Sky Pie Dreams

Here’s a blog post written in dedication to those pie in the sky dreams, those resolutions and ambitions we all have around this time of the year.

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(Before you ask, yes I am aware that this post is coming 12 days too late and yes, I know Bob down the road gave up on his diet 7 days ago, but I have a life and have been far too busy doing this thing called a job and this other thing called sleeping. Sorry but not in the slightest bit sorry.)

Most people set only one New Year’s resolution, the majority of most people do not stick to this resolution. Quitting smoking, losing weight, at some point in their lives everyone will attempt one or both of these goals. Very noble aims, but also very predictable and targets that we are destined to almost certainly fail. Lets not kid outrselves, we are not these angelic spirits that can just give up a chunk of our life at the drop of a hat. We are human. We are needy, greedy, grabby little creatures, easily tempted to fall back into the trodden route we know best. We also fall into the trap of saying to ourselves that if we can’t fulfil our resolutions now then we may as well give up and bury our heads in the sand for another 11 months when we will then start the process of self loathing all over again.

I’ve decided to set myself a list of small resolutions, with the aim to complete most at least make good head way on it. By setting several goals that vary in achievability and differ from the usual, hopefully I’ll be able to finish the year and feel good about myself on some level (if I can’t achieve any of these I really need to rethink how I’m spending my evenings…)

Personal goals (in no particular order)

  • Write 100 blog posts (this post is my 35th)
  • Learn how to apply make up without stabbing myself in the eye
  • Learn how to look good in make up (“Alice, is that a black eye?” “It’s eyeshadow.” “Practising for Halloween?” “Err, yeah, sure.”)
  • Get Swindon 18-30 Professionals up to 350 members (ambitious, we’re currently at 240)
  • Get North Cotswold Young Professionals up off the ground
  • Stop wallowing in self pity and actually grow my nails
  • Write/make headway on getting a book written
  • Get more sleep
  • Attempt Spanish in some shape or form
  • Keep up the hard work and stick with the gym

Mama/Papa Bennett’s goals for me (FYI – these are not confirmed)

  • Get a boyfriend
  • Preferably rich
  • And attractive
  • Who also has a liking for sailing (for common interest) and football (because papa Bennett has been wanting to get into it for years)
  • And takes a keen interest in TV shows such as Coast and period dramas

India’s goals for me (again, TBC)

  • Stop being always right
  • Stop batting younger sisters with pillows
  • Stop forcing younger sisters to wear silly hats in public places
  • Accept that this run isn’t appropriate or normal
  • And understand that certain older sisters will never become professional Strictly dancers while they call this “dancing”:

 

Some New-ish Year resolutions to keep me going. I did consider to include some super health freak goal about eating more kale or building up more muscle mass, but then I thought those would be unrealistic given how much I was already investing in fitness. Besides, it you set yourself unrealistic aims you’re only setting a New Year’s unreolution where you spend the next month feeling negative and weak, (which kinda defeats how resolutions should make you feel). That and you’re gonna be the most hated person in the office. Just think it through:

January 4th: “Hey Karen, do you want some of my chocolate? It’s Christmas left over from the family but I felt we needed it here more than there!”

“No thanks, I’m eating my salad. Too many calories in one square of choc. Have as much as you want though. Doesn’t bother me.”

“Ok, your loss!”

January 12th: “Any plans for this weekend Karen?”

“I’m shopping for gym clothes. I’m going get something really expensive, so I look stylish when I’m at my fitness class. I be working out so much that I’ll wear it more than anything else I own.”

“Cool. I’m buying a pizza.”

January 21st: “Get anything nice in town?”

“Eggs and kale. Eggs and kale and bread.”

“To go with the fitness routine?”

“I must eat these because Davina says so.”

“O…k. I’m going to walk to the printer now…”

“I’m going to put them in a sandwich.”

“Bye Karen.”

“Or a PORTEIN SHAKE!!”

February 10th: “Hey there Tina. So, I’ve kinda given up on the health routine. Can I have some of your cake?”

“Sorry, can’t. You see, with winter here I need the extra f. Besides, this cake was a special investment, I’ll be wearing it more than anything else I own. Jog on K.”

 

If I can be bothered I may do a catch up post in six months to see where I’m at with these. I make no promises though.

 

Gym? What’s a Gym?

Gonna get straight to it, I’ve taken up membership at a local gym. In it is loads of gym-y equipment like treadmills, weights and water fountains (the stuff you’d expect) but there are also items of equipment which to the novice gym goer are both weird and scary. Take for example the Stair Stepper, a machine that looks like something you’d buy on The Sims as a wacky item. Shock (/horror) it exists in real life:

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Another fine example is the nicely titled ‘Ab Cruncher’ that aims to do exactly what it says on the tin. Now in this image you’d think it was a right jolly using one of these:

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But seriously, when you see people using them in real life it’s easy to question whether the design originates from some form of medieval torture. I mean look at the girl in this video demonstrating how to use the machine:

Rebecca looks like she’s about to poop herself.

I will be the first to admit that my bi to thrice weekly gym visits has not seen me use either these two machines so far (I joined up about a month ago). Thanks to Rebecca I’m now scared of the Ab Cruncher and part of me asks why there is a demand for a Stair Stepper. Either these people are living in bungalows or have never utilised an escalator in an empty shopping centre.

