Saturday, October 16, 2010

More to Life

At the end of August I embarked on a bid to make my life bigger, richer, fuller. A bid to stop working so hard and do things just for fun, things that interest me. I started a number of activities and they have been paying off.

Piano:
I took 12 years of lessons from ages 6 - 18 but I had really lost much of my ability to play my old music and learning new stuff was painful so I never did. After a ... uuum, crumb!... a 15 year hiatus from lessons, I started taking a play-by-ear group piano lesson. The instructor, Linda Gould, is awesome, a true pro who actually wrote the book we're using.

My brain is working in ways I forgot it could. It's expanding my understanding of music and all my old songs. It's making sense of sounds and chords that were always a big unknown in the past. I'm learning about voicing chords and broken bass lines, stepping up chords and sevenths, root chords and the circle of fifths. It's completely new to me and totally fascinating...and totally frustrating at times.

I'm plugging my way through Ode to Joy, working hard at simple songs like Scarborough Fair and actually suffering over Entertainer, which completely defeated me last night. I've learned I have terrible, terrible rhythm. Terrible. I've learned that practise does yield real results. I've learned that muscle memory is way better than brain memory. I've picked up my old music and been able to play it better than I have in, oh, a decade at least.

I'm loving it!

Nutrition:
It's a lifestyle, not a diet. :) We met with a nutritionist about a month ago. I partly wanted to confirm that I eat okay, but I also wanted to understand something about simple carbs and inflammation. We got some excellent advice and I've made some small but really significant changes to how I eat.

For one, when I'm going to eat something with added sugar or white pasta or bread (simple carbs) I now pair it with protein and fat or high fibre, which help even out the insulin spike which contributes to inflammation in the body.

Secondly, I eat snacks in between meals and try to have those snacks consist of two food groups while meals consist of three. My desk at work is fully stocked with nuts, granola bars, muffins, high fibre crackers, and fruit.

Third, more food from home and less restaurant fare for lunches. I swear I'm ingesting more calories, I'm less hungry and I'm losing weight, which was not the goal but it's a nice side benefit of being healthier. Crazy!

I feel good. I feel happy more often these days than I did in August.

Yoga:
The instructor is quite awful but the workout is great. It leaves me feeling healthier at the start of each week. It's a core workout, which is something I've often avoided but desperately need for my posture. The class is only once a week but it's a start to being stronger. And being strong makes me happy.

Winter isn't looking nearly as intimidating as it sometimes does.

Happy Fall Everyone!

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