has proven it. There is lots of data out there. Nothing new here, but changing it however, is not easy. We live on treadmills. Ours lives are super busy. We are raising our kids to be super busy as well and in between work and chauffering kids to lessons, we are thankful for the chicken nuggets and drive-thru coffee.

It is life. It is how it is. It has evolved over time to this. I have the privilege now, in the winter of my life, to make big changes and it is going well. My taste buds have changed after a few months of eating fresh foods, juicing vegetables and fruit daily, riding an exercise bike and taking yoga and NIA. I rarely eat bread products and have sworn off processed meats and most processed foods. Research has helped me locate locally grown and raised food where I live. Life is good. My energy is through the roof. Physically, I feel better every day.

But… Isn’t there always a but? My poor brain continues to suffer from information overload. Easy access to social media fills my head daily with the horrors of murders and natural disasters. The provincial and federal elections this year were full of hateful statements and images. I have witnessed how abuse and bullying are alive and growing on the internet.

So, what to do about it? I get up, have my hot lemon water and turn on my computer to Facebook, then read emails, then news sites. I end the day the same way. I check in during the day when I am at home. (At least when I worked, I could only do it in the morning and at night.) Some of what I see is good. I like pictures of ex-students and their families and seeing how their lives are unfolding. I enjoy posts from long-time friends and knowing what is going on at Jack’s school and in my neighborhood. Facebook has become the window to my retired life, but I have been sitting in front of it way too much, reading about other people’s lives instead of living my own.

The elements of negativity in social media are pulling me down, mentally and spiritally. As I gain energy and improve my physical self, my mental self is deteriorating.

My addiction to social media is keeping me from real-life experiences. It is time to do something about that. Tucked into my fleece sheets last night, trying to clear my head and go to sleep, I decided to go off Facebook for a month. If I can learn to love vegetables over chocolate, surely I can learn to love real people interactions over FB interactions. There is much more to me than being a Facebook troll!

I am going to deactivate my account today. For 30 days. I would like to never go back, but time will tell. Just as I crave a little chocolate once in a while and hope to learn to eat it in moderation some day, my desire is to limit FB to maybe once a week for only for a few minutes. Maybe I could eat a piece of chocolate when I check Facebook? I would have to turn it off when the chocolate is gone. Lofty goal! Better to say I could drink a freshly-made vegetable juice while I check FB for a few minutes once a week.

I will be back on December 2nd to check in. Wish me luck. I will have 30 days to make art, interact with real people and connect more strongly to my Higher Power. I will still have email, but I think Messenger will be gone with FB.

Now I am going to make my vegetable juice, and while I sip it, read Facebook, then press ‘Deactivate’. The rest of the day will be an exciting, blank canvas!

It is all about finding balance in one’s life, as well as living it to be our very best! Every single day.

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