Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. – Henry David Thoreau
“A ship is always safe in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.” – John A. Shedd
Health is wealth…balance your ledger!!
OK, 2018 is well on it’s way, we’re almost through January so I have to ask, how’s the New Year’s resolutions going? I thought about the old annual bid for betterment a few days ago while at the gym. Midway through a set I wondered how many people were there at that very moment because they are staying true to their resolutions. My cousin Ryan, who’s also my long-time gym buddy, have probably asked that same question to each other every single year since we ourselves started going about ten years ago. Each January, we’d see hordes of fresh faces that we had never seen before show up looking confused, a little out of place but ultimately ready and willing to start their journey toward a more active lifestyle.
It’s great seeing those people come through the gym doors for the first time (or starting back up), good for them, it’s about time they took charge and start taking care of themselves. It’s true, I do get excited when people tell me that they have gotten themselves a gym membership or have made their fitness a priority again, it’s motivating. Being the resident gym nut at work, people always share their fitness goals and woes with me. The stories including high-fives and way-to-go’s, I can listen to all day. It’s the stories of “life is just too crazy right now” or “I’ll start Monday” that reminds me how looking after yourself can easily stops being important.
Take me for instance, back in the fall I was struck with chronic neck pain, not sure exactly what it was, I honestly think it was stress, whatever it was, it took me out of the game. I have had aches and pains before, but this neck thing was quite possibly the worst I had experienced in my life…it sucked. Being the religious gym-goer that I am, agony like that almost made me turn my back on ever being 100% again, I was starting to think this was a lifer. I have a whole new respect for people who suffer from chronic pain, it’s not easy to live with for sure. Soon, I was scaling back my gym routine, not going as often, and I started to become OK with the littlest of excuses not to go workout. Ryan’s a new dad and a great dad at that, so understandably he had to cancel on me from time to time, when he did, I forfeited to the couch and was again, fine with that. It played with my head because I knew what I was doing and did nothing to curve it. For the first time in my life I was falling into the deep dark abyss of becoming lazy and giving up.
Finally, just after the holidays I had a moment, somehow I had finally awoken something inside me. I smartened up and told myself “Come on Ash, this is not you, not you at all”. So, once the new year rolled in I made myself a promise, you can call it a New Year’s resolution, call it what you want but something was about to change. Damned if I was going to let a little neck pain (it wasn’t little, “dramatic effect”), I wasn’t going to let any more excuses get in the way of getting better and get in the way of something that’s very important to me which is my health and working out. Fast forward to now, I am happy to report that Ryan and I are on week three of an eight week program, take that neck pain.
My faithful readers, there lies my point. Never let yourself become idle, never allow yourself to give up, sure life throws a lot at you but if you don’t take care of yourself then you might not be around to enjoy it. Yes, work is crazy, I agree juggling kids can be impossible, and there doesn’t seem to be enough time, I get it, I really do, but listen, where do you fit into all of this? You too deserve a little time for yourself to enjoy the things that for some reason has fallen to the wayside. The gym is my thing, but take this example and apply it to what you have lost along the way or have given up on. Giving up is easy, oh, and if you need something like a New Year’s resolution to do it then by all means, go for it, but let’s take it up a notch and make it one better, let’s all go ahead and make it a life resolution.
What a day!!!, and I took full advantage of it. Today was another holiday Monday so I was eager to hit the trails early and see where two tires could take me. I had a quick breakfast, greased up the bike and boom, out the door, nothing but the warm sun and dusty trails in my future. A few ideas on where I wanted to go were popping up in my head but with the beauty of a bike, all that would change as quick as walk and don’t walk. Taking off from the house, zipping down the sidewalk, as long as I have two legs and a heart beat, anywhere is possible.
It was very hot, so I made sure to bring extra water which is vital on a day like today. You have to remember to hydrate, and oh yeah, make sure to wear sunblock, I was one for one and now I have a print where my backpack was. Anyway, there I was, riding through the park and taking it all in when the above caught my eye. I had to take a picture, I guess it was the way the red was contrasting the green. This brings me to a side-note, my photography, which I hardly call it that, is another benefit of getting out on the bike. I find that I absorb more of my surroundings, I see things that make me circle back and take another look. It’s poetic, I can take a simple moment like the above and interpret it any way I see fit, it’s natures way of giving back because I’ve finally slowed down to take notice. There’s something calming about my bike rides, it’s like i’m a boy again with the adventure, silly I know, but get on a bike and see how you feel.
