Simple changes for a more positive life

5354_495879830465142_164159189_n

So as I get older and am fully entrenched in my mid-life crisis, I think a lot about the changes I have made in my life and the changes I am still working on. Here are some things I have done differently in the last 5 years to lead a more positive and healthy life. I am by no means perfect, and I certainly don’t feel positive everyday – but I at least try to acknowledge to myself that I am at least headed in the right direction. Change is hard – but I find everyday that the long-term benefits far outweigh the temporary difficulty.

1. I got rid of toxic people in my life. Seriously, I dropped people I loved like a bad habit. I am a people person and for the majority of my life I have surrounded myself with anyone who was willing to be there – even if they caused me pain or were cruel or just bad influences. I had an Ah-Ha moment about the people in my life a few years ago and just stopped talking to damn near everyone for a while. I stopped worrying about what they were saying about me. I realized quickly that most of them didn’t even notice my absence. There are a few of those people who received explanations for why I was no longer allowing them in my life, but for many of them I felt the sentiment would be lost (and they didn’t seem to care anyway) so I didn’t explain. I simply ‘left’. It is liberating to break the chain of unhealthy relationships and so far, my life has only been better for it.

2. I quit drinking. I abused alcohol for the majority of my adult life. Now, I haven’t quit completely – the other night I had a few beers for the first time in a while (oh the headache I had the next day!), and I occasionally indulge in a rum and coke. What I did was to quit abusing  alcohol. I no longer get completely black out drunk EVERYDAY which is what I did for about 8 years or so. This also goes back to change number 1 – In order to make this change, I had to distance myself from my drinking friends. Those drinking friends that could not handle my change in habits are no longer people I associate with. I ended my military career to ensure that I could get out of a ‘drinking culture’ that was killing me. So I am still willing and able to go have a few beers or indulge in a nightcap – I am just no longer willing for that to be my entire lifestyle and dictate every single action I take.

3. I changed my eating habits. I LOVE bacon, and cheese, and bread, and red meat, and pasta, and anything that has one or more of these ingredients mixed together in obscene amounts. I make a delicious lasagna that is probably easily 5000 calories a serving. As my body started falling apart though, and I learned that I had to have my gall bladder removed because it was filled with crap – as well as cholesterol numbers that are off the charts (my triglycerides numbers made my doctor almost choke on her gum) I knew I had to make serious changes as well as take a pill everyday to try an avoid pancreatic cancer. So while I am on a medication now that is helping with my cholesterol, it can’t fix me by itself. So vegetables have entered my life and they are delicious! Who knew? I no longer eat red meat EVERYDAY, and when I do eat red meat I pay extra to make sure it is lean and healthy(er) for me. Kitten made the house switch to wheat pasta. We started a garden and have made meals consisting mostly of ingredients and herbs right from our backyard. We switched from everything with butter – to almost everything with extra virgin olive oil. I eat avocados for a snack instead of Doritos. We are weening ourselves off of fattening things like sour cream and cheese by using a half-and-half method (half reg sour cream/half light sour cream – same with cheese). It’s less of shock to our spoiled taste buds, and it seems to be working. I am working on liking fish. I have eaten more fish in the last two years than my entire life put together – I am still not a big fan, but it is a gradual process. I don’t call what we are doing in our house a diet, and we don’t deny ourselves anything when we want it – we just try to make more good choices than bad ones, and we are all losing weight and improving our ‘numbers’.  I think people fail at diets because you go from 100 to 0 and it is just too much for most people to maintain. By not denying ourselves and just focusing on small yet significant changes – we are teaching our bodies to appreciate veggies instead of cheese. I think it is a mindset that can last.

4. I stopped arguing with ignorant people on the Internet. I started this blog because I want to talk about everything. I want to learn opposing viewpoints, but I want them presented in a manner that promotes decent conversation and learning rather than the Internet tough guy crap that is rampant online. I find there is no need to respond to the person in a comment thread that flings obscenities to prove their point, or the person who is so entrenched in their ideals that they can’t maintain civility when defending their position. I still read too much of the ignorance and get mad. I let my emotions control my responses – but I am actively trying to change that and emotionally I am better for it. Being positive and responding to ignorance with silence has allowed me to start thinking before I speak (or type) and I find that is working out quite well. I also started the Tolerant People Facebook page that includes only posts that inform, affirm, and entertain (cats and dogs mostly), I think people like it. I enjoy doing it and looking for things to post keeps me learning and affirming everyday.

5. I gave up religion. I still have God. I just don’t have a bunch of people telling me what God is or what he/she/it wants. I am fascinated by the world religions and thoroughly enjoy learning about all of them, but I no longer feel the need to dedicate my life to any of them. When I lived in Baptist land, they always said to develop a personal relationship with God, so I have. I don’t think they understand the concept yet because if they did they would focus inward instead of out… but to each their own. I know that God and I are good. I know that I am not going to put God in a box and limit God to my limited worldview. I let God be whatever – God may be the universe itself, God may be my own soul and conciseness, God may be nature, or a simple thought. Whatever God is though – I am not the one to define it for anyone else. Letting go of the concept that I needed to save the world by making people believe the way I did has made me a better person all around.

So there it is. A few changes I have made to improve my physical and emotional well being. I still have a long way to go. I want to learn to meditate (I don’t seem to have the attention span for it yet) and start yoga or something. I need to quit smoking. I need to manage money better and find employment someplace that won’t destroy all the work I have done to make myself better (in other words, the practice of not allowing my outside world to ruin my inner peace). We need to get a drinking water dispenser so we stop using so many plastic bottles. I want to volunteer somewhere. I am currently working on caffeine and soda intake; I drink Coke Zero by the bucket – but haven’t had one in almost two weeks (the facts on aspartame scared me into this change).

So dear readers, what have you done to make a positive change in your life? What changes do you think you need to make in order to be healthier and happier? 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Simple changes for a more positive life

  1. I first would like to say good job and add that I am very proud of you (for so many reasons). It is so hard for people to change; our habits, our surroundings, our choices and society in general make changing even harder. It takes a strong person to look at themselves and be honest about what they see. So kudos to you and keep up all the good work!! You are AWESOME!

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s