7 Reasons Why Being Over 40 is Ridiculously Awesome

Since I started my Miracle Morning routine, I have read a whole lot of books on a variety of subjects. As I started keying in topics that interested me into Amazon, I stumbled across a devoted topic interest group in the health over 40 and up category.  I decided to google the topic as well.  That’s what I do when I’m confused…I do the google.

Here I am gracefully (and not so gracefully some days) now in the 40’s demographic, and I had no idea that I was supposed to feel doom and gloom about my advancing decline to my health due to aging bones and decreased muscle mass. ha!

I wake up feeling more vibrant and alive than I did in my 20’s, so maybe I am missing something.

Once I started becoming more “informed” on the ways my body would increasingly defy me as the hands of time tick on by, I decided that perhaps knowledge is not power. It was in fact, disempowering.

Perhaps I should have awoken on my 40th birthday with a manual on how to live differently, like in Beetlejuice when they realize they might be dead.

The more I read, the more I wanted to devote a blog post in support of my fellow 40 somethings and up. Because this age is awesome! And it just keeps getting better.

What I’ve decided today is that I’m no longer going to google, but rather live the way I want to and can.

Can you be fit at 40?

Of course you can.

Are there more obstacles in your way?

Perhaps

But youth and vitality can live within the mind. Just ask my 21-year-old who many days is more adultier than I am.

So here are a few ways in which being 40 (actually I had to do math I’m 41 almost 42) is…in fact…ridiculously awesome.

Numero Uno..1

You give less of a F$ck what people think of you. You really do. You settle beautifully into authenticity as you’ve navigated some tricky times by now, and you are still here kicking and screaming. 😉 And I hear from others it gets even better and conversation less filtered and more real. I wish I had this confidence and self-assured nature in my 20’s and 30’s; but then again I probably wouldn’t have understood it without that younger naivety and the quest to live up to a standard that just isn’t sustainable. So I just do my best and forget the rest. The more authentic I’ve become, the more people learn the real Me. It’s always exciting when someone tags me in a ridiculously weird video and says “this is something you would do” because they are always correct. Let your weird flag fly.

Numero Duh…2

If you have laugh lines on your face, it means you are pretty stellar at laughing and smiling through your days. Yay you! It’s Ok to have too much fun and laugh at yourself. The other day in the gym, I had a new water bottle with a screw cap and as I bent over I poured the whole thing all over myself and then screamed. Meh. Clean up on aisle 3.

Numero twat…3

You know how to do a bunch of stuff now and you can teach other people some stuff too. People naturally think you know stuff because you have those laugh lines and know how to dress the part. I giggled as I was training within my new job this week as people thought I was the manager supervising because I looked adultier than the person training me. ha! You probably have a reliable car to get you places and a house you can host fancy dinner parties if you feel so inclined.

Numero Kitten…4

You realize those “perfect” people who look very put together and seemingly have it all are no differently disheveled as you are at times. In fact, nothing is ever as it seems. Everyone, including me, is a ‘lil screwed up and you can now identify with them and have some empathy and compassion. That perfect marriage you were envious of can end in divorce the next month. That family with the impeccably dressed kids and well-behaved demeanour have a raging house party ending with police intervention. That business professional fancy-pants who walks into the gym, they are a hot sweaty mess just like me after the hour. Sweat freely, but separately (headphones in, don’t approach lol) We are all imperfectly perfect. Rather than judging, let’s sing kumbaya and exchange war stories over a glass of wine and some laughter…you know, work on those laugh lines a bit more.

Numero one hand…5

You aren’t really afraid of failing, starting over again, or to learn new things. With the advancing of age, comes the knowledge that you have this one life. If it’s not fun, create your own fun. You probably failed at a few thingies by now, and why not just keep trying?  Redesigning your life on your terms becomes exciting. At least that’s where I’m at now. Starting over in a new career. Tweaking earlier career’s as I’ve learned. Course correction with excitement.

Numero half a dozen…6

You learn to let go and move on with a smile on your face (even if that smile takes some time to appear). At this stage, you are no longer interested in changing anyone. You accept others as they are (because you get that it’s impossible to change someone else). If it doesn’t align with your way of life, no worries. All the best to you. Metaphorical scooter away.

