The other day, a Twitter friend mentioned having spent the evening reorganizing her hope chest. Hope chests, if you're unfamiliar with them, are long, low storage chests. Traditionally, a hope chest would be used by a young woman to store linens, special clothing, and other items with which to begin her eventual marriage.
However, the phrase "hope chest" caught my mind. I thought that the term could also be used as a metaphor to describe the place in our hearts where we store our hopes and dreams, the things we want for our selves, our loved ones, and our planet. Note that I'm not talking about goals, here: goals are a different discussion.
What might we keep in the hope chests in our hearts?
- There are the big, global hopes, such as world peace or a cure for diabetes.
- There are the hopes we have for our own lives and the lives of the people we care about: good health, nourishing relationships, or happiness for our children.
- Finally, there are the smaller, more personal hopes that we'd like to happen for us, such as finding a good recipe for that avocado hot sauce some Mexican restaurants have, or perhaps our favorite sports team SOMEDAY rising above stinkiness.
I've reached a point in my life where I'm slowly sorting out my own hope chest and letting some things go: at age 50, some of the things I once wanted no longer seem desirable or are simply not likely to happen for me However, I need to be careful with this: by nature, I may be inclined to give up some of my hopes before they're really gone. And I believe that our hopes are important: our hopes allow us to move forward, provide meaning for our lives, and give solace and purpose for the difficult times.
What's in your hope chest?
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)
I've been reluctant to write about this. It feels fragile, like I'm holding a soap bubble in my hands, and the slightest little movement will cause it to disappear. A part of me screams that blogging about it will guarantee its disappearance.
I had my quarterly lab tests a couple of weeks ago. The results, which took me a while to get, were good. I'm pleased with the HbA1c, and mostly pleased with the cholesterol panel. But the surprising thing to me is that I'd lost some weight, 13 lbs since the previous checkup. That's about a pound a week, a nice healthy pace.
It's surprising, because I am not trying to lose weight, certainly not dieting. After a lifetime of failure, I gave up on weigh loss as a goal a few months ago and, a few days later, set a new long-term objective of working towards healthier daily choices. It's been a bumpy road, but I've been more comfortable in my own skin and less ashamed of what I look like and a little more proud of who I am. And now, I seem to be losing a bit of weight.
The weight loss may be temporary, illusory. And, I'm finding myself tempted to resume dieting (since I have such a nice start, you see), and have to fight off that invitation to insanity. I'm reading a book recommended by a Twitter friend (see her post) and it's helping me understand why what I've already done is helping and how I can keep developing a healthier relationship with food and with my body.
I don't know whether, in the long run, I'm really getting skinnier. But I am getting happier. And that's not an illusion.
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)
Quite a number of years ago, I attended a professional conference. In a rare attempt to behave like a social person, I signed up for an optional activity to be go with a group to a museum and then out to dinner. At dinner, I mentioned in the course of conversation that I didn't own a television. One of me dinner companions was surprised, and said that I must go to movies then. I said no, that I hadn't been to a movie in several years. With growing astonishment, she looked at me and asked, "Do you go to a lot of PLAYS?" She seemed unable to conceive of entertainment in a form other than one playing out in front of her.
Still, I have to admit, I'm pretty unusual in our culture. I've seen three movies since moving here 15 years ago, and one of those was a documentary. I do own a television now, but not only do I rarely watch movies on it, there are weeks when I don't turn it on. (I do watch some television, mostly Food Network, with a friend.) And, no, I don't go to a lot of plays.
Part of my lack of TV/movie watching is a matter of habit. I watched my share of TV as a kid, but limited myself as a teen so that my parents didn't do the limiting for me. I didn't own a TV for several years after leaving home, and just got out of the habit. I've never gone to a LOT of news, but if you don't watch TV you don't really get much movie info without seeking it out.
Another big reason I don't go to a lot of movies or watch typical television shows is that I tend to get bored pretty easily. When I get bored in a movie theater, I often feel almost physically trapped - this is not a pleasant feeling. Plus, I have a strong aversion to almost any display of violence.
But here's the big thing: I have a pronounced dislike for becoming emotionally involved in a movie or program. And I do become involved, quite easily. Even when I was a kid, watching shows like "Leave it to Beaver", I would become quite uncomfortable when Beaver got in trouble or when his parents had there "talks" with him. Sure, I've seen movies where I came out feeling exhilarated after all the discomfort (the 'Breakfast Club' is an example), but the ride is just so unpleasant I prefer not to take it at all.
Strange but true.
I'm not as cranky as I sometimes say I am. But I am crankier than I'd like to be.
On the bus, I often make up life stories to go with the faces of the people I see.
For several years, my unofficial but widely-known job title was "Lord High Training Pooh-Bah".
I seem, in retrospect, to have spent my (limited) romantic history not really understanding what was going on.
As an undergraduate, I won an academic prize in political philosophy.
For a number of years, I was on the mailing list of the national publishing house for the nation of Albania.
For a short time in graduate school, based on a line in a Dave Barry column, I was known as "major stud hombre cybermuffin".
For three decades, I read literally hundreds of detective novels, then fairly suddenly lost my taste for the genre. Except for the occasional re-reading of an old favorite, I haven't read one since.
My attention span is too short for movies, and I don't care for drama. So, I essentially never see a movie either in the theater or at home. (Sorry, Kerri and Chris.)
- My Uncle Bob was told that I was named after him, but the truth is that my folks just liked the name. I was t
old that my middle name is from the current Prince of Wales: I don't know if that's true or not.
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)
A nocturne ... is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night. (Wikipedia)
It is late evening. I'm lying in bed, on my stomach, perhaps with a pillow under my chest. I may be on my laptop, in order to read, to tweet, to blog, or to play a silly game. Or I may be reading a book, though not as often anymore, or I may be working on a crossword puzzle.
I may have a radio on or - rarely - the television is providing background noise. Usually, though, the only sounds are the hum of the laptop, what few neighbor noises come through the concrete apartment walls, and the noise from the highway and the rail yard nearby. Because I live atop a bluff and have a west-facing exposure, there is usually wind. All this is not silence, but it's close, and my brain easily filters it out and passes on a sense of silence.
Being here in this place, enjoying the quiet and the soft lighting, is often the most enjoyable time of the day. No one expects much from me. The phone's unlikely to ring. E-mails that contain obligations do not come at this time of night. I am at peace, more or less, and I feel a sense of security that often eludes me at other times.
It's a struggle for me to turn out the lights, to willingly bring a close to this time of peace. If I've got work the next day, I am usually able to choose sleep at a reasonable time. If not, or if my heart or mind are burdened, I may extend my evening activities much longer than I healthily should. If I become drowsy, I keep going until I am simply longer able to do so.
For as far back as I can remember, such have been my nights. It's not a problem with sleeping, although I sometimes have that as well: it's a problem with choosing to sleep.
I see headlines from diabetes news sources suggesting that insufficient sleep may play an important role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. I know that frequent fatigue eats away at the energy available for exercise and other healthy activities.
But, late at night, none of that seems to matter very much. And so, as it always has, my nocturne plays on.