Life is complicated. Things don’t always go how you want or expect them to. Staying healthy, sane, and solvent can be difficult, if not sometimes impossible. It’s enough to make you a bit cranky. Sometimes you have to laugh.
My Grandpa Frank was an infamous grump. He grumbled about everything from wasting water for frivolities like baths to the injustices of poverty and overpopulation. He was not an overtly happy man, but if you asked him how he was doing, he had one canned response: “I’m just plumb wonderful, I s’pose.”
He was being a bit sarcastic, but on some level he wasn’t. He really was “plumb wonderful.” He ran a successful excavating company, loved his family, collected beautiful antique Fords, and spent his days tinkering with machinery. He was very well-balanced man–as steady as a plumb bob. He never got angry or took anything too seriously, even amidst the horrors of my grandmother’s cancer and my mother’s mental illness.
I have adopted his catch phrase as a sort of North Star. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, how am I? Just plumb wonderful.
I have some issues, you might say. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism at 26, Depression with Anxiety at 32, Barrett’s Esophagus at 40, and Breast Cancer at 48. I have a slew of allergies (cats, grass, dirt), and a few food sensitivities (gluten, dairy). In other words, I’m just plumb wonderful.
For most of my adult life I used alcohol to cope, to have “fun,” to get out of my own head, and to connect with other people. I have drunk enough that it could be considered problematic. I have drunk enough that it probably had something to do with my breast cancer.
As I move into my fifties, I am trying to find some balance. I’m drinking only on rare occasions. I’m eating real foods and no more gluten. I’m cooking for myself pretty much every day, rather than living on takeout. I get up at 5:30 to meditate, do yoga, and journal. My lifestyle has done a 180-degree turnabout in the past five years, and let me tell you, a little cancer can be a great motivator to get healthy.
There’s no great mystery about how to have a healthy lifestyle, but in practice it is really hard. I don’t have any secret, easy way to lose fifty pounds, but I lost fifty pounds over the course of a year or so. I don’t have a magical method to instill healthy habits, but I have discovered that getting up early to meditate makes the whole day better.
I’m super lazy and prone to depression, so motivating myself to do things like HIIT workouts is an uphill battle. I struggle with compulsive snacking and spend too much time playing SIM city on my iPad. I’m finding balance, but it’s awkward.
My purpose for this blog is to share what I learn as I strive to be healthy and balanced. My hope is that my experience can help others who want to integrate healthy habits into their lives. I’m not here with any easy answers or pithy tips for a balanced life, but I will share what’s working and not working for me.
My goal is to be healthier in my fifties than I ever have been in my adult life. What does that mean?
- A diet centered around organic foods close to their natural state.
- Almost no alcohol, minimal refined sugar, and no gluten.
- Daily exercise, yoga, and walks.
- Increased strength, flexibility, and endurance over time.
- Regular creative output.
- Financial well-being as I plan for retirement.
- Healthy daily habits and rituals for mindfulness and productivity.
- Adventure, travel, and fun without sacrificing my health.
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