Numero my favourite #…7

You can in fact, be in the best shape of your life. Speaking from my experience: I’ve tried the fads. I’ve eaten the wrong foods (I still will cut a bitch for a plate of nachos so I refrain from ordering for safety of all involved) and learned how they made me feel. I’m not afraid of hard work. I want to be a better version of me. Stronger. It’s so freeing and beautiful!  I actually have the confidence to try a new program and hold my ground in the meat-head section…we pay the same membership people..please move over.

Here’s to growing, evolving, learning and continued confidence and laughter along the way. Growing older is nothing to fear, but rather to embrace with grace and wisdom.

Just do your best!

This is me by the way, for those new blog followers. Hi and thanks for reading/following 🙂

From my 41-yr-old heart to yours,

Christine

p.s. step away from the google

A Left Shoe on the Right Foot and Fancy Pants

I used to be afraid of change. I like things to stay the same. Because it’s what I’m used to. I become comfortable even within discomfort. Like when kids puts their shoes on the wrong feet so many times, they start thinking it’s the way it’s supposed to be.

I wore a left shoe on the right foot…which was the wrong foot for a very long time in my early stages of adulting.

You see life isn’t supposed to stay the same. Seasons change. People grow apart, and some grow closer.

It’s all part of life and keeping balanced. Of learning and growing stronger in Mind/Body/Spirit.

When I started stepping out of my comfort zone, amazing shifts started transpiring within my life.

Last summer I spent a few weeks doing something uncomfortable daily. It was scary for me, but I learned a lot. I met many people who shared a different point of view on life. I ran further than ever before. I stripped off my makeup and learned to love my true reflection. Appreciated the laugh lines for the joy they showed.  I let go of relationships that were not equal. I learned to back up a trailer, and hauled it all over camping. Water-skied again. Ate weird foods. Drove the long way home. Hiked new paths. I dove into reading subject areas where I had little knowledge of. I took rest days when my body needed them (which was uncomfortable for my mind).

Within the discomfort came an awakening of my spirit. To challenge my thought processes. Listen more, talk with intention. Be myself. Imperfect and Authentic.

As I am going into this New Year, I am again in a place of making changes. I look at change more so as course correction now. Aligning my children’s needs, my needs, with actions that are within my control. I have one life. It’s my job to design the best life possible for my family.

I am starting a new job next week within customer service at a bank. I love customer service; so I’m excited! I need to shop for fancy pants…all my pants are of the yoga variety. 😉

I will have more time to rebuild my life with my kids in the way they need me to be here. They school, and I’ll work while they learn. Home together for supper around the table.

I’m very grateful for the past two years of life experience as I trained. I’m amazed by each tenacious, hard-working, motivated person who crossed my path. Thank you to all who positively affected my journey along the way. You have no idea of the impact you made on my life.

It was a  gift to my soul within perfect timing and I will miss seeing those I trained often. More importantly, I will miss supporting them every week. But I know I will always have those bonds we’ve built and I’m grateful for that. Always here for you my friends with love and support. You can always find me here (and plus most of you have my digits ha!) I’ll just support you in a new and different way.

When I first made the decision to make a job change, it felt very selfish…however, I’ve learned that self-love and taking the time to rebuild is not selfish. It’s imperative for a joy-filled, authentic, happy life full of purpose and pride. I’m doing my best to raise my kids to be amazing adults.  I have learned to listen to my instincts and course correct as my situation changes and evolves.

So here’s to change. Growth. Learning. New!

If you have fear over making a change in your life, focus on just doing your best. Go into each day observing the thoughts of fear that may come up, and literally push them out. Those fear drenched thoughts are much like a child having a tantrum. There is no place in your life for fear. Fear is future based. And you are living RIGHT NOW in this present moment.

If you feel guilt or regret, that is your past talking. Again, take solace in the beauty of today.  You don’t live in your past anymore. Waste no time on worry or doubt…they are senseless emotions that will only serve to keep you stuck and complacent.

You are strong, resilient, and you have the power over your perceptions.

Simply do your best. That’s all you can do. But truly dig deeper and challenge yourself to in fact do your best.

