Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and LearningNever Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning by Dan John

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was given this book by a power lifter friend of mine. We talked a lot about fitness when we were hanging out and when he moved away, he thought I would enjoy the book. It really was interesting with lots of discussions about different fitness programs, diets, etc. I got a lot from it. One of my favorite things was “If it is important, do it every day. ” That actually pertains to all aspects of life and I am fully embracing this. I also think I may do the one lift a day option occasionally to change things up. I guess this was a book of essays written by the author. When I was looking something up, I found one of the chapters online.

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I am reading this book Never Let Go. It is a book on weight lifting and fitness. It was given to me by the ex-con before he moved to Phoenix. It is a good book that is helping me remember some of my old weightlifting knowledge and is teaching me more on it and diet. Things have changed a bit since I was a lifter in the 80s.

The chapter last night was talking about warm-ups and he ended up stating that the warm-up should actually be something important to your workout. For instance, if you are working hard on pull ups, to make that part of your warm up. He ended up stating this quote “If it is important, do it every day. If it’s not important, don’t do it at all.”  WOW!!! Is that true in all aspects of life. He even went on to say that. He said to make sure to tell your loved ones that you love them every day and he gave other things in every day life that he thought it pertained to. I think this is going to be my motto in life for a while. Since the divorce it basically has been to have fun but lately I have been focusing so much on my fitness and myself in other ways.

So, what is important to me? Telling my friends and family that I love them. Working out- specifically my core. Eating well. Reading. Working my brain- puzzles, working on foreign language, etc. Of course, the things we all have to do, pay bills, work, chores but life shouldn’t be all about those things. Other things are important in our lives. I think the physical one that I am going to add is planks. I was doing them and push ups daily until I got my bowflex and now I have been doing lifting. The planks have been neglected and are such an important and good exercise for the core. I need to do those BEFORE I get on the bowflex every morning.  The brain activities are to help prevent Alzheimers. It also helps that I do enjoy those things. I have been using an app to learn Spanish for a bit and do lots of puzzles and games that use your brain. I do not like the ones like Angry Birds, I prefer to THINK..

I would love to hear from my readers what they think is important. What are you going to do every day? I may add more to mine, in fact, I probably will.

I have been spending a bit of time with ex-bf/bff  lately. It has been so nice to have time with him alone. I have missed talking to him so much. I have mentioned that he and his girlfriend broke up the beginning of July and he also lost his dog the same week. I was worried about him for a bit but he seems to be doing well now. He has been going to some personal growth retreats and he is really working on getting over his baggage. I sure hope that someday he can truly find happiness with himself so he can find it with somebody else. I will always love him but, unfortunately, I cannot go back to him, even if he asked. We did fool around on my birthday. It was nice to be back in his arms and kiss him again. It would  have been easy to open my heart back to him but I refuse to. As I have said before, I believe that love is a choice. I won’t give my heart back to him at this point and I have told him that. I choose not to love him like that again unless he is ready to let me in. Even then, it would not be a given. I would have to really think about it. He would have to earn me back.  I love how honest we are with each other. I love that I can tell him these things and he tells me that he still worries about hurting me when he is with someone else.

Last weekend, we went on a hike to a natural hot springs. Yes, we soaked naked. It was so nice sitting next in the hot springs with the cold river flowing by.  We have talked so much about our growth since we split up. I know the things he has done and he asked me what I have done. He also thinks that some of what I say is just words because I still occasionally say that I want a man. I have explained to him that those times are actually few anymore. I like my space. I love my freedom. So many times, I hear couples on the street and think to myself how glad I am not to be in a relationship. Even as few as a few months ago, I would sometimes get sad when I saw a couple holding hands walking down the street. Now, I really feel nothing. Not anger and pity, like I felt right after my divorce. I was such a cynic and was sure that they were all making a mistake in trusting and loving. I also, not longer feel sad because I am alone. I feel happy for them and hope it lasts. I do sometimes wonder if I will ever find that BUT it is truly not a concern anymore.

