Archive for the life lesson number 498 Category

everything i need to know i learned from jillian michaels.

Posted in etcetera, i am not a gym rat, life lesson number 498, me, mirror mirror on the wall, the glass is half FULL on May 29, 2009 by drbolte

not really, but i am learning lessons.

1. nothing is impossible.

i did plank jacks today. do you know what those are?  imagine yourself in pushup position.  then imagine doing jumping jacks with your legs.  while in pushup position.

it sounds like death on a stick, right? like it would be impossible?

not true. it was easier than i thought it would be.  i thought that it would be too hard every other time that i did level 2.  i never tried it.  i never knew if i could do it. when i tried it today, i expected it to be like plank thrusts (which is jumping in your knees while in plank), which were very difficult.

but they weren’t.  they were easy.  FUN.

therein lies the lesson.  what seems crazy and impossible can often be fun. and easy.

if only you try.

2. progress comes in flashes and you have to pay attention.

with 30 day shred, you’re supposed to do this deal every day, progressing (i guess) every 10 days.  so the effort is kind of constant.  in that way, you see your progress.  but sometimes, you don’t.

because if you’ve been shredding for longer than that, and you’ve been at level 3 for a while, you might realize that things are a bit easier or see that your heartrate doesn’t go into “imminent explosion” mode as often, but you’re still pretty much doing the same thing as you’ve been doing for a while now.

but when you’re trying to escalate your efforts, taking every opportunity to do more, to reach a new fitness goal and to finally, once and for all, shatter a plateau, you start noticing.  that, even though jillian tells you that it’s okay that you don’t kick to your head in high kicks, you’re darn close.  that you’re far more flexible than you used to be. that situps are just as easy as crunches and that, actually, you prefer them.

sometimes, you have to stop, turn around, and look at things from a different perspective.  that’s when you see the progress.

3. results come in lots of ways.

for example, the above information.

and NOT the fact that the scale keeps creeping up.

(i know i know muscle repair retaining water muscle weighs more than fat blah blah blah)

30 day shred will DEFINITELY teach you to pay attention to all of the results, not just the shiny ones that you thought that you wanted.


in which i learn from jon and kate.

Posted in bff, life lesson number 498, TV and me are pals on May 26, 2009 by drbolte

so, i watched jon and kate plus eight last night, along with much of the tv-watching public.

unless you live under a pop culture rock (like my bff who just doesn’t care, bless him–he balances me out so nicely), you know what’s been going on. heck, if you’ve been to a grocery store in the last month and taken a gaze roundabout you, you’ve seen the magazine covers.

so i watched it.

it was terribly sad.

i was going to talk about the show and the people and the situation but now i just realized that that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?  we should stop talking about them and let them live their lives. i hope, soon, that they will just go back to living their lives, pre-TLC.  i hope that they will find a way to mend their family, if their family should be mended, or find a way to raise their children together.  i think they will.

but as we were watching, the fiance and i got to talking because i was rather perplexed at the difference, for example, between this family and a family like the duggars, who have been in the spotlight FOR YEARS. (you don’t have 18 children without some media attention.) they’ve been on tv for a while now as well.  you just don’t see the same changes. 

the fiance suggested that it was because they had their faith to ground them.

now i don’t mean to say that the gosselins don’t have faith. i actually don’t believe that at all. but the duggars make EVERY decision in their family based on a principle of faith, even down to how they spend their money and what they choose to do on vacation. you can agree or disagree with what those principles are and what they choose to do, but when every decision is based on a bedrock principle, doesn’t it make it a bit easier to not be slammed by every wind of reality television fame?

i think so.

but the principle is the same, i think, for every couple and every family.  making your foundation something substantive allows you to survive the storms.  making every decision consciously allows you to map a course for where you really want to go, so that the likelihood is that you don’t end up far, far away from where you thought your destination was. 

surprisingly, amidst the terrible sadness of that show, i think i learned something about who i want to be.  

and i looked at the bff and said “i’m glad you’re in this for forever.”

and he looked at me and said “i am” with a kind of comfortable certainty that made me sure he is.

cx: the attention. oh, the attention.

