Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better Health Brewed Daily

Each day I experience a moment of profound sadness that sends my heart dripping to the deepest depths of despair. Normally I’m not the kind of person who runs so hot and cold, but it is hard to press on after such a painful part of the day. My friends would certainly classify me as “glass is half full” kind of person, but an empty mug makes the daily grind almost unbearable. Luckily this feeling does not brew for very long, for today will filter into a perky tomorrow, and I am back to my cheery self in an instant.

I love coffee and am not ashamed to admit to my addiction. Coffee makes me happy; somehow it relaxes and stimulates me simultaneously. Part of my goal to find greater balance in life includes addressing all areas of over-indulgence; food, wine, and unfortunately, coffee. Coffee is certainly an area where I struggle with tendencies to over-indulge and I needed to cut my coffee consumption down to what the general population would consider normal range.

With my mug no longer bottomless, I have the unfortunate experience of actually knowing if my coffee is actually good to last drop. Tipping my mug to take full advantage of the liquid gold; recent studies indicate that a daily coffee habit can help stave off diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s, colon cancer, heart disease, and cirrhosis. On top of staving off diseases, coffee is chock full of antioxidants, protecting us from a host of little bugs that bring harm to our bodies. Coffee could very well be the best thing we do for our bodies all day! Coffee drinkers, ignore caffeine naysayer’s, hold your mugs up high and be proud of the steps you are taking towards better health and well being.

Here’s to your health.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Week

Wishing my sister Kristen a very happy 30th birthday!

Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.
- Robert Frost

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Take me out to the Wedding

Tonight marks the end of an era as Yankee fans and the world say farewell to the house that Babe Ruth built. Through the years Yankee Stadium became more then just a house of baseball, but a home where legions of fans laughed, cried, and created memories to last a lifetime. Perfect games, record breaking hits, and World Series wins are memories we all share and relive thanks to the power of video tape. The history of Yankee Stadium: the World Championships, famous players, Papal visits, concerts, is extensive; but it is the personal memories created by the individuals visiting that make saying farewell to the building so much sadder.

I was born in the Bronx in the summer of 1975 and probably heard my first game playing in the background as I snuggled in the hospital nursery. It is impossible to recall the exact moment that I embraced our national pastime, baseball is as much a part of my life as breathing and eating. Going to the game was always special, whether it was with my father, sisters, or friends, but it wasn’t until I was older and moved from New York that I understood how special a visit to the stadium really was. Yankee Stadium is as much a part of our nation’s history as any national park or monument and it is as much a part of my personal history as my institutions of learning, Carle Place High School or Mary Washington College. I know all the chants of the Bleacher Creatures, tear up during Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” and think grounds crews across the nation should really spruce up their routine with a little YMCA. To this day I’m still surprised my husband didn’t propose over the jumbotron, but given his opinion of the Yankees and desire to propose someplace that would be around forever, he opted for another location.

Just as I cannot remember becoming a Yankee Fan, I cannot remember when my father and I had anything in common except one thing; baseball. As I grew older, I grew further and further apart from my father. Without going into the tale of a strained parent/child relationship, it is best to just say we are like oil and water, or better yet, the Red Sox and the Yankees; we’ll shake each other’s hand when we have to, but deep down think the other really sucks. Baseball was almost like his way of pretending he had sons rather than daughters, and watching games was the only way he could truly connect with the three of us.

Seven years ago tonight I was the leading lady in a storybook wedding. Our wedding was a beautiful mix of traditional elements and personal touches, and despite my less than stellar relationship with my Dad we decided to save face with our guests and keep the traditional Father/Daughter dance. Finding the right song was a struggle; most suggested songs were just not right given our history. Much to everyone’s surprise, including the DJ, we chose a song, the only song, that could give our relationship justice; “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” For a few short minutes we polka danced around the room, singing the same song we did dozens upon dozens of times during the seventh inning stretch. It is ironic that the scene of our best memories is shutting its doors on the anniversary of our baseball polka.

