Deferred Maintenance

We’re in the middle of a house dance. The old home is sold, the new home is nearly complete and in the meantime we’re in a “layover” apartment.  It’s a dance that started in earnest in 2015 when we decided we needed to 1) move closer to Seattle and 2) move to a more walkable, more urban environment.

Early in 2015, we had the old home inspected to see what we needed tackle before putting it on the market. Everything was sound, but there were a few items of “deferred maintenance” that needed addressing – like dinged up rounded corners on drywall and upstairs wall-to-wall carpeting that really had served beyond its intended lifespan.

That phrase – “deferred maintenance” – stuck with me and I don’t want to let that happen again in the new home or… with my own health.

As a software engineer, I sit a lot. A whole lot. And while I used to be a gym rat, that really hasn’t been the case in more than a decade. And while I’m not at my heaviest weight by any means, my BMI still places me in the obese category and my legs and core are super weak.

I’ve “deferred maintenance” on my own health, and it is past time to stop doing that.

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Leftovers

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It was sunny today. Ideally I would have gone to walk + jog around the lake at the warmest time of the day, but I didn’t and was stuck with “leftovers” – right at sunset.

I’m going to work at that. I’m going to try again to not fill up my day with a million things to do and leave leftovers for self-care. 

But at least I did this. 

You’re Always Gonna Be Afraid

In a recent episode of Doctor Who, Clara delivers a memorable monologue to reassure a frightened child-who-will-one-day-be-the-Doctor (props Anibundel for the text):

“Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger… Fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to anything else, listen to this. You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home… Fear makes companions of us all.”

Lately I’ve felt pretty resigned to always being cowardly – that I’ll never be able to stand up to an abusive person and that I will always have this pathological need to see both peoples’ points of view about something (sometimes there really is only one person telling the truth) and to find ways that something bad that happened might have happened without bad motives (sometimes, though, some people do malicious things, plain and simple.)

So, one of the things Clara said seemed to be in bold, directed especially at me…

“Fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.”

Kind? So, cowardly I get – afraid to act at all – I get that – freezing. Cruel I get – the abused can become the abuser. And I could see cruel also being telling the victim you’ll do something on their behalf and then not doing it, or revictimizing them.

But kind?

Huh?

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about these lines. Like I said, they felt directed right at me. Especially the word “kind.” What could that mean? Was there something valuable here for me to take away or was I overthinking a pop-culture phenom?

So… I’ve come to the conclusion that “kind” here could mean decisive action on behalf of the likely victim, without pausing to ruminate on “both sides of a story.” It’s not turning the other cheek and expecting the victim to do so too, but grasping the likely abuser’s hand and forcefully saying “enough!”

So, I’m coming around to thinking that’s what it means – that fear can prompt you to take decisive action on the victim’s behalf. But how can I train my mind to make that the most likely response under pressure? I need to think about this some more. Expect a part two sometime.

Red Belt and Leg Days

Looks like I will be a red belt in taekwondo a while longer. I wasn’t able to break a board with a push front kick (a teep in muay thai.). I nearly broke it, but not quite.

I really need to get serious with strength training for my legs. I’ve never been even slightly fond of it, but to get to black belt, and for my own fitness in general, I need to do it. My leg muscles got very weak a couple years ago from spending half the day sitting between day job and trying to get our side hustle launched, and although I’m no longer having trouble ascending a flight of stairs (although 7 flights can wear me out) I still can’t get back up from a lunge without pressing off with a hand or two.

Squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg presses, here I come. For reals this time.

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A Cherokee Face

Tonight at Taekwondo, after several solid rounds of sparring and while practicing my form, I caught a glimpse of my face in the wall mirror.

And it struck me for the first time ever – with my hair wet with sweat and dark and long and my eyes intense and my cheekbones and everything – that I could see my Cherokee heritage in my face.

And it felt proud and strong and good.