Posted in c, i am not a gym rat, life lesson number 498, me, mirror mirror on the wall, the glass is half FULL, you should really worship me on October 2, 2008 by drbolte

well, i think i’m becoming that person.

you know the one i’m talking about. the one who thinks she knows it all, feels the pompousness of experience rise up to meet her as anyone starts talking about dieting or exercise or how to lose a few pounds.

i HATE those people.

i swear it’s not intentional. i promise. but it’s the same reaction that i get when someone starts talking about jane austen like she’s some pioneer of strictly chick lit or call Romantic writers Victorian or act like english majors make no contribution to society in general (all of these things have happened to me). when you immerse yourself in something for so long, and try to educate yourself, and have found success, an instinct kicks in that can deceive you into thinking that you know more.

i hate that feeling.

it’s not ego, i promise. more like the allure of wisdom, even if that wisdom only came last week in the form of a revelation that eating back your exercise calories is essential to your progress and that working out more, even if the scale doesn’t show it, really changes your body.  the little birdie of humility tells me often that, yes, this works for you and that, yes, it has worked for lots of people too. but that doesn’t make your way the best way or the only way or the golden path to peace and contentment.

but it is a way.

a hard way. a way full of not eating chinese food EVER and abandoning ice cream COMPLETELY and getting chocolate only in the form of pudding packs and semisweet chocolate chips.  a way full of 15% treadmill inclines and stadium stairclimbing and high elbow rows and lateral raises that you still can’t do well but you keep trying because darn it if a five pound weight is going to get the best of you.

but it’s a way.

i write all this because today i was told that i was doing really good with exercise by someone who, honestly, i had no idea knew anything about what i was doing. i’ll get back to that in a minute, but after she mentioned a mutual friend who was dieting, i found myself pontificating about how a particular “diet” is really just severe calorie restriction and probably won’t work in the long run because nobody really eats like that. and then i backtracked to the “different things work for different people” party line, which is true but which i’m not sure that i totally believe. i really don’t believe that a grapefruit and spinach soup diet (not the one to which i was referring earlier, but it might as well be) is going to get you where you want to go.

unless where you want to go is to lose a bunch of water and muscle in time to fit into that fabulous dress, and then more power to you, but don’t be surprised when you eat a piece of fruit that your body says HALLELUJAH AND AMEN! and plants that banana right back on your body in the form of five pounds.

i’m just saying.

but i’ve been there, and i understand. i really do.  quick fixes are the glitzy bling of our psychological needs.  we know we have to fix something, so we want to just fix it, not work hard for it, so we find the thing that seems to be the quickest, best, easiest route and we run to it.

i would like to introduce you to twenty eight years of my past. i know what it’s like.

but it doesn’t work. i mean it MIGHT work…for a while.  shoot. that’s happened to me too, in lots of things.  you can jump up on a bandwagon and stay on it for a good long time.  but bandwagons were made to break down, to collapse when you hit the first speed bump of life.   what then?

see? i’m doing it again. but here it’s my dime, my forum, my place to vent. and i don’t like that i am, now that i am immersed in what i’m doing and have basically changed my approach to everything, losing touch with how it feels to be on the other side.  i remember, but i don’t remember enough.

i need to remember more.

back to this person who told me that i was doing so well with exercise.

cue the attention whore portion of our program.

it’s that time again.  the time where everybody starts to notice, make comments, tell me i’m tiny (far from) and shrinking (legitimately true), even people who are basically just acquaintances feel free to ask me if i’m losing weight.  which introduces the perpetual dilemma of awkward versus deep and abiding need to be NOTICED! RIGHT NOW! WORSHIP ME!

hey. i never said i was anything other than a big bundle of contradictions walking around in purple flipflops.

i’ve written about this before. it’s so awkward for me, but i love it at the same time.  inevitably, this period of time comes AFTER i have started noticing it myself.  because i always go through this I CAN’T SEE IT! phase, where i really can’t see it.