Baseball’s anthem is a common tune known from sea to shining sea, but what most people don’t know is the original tune is about a woman and her love of the sport. Tonight I say farewell to the home of many of my fondest childhood moments, but long after the last pitch, the memories, and the song, will live on.

Take me out to the Ballgame
Author: Jack Norworth
Composer: Albert Von Tilzer

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
"No, I'll tell you what you can do."

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, your out,
At the old ball game."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flight of my Life

In High School I wrote for the newspaper, played the violin, competed athletically, planned dances, served as a class officer, interned with a law firm, and belonged to a whole host of other extra-curricula activities. It was not unusual to show up for school at 7am and return home around midnight trying to jam-pack everything into a single day. College was no different as I continued to overextend myself, often foregoing sleep to take on another activity, help with another event, and take on a new responsibility. Post-academia this work ethic fit perfectly in the consulting environment, a career path synonymous with long hours and tons of travel. After all those years of burning the proverbial candle at both ends I now strive for a better life/work balance, encouraging others to find their equilibrium. Some people never learn to find harmonious balance between work, volunteering, school, church, family, and friends; others find that balance all too late. My life was on the unhealthy trajectory of a workaholic, but all that changed in an instant five years ago.

September 19, 2003 was the first real crisp day of fall, when even the most rugged and stubborn person trades short sleeves for a sweatshirt. The day followed the rhythm of my normal Friday as a consultant, the start of a fresh new weekend at my home rather then the hotel I called home Monday through Thursday. Recalling the morning is easy since the routine was well established; wake up, go to the gym, shower up, eat a bowl of cereal, log onto the computer, finish up work from the week, join a conference call or two, eat lunch, work a bit more, end the day. There was even one non-routine event in that morning, a doctor’s appointment, which is easy to remember due to the power of the palm pilot. After finishing up work I headed to a friend’s house so we could spend some time relaxing at a local spa, a beautiful way to end the workweek.

Routine and dreams of relaxation ended with a crash that day, literally, as I got into a fender bender on my way across town. No big deal besides the stupidity one feels with the realization that they were the cause of the fender bender. I remember pulling the car over, I remember getting out of the car, I remember making eye contact with the woman whose car I hit, then there is a small gap in my memory because the next thing I remember is flying through the air.

The human brain is amazing in both its ability to block out horrible memories and to respond quickly in times of need. The details of being smacked by a car are quite fuzzy, but I do remember thinking to myself “oh my God I’ve been hit by a car and I’m flying through the air and I need to protect my head or I’ll crack my skull.” The hang-time my body had over the pavement was certainly shorter then the amount of time it took to think that sentence, yet that split second thinking resulted in a reflex to tuck my body and cover my head with my arms. My left side slammed into the street, my neck whipped to the side, throwing my head against my arm and my arm (and not my head!) against the hard pavement. I went into a roll, cocooning my head into my chest and arms, the physics of friction eventually stopping my body, instincts kicking as I crawled to the sidewalk’s safety. Hunched over on the sidewalk, surrounded by people expecting to find a body, I sat stunned, unable to hear voices and sirens but acutely aware of the sound of my heartbeat pulsing in my ears and a faint birdsong in the distance; alive.

Leaping from the ground I could tell I was hurt but adrenaline surged through my veins, masking the extent of my injuries. My focus; making sure the woman I was in the initial fender bender was okay. Imagine her horror with a front and center seat to witnessing a pedestrian car accident. After confirming she was okay, more shaken witnessing my acrobatic flight through the air then the fender bender, I realized that I should probably get to a hospital; my shoulder and foot hurt terribly and witnesses were convinced I must have suffered internal injury.

The hospital receptionist, nurse, ER doctor, intern, orthopedic, heck event the janitor, looked at me like I escaped death and reminded me how lucky I was. It took a few hours for everything to compute. The car hit my leg, leaving a football sized bump but no break. Road rash was minimal, jeans and a long sleeve shirt donned to protect me from the sudden fall weather responsible for protecting my body from harm. Shoulder separated, not broken. Foot cleanly broken in 3 spots and required nothing more then a walking cast and physical therapy. It took a few days to realize the worst injury was not to my body, but to my mind.