Back to me then. I joined the gym after many weeks of boredom pondering how to spend my evenings after work. I mean sure, I have socks to wash and I guess the cheap cheese won’t buy itself, but these are hardly riveting ways to spend one’s evening. I was also getting worn down by my born-again-fitness-freak housemate who was coming home every evening in her gym gear saying, “I’ve just been at a couple of fitness classes and on the weights. You been up to much?” “I made a sandwhich and now I’m deciding which chocolate bar to eat. It’s been a hectic evening.”

The two factors combined I took the plunge and signed up to the gym. I was uneasy about the idea at first, more than anything because I’d previously signed up to the gym at university, handing over £120 annual membership in my Freshers’ Week. To 99.9% of people this would be a good deal. Guess how many times I frequented the gym in one year?

Twice.

Yes, that’s right, twice. Both times to use the pool. And one of those times was because Alice got a little tipsy one evening and convinced someone she barely knew to go swimming the next day. It was both incredibly awkward and with a headache incredibly not fun. I suppose you could count the time I went to the gym induction. Oh yeah, went to an induction on how to use the gym equipment but then walked out with this new found knowledge never to return again. Who does that? Oh wait, ME!

Simply put, I had a deep rooted fears I would bail again on this gym in Swindon. This time though I double checked the money would leave my account every month so that I was reminded of my responsibility to commit to this. Money on the table, cheeky corporate discount applied, I signed up. First thought after clicking ‘submit’, “shoot, I’m actually going to have to go to this place now”.

First day and I think both my friends will agree I was completely clueless on what to do. I was only one rung of the ladder up from Homer…

I did not know where to go or what to do and I was wearing gym clothing bought about a year ago (I have a theory that goes if you buy the equipment, your body will do the rest. If you buy the textbooks, the essay will magically write itself; if you buy the sports gear, you’ll magically lose weight overnight. It is a theory that has yet to be proven true).

Where to look was also a source of confusion. I mean in the gym the men either look like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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I mean not that I have anything against any of these sort of guys, but in my gym they’re never…

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Or…

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In the space of five minutes I felt every stereotype and expectation I had come to build up in my mind turn to sweaty ash before my eyes. I was in a very good mind to write a strongly worded open letter to the advertising industry.

That said, since joining the gym I spend less time fussing about the lack of eye candy and more time in female dominated classes, (in the words of one family member “you don’t get many guys attending Zumba classes, those that do are a bit more, you know, theatrical”). However pushing my body to its limits has, well, it’s limits. After four weeks of intense aerobics classes and prolonged periods on cardio machines something had to give (literally). On Wednesday my knees were absolutely knackered.

Despite the pain and genuine concern I had, I was also a little bit chuffed. I’d never had a sporting injury before! Sure, I’d given myself stitches stretching to get crisps and there was that time I fell face first onto the ice on a school trip, spraining my wrist and bringing half the class down with me, but this was a proper minor injury.

I Googled knee sprains and from the information I could find I made the balanced decision that I wasn’t going to die. Giddy from the excitement of a) knowing I wasn’t going to die and b) realising I wasn’t doing this for a laugh, I was a health freak with an injury, I started doing crazy stuff like buying vitamins with fancy names like glucosamine and Ebay-ing joint supports.

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(I’m aware in that photo it looks like my knee has taken a liking to the model in the photo. Wouldn’t blame it, that’s one nice looking knee.)

Pain kicked in though so I dug around in my limited medicine drawer to find this. A product that I never, ever, thought I’d end up using.

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It’s like the cold sore cream Mumma Bennett made me buy before University “you won’t ever need this, but it’ll be nice to know you have it.” Never used it. Actually I think I still might have it…expiry dates don’t matter on drugs right?

The next problem with the heat cream was how the heck was I meant to apply it. Unsure, I decided on two very different approaches, the hope being one of the two ways must work.

If you can’t be bothered to watch the video, right knee got the dotted treatment:

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The left knee got the smiley face treatment.

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(By the time I took the photo I had wiped the hat off. It didn’t suit the smiley face’s style)

This didn’t really work so I tried the new fangled method of rubbing the cream in. Seemed like a good decision at the time. I put a hot water bottle on my knees and relaxed with a tea to watch The Apprentice. 20 seconds later I felt a tingling (not the good tingling like the feeling of Christmas or a puppy licking your hand). It was then that I very quickly realised I was burning. The hot water bottle had proceeded to leak boiling water on my knees and the cream I had applied using my hands had got into a burst blister (I was so hyped on my knees I hadn’t noticed this other sporting injury). Both my knees and my hand was burning. I yelped and jerked forward, spilling very hot tea all over my torso, the additional shock causing me to fall out of bed, whacking half my body on a floor covered with chargers and pens. I stumbled out to get tissue but upon re-entering my room I was hit by a wall of menthol. In my excited attempts to self heal I must have used more of the cream than recommended, because now my eyes were burning from the fumes. In the space of five minutes I had managed to turn one injury into six. If that isn’t talent I don’t know what is.

On the plus side, my knees are now fine.

All this and I only joined the gym a month ago. This is still very early days, who knows, I may even do another post on this later on looking back on my what I have/haven’t achieved (ok future me, now you HAVE to keep going at it!) Right noe though I’m determined to stay at this and get fitter, even if it kills me.

No seriously, keep the ambulance on speed dial.