Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles


People sometimes describe death as a “transition.” Grief is a transition too, from life with the loved one to life without the loved one. Depending on the person, it might or might not take long to learn how to function without the lost loved one, but it might take a very long time indeed to thrive again. We’re simply not the same people we were when our loved ones were alive.

I am nowhere near the point of thriving. I am functioning. I’ve been functioning at different levels for the past three years (including the year Kaz was sick), from very high, to running on fumes, to barely able to get out of bed, and now at a less-than-average level of drudgery. I have indulged much and exercised little, always telling myself I’ll deal with it later, I can only handle so much at once. Well, the time has come to deal with it. The other day I wrote about self-imposed change and trying to accomplish what was on my old vision board. If I am to change anything in my life, first I need to change myself.

Number one on my list is exercise. I need to move more. When Kaz and I were dating we used to cycle up to 30 miles every weekend. I was swimming at one point, hiking and doing yoga. But all activity has dwindled in the past couple of years. These days walking my dog doesn’t really count as exercise. Neither does taking her to the dog park. I need to break a sweat on a regular basis, get my heart rate up, make my lungs work harder, build up my stamina and strength. These shoes are the first step.

New kickls

I bought them yesterday after doing some research on good running shoes for women. Time will tell how they perform on the road, but when I tried them on they felt like walking on cushioned air. In a strange coincidence, right before I left to go buy them, the person behind the blog milerunner.me started following my blog. His blog is all about running a mile every day, no more, no less, just one mile every day, 365 days a year. I don’ t know if I’ll be doing that, or how long I’ll be running at all, but I’m already finding his blog informative and inspiring.

Number two on my list is alcohol (as in less of it). For the past couple of years, I have been drinking almost every night, not litres of vodka mind you. My preferred poison is wine. I’m also a fan of beer and lately of Jameson, the Irish Whiskey. That stuff is delicious. I don’t have a drinking problem (go ahead, roll your eyes), but I do admit that on the few occasions when I’ve tried to cut back, the longest I lasted was four or five days. It doesn’t help that on my favorite TV shows, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, everyone’s always drinking. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Don Draper pour himself a drink and thought, “that looks good, I’m going to join him!” Luckily, three out of four of these shows are going away soon. Then I’ll only have to deal with the show about bootleg gangsters in the Prohibition era (sigh).

No wonder I’ve gained weight in the last few years. I’m not one of those women who puts a whole of stock in weight – I think how you feel is much more important. But I feel shitty, and my weight is a concern. I am 5’3 and, as of this afternoon, weigh 198 lbs fully clothed. If you saw me in person, you probably wouldn’t believe it because my body carries the weight well (I’ve been blessed with hour-glass porportions). Nevertheless, according to this chart, a woman of my height should weigh between 111 and 147 lbs. Even if I were on the higher end, that’s still 50 lbs lighter than now, and therefore a health risk.

As the Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

How are you feeling these days? Do you exercise?

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

23 thoughts on “The Journey of a Thousand Miles

  1. Rock it!

    I have been able to lose some weight (ugh) recently by simply not drinking Mon-Friday — if we’re drinking (easily) 150-300+ calories every night (possibly more) in addition to food and not enough cardio….we’re (buttered) toast. You have the advantage of not being in/near menopause which then allows you a whole 1,600 calories a day….which is freaking nothing.

    I do drink on weekends, but not a huge amount. I am also trying to work out 4 days every week. If I were truly serious, it would be six, but how boring is that?????

    I think anyone who has been through your specific form of hell is entitled to move as slowly as necessary while grieving….probably life-long, but certainly to the point of inertia at first. I admire your candor and willingness to try and deal with the aftermath on your body.

    Good luck!!!!!

    • Thanks! 4 days a week sounds very respectable to me, as does not drinking M-F. I’m going to attempt that as well. Why is it so hard??

      • Breaking habits is HELL. I slacked off completely while on vacation — we have (turns out) a limited amount of self-discipline and it gets used up fast! So the not-drinking is easy — do not buy wine or beer and keep your mitts off the hard liquor til the weekend. You WILL see a difference within a few weeks and that is motivating. The exercise thing….UGH.

        But I like your new shoes! 🙂

      • Thanks. Self-discipline has never been my strength, but I’m going to give it my all this time. Here’s to the dry work week! 🙂

  2. I’ve found that exercising is as good for the soul as for the body (in fact, I’m just back from water aerobics class). No matter what my mood was on entering, it’s better leaving.

    That chart was a real drag. Last weekend I finally pulled out my summer clothes (it’s been a very cold, wet spring, still in jackets 😦 ) and – somehow – all my summer clothes shrank. I mean – that must be it, right?

    Anyway, the shoes look gorgeous, Ruby will love the exercise and you’ll feel great. Go for it!

    • Thanks! I love the water aerobics idea. I think any exercise in water is probably the best for the body. My father swims almost every day and he’s a healthy 84 year old! As for the chart, didn’t mean to bring you down. I bet very few of us fit on it anyway.

  3. I’m not one to recommend “diet books”… and I’m not a reader of self-help stuff … however 😉 I really like http://mireilleguiliano.com/ and her book “French Women Don’t Get Fat”.

    After I separated with my ex in 2000 I lost 50lbs and kept it off (for the most part). I walked close to 90 minutes a day in those first few years, ate modestly, small portions throughout the day, and alcohol only on weekends is a good place to start.