The accident left me emotionally drained, frazzled, and depressed. Each time I closed my eyes visions would turn violent, my body the target for cars, buses, trucks, and trains. I know other people on the unfortunate end of a vehicle/pedestrian accident who did not fair well, sustaining massive injuries, paralysis, even death. Acutely aware of my “luck,” I shunned most help and sympathy, feeling guilty at my feelings of sadness. I survived, what did I have to be upset about? I broke down with my doctor, hysterically crying and unable to articulate the fear and emotions associated with surviving a “near miss;” anti-depressants were offered as a solution. Medications are an important part of the treatment plans for those suffering from the ravages of depression but the prescription offer made me see how easy it is to receive these powerful drugs for the wrong reason. I was not depressed, I was weepy and treating weepiness as depression would be terrible for my long-term health. Besides risking the side-effects of any medication, numbing the mental anguish of my accident would just delay my dealing with it. Life has highs and life has lows, and dealing with the emotion needed to happen sometime and I decided to face it right away, no drugs; one of the better decisions I ever made.

Rather then canceling a scheduled vacation to Las Vegas a few weeks after the accident, we took the vacation and decided to helicopter into the Grand Canyon. Rather then hide behind an unflattering dress at my class reunion, attempting to hide the broken foot weight gain, I wore a plunging neckline and hobbled the night away. Rather then count the days until I could move back to my friends out east I began making friends in my new hometown. Rather then travel every week to a job I hated, a manager I despised, and a lonely bed in a hotel room, I quit and found local work. We booked a 3 week dream trip in Europe. We got a dog. We bought a bigger house. We got another dog. We went to Australia. We used all our vacation days. I committed to seizing days, opportunities, moments, and life.
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't.
- Richard Bach
I don’t know if I believe in God, or destiny, or being here for a reason, all things people with different beliefs threw at me as reasons for my extra time on earth. What I do know is I am still here and had my “a-ha” wake-up moment to take my life back from work, from committing all my time to things that matter little in the long run, and to make the most of my trips around the sun. I see things much differently now, life through a crisper lens. I am better able to decipher what is important and what is crap. Not only did I stop sweating the small stuff, I spit in the face of the small stuff. Life took on a whole new meaning and my vision of the world around me became so much clearer. I can see through phonies, somehow looking into their soul and reading their insecurities. I can see people’s emotions. I can see who cares and who doesn’t. I can see what’s important in the world, what’s important to me, and take care of those things.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
- Elwyn BrooksWhite
The hardest thing to work though is seizing the day while still living a life of responsibility, striking a balance between work and play rather then swinging completely to all play because “life is short.” The accident didn’t take my life; it gave me a deeper sense of what was important to me. Life is only short if you spend it unwisely. It was more important to spend every night in the arms of my husband then moving up the consulting ladder. It was more important to share my life with a dog then to earn frequent flyer miles. It was important for me to see the world, foster deep friendships with people who I loved and who loved me back, have a career that engaged my mind and improved the lives of others, read, write, eat, laugh, and to make the most of this body life gave me. I realized that I was in control of my own happiness, the captain of my own destiny.

The most painful part of having my eyes opened to my unhealthy life is witnessing others making unwise decisions about their time. Nothing I say or do will ever change the way people think and live. Everyone has to have their own “a-ha” moment and decide how that moment will change them. The accident did not take my life, it was a moment of time that brought clarity and understanding to my life, and I am fortunate this lesson happened while I am still young enough to make the most of it. There are still times when I have nightmares, get scared on busy roads, or commit too much time to unimportant matters, but all it takes to get back to balance is recalling the day I finally realized that life might be short, but every second is precious.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quote of the Week

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
- Harry Truman

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Palin Around

It seems that political scientists and analysts for the Republican Party concluded that their best choice for a presidential running mate needed to be female, and basically any female would do. The McCain camp bypassed other well-qualified candidates and chose Sarah Palin, the relatively unknown governor from the State of Alaska. Conservative pundits and politicos rallied around the choice, touting her ultra-conservative values and energy background as necessary elements to win over independent and undecided voters. Her inexperience on the national and international stage raises suspicions on the true reason she is now the Vice Presidential candidate for the GOP. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin seems like nothing more then a thinly veiled attempt to win over female voters and the assumption that women will vote for their gender rather than their beliefs is nothing short of offensive.

