Under 6 months to go

Just realized looking at the calendar today that I’m under six months until departure for Alaska.  The older you get, the faster time flies by.  It seems like just yesterday that I had made the determination to try to accomplish my bucket list item of making it to the Arctic Circle…on the wheels of a Harley.  The past three months have been a whirlwind of changes, and so much is now different than where life was in the fall.  Time for an internal status check of how things are going.

Motorcycle upgrades

Actually pretty close to being done with the major things.  I met with Mitch over the weekend, and we were able to get the front tire changed out and the new bearings installed..  Just need to get the tire re-installed along with the fender, and swap out brake pads for new ones.  The hardest work is finished, and now I’ll be moving into taking care of a number of smaller headache problems I have had over the past year (CB frequently cutting out, amp fuse problems, etc.)  Also need to install some permanent wiring, both for my new heated gear (details to come later) and the Garmin Zumo 660 connection to the battery.

Needed gear for trip

Other than a Delorme inReach SE and its required annual plan, I have everything I need for the trip now.  I am in the process of doing another round of evaluating on my gear that I will take, and triple checking the checklists that I have created that I know that I’ll be looking at each week going forward.  But I could easily leave today and have what I need.  The inReach will be acquired in the spring, when typically they go on sale for a few extra bucks off (yes, I can be cheap).

Smoking update

Or should I say the non-smoking update.  Having quit numerous times in the past, I always picked it back up in just days or weeks…sometimes making it a few months; all the while fighting intense urges to go back to the tobacco.  Since quitting September 11, no serious urges, no desires at all.  I can handle being around others that smoke without the threat of asking them for a cigarette.  I’m not saying I am now going to be a life-long ex-smoker, but I sure am hoping that is the direction it goes.  Everybody that smokes needs to reach that time in their life to actually quit…and I hit mine a week after my mother passed away from cancer this fall.  There is absolutely no interest in starting again, and I have been able to deal with daily stress in other productive ways.

Exercising

For the past two decade plus, my main job has been behind a desk at least 75% of the time.  This has turned me into a bowl of lazy jelly who had gotten short-winded and out of shape.  A couple months ago, I decided to do something about the fact that I am getting older, facing medical problems in the years to come, and needing to strengthen my physical core…or at least to make the effort and to have been able to say that I actually tried to do something.

Well, I find myself exercising religiously at least five days a week.  Treadmill, cardio exercises, resistance training, walking an indoor track, and tons of alone in the morning basketball shooting…each workout hits at least two of these areas.  I feel myself getting stronger for a change, and some days I feel alive again after a rough workout.  Heck, my three-point shooting is back to my high school days of over 80%, and I have recently started mixing the fast walking in with running.  I am at the point where I know that the more I sweat, the more in shape I am becoming.  It’s becoming a workout goal to become even more drenched than the last session.  Sounds sick…but if you’ve been there, you know what I am talking about.

Losing weight

All the exercise is helping me lose weight.  Like the majority of American adults, I tip the scales higher than I should.  While not ready to disclose the starting weight or what number I am now (that comes a few months more down the road), I can say that so far, I have lost a dozen pounds.  Some weeks have been harder than others, but the overall direction of the weight is going down.  It gets me excited each Sunday morning when I weight myself in the same clothes used each week, and to see the scale show a decrease from last week’s numbers.

Dietary changes

Now that I sit down and think about it, the biggest surprise change to me has been the change in what is going in my mouth each day.  Before making some changes, each day’s ritual was:

Breakfast:   I stopped at the gas station on the way to work and grabbed a 44 ounce fountain soda.  Near work, stop and grab 2 Sausage Egg McMuffins or a few Dunkin’ Donuts namesakes.

Lunch:  2 trips to the local spicy Chinese buffet each week, with other trips to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Burger King each day for a big hamburger and fries.  Wash it down with repeat cups of diet coke or some other carbonated, sugary beverage.  Usually bring one back to the office with me since the 44 ouncer was gone by lunchtime.

Dinner:  Either eating out, ordering delivery, or opening up a can of food full of salt, calories, and having no good dietary benefit.

Snacks:  OH my…the days of opening a bag of chips and some dip…watching TV, and then realizing the bag had gone empty mysteriously!  It’s a wonder I didn’t weigh a couple hundred pounds more than I did.

Breakfast is now oatmeal…lunch is usually brought in from home with nutritional foods, and dinner is either fish, salad, stir-fry, or just vegetables.  Snacks are now applesauce, apples, grapes, and yogurt.  Still not a fan of the yogurt, regardless of brand or flavor.

The mind

I’m focusing on one day at a time, and doing pretty well getting through.  Sure, life throws non-stop curveballs at each of us, but I’m hitting a few back out nowadays.  There’s lots of reasons for me to go to Alaska that I have previously mentioned.  Each person, at least once a decade, needs to self-evaluate their selves, where they are, and where they want to go.  A deep look at ourselves to see who we have become, and whether the foreseeable future is the path we wish to take.  Call it a mid-life crisis of sorts, but I have been down this road each of the decades before in my life…and I feel it is time to go through it again in a way.  The Alaska trip will help me refocus on me and to determine the direction of the things in my life.

Overall

So, overall I feel good at under six months to go.  I don’t feel big changes yet, and I don’t see big changes yet…but I know that in the months to come, that will all change.

Hoping to get over to the bike later this week and finish up the work enough that it is back in the condition to take it out and ride it.  We shall see if that works out.

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