    I’ve fluctuated a bit over the years…but I’ve never gone back to my old habits. Everything in moderation, basically, I think is the key. I found that book after I’d lost the weight, but the phrase I love of hers says it all for me…. “there comes a time in a woman’s life when she has to stop thinking about the size of her ass, and start thinking about her face”. Basically saying that alittle weight in your face as you age keeps your skin stretched out, therefore, making you look younger.

    Don’t beat yourself up. It took you how long to develop your bad habits?, and it will take a bit for you to gain more good ones. At first it does take abit of restraint and to get started you really do have to restrict yourself…but after the first 20 lbs or so, you just slowly start to re-introduce those delicious things you love…just not as much of them, and not as often. Save them, honour those delectable treats as the rare beauties they are, and keep them for special times. Then when you do indulge you can splurge a bit and buy the best.

    Walking, being active, eating like a bird for a few days AFTER you indulge in those beautiful 6 course extravaganza’s all foody’s crave, and basically being cautious about what you consume, is what I’ve done since 2000.

    I won’t say it’s easy, but if you just keep at it, knocking away at your bad habits, then your body will just naturally start to help you out and you won’t crave the crap – you will want to be active – and you will shed the extra shite you’ve been draggin’ around.

    • Thanks, Paula. I think my sister might have mentioned the French “diet” to me before. Anyway, from the brief scan of the website it looks great and like something I would feel comfortable with. I definitely need to shop at the farmer’s market more. It’s just a matter of putting my mind to it.

      I love that you’ve been through this before and changed your eating habits and stuck to them. This is inspiring indeed!

      • One tip I thought of last night…WINE SPRITZER 😉 Soda and whatever grapey libation you desire, with a piece of fruit at the bottom…and you can call it a fruit salad.

        I’m not going to say it’s not difficult, because you are re-engineering your entire diet. Yet its something alot of us really need to do.

        Read labels – increase fiber intake, reduce sugar, and avoid trans-fats (hydrogenated oil). Just those 3 things will make your grocery shopping experience more like a research project. 😉

  4. Functioning. I think I was almost back to functioning after 3+ years since Paul’s death. I even got back to writing, was not so immobile. My sister’s death in 2012 set me back again, Now my little grandson’s death 5 weeks ago, and I am immobile again. I did start riding my bike a few days ago, placed my exercise bike on my deck, still writing…but that’s about it.
    So, in my opinion walking the dog does count!
    I always have to be careful not to set my goals too high, because in this state the fall can hurt pretty bad. Of course, my goals are almost undetectable :>)

    • Hi Patti, my heart goes out to you. That is a lot of loss in a short time frame. That’s wonderful you are still writing and back on yoru bike. One day at a time, right? It’s true that walking the dog is exercise but it’s not enough for me at the moment. I totally agree about not setting goals too high. I’m giving myself a year, but hope to achieve my goals before then. 🙂

      • My heart goes out to you also, thank you! I don’t blog about this much because I’m trying to keep my place more “professional” for books I’m working on, so it is nice to hang out with people on their blogs. Thank you!

  5. I did some running for half a year (spring to autumn) and loved it – early bird running. Winter did me in because I really don’t like running in the (cold) dark. The next spring our son started waking up whenever I made a noise in the morning. Now it’s a year later…
    Can’t say I’m a diet expert, haven’t needed it so far but my mother started having problems from age 43 so I’m going to hop onto those scales when I get near that age (40 and counting).
    Drinks are the ultimate fast food. I figure whoever wants bread AND bear is getting two meals not one. So cutting back on alcohol is the easiest (?) way to cut back on calories. But soft drinks also contain a lot of liquid calories, stay away from those if you want to keep drinking wine on occasion.

    • Not sure I’d like running in the winter either but in L.A. it’s not an issue. Also, I don’t drink lots of soft drinks, but I do like fresh juice which has tons of sugar. I should probably focus on just drinking water for a period of time. You’re so lucky you don’t need to diet! 🙂

  6. I am in the same predicament. My friend who died was my workout partner. He is the one who got me into triathlon. Since he died and I have been running his business exercise has been the last thing I have wanted to do. I lost quite a bit of motivation – thx to my depression – but I just have a hard time thinking about him without thinking of him. Poor excuse, I know. And I really need to get over it.

    • That sounds very tough indeed. I wouldn’t say that’s a poor excuse, but a valid byproduct of your grief. Depression is tough. They say the best way to get out of it is to get active, but that’s the last thing we feel like doing when we’re depressed. Maybe start small/slow? Hang in there.

  7. I wish you lots of luck and strength in your new endeavor. I’m struggling with getring active too and with school and work as demanding as they are it isn’t easy.

  8. A friend of mine started a challenge to walk or run one mile between Memorial Day and July 4. I’ve managed to do it most days, and it feels good. One mile. You can do it – and I’ll be doing it too. 🙂

  9. I’m still on the discipline/indulgence seesaw that started after I settled into my grief, but I’m doing better at the moment with only occasional bouts of indulgence. I was lucky, though. I found walking to be a panacea, so at least I did that.

    Best of luck with your new focus!

  10. I LOVE your new shoes! Great idea. It’s always a nice treat to be geared up. One of my favorite treats is to put on soccer shin guards, soccer socks and soccer cleats. I love the way they, “Click, clack” on the blacktop and concrete. I almost feel like a football player and it’s a fun sound that reminds me of the past 14 years of having two amazing daughters that are beasts on the soccer field – rain ro shine! Nothing like a great pair of shoes. I also (always now!) take my journal or a tiny notepad with me when I go for a walk or a drive so that I can jot things or ideas down rather than always using my phone. Have pen will travel…

    Enjoy your pretty shoes.

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