Admittedly I am known to do all I can to “support my sisters.” I go out of my way to do business with female doctors, lawyers, shop-keepers, farmers, bakers, and other places of business in an attempt to provide women much needed support in our male dominated society. Choosing to do business with a woman is fairly easy; there are plenty of good doctors, dentist, and business owners with XX chromosomes. While I would like to offer the same level of support to a female candidate, the choices are a bit more limited than other areas of life. I want to support a female candidate but I will not support a candidate just because she is a woman; only if the woman running is the best person on the ticket. I did not support the Hillary Clinton campaign because I did not believe she was the best person on the primary ticket; instead supporting Governor Bill Richardson who was much more qualified, but did not win the popularity contest for his party.

Sarah Palin was not chosen to run with McCain on his ticket for her policies or experience, but because of her gender. I sincerely hope that women, whether they lean right or left, are outraged and insulted by this. Apparently there is a perception that women are so feeble minded that they would vote based upon a candidate’s gender rather than their beliefs. Most insulting are people who believe that Hillary supporters would gravitate to the Republican ticket because of Sarah Palin, a woman whose values and beliefs are the polar opposite of Ms. Clinton.

I am fiscally conservative, and in some areas socially conservative, but the right of women to control their bodies, and ultimately their destinies, is the number one issue in my list of priorities. The Republican Party declared open season on women’s health and reproductive rights, targeting policies and programs aimed at everything from limiting access to birth-control to banning abortion in all cases. Sarah Palin opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, threatening to further victimize women whose lives were already destroyed by these awful crimes. Some are refuting reports that Palin is anti-birth control, even for wed couples, but until the Palin camp comes out and says they are pro-birth control in an official statement I remain skeptical of her stance on birth control. According to the mindset and beliefs of ultra-right winged conservative groups, birth control is tantamount to abortion. Every egg that passes through a woman’s body unfertilized is a lost life. Every person who has engaged in protected sex is prohibiting the creation of life. Sex is nothing more then a means to pregnancy and women are reduced to nothing more than walking incubators. The Republican Party all but openly admits that the Sarah Palin choice was one way to engage the support of the ultra-conservatives; Sarah Palin will never risk losing those votes by taking an official pro-birth control stance.
No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman
can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will
not be a mother.
- Margaret Sanger
Palin’s own daughter is a victim of the uselessness of abstinence only education that is all the rage with Conservatives. This is not an attack on Palin’s family or her poor teenaged child; it is an attack on her failed policy. A pregnant seventeen year old is nothing to be proud of and is usually not considered a “family-value.” She is a just another statistic in the sad rise of teenage pregnancy among ill-informed and uneducated teens. Bristol Palin and her baby-daddy Levi are lucky to have family who won’t beat or disown her. They are fortunate to have a family who can help support them. Most young girls face much harsher realities when faced with an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy and the Republicans are kidding themselves by sporting the upcoming baby and marriage as an example of how girls can prosper despite an unplanned baby.

There are a host of other questionable acts that make the Sarah Palin choice even more offensive. Sarah Palin is against stem cell research, putting the importance unused embryo over the life of a person with a debilitating disease. She opposes not just marriage but all rights of homosexual couples and even belongs to a church that claims to “heal” homosexuality. While Mayor, Sarah Palin fired a librarian who wouldn’t engage in censorship through banning of books. She opposes adding Polar Bears to the endangered species list because it could effect oil drilling. Governor Palin supports the aerial killing of wolves, a practice that rarely kills but often maims the animal, resulting in a long and painful death. She even approved a $150 bounty to hunters who hacked the left foreleg of a wolf and brought the appendage in for their reward. Alaska receives more pork-barrel spending money per capita then any other state in the union, and as Mayor of Wasilla she received $27 million from the national government, driving our national debt up and the worth of our dollar down. Sarah Palin is currently under investigation for firing the commissioner of public safety when he refused to fire a state trooper who was in a contentious custody battle with Palin’s sister.