So, what have I done to grow? I have been thinking about that since he asked. One is that I spend so much time alone that I can think. Most of my workday, I spend thinking about my life and reflecting. I also blog here. This is so good for me. Not only is it journaling but I get feedback and see my feelings are normal and others feel the same way. I read LOTS of books and blogs. I am exercising not just at work but weight lifting again. I have loved that since I was a teen and haven’t done for years. I love how it makes me feel mentally and physically.  I am also spending more time with friends and reconnecting with people. My birthday helped with that. When you are content with your life and yourself, a partner becomes less important.

One of the things that I thought about the other day is WHY am  I so content alone right now? Of course, there is the standard, I can do what I want, when I want, without anyone having any say or worrying about being criticized for my choices and feelings as I did for years. My big AHA moment came the other day though. I had been dwelling on this for days and it just popped into my head. For the first time in my life, I am taking care of ME only. I am 50 years old and don’t need to take care of anyone but me and my puppies. Of course, I am still here for my kids but I am my priority for the first time. It is such a free feeling. I can go hike with my ex-bf, get naked and sit in a hot spring. I can go have beer with a friend. I can sit on my couch naked and blog. I can go to bed at 7 or at midnight. I can have ice cream for breakfast or dinner, if I choose. I am fifty years old and feel better physically and mentally than I did at 35. I am healthier. I am fit. I am sexy. I am beautiful and strong. I am independent. I am not lonely at all. I plan to continue growing and getting better with age. We all should.

I know my last couple of posts have been downers but it has been a difficult few weeks here in our area. In the past two weeks, we have had three suicides in our county in the past two weeks. The youngest was 14, one was 22 and graduated with my second kiddo, and the other was a young mother. We have had nine in our county this year already and several more in our area. A friend of mine had a coworkers son in the neighboring county kill himself on Facebook the other night. It is becoming rather frightening for all of us.

For me, my middle kiddo having a classmate kill herself was very difficult for me to handle. She has been suicidal in the past and definitely been depressed off and on for a few years. When I heard about her classmate, I had no idea how close they were. I knew she had to know her. They had to know each other as our town is small and we are all connected and the kids all know each each other in school. I was so worried about her all day. I was so relieved to know that they weren’t close at all but still have had concerns about her since. She appears to be okay but studies do show that suicide is contagious.

I spent all day wondering who was next. Why it is contagious. Why do people get permission to go ahead and go through with it when other people do? I have always wondered that. I have never understood that but it is true. I have read a lot on theories of why this past week but I think I have one idea why. One of the reasons I never acted on my plans was I was afraid of failing and having to live with the consequences of that. I didn’t want to live with people upset with me for attempting to die. I think one of the reasons that it is contagious is we see people  succeed and think maybe we can, too. Is that one of the reasons that there are more attempts after a suicide in an area? It is a theory of mine. There is a town summit on Thursday addressing our crisis and where to get help, what to watch for, etc. I imagine that it will be highly attended as this is affecting our small community so hard. I hope that we can stop this from continuing in our area.

Don’t worry, I am not depressed or contemplating at all at this time. I am just saddened by all the recent deaths. I am grateful that I haven’t been close to any of the people that have died but I have friends that have been. Survivors have such a hard time.

Depression….. aah that horrible subject that is taboo. I have to talk about it periodically. I refuse to be silent anymore.