I often have to check myself when I have moments of free-time. I sometimes waste that free time feeling guilty about what I “should” be doing…the virtual to-do list within my mind. Why not take that time to enjoy whatever it is that will refresh my soul, and then go back to work. Enjoy a sunset. Take a nap. Visit with a friend without interruptions of technology. Read a good book. Go for walk. Laugh! Shoulder dance in my kitchen. ha!

One part Chill, One part Driven. Yin/Yang

This year was a great one! I am happy. My kids are doing great and they are happy too.  We have open good communication. I met so many amazing people, and had some cool opportunities come my way.  If you are strolling by the magazine stands, I’m in Optimyz magazine’s December/January issue.

Change is good.

One life.

Take risks.

Trust in yourself…you got this!

Happy New Year from my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

The Story of a Vintage Couch which Magically Appeared down the Lane

For a couple of years now, I’ve been on a new path of designing my life in a different way. When I started this blog 9 years ago, I called it Reclaiming Life, without knowing what that would mean today at this stage of my life.

Now, reclaiming my life today has proven to be much trickier than loosing 100 pounds; but the parallels are there just the same.

One piece of the puzzle that has been elusive to me these past few years, is the importance of Rest. Reset. Recharge.

Three amazing kids

Two careers

One thankful (but admittedly tired) Mom.

Last week at the gym, I had a conversation with a regular goer (he’s an encourager). Us regulars, who workout at a certain time of the day, get to know one another a little.

Like-energy attracts like-energy…I learn this the more authentic I become.

The only way to be authentic is to be unapologetically yourself.

If you build it, they will come. Building in this case, equates to character/outlook on life, and it has attracted the most genuine friendships with like-minded people (which I’m so grateful for…thank you to my tribe)

Back to the gym conversation…we have talked about training in the past, how to push out of a plateau. To grow in strength and develop conditioning. Last week’s conversation was different.

“Have you considered resting for a week?” he asked.

What do you mean rest? I thought. I have goals! I need to figure this stuff out for not only myself, but for my clients. If I rest, I might fall into complacency. A week?

He continued, “When was the last time you gave your body a rest from the type of workouts you’ve done?”

As I spun to nowhere on my exercise bike, I realized it had been over two years. Wow, has it been two years? Sure I’ve taken rest days, but I have put a lot of pressure on myself for two years. To be strong in mind/body/spirit. Even on my rest days, I feel guilty…like I’m being lazy. Not doing enough. The destructive pursuit of trying to press growth when maybe…just maybe…growth happens when you allow the body to rest.

I know this. How do I not know this for myself?

He encouraged, or more so challenged me to take Friday to Sunday off at least. I agreed.

Friday was no big deal, my body was tired. I welcomed the rest.

Saturday came, and through out the day my mind told me to get my workout in. Over and over on repeat. Like a broken record.

No, I committed to rest. And then it occurred to me, that I was missing the point. Rest means to recharge. If I was going to take some rest days, why not do the very things that recharge my soul over the week-end.  Music. Writing. Photography. Coffee with a friend. Spending time with my kids.

So I did all those things. I traveled to a session for a family I’ve photographed for years. I relaxed right into our time together. Marvelling at this beautifully connected family they have created together, I remembered back to photographing them when they were first dating. Now they have created a fierce little army of love. It was because of this reflection, that I shot the session with more parallels back to their other sessions, so they would have some comparison photos as to how their lives have evolved.  How good!

The next day, I told my kids to get ready for our very own family session. I’m lucky my son’s girlfriend agrees to take photos of me with the kids, so I can actually be in them. We took our time getting ready. Even turned my curling iron on. 🙂  Side note: I regretted that decision half way through, but you can’t have a half curly head…so I forged on. Curled my daughter’s hair too. Funny enough, the wind took the curl right out of my poker straight hair anyway, but my daughter’s hair stayed delightfully bouncy.

We went to this little lane way (which incidentally I found out about from Mr. Rest-Encourager). I saw another photographer there whom I have met before (not such an unknown location apparently). She was in the middle of photographing a family.