I took it up a notch and went downtown, took the trail way all the way down to the south side point, and made good time too I might add. One bike bucket list for me was Fort Amherst, which is a historical site within the city that’s easily accessible and provided the perfect backdrop to a already awesome day. All of these pictures are from there, it was too gorgeous not too capture a few shots to share. I grew up in a very small rural community, so seeing the water, the boats, and the wharves brought back some really cool memories…ah the ocean.
Crazy happy to get out for a ride today, 36k for a couple hours wasn’t too bad. Have to say though, I’m pretty tired from the trip and along with the sweltering sun, it kind of zzzzzzzzzzz, oops sorry, it kind of kicked my butt to be honest. It’s a good butt-kicking though, you know?, after you go one on one with mother nature. To challenge yourself to keep moving forward with everything you got, trust me, I had some moments but I dug deep and got through it. There’s a fitness perk with this bike riding too which is another reason I feel in love with it all over again. Yup, since I started biking I have discovered a whole new world right under my nose. Places in this city I never knew existed and it’s still keeping me on my toes, even today was another road less traveled for me. My bike, much like writing, have become passions of mine, and today I got to do both…life is good?
I’ve been nursing a real bad neck as of late, I have no idea what might have caused it, all I know is that it’s been nagging me for awhile now. It could be the gym, quite possibly from shoveling or maybe it’s the way I slept, something has been causing me to slow turn my head for the past two weeks. I was never one to just tolerate the pain so I have been doing my best to rehab it as much as possible, so far, though, the pain keeps coming back. Over the years I’ve accumulated my share of bumps, bruises, and broken bones but with time I healed and the pain all went away, I always bounced back 100%.
This neck thing does bother me a lot, but I’m still doing everything I normally do, there’s a discomfort but I manage the pain enough to get through it. To aid in my recovery, I’m using the help of the gym, heating lotions, stretching and my doctor has prescribed me some pills too but I only take them when I absolutely need to (not a fan). I have resorted to a more physiotherapy like approach when it comes to my gym workout and I make sure not to overdo it which is important when you are rehabbing any type of injury. Best not to push it and make something worst. If you sit at a desk all week like I do it’s good to take some time during your day to work out your strained muscles, working in front of a monitor can wreak havoc on your posture and can also make an existing injury flare up something fierce. I try to pay attention to how I am sitting to alleviate some discomfort created by slouching or hunching over at my desk which I’m guilty of from time to time. Heat has seemed to provide me with the most relief; I have been using a magic bag and a heat rub to loosen the tight muscles in my neck. When it comes to our bodies, we know ourselves the best and we all respond to treatment differently; some of the things that I have suggested are things that you can try for yourself. I do want to point out that if you are experiencing pain on any level, it’s best to consult a doctor and then with that advice you can start your road to recovery.
Dealing with pain is awful; my stepfather had to live with pain each and every day for about a five year period not long ago. He injured himself on the job and was faced with a future of surgeries, painkillers, and extensive rehab that even then provided no absolute surety that he would get back to his old self. I saw that man who is by far the strongest man I know concede that he was at the mercy of chronic pain and on his darkest day cursed everything and wanted to quit. I earned a lot of respect for people suffering in chronic pain because of the hell my stepdad had to endure during his recovery. Because of his will and the support of the family, he’s completely back to himself today but for awhile there, he was doubtful that he would ever truly be rid of the pain entirely.
Staying healthy is a challenge, we try our best to take care of ourselves but sometimes the unpredictability of life proves that anything can happen. We break and bleed all the time, as far back as our days of bumping into corners and falling off our bikes, we are all too familiar with the feeling of pain. Now that I’m older it’s becoming apparent that I may not fix as easy as I used to, I need to do my part but I also need to accept going to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right. I know people who avoid the hospital at all the time which actually puzzles me, why? Ego? Denial? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself but I hope my dialog has made you think about how important it is to look after yourself. We have friends and family that love and depend on us so we have to think about them too, they matter and so do you, don’t forget that. My neck got me thinking and this post was just my way of exploring my thought…next time I make a post though I promise it won’t be so much of a Pain in the Ash.