Depression entered my life when I was fourteen. By all accounts, I should have been happy. For the most part, I had a great life but I was lonely. A lonely that made no sense. I was sad. A sadness that made no sense. I no longer wanted to live and that made no sense. I felt guilty for feeling the way I did, which made it even worse. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I felt shame for having my feelings. I knew that telling my mom would just make her upset and she would tell me to pull myself up and get over it. She wouldn’t be being insensitive but she didn’t understand depression. She truly has no concept of it. I read a book called Lisa, Bright and Dark. The girl was going crazy and then I wondered if that was what was happening to me. I must have read that book a dozen times. I related to her.  Why was I so sad for no reason? I would pray to my god every night to not let me wake up. This went on for years. I got involved with smoking, drinking, drugs, even sex to try and make me feel better. Every day I thought about dying and how I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought about ways to kill myself. I had a knife to my wrist more times than I can count.  No one would listen I was supposed to be happy so I faked it the best I could. Eventually, I went to visit my dad and he took me to a therapist. That man was the first to save my life. I didn’t see him long but enough to give me tools to keep going. I continued my destructive behavior for a long time but no longer was praying or wishing to die daily.

Flash forward a few years. I was doing much better until a boyfriend and I broke up. We were going to get married. I was the one that decided to break it off but it was so painful. I just knew that no one would ever love me. I was unlovable and always had been (in my mind). I remember being in my apartment in school and just sobbing that I wanted to die and crying out for my former therapist. Somehow, my roommates and I tracked him down and I called  him across the country. Funny how I had seen him in the Philippines and this was preinternet but I found him here in the states. He and I are still in contact to this day. I was is patient in 1984.

After that incident, I managed to plug along with very little depression and few if any suicidal thoughts for years until 2008. Things collapsed for me then. In 2007, we had a string of deaths in our lives:  One of my favorite football players was killed Jan 1st., Dr Bustamante, Kieth, Carly, Ray, Sam, Mrs Faust, My grandfather, Kit, my cousin, and even my dog.  I actually think there were a couple more but I cannot think of who it was. It was emotional turmoil. I was struggling so hard to manage and survive all the pain and heartbreak around me. The first week of January 2008, my husband told me that he no longer wanted to be married to me. That was it. After a year of crying for deaths, I felt like my life was over. I told him he could have the kids because I knew I would die. It wasn’t very long after that I was making a plan. I was drinking almost a bottle of wine every night. I was researching all my meds to see what combination would definitely kill me. I did NOT want to fail this too. I had failed everything in my life, or so I thought. My husband would yell at me daily to pull it together. That just made me worse. My eldest kid had no idea what to do. My husband would yell at me to go get help when I told him that I wanted to die but he never took me for help. I have no idea how many times I TOLD HIM THAT I WAS GOING TO KILL MYSELF. He never took my pills away, never spoke to our doctor, never asked anyone for help. Maybe he was hoping I would do it. I don’t know.

My turning point was being in the car with my youngest. Someone was passing someone else in front of me. I had to put on the brakes to avoid them. My first thought was to hit the gas and unbuckle. That would have been so easy. I had thought about driving off a mountain so many times. I didn’t want to fail my suicide. The only reason my brakes were used is my son was sitting next to me. That was my wake up call. I went to my doctor and was put on antidepressants and started working with the tools I had learned all those years ago. The ex got  angry that I “only went on meds” because he didn’t understand that I already had the tools. I gradually got better and when he eventually filed for divorce, I swore to him that I would not let him kill me.

Last year, I got my semi-colon tattoo for suicide awareness and prevention. My story is not over yet and I am determined to never let that demon take over in my life again. I will speak LOUDLY and PROUDLY of my success. I will be here for anyone that needs to talk. If I can save one life, it is worth the tears I cry every time I recall that pain and loneliness. I no longer am ashamed of having depression. It is not my fault. It is not a weakness. It should no longer be a stigma.

I hate today and days like today. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I haven’t seen the sun in three days. Maybe it is just a down day. I don’t know. What I do know is that I woke up at 4 am from a dream that ex-bf was in. We were not together. He was with his current gf but we were hanging out and having a great time, like we always do. Considering that I hardly see him anymore, this made me miss him and our friendship. I also had awoken with a massive migraine and just wanted to sleep. I think I did sleep a little longer but by 630ish was out of bed suffering with this damn headache and feeling lonely.