(your brain has a little trouble keeping up with your body, if you didn’t know. it sees what it wants to see and it tells you what it wants to tell you.)

that’s been me lately.  can’t see the change. people keep telling me, and i can’t see it.

and then, on sunday, i saw it.  so did a bunch of other people.  and it was fun. and i was like “dang, i’m CUTE.”  but still, it’s weird. it’s especially weird when people who don’t really have any reason to notice/care/comment/invest time and resources in caring/noticing/commenting are.  because sometimes i think that i live in a world where actually very few people pay attention to what i’m doing.  i understand that world because i am living in drbolteland, populated by only me, the associated people who supply me with what i need, the people who text/call/facebook/email me, and my neuroses.

i expect that other people would be the same.

it’s odd.  because this time, i don’t really want to talk about it. it is what it is.  yes, i am shrinking. yes, i have lost weight. no, i have not gotten gastric bypass, ingested a tapeworm, found the miracle cure in the waters of some spring in Timbuktu, embraced a carrot and oatmeal diet, or otherwise found some kind of alien DNA that has changed me into half of my former self.

nope.  hasn’t happened. i guess i should say that i wish it had.  but i don’t.

the better, but infinitely less interesting answer, is that i just work incredibly hard at it.  i bust my butt most every day.

less interesting, yeah.  but i feel a whole lot more comfortable reaping the rewards.

so, yeah, you can worship me.  maybe i deserve it. a little.


now only lasts for one second.

Posted in Church, etcetera, faith is action, friends, life lesson number 498, me, perfect brightness of hope on July 27, 2008 by drbolte

before i begin, i feel like i need to say something about the last post. i realize that it may have seemed like i actually saw this kid doing something disgusting. i really didn’t. i just saw him peering out of the door.  should i have realized what was going on? probably. but you have to understand that when i am working out, i am thinking about maybe five things, all somehow related to keeping my feet moving and my ipod on.  i don’t contemplate the cosmos or really even think about life. i get into a mindless zone, and it’s lovely.  so…should i have immediately figured out what was going on? probably.  but i didn’t.  and, to be fair, maybe that kid thought i did see. and if he did…then i can sort of understand his surprise.  because wouldn’t you be surprised if somebody was okay with that?  

yeah me too.

now…on to other things.


it’s moving faster lately. 

i don’t know if you’ve noticed.  sometimes i have moments when i stop and wonder:  what have i done with the last million minutes of my life? it seems so grand, that number, doesn’t it?  but it’s not. it’s just about two years.  so where were you ’round about this time two years ago?  who were you?  what were your goals?

did you let life happen to you or did you do something about it?

i feel like today’s lesson, in more ways that one, was about making things happen, not waiting for them to happen.  today in church we talked about such things–about the fact that you don’t change because an event happens.  nobody walks out of their wedding, for example, a completely different person.  do you adapt to circumstances? sure.  but if you want to be a different kind of person, nothing’s going to do that for you except effort on your part.

no quick fixes here in the real world.  sort of sucks, doesn’t it?

but then again it doesn’t, because when you do take your life in your hands and make something out of it, when you have those moments when you realize that SWEET MOSES WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SUMMER AND WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?, you can look around and count.

oh.  i did that.

oh. i became that.

oh. i finished that.

oh.  i conquered that.

oh. that weakness is now a strength.

or you can have tiny moments when you realize that, despite what you thought you’d do or what you most certainly would have done before, you’re making decisions that reflect how different you really are. 

those are cool.

i’ve sort of had encounters with people who aren’t doing this over the past week or so–people who react rather than act.  i worry about them. life is hard.  life is long–too long to worry about the stuff that doesn’t matter–and short–too short to wait around for it to come to you and deliver, in a wrapped package, all of the things that you want to do and be.  those are both true, though they may seem contradictory.  and i worry about people who seem to be waiting around for their life to take flight.

i have learned a few things in my years of hard knocks.  life has been good and kind to me, for sure, but it has polished and refined me something fierce.  what are you waiting for?, i want to ask to those people.