It is also quite fishy that other female candidates in the party, from Christine Todd Whitman to Elizabeth Dole, were passed up for Palin. Part of me thinks other women passed up offers out of fear of a Republican loss this November, but the pessimist in me cannot help but wonder if Palin’s looks came into play in the vetting process. Sarah Palin was the Miss Alaska runner up in 1984 and is even being touted as a VPILF (a high-ranking MILF if you will). As a woman who hates beauty pageants, and is disgusted at the thought of people voting based upon looks, it sickens me to think that other qualified women were passed over because they weren’t pretty enough.

The one point where I disagree with the opponents of Sarah Palin is around her decision to accept the nomination for Vice President as a woman and mother. Far too many people are criticizing her accepting the nomination, questioning whether a good mother would put her pregnant child through the media circus or have the time to be a good mother to a mentally disabled infant. Would a man in the same family circumstance be questioned about his decision? Perhaps Governor Palin should thank her lucky stars that some people look beyond her role as wife and mother and give her the opportunity to be a leader. In return she should do the same and give greater support to women who chose careers in addition to or rather than being a mother.

If there is any person who should vote Republican, it is me. My “career” began in politics, interning with a former Republican presidential hopeful (whose little macaca reference ruined his career and my resume!). I work in health insurance and my stock options and job are potentially on the line with a democratic win. But the Republicans have sold their small government inner soul to the devils of the evangelical church. Since biblical times people engaged in practices to assist them with so called family planning and now we have a party who supporting policies that make women helpless victims of their biology. I’m not willing to take a chance on a party hell-bent on making sure every woman and little girl ends up barefoot, pregnant, and helpless to her biology. I cannot support a party that profits extensively off of big oil. I cannot support a party that chooses the life of an unborn fetus over the life of a fully-formed woman, or the life of a sick person who could benefit from stem-cell research. I could get another job, I could invest in new stock, but my life, and the lives of millions of men, women, and children would be irrevocably changed if their ability to control their reproduction is taken from them or the environment continues to crumble around them.

Women need safe and effective ways to take control of their bodies. Women need to be protected from the violence of rape and incest, not punished through forced pregnancy. Women need access to books and films, even if they are deemed offensive to some groups. Women need powerful role models whose rise to prominence are based upon hard-work, intelligence, dedication, and perseverance; not outer-beauty and intimidation. Women don’t need just any woman in office they need a person, man or woman, who looks out for their needs. Sarah Palin is completely out of touch with the realities of being a teenage girl, woman, and/or parent in the United States today and is not a role model worthy of the Vice Presidential nomination. Normally I support third-party nominees on the Independent, Constitutional, or Libertarian tickets, but this offensive choice by the McCain camp is forcing my vote. After 8 years with Presidential administration that exemplified the worst qualities in both parties, a social conservatism and a fiscal liberalism, I was hoping even the Republican party realized it was time for change. McCain had a chance to choose a running-mate who could rally moderates, and instead pandered to the religious right while hoping women would overlook Palin’s policies and just vote based on gender. I cannot help but quote my good friend Alex who coined a good phrase for those voting not for the Democrats, but against the Republicans; “Barack for the Block.”

Monday, September 08, 2008

Quote of the Week

A little something to celebrate a beautiful beginning to the NFL season. Go Buffalo!
Football players, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers.
- Merle Kessler

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Other Man

It all began quite innocently. A few friends mentioned a place downtown that could help me break out of the daily routine that left me bored, lethargic, and depressed; that is where I found him. This Adonis-like man. Long, lean and muscular; he took my breath away from the moment I stepped into his mirrored lair. Addiction to the pleasure and the pain he forced upon me was almost immediate, and soon I was visiting him two or three times a week to get my fix. Spending countless dollars to feed insatiable cravings; powerless to his magic. For over three hours each week he does things to my body that no man, or woman, has ever done. Making me scream, moan, and sweat to the point of utter exhaustion. Luckily my husband is very understanding of a woman’s needs and encourages me to visit the other man in my life, knowing how happy I am after the end of each heart-throbbing session.