I had wanted to go skiing today but had decided that instead I would get some things done around the house and ski next weekend when the tourist influx will be a little smaller and maybe ski both days. My house is an absolute disaster right now and I really wanted to get some things done but with my mood and how I felt this morning, I have barely gotten anything done. The one thing that was real important to me turned out to be a mess. My ex-husband was a wood worker and the bed frame I have been using he built. I have wanted to get rid of it for ages. I have had fantasies about burning it. Well R gave me a new bed frame with headboard and foot-board. Since I have a Tempurpedic mattress and the bed I currently have is solid wood, I wanted to exchange this when my son was home to help. The shit is HEAVY. So, we take apart the bed I have been using. Move it out and cannot get the new frame together. It appears something is missing. Tried calling R but he couldn’t figure it out either. After a while, the kids and I decided to give up and move the old bed back in so I wouldn’t be on the floor and I just started sobbing. Poor kids. I didn’t realize how much I did not want that bed until it wasn’t there any more. My poor middle kiddo goes to her room and tears apart her bed so I can use it and she will sleep on the floor on her mattress until we figure out the other one. My son just comes over and holds me.

I hate when I get that way. I am glad I don’t very often anymore but occasionally everything just seems to come to a head all at once. R has said he will come over and help me with the bed later and double check to see if there were more pieces that he missed previously. Hopefully, I am in a better mood tomorrow but unfortunately, sunny Colorado, at least my part, is not supposed to see the sun much if at all this week. I do know that affects me terribly. I need my sun every few days. At least when I am back at work tomorrow, I will be exercising and that helps, too. I guess for tonight, I will try and get some things done around here and put on some music. Maybe that will perk me up a bit. Depression is such a terrible thing to deal with and I have fought with it since I was young. My meds do help but there are still down times occasionally.

2007 was one of the toughest of my life. I turned out to be numb for much of the year. 2006 ended on a high note and I woke to a phone call from my mother real early. That was not a usual occurrence for me. She called to let me know that one of my favorite players on the Denver Broncos had been murdered in downtown Denver the night before. If I had known that was just the beginning, I don’t know how I would have reacted. As it was, I was heart-broken. Darrent Williams was a great cornerback but he also had a passion for the game that was exhilarating. He always had a great smile and I couldn’t help but smile when I saw him. He was young and had potential for being a great in the league. I loved watching him play or be interviewed. A few years later, my children gave me a collectors photo of him for my Broncos room. He will always be remembered by me.

If there was any year in my life that I would remove if I could, it would be 2007. Williams was just the beginning. I had so many deaths to deal with that year. Co-workers, friends, kids friends parents, family members, friends kids, kids friends, my dog.  Deaths were unexpected and some were expected. There was old age, cancer, car accidents, brain aneurysm, and stroke. I spent most the year in mourning and scared about what was next. I spent most of the year worrying about my kids and how they would handle all the death in their lives. I spiraled into a deep depression that I truly believe was the beginning of the end of my marriage. 2008 started with the first time my ex told me that he didn’t want to be married anymore. I understand. I cried almost very day the year prior. I just thought that once I got better, we would get better. I do think he got depressed too but would never get help. He spiraled into anger and withdrew from everyone and everything.

It took me a while to dig out and a lot of work. I will probably blog about many of these people that died in 2007 this year. That year changed me. In the long run, it was for the better. It has made me stronger though I am pretty cynical when people get sick now. I hate the way it affected my children. It was the beginning of a lot of deaths for them. They have all been affected so much at such young ages. They all had a classmate missing at graduation. Our little town has had a child missing at graduation almost every year for the past 8 years. I think only one year was the exception. I am not going to focus on the negative but I do need to talk about this. Death is such a difficult subject that we all try to avoid BUT it is something we all have to deal with. Our time is so short on this planet and we need to appreciate every day and everything we have. The song by Five For Fighting in 100 Years always hits me hard.