“Amazing Couch” I said to her as I noticed the very couch that had been in my head for years…my dream vintage couch I’ve been scouring kijiji for to bring to sessions. In the exact shade of blue I’ve envisioned.

“Oh ya, it was just sitting here, I don’t know who’s it is”

I blinked slowly, WHAT?! Are you serious?

The kids and I went to a lane way over to wait patiently for the dream couch to be open.

I’ve always dreamt of having photos of my children on a lane way lined with sun-kissed trees that touched, and dragging a vintage couch there. And there is was. Magically, on a day of rest which I needed more than I knew.

This is how Law of Attraction works…I’ve had the most weirdly amazing experiences when I figured this out.

Now, I will preface these photos by telling you that our family is weird. We are lovers of odd, awkward, weird, funny. Not everyone gets our sense of humour, but that’s the kind of photos I wanted. I also took normal ones in the beginning, but the funny ones are my favourite. So we just went with it.

Monday I woke up with more zest and excitement to get back to my workouts than I’ve had in a very long time. I truly felt rested and I had the best workout as a result. Later that day, I went to my training shift. One of my clients had seen my photos on Facebook, and told me she saw two people dragging that very couch into that very lane way the week before as they were shooting mini sessions.

So a great big..HUGE…thank you…

To Mr. Rest-Encourager

To the photographer I knew who told me the couch was available to use (and made sure she gave me some time to use it as well)

To my client who solved the mystery of the abandoned vintage couch

And to the stranger photographer(s) who drug it there in the first place. I’m very thankful it was there for my very own session, and I hope no one takes it from you (it’s a pretty amazing piece to just be chillin’ there under a magical archway of trees).

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

What does a Personal Trainer LOOK like?

I thought I would share my journal entry from my Miracle Morning… Which, by the way, I have a copy of the book of if you want to borrow it. Just message me (even if you live far away, I’ll mail it)

I often romanticized things, so when I got my personal training certification, I was excited to share with others how fitness, eating for fuel, learning to look at food in a positive way, getting off the couch, moving with freedom…can change your entire world/relationships/self-worth/happiness.  I only know this because I was lucky enough to stumble upon it when I was fighting my own demons.

A customary question that arises when you meet new people is “So what do you do?”

I would answer: “I’m a Photographer and a Personal Trainer”

What I’ve found over the years, almost always everyone gets the “photographer” part; but the personal training element often comes with some interesting questions all based around aesthetics.

How much weight can you squat?

How often do you work out?

What do you weigh?

It can be reduced to reps and sets and which “diet” is best.

That line of questioning has always been an uncomfortable place for me, not because of the judgments or labels (it’s easy to want to put people in tidy little boxes/categories to understand); but rather because it’s not what this is about for me. It’s intensely personal in many regards, but it has little to do with aesthetics.

It’s about self-worth.

Happiness

Love.

It’s more than going back to biology roots of how our bodies are designed to move and fuel. It’s the heart of what makes us human: compassion, pride, joy, self-love. Not just existing but rather LIVING with a fire in our soul, and passion within our spirit.

I certainly do not have all the answers; I’m still figuring it out as life moves along. But I do know who I am as a woman: my goals/aspirations/dreams and what drives me within finding purpose in life.

We all need purpose. It’s what fulfills and connects us. Pushes us to grow and evolve.

There is wisdom within purpose.

And I thought about it a different way this morning, if learning to finally take care of myself in love created a purpose within me to share that with others; then I am one lucky person. I’m grateful.

I see beauty within everyone I meet. We all have strength within us that can (if fed) create an urging to burst out of whatever self-imposed cage we are living within.

I laugh at some of my “excuses” when I fall into complacency. They are just lies I tell myself to make it acceptable to do “less than” I am able. I would not wish that for my children, or for those I love most in life.

I guess that has become an accurate measurement of where I’m at in regards to self-love/self-worth. Do I want as much happiness, zest for life, fulfillment for myself as I do for my children?

There is no pride found within bingeing on anything. It’s a tool to numb. To not feel.

Are we not meant to feel? Even the horrible stuff. It’s part of what makes us human. We can however choose the elements in which we navigate those troubled waters making it a little less painful.

I did not find it within food, or alcohol, or sitting in that stupid chair in isolation beside a TV.

