#deanslife · death · monthly check in · motivation

Sam is Checking in for December, #monthlycheckin

A red and pink heart shaped rock, resting on fall leaves on the ground, sprinkled with snow. It’s hand painted and the black letters read “every day is a fresh start.”

You can read all my past monthly check-in posts here.  They all have a content warning for discussions of weight loss, including this one.

What’s up? (and down?):  I’m working out a fair bit. I’m going to easily make my goal of 218 workouts in 2018. I’m doing lots of different things and enjoying them. But something feels different now. It’s catch as catch can. I don’t mean that in a bad way but I’m not training. It’s not purposeful. It’s fun and it feels good but I’m learning that, for me, that’s not enough motivation. It’s got me thinking about life and plans and what makes me tick.

On the one hand I’m impressed that I’m managing to work out while dean-ing, but on the other, I want to achieve something. I need goals, people. Big goals. Like being the fittest by fifty! But not that. I’ve been there and done that and co-written the book. You can buy it here

I’m a type A goal achieving sort of person and I need that in my fitness if it’s going to be fun.

But there’s only so much Type A my life can take. And Dean-ing is a big job. I don’t mean that just in terms of hours. It’s also about scope of responsibility and making big plans. It’s no surprise that my big fitness burst took place during my break from academic admin roles. I was Chair of Philosophy at Western from 2002-2011 (with a year off for good behavior somewhere in the middle, hello Australia!). I started Dean-ing in 2018. The fittest by fifty challenge and this blog began in 2012. Tracy and I turned 50 in 2014.

So big ambitious jobs and big ambitious fitness goals aren’t fitting together very well for me. That might be just fine.  The one, modest but very important goal I do have concerns my knee. It’s a lot of work!  All of this damaged knee maintenance is wearing me down. Yes, I’m doing the thing. I’m losing weight. I’m doing physio. I’m so far successful at wearing the knee brace when I am doing long walks. 

And fitness is still fun but I’m also still sad about all the things I miss: No more running. (See sad bye bye running post.) Definitely no more soccer. I’ve  also said goodbye to Aikido, but not here on the blog. I’ve been too sad to even write about that loss. I’ve got a post in the drafts folder about how I miss throwing people around but I can’t finish it. 

I keep  thinking I should just stop blogging about fitness-y things, make it a less central part of who I am.  Blog about dean-ing? Or, sometimes I keep looking for big fitness goals I can do, like riding and lifting. Or continue to make progress with swimming. Or new things I want to try like horseback riding.

Basically, I’m a bit at sea with things, still struggling, and not sure how it will all turn out.  December is also a sad time. It’s the third anniversary of my father’s death. My uncle in England just died.  I still think this doesn’t get easier, losing people. See One of the hardest parts of getting older: Friends, family, illness, and death.

Oh and it’s dark, really dark. We’ve got the earliest sunsets right about now. And some days it doesn’t ever seem to get light at all.

On the bright side, I’m really loving my new job. I love the College and all the exciting work that’s being done here. I also love Guelph. You can come check it out in January at the Night at the Museum Event. Register here.

Obviously, I’m still thinking this all through. The one thing I do know is that I’ve got some big bike goals for 2019. I am reading about kicking my cycling goals into high gear.

And I might schedule knee surgery–partial knee replacement–for the future. If I could choose the date it’d be fall 2019.

Have you ever had “at sea” times? Big life changes? Tough stuff but I’m thinking it through!

I share lots of #sportsselfies but here’s a #deanselfie to balance it out!

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#officeselfie #deanatwork #feministselfie @uog_arts

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4 thoughts on “Sam is Checking in for December, #monthlycheckin

  1. Love your Dean coat! I have gotten to the point where I have so many places where I feel like I’m “putting myself out there and hanging off a metaphorical cliff,” that I have mostly stopped with specific race or event goals, except maybe one or two a year. I want my workouts to be fun and sometimes hard or very hard, but I don’t want them to become a source of pressure or disappointment, which can easily happen if I’m, say, training for a marathon or some such. Probably I should get better at processing my self-disappointment, but for the past few years I’ve chosen to not put myself in the path of self-disappointment when it comes to my sports (with some exceptions). Don’t stop writing on these subjects!

  2. Your post was so resonant for me! It’s provoked lots of thoughts and feelings.

    Being menopausal on the way to post-menopausal feels like a big life change. My body is different, and I am not as resilient as I used to be (need more sleep, get more fatigued, am more scattered and less efficient). Big fitness/life goals for me these days are about publicly committing to process: the process of getting stronger (ankle sprain and DVT were a big big big wake-up call for this); the process of getting back to cycling more than last year (goal for this year– being comfortable on 50-mile rides; last year was 30+ mile rides); and making room in my life for a dog, which will promote even more activity (which I look forward to). I’m continuing the process of some yoga almost every day. Also, I have never felt in proper shape for hiking, but love the woods, so am returning to the process of trying that out more.

    Your sadness about leaving things behind is something I really get. I have left behind squash (I don’t think my ankle is going to manage it again) and serious ocean kayaking (recreational is fine).

    My big fitness sadness is leaving behind specific cycling goals (for now), because I’ve tried that for a couple of years and it hasn’t worked out. I don’t want the bitter disappointment of not meeting them right now. Whew, it hurts to write this.

    On the sunnier side: I’m thinking about returning to tap dancing– I used to do this a lot in my 20s and 30s, and taught and even performed. Again, ankles– I need you! Taking a class would be fun.

    Thanks for the post, and for provoking some good thinking about goals at this point in our lives.

  3. I hope you continue to blog about finding a balance between work goals and fitness and a lifestyle choice.
    Maybe that means less work. Maybe it means less concrete fitness goals. Maybe it’s sleep that gives.

    Whatever you try, your experience and sharing helps us all.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I am a junior faculty person and I’m curious about administration – how do people manage? So thanks for sharing bits of that. (I’m fortunate to have a good chair right now).

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