to be brave? you can only gain courage by taking scary steps.

to be strong? you can only be strong by admitting you’re weak or frightened and still stepping further than you think you can.

to endure? you can only endure by moving forward. endurance is not a standing still sport.

to be happy?  happiness is never going to just find you and hang out perpetually. happiness is a condition created by everyday action. 

for people to respect you?  stand up for yourself with respect for them.  say what you mean.  move forward with confidence.  

i wish, so much, that people could just learn from what i’ve been through.  i had a conversation tonight about this with someone who reminds me very much of myself a few years ago.  and i just so desperately, desperately, desperately want to save her from the hard stuff. i want her to stand up for herself, to make choices with confidence, to stop waiting.  it doesn’t work that way, i know.  i think i must now feel a wee bit of what my mom felt when she would plead with me to learn from her mistakes and make my own instead of just repeating hers again and again.  

so what have i learned from all of this? action is my apparently default problem-solving mechanism and my battle plan for life.

when something tough is presented to me, i do something. it may have nothing whatsoever to do with that problem right there in front of me, but it’s got something to do with something, and i’m moving. i can’t stand still. and eventually, to allude to a really cool quote that’s truer than i think people realize, i live my way into the answers to all of my questions.  


but i’ll be living and moving and trying and failing and growing and changing in the meantime.  

and in the last million minutes, i like where that road has taken me.

out of step.

Posted in dissertation, i am not a gym rat, life lesson number 498, mirror mirror on the wall on July 2, 2008 by drbolte

i didn’t used to think that i was a routine person.   i come from a long line of routine-ers, though.  my mom would be happy to eat the same thing every day.  my grandma had methods to her madness that helped her get through whatever trials that she had.  i remember, specifically, her routine for taking rent checks when she and my grandfather were working as apartment managers. she used to let me help her, but there was a specific way to do things that i had to follow.

i understand it, now.  routine creates order and order banishes the chaos inherent in life.  but routine is also comfortable, well-worn, like the best part of jeans.  or sometimes it’s like that pair of jeans that has seen better days, the ones with holes in places that shouldn’t have holes and a butt that sags just too much to really be considered acceptable.

i find myself lately trying to establish a new routine, necessitated by the beginning of summer classes and new responsibility, but also a result of changes that i’m trying to incorporate into my life.  i would like my routine to be settled, to be comfortable, to be worn in.  but instead it feels, ironically perhaps or perhaps not at all, just like my new pink running shoes–rubbing at places that are tender, making me keenly aware that it’s not yet familiar, not yet integrated, fitting but not completely.  i have to think very hard, make decisions all of the time. every step is deliberate, every motion consciously made.  and sometimes, those motions lead to pain or stress.  sometimes, they lead to euphoria and excitement.

but i get impatient, waiting for the new shoes to finally fit perfectly.  time passes so slowly in this breaking-in phase, like every single minute is weighted with some sort of importance.  like i will never feel at ease for all this weighty importance i carry around.  i think back with a nostalgic fondness to the old routine, and wonder if i could abandon these new, fresh, rubbing-on-my-heel ideas, routines, and habits for the familiar.

it doesn’t take me long, though, to realize that i’ve grown out of those.  they’re broken down, worn out for a reason.  these are new, full of bright possibility and incredible growth, and i’m meant to be in them.  the fact that i don’t really fit in the others, either, makes me excited, makes me think that maybe i’ve grown far more than i think that i have.

but the blisters, band-aids, and sore muscles–literal and figurative–are exhausting.

like water, or maybe a thicker liquid, through a sieve. or the blog post with the worst title EVER.