I renewed my spirit (and continue to) within….

~Sharing openly (with healthy boundaries)

~Fitness and challenging my body to grow in strength

~Surrounding myself with people who love me and want the best for my life (and I them)

I found myself within…

~Trails of sun-kissed leaves and the healing currents of water

~Sweat and tears and laughter despite my fears

~The urging of my legs to keep on moving because there are some not so fortunate and would give anything to do so (love you Janice)

~Foods that provide energy, nutrients, and vitamins

~Writing, reading, and growing to be a better version of myself to love others authentically

~Honest communication between like-minded people with similar struggles in which my empathetic heart connects with theirs through shared experiences

This is why I’m a personal trainer. I’m not sure I fit into the “mould” of what a personal trainer looks like, but I’m living my truth.

But that’s a pretty long-winded answer and congrats if you got to the end of this post.  😉

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

It’s none of your business (and none of mine either)

As my life travels along, there’s always a life lesson theme that pops up when I need it most. Maybe it was always there, and I just wasn’t ready to not only hear it; but to apply it to my life.

I was talking to my dear friend Linda Lou yesterday morning (we have the BEST life talks), and we were discussing this concept: What others think about us is none of our business. Now for a people pleaser like myself, that’s crazy talk. lol

Further to letting go of what others think about me, it goes beyond that into relying on my instincts, trusting in myself to make the best choices for me and my kids, and actually LIVING out loud.

Get out of my head, and start living.

What a concept!

I can truly relate almost any life dilemma back to reclaiming my life when I lost the weight, and this is no exception.  If I had listened to every opinion out there on the best way to lose weight, oh my…how overwhelming that would have been.

When I’m asked my opinion about a food plan, I try my best to just ask questions: Does it work for YOU and your lifestyle? Is this sustainable for your whole life? Is it excessive leading to frustration? Are you showing self-care by fuelling your body this way (which naturally eliminates most restrictive food plans)? It’s really about creating a healthy relationship with that one thing we need to keep us alive: food. Turn it from a negative view into a positive. I’m in control of my choices. How great is that?

Back to caring what others think: here’s what I learned going though my divorce…

It’s no one’s business.

I certainly don’t owe an explanation to anyone except within my core family unit. It’s no different if I was to go up to someone and say “Why are you still married? Did you think about this?”  haha!  It’s ridiculous and entitled to think my opinion should have any barring on another’s life choices.

So I worry about me, and my house.

You do you, I do me.

That’s not selfish. It’s trusting in myself and understanding I am doing the best I can with the tools I have. If I keep investing in my personal growth, I will have more tools to be a better version of myself.

Other’s opinions of me are fuelled by their own values, experiences, inner conflicts, curiosity, whatever; but it’s none of my business what other’s think about me. And that’s so freeing.

I’m ready to start living out loud, on my terms. And I am! 🙂 I’m a great Mom. My kids tell me way more than they should 😉 lol  They feel safe to share. They have a voice in my home. I’m so proud of them. It’s taken me a long time to be proud of myself as a Mom. I wanted to be perfect, and that’s exhausting.  No one relates to perfectionism. It’s actually a barrier to human connection.

I have lived within my head for a long time, and action was halted because of doubt. I want certainty. I enjoy my little comfort zone.

But guess what…nothing grows within comfort. Nothing is certain in life (except death and taxes as that cliché goes).  I will never reach my goals if I don’t act on those dreams.

My instincts were a whisper before; now they are a roar I can’t ignore. I now understand it’s because I trust myself again to make the best choices possible for my home. I answer to 3 people (and one God), and those 3 people are a little fierce army I carried around in my body for a bit; but always in my heart.

I would encourage you to listen to your own inner voice. Pay attention to what drives your soul. Understand your core values, and align your life to them (that includes your circle of influence). Spend your valuable time with those who believe, uplift, support you. Those who make you laugh and take your mind to a happy place (those are my favourite kind of people).

You have one life. Be happy, grateful, proud.

But please start living out loud even if your voice shakes…then again that’s my opinion and you certainly don’t have to listen to it. 😉 Touché  ha!