A few years ago I gave up my gym membership, viewing the money spent as a frivolous waste of cash given my access to workout equipment at the office and in my home. For the most part I took full advantage of the machines and weights available to me, but the monotony of my routine and limited options led to boredom and ultimately, some pretty major weight gain. Toying around with re-joining the local fitness giant, I remembered some friends mentioning a gym downtown, The Firm, that offered a variety of fitness classes and decided to take advantage of their “first week free” policy. With my friend Amy in tow, we started the week with cardio strip tease, tried a little circuit training, and ended our free week at a Saturday morning Step class. Little did we know that stepping into that final free class would actually be a life altering experience.

Doug, also known as Diva Doug and Queen Diva, is the Adonis-like man who routinely pushes his disciples to the brink of death and has them begging for more. His style and persona are larger than life and his work is more life coach and performer than aerobics instructor. Each class is a production; the choreography refined over two decades of teaching, music upbeat and uplifting, costumes risqué. Doug is front and center, the leading actor of the program who performs on a disco-esque lighted step stage but this is not a one-man show. Each person of the class plays an important role in the performance, sometimes comedic or tragic, often an epic blockbuster complete with more burlesque moves and naked skin than in cardio strip tease.

Blasphemous as it sounds, the messages heard in a downtown Minneapolis aerobics studio are more empowering and uplifting than anything said in the dozen or so churches I attended throughout my lifetime. Although class is referred to by many as “The Church of Doug,” this isn’t religion; followers are not worshiping a false God, but finding faith in themselves. Our “preacher” Doug spreads the word of personal strength, perseverance, and determination, creating an environment where parishioners learn lessons of hope, faith, fellowship, and love. We hope our bodies will bring us through each class as we gain strength and stamina. We have faith that the sweaty palms of those in the crowded room will maintain their grip their barbells, protecting us from bodily injury (and broken studio mirrors). We form friendships and bonds with those in the class, and each of us continue to bring new people into the group so they too can embark on a journey to self-discovery and better health. We learn to love ourselves and in turn find a truer and deeper love for our friends, family, environment, and mankind.

Unlike many churches, The Firm has an open door and open closet policy; clientele is dominated by gay men and athletically gifted women, but even chubby girls (like me!) and straight men can find fellowship and support at the gym. Although accepting to all, Doug’s Step Class is not for the weak or those who give up easily; I can easily say most of the US of population would poop out well before the Jane Fonda-like warm up is complete. Personally, I have yet to completely putter out, but can often be heard exclaiming moving phrases like “praise God,” “heaven help me,” and “Mommy.”

Spending time with another man for the past 5 months has made me stronger, happier, and healthier, with none of the mess or guilt associated with adultery; Doug would most definitely be more interested in my mind than in my womanly figure so my husband has nothing to worry about! Feeling better about one’s self is enriching and empowering to one’s body, mind, and soul. Many attend a specific church not because of the denomination posted on the bulletin, but because of the energy and outlook of the pastor or priest officiating. After lasting eight minutes with a substitute instructor I realized I do not belong to the religion of step, but follow the word (and moves) of Doug…

The Ten Commandments of Doug (interpreted and authored by Explosive Bombchelle and Friends)
  1. Thou shalt believe in yourself.
  2. Thou shalt move with purpose.
  3. Thou shalt remember to breathe.
  4. Thou shalt appreciate how lucky you are to have bodies that can move and sweat.
  5. Thou shalt jump (and bend and squat and lift) with joy.
  6. Thou shalt have pride in yourself.
  7. Thou shalt learn how to fly.
  8. Thou shalt whoop and hoot and holler while exercising, celebrating your strength.
  9. Thou shalt sweat in places you didn’t know you had sweat glands.
  10. Thou shalt have fun.
Many thanks to my friend Amy for contributing to this piece and my editor-in-chief, The Husband, for being the number one man in my life.