Posted in blogging, dissertation, going quietly mad, life lesson number 498, the internets on May 22, 2008 by drbolte


the longer i have to wait, the more i begin to doubt.

it’s been three weeks.

i know that’s not that long.  but when you actually expect to hear about it about three days after you turn in the paperwork, so sure that it’s going to be in the bag and having heard that last year’s recipient heard in like four days, it’s a LONG.DANG.TIME.

so i sit here, obsessively checking my email and wondering what on earth could be the holdup.  doing that, i start to think, hey, wait.  maybe there are a lot of really qualified candidates. maybe i actually don’t have this locked up at all.  don’t think that i am usually this confident about anything. i’m not.  in my professional life, i have less freakouts than in my personal life, mainly because i have more success because i am doing something that i really love to do and am good at, but i am routinely unaware of how good i am at what i do. i do what i do.  i try to do my best. i work hard, most days, at it, and then i move on.

but this time i was really sure.

and now, i don’t know.  at this point i just want it all to be done so that i can stop feeling my confidence drain out of me, bit by bit, day by day.  i am at this point quite close to begging someone, anyone, for any kind of clue.  i emailed my director. she called the graduate coordinator, emailed me to let me know she did, and then…nothing.

it’s like some really bad punk’d episode or something. you know, if i was someone of consequence to appear on mtv2.  which i’m not. but you get what i’m saying.

i guess i sort of know why it’s all happening.

because, all, i don’t know if you know this, but i am the most impatient person on the planet who is routinely called patient.  which means, i guess, that while i am internally YELLING about things that i have to wait for, i am outwardly waiting and just doing the best i can. i hate it. i hate waiting more than anything. i am not a waiting kind of girl. i want to make things happen. i want to be in control, and waiting implies that someone else is entirely in control.  ironically, or perhaps not at all ironically, i am currently presented, in my life, with a multitude of things that only patience and time and confidence will resolve.

you think maybe i’m supposed to learn something?  i think maybe i’m supposed to learn something.

so…instead of sitting here vexing about how the inbox number hasn’t changed at all while i’ve been sitting here blogging and thinking “why haven’t they emailed me because it’s not like they aren’t already at work/awake/thinking of me! gosh! i’m the center of everyone’s universe!”…i’ll go focus my intention and try not to hate triangle pose as much as i just really really do.

which means i’ll go do some yoga.  and breathe.  and try not to think.

or i’ll think about the lesson in all of this.


or i’ll just keep begging.

i don’t know.

if i had a title, it wouldn’t all seem a muddled mess.

Posted in Church, etcetera, faith is action, life lesson number 498, wish i may wish i might on April 20, 2008 by drbolte

i understand in my head that sometimes doing what’s right is not always doing what you want to do.

it’s the foundational principle that i live my life on. it’s the crux of my testimony, of my faith–the wise exercising of my agency. i try very hard to do this well, to make the choices that will get me closer to becoming the person that i want to be–i’m trying to live so that the self-centered natural part of me submits to the nobler spiritual part of me, to my Father’s will.

i believe that it would be impossible for me to understand life if all it involved was following one instinctive urge after another, doing whatever i wanted because i wanted it. imagine that for a moment. there would be no order, only chaos. no kindness, only hedonism. no love, only lust or at best a self-interested investment in someone else. there would be no times when you have to lay what you want on the altar of what is best in order to do what you know is right.

i am not always good at this. sometimes i eat cookies for dinner and say things that i shouldn’t say. sometimes i’m too selfish to see that i am being unkind because i’m more interested in making someone feel bad than i am in being the bigger person. sometimes i choose to fritter away my time rather than do something meaningful with it. sometimes i don’t open my eyes to the very real opportunities i have to be generous and open-hearted to people who probably need it far more than i know.

some decisions just aren’t that difficult for me anymore. i made them a long time ago, and every time i choose again to not do it–or to do something good–the results, how i feel, and everything about how it shapes my life confirms that those decisions are right.

sometimes, though, the decision is between something really great and something truly wonderful. when the truly wonderful trumps the really great, but your heart wants the really great nonetheless, that’s when things get a bit more difficult. i know what needs to be done. i’ll do the thing that results in the truly wonderful, and i’ll try to do it with joy. sacrifice is important. i get it.

but sometimes sacrifice sucks.

and that’s how i’m feeling right now.