In the mean time, I will keep on living, laughing, and trudging on. No one said this life would be easy, and I’m thankful for that. I would never appreciate the light the same way without the darkness. I am standing within my light; and ohhhh my it’s beautiful within it’s imperfection. I have all that I need and I am so grateful.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Life Advice from a Stranger ~ Peter

After my workout this morning, I stopped at the Leduc Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh produce. I was walking by a pot pie booth (who doesn’t love pot pie) and this enthusiastic man told me to come over and try the samples.  I’m also a fan of free samples of anything. lol Now at first, because of his enthusiasm, I thought he was employed to sell pot pies, buuuuuut it turns out he just really loves pot pies and conversing with strangers. 😉

We got to talking, and immediately I knew he was a Zen Joy person.  I have met only a few of those types of those sunshiney people in my life, so I just had to know about his story. One thing I’ve learned about all the Zen Joy people I’ve met, is that they have gone through hardship and have transformed their spirit through adversity.  Through the ashes of tribulation comes beauty, deep gratitude for life, inspiration, authenticity and joy.

After we talked awhile, I asked if I could tape him, so I will always remember. I was so excited when he agreed, that I didn’t press record. So he did this twice for me (at the end he says “I hope it works this time” ha!) He told me I could share this on my blog.

So this is Peter who works driving truck in Texas. Lover of Harley’s. And perhaps one of the most generous and happy people I will ever have the pleasure of meeting in this beautiful life. I hope you take away as much positivity and inspiration from him as I did.

Thank you Peter.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Lessons learned from a former couch dweller

I was having a conversation with a friend about overcoming injuries that crop up when you are training.  It’s very frustrating when you are working hard towards a goal and your body decides be uncooperative. I mean get with the program. lol

This has happened to me several times through the years, and I’m reminded each time to be gentle with myself.

That’s not the same as giving up.

It simply means I continue around my injuries. Give it time to heal. Be gentle. Train in creative ways. Because injuries happen. They would happen if I sat on the couch everyday too. I had way more injuries when I sported an extra 100 pounds around on my frame. I had a season pass to my chiropractor. I didn’t even call him doctor, just his first name. I knew more about him than my hairdresser. I knew he liked to take long lunch breaks; which I dreaded when my back locked up at lunch time. I don’t even have my very own chiropractor anymore. lol I do however have my own Hutterite; because I hate gardening and they make all the colourful veggies grow.

If my knees are bothering me, I can still move in other ways. Swim. Bike. Do an upper body circuit. But stay off the couch…that couch I used to retreat to like a trusted friend. It was just a metaphor for giving up on living the life I knew I should. I can’t recall a single awesome memory from that couch. lol I do remember a lot of frustration, fear, depression…how did I get here?

I have an old IT band injury from running the same path where there’s a section of uneven driveways. It’s on one leg, because I ran the same direction for a very long time. It never occurred to me to take a different path or run a different direction. Isn’t that how it works in life; we don’t even know we are doing damage to ourselves while we are immersed within a rut.

Until you find a better way.

Another big lesson I’ve learned over the years: You must change things up. Complacency is never a good idea within health and well-being.

I try to correct myself when I sum up this journey by using the word “fitness”. It’s so much more than that. It’s the mind/body/spirit connection all wrapped up in beautifully continued transformation within well-being: the act of being well.  I know this is the path I’m meant to be on, because it’s exactly how my body is designed to function best.

It’s a daily choice.

Today I choose to go out in the sunshine and go for a walk. Not to burn calories, or to make my daily quota of steps on my fitbit (although that’s an annoying addiction some days…am I right fitbitters?); but rather to enjoy the healing power of nature and sunshine. Living in Alberta, I know these days are to be cherished…the snow and dark is coming. lol

I will uplift those who cross my path, and choose my words with intention. I can be negative or positive. I can transfer a vibe of chill/relax/happy or I can be an Eeyore. We all have Eeyore’s in our lives, I would be mortified is someone described me that way.

That’s the amazing thing about living in the dark for a long time; when you find light, you are so grateful for it…it’s stays with you and becomes a part of your spirit.

I hope you have an amazing sunshiney day. Remember to be gentle with yourself. 🙂

From my heart to yours,

Christine