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Time is a Thief

I have no idea what I want to say.  What I do know is that I have been bogged down all day with a weight on my mind but unable to pinpoint it.  Tonight while taking an Epsom salt and lavender bath, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness.  I felt the gravity of this world.  I felt sadness for my kids growing up in this time of life.  I feel like my kids are facing an uphill battle and I am not able to protect them from it, let alone help them prepare for it because it is affecting my generation as well.

My parents’ generation saw an increasing divorce rate.  Moms started returning to work.  Jump in the saving grace of Hamburger Helper and Hungry Man frozen dinners.  Drive thrus increased in popularity as our parents faced an increasing pace of life and the stretching of time so thin there was no longer time to fix a full home-cooked dinner for the family; introducing my generation to the start of highly processed food and fast food alternatives.  Now, as my generation is fully submerged in technology’s mach-speed pace of life, taking time to prepare healthy food for us and our kids is for the minority.  However, if we do not wake up to this disparity, this “minority” will be all that is left.

As a nurse I see countless of individuals in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s with auto-immune disease, “strange” cancers such as brain cancers – glioblastomas for one, kidney failure, heart disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, and the like.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!!  My children’s generation is the first one predicted to die before their parents.  THIS IS NOT OK!!  Eating clean and taking time to meal prep is my new standard.  Do my kids joke about mom eating kale all the time (I don’t ever eat kale, although kale chips are pretty tasty)?  Do they joke about plant-based protein and measuring my portions?  Absolutely!  But are they learning by my example?  I sure hope so.

Don’t get me wrong, they are still kids – ok, teenagers.  They eat fast food and go get “coffee” with their friends.  But the amount of processed foods they are eating has greatly decreased.  Will it make a difference?  Who knows??  But I sure hope so.

Aside from diet, the increase in social media and technology via personal electronic devices and increase in video gaming has prompted a sedentary lifestyle.  My kids see me working out at least 5 day/week.  They see me getting stronger, having more energy, being more active, losing weight and helping others do the same.  Will it change their lives?  Who knows??  But I sure hope so!

I watched my sister bury her 5-week old baby girl due to several congenital issues.  I’ve watched friends bury their children due to cancers, auto-immune diseases, congenital diseases, and sudden illness.  I hope I never have to bury my child.

Time is a thief.  After working with a patient of mine who is 19-weeks pregnant and seeing the baby on ultrasound, I look back on my kids’ lives and wonder where the time has gone.  My oldest son leaves in 4 months for boot camp for the Army National Guard – a decision I am so proud of him for making.  My youngest starts driver’s education in the fall.  You don’t get any of those days back.  Once their teens and are being social in their own little lives, hanging out with friends, getting jobs, and doing what teens do as they start preparing to leave the “nest”, they aren’t as interested in hanging out with mom anymore.  So I watch from a distance…and repeatedly ponder, “Where has the time gone?”  How much have I missed because I had to work full-time to support them?  How much have I missed because on top of working full-time, I also had to go to school full-time in order to have a career that would support us and our future?

I strive to enjoy my time with them now and not ruminate on what I have missed.  I did not have a choice.  Our future depended on those sacrifices.  However, each night I struggle falling asleep because deep inside me there is a pocket of dread for what my kids might face tomorrow.  And all I can do is pray they will be okay.  Pray that the seeds that were planted when they were small have taken root and will guide them as they grow.  Pray that they continue to be open and learn; and learn from their experiences and mistakes.  I pray they have a good, happy, and uncomplicated life.  I pray they take their faces out of their phones and enjoy the company of those around them.  I pray they make a difference; that they affect change in their circle and in society.  I pray they recognize my sacrifices and what I have instilled through example, and that they know without a shadow of a doubt how much I love them, believe in them, and how much they are capable of.

I pray we have a long time together still; uncomplicated, in health, and in happiness.  For time is a thief.

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Changes Galore

My “new” life journey is now a solid six months in.  While the outward physical changes are so rewarding, the inner changes of spirit, mind, and body are priceless!  Eating clean, adding a “daily dose of dense nutrition” simply through adding Shakeology in the morning, and adding exercise to my daily living has helped me establish a strong foundation.

I would go so far as to say getting to this place of jumping in and doing it has taken years, many starts and stops, yet never giving up.  I have always desired healthy living, however, during earlier times in my life, looking back on those times, what I was trying was not right for me and I unconsciously allowed the obstacles I was facing to be stronger than the inner fighter within me.

Stability in my relationship has been key to changes along my life path.  When I met Will, I was struggling very much with depression.  I had a negative thought process which I passed off as being a realist.  He challenged me to, at least, not post negative thoughts/feelings on Facebook.  This impacted me – I love this man so deeply and did not want him thinking I was being negative…so I became cognizant and stopped this bad habit.  That was three years ago.  As I stopped putting out negativity, I noticed my thought process changing and my depression becoming more stable.

Jump ahead three years and I am so positive-focused and my mind frame is steeped in positivity.  Clean eating has no doubt contributed to my mood stabilization.  Depression and anxiety are null – that does not mean I am inhuman and do not have my “bad days” or struggle with things like PMS!  But I handle those times so much better!  I feel inner peace, joy, contentment.  I love my life!!  This is an amazing place to be at!  I had always struggled with life and the challenges of life.  When those challenges come now I am stronger and due to being positive-focused am able to weather these “storms”.  Through strengthening my body, developing mental strength and habits for positivity I come through these “storms” faster and more successful than I would have in years past.  I do not become derailed like I used to.  I also embrace the storms because that is how we grown and change – like metal, we are refined by fire!

While my excitement for each new day and my improving metabolism springs me out of bed each morning now and keeps me from napping (I seriously used to nap almost everyday and now cannot nap for the life of me!!) I thrive on the passion and positivity that flows through my soul daily.  I want to share that and bring that to the lives of anyone yearning for it…and stopping at nothing to get there.  It is possible!

Who Are You?!

Today I am not myself.

That being said, I have chosen to go back on my antidepressant.  This looks like failure in my mind at the moment, however, since stopping my medication almost a month ago I have slowly declined and today I do not recognize the positive, optimistic, change-embracer (I’m declaring this a real word) of six weeks ago.  I have grown in irritability, anger, and pessimism; depression has reclaimed a toe-hold in my life again.  I will not let it get a foothold!  I tell my patients, medications for mental illness are like medications for diabetes, or high blood pressure…if you needed to manage your diabetes with insulin for your body to function properly, would you withhold insulin or metformin??  No!!  Same with antidepressants – and all other psychotropic medications.  If my brain needs help keeping its serotonin levels at a functional level, I’m not going to withhold my antidepressant.  Why would I not heed the advice I give my own patients? Where is the accountability and logic in that?

The past several months have been the best months of my entire life mentally – I will get back to that level of function.  But for now I will be gentle with myself.  I will work on accepting this physiological need and revisit it in the future.  I will continue to press forward, stabilize, and press some more…I will never quit hoping and I will never give up.