Ch-ch-ch-changes ... good ones, too

Back in June of this year, I was working at home one day. Sitting here at my desk and listening to music while doing a task by rote. I didn't need to concentrate on what I was doing, so I started singing away to whatever I was listening to. It was one of those moments when I felt both productive and free.

Then I sort of woke up from my haze of bliss to realize a few things:

  1. I was very out of practice singing. Not surprising since I quit the choir I used to sing in over 13 years ago when I took a course that conflicted with rehearsals. But I've been missing it for a while and getting back into singing has been on my mind a lot.
  2. Being out of practice, I didn't have much stamina for holding out long notes. This fact hurts my technical perfectionist heart. It's embarrassing, even when I'm the only witness.
  3. Also, being out of shape, I wasn't going to get far in building up stamina without making some changes.

And something clicked for me. Something I've wanted to click into place for pretty much my entire life.

This minor life-shifting event happened right around lunch time and my stomach was starting to protest its empty state. So, I went in the kitchen, knowing as I did that I would prepare something that would truly nourish me. I also knew I was going to be more careful from that point on. 

The click had happened. I finally flipped the switch I'd been trying to reach for decades. 

I started to care about what I was doing to my body day in and day out because I could no longer do something that was once second nature and easy. I could no longer do something to the level of quality that I achieved when I was younger. I could no longer do something well that I really, truly love to do.

I made big changes right away. I dusted off my Fitbit Force and started wearing it every day. I struggled to get 4,000 steps in every day. Then I worked myself up to 5,000. Eventually, I got to 8,000 a day. Then I hit 10,000 and I was thrilled, but I knew I wanted to do more. I pushed harder and started hitting 12K every day for a week before a friend invited me to join a challenge in the Fitbit app. I left my goal at 12K, but it was pretty clear that this group had some high step achievers in it, which motivated me to push even harder. I get in 15K steps most days now, but I've gone as high as 30K, too, and I'm feeling amazing. 

I know myself and getting my workout completed in the morning is the best possible scenario for getting it done at all - I actually wake up at 4:00am (!!) most days to make it happen. Evenings are far too full of getting dinner, homework, play time, reading, and all the other end-of-day minutiae completed. So, I get 10-12K steps in before I even set foot out of the house. I am careful to eat well but not deprive myself so I never feel like I'm missing out. 

The result is that I've lost 30 pounds ... so far. I'm also stronger, have more energy, am happier in general and I've got a sizable pile of clothes to donate to someone that needs them. (I recommend Suits Me if you're in Ottawa and looking for a good place to donate work clothes.)

The benefit is that I can hold those long notes again. My voice is stronger and I love singing more than I have in a really long time. I even sang a bit of an Italian aria to some WBN Executive members when we were meeting in a restaurant a few weeks ago. (True story - it's a song that I sang for my music school audition 20 years ago!!! I still remember some of it.) I have never broken out in song in the middle of a public place before in my life. It was exhilarating and kind of terrifying but in a good way.

If I had to report on how I'm doing with my promise to myself to really live in this fortieth year of mine, I'd say I'm thrilled with how it's going. There's more to it than getting healthy (my new normal), but I'll save the rest for future blog fodder. 

Life is good - and I'm gonna keep living it to the fullest and healthiest possible.

Day 05 - Something you hope to do in your life.

Photo Credit: Kym Shumsky (Relishing.ca)It’s such a small thing - this thing I want to do. But it has eluded me for 15 years.

I want to sing in a wedding.

I was even asked - twice. I’ll never forget the first time.

After receiving an invitation to a friend’s wedding in 2000 that I didn’t really feel right about attending (long story), she called the week of the wedding and I felt terrible so I said I would go. I had no reason not to.

I sat at a table with a group of people who were once close friends of mine. My life path went in a different direction and though we parted ways gradually and without malice, I felt awkward nonetheless. I didn’t know what to say to them anymore.

One of the group was at an adjacent table with his fiancée. She was a little older than he was and had three kids - he was only 25 or 26, so there were eye brows raised more than once as conversation flowed. This was my first time meeting her, seeing them as a couple. My friend (I’ll call him Tim) apparently told his fiancée (I’ll call her Tina) that he used to sing duets with me and was complimentary of my abilities. So, without hearing me sing, she came over and asked me to sing in their wedding. 

I was thrilled! It was out-of-the-blue, totally unexpected and completely flattering to me that she asked. I happily gave her my number and she said she would call.

That was in September.

I happened to see Tim come into the retail store that I worked nights in November - roughly two months later. He saw me too and came over to say hello. Though my phone had never rung with the call from him or Tina, he also didn’t mention the invitation to sing. He did mention that his wedding was taking place on the coming Saturday (news to me).

So, not only was I not invited to sing at his wedding any longer, I was also not invited to the wedding. 

Ouch.

I’m not totally sure why I was excluded, though it may have had something to do with that long story I mentioned earlier. Either way, it was disappointing. It hurt, but mostly I was just excited to get to sing at a wedding.

My second invitation to sing was when I was supposed to sing at my brother’s wedding, but we were having some technical difficulties prior to the ceremony. I misread the cue from the guy handling them (he said it was working and to go ahead - I thought he said it wasn’t working) so I didn’t sing even though everything was all ready for me to belt it out. That was disappointing for me and my brother, who’d genuinely wanted me to sing for his wedding.

Maybe one day I’ll get to sing at a wedding, but I’ll need to start doing some warm-ups soon. I’m so far out of practice, it’ll likely take me years to catch up. Maybe I can be ready by the time Brandon’s ready to get married. ;)

*****

This post is all about truth - Day 5 of my 30 Days of Truth. I’m not the only one, so here are others if you’re interested in getting to know other bloggers.