All Downhill from Here

I went on some fabulous hikes last year. What a great way to be outside in the fresh air, have an adventure, be active, and socialize, all the same time. Oh and eat! The way we do it there is always food and it tastes SO good at the top of any size hill.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my hikes.

Dehydration is dangerous, and takes on many forms.  On two separate occasions, many years apart (which is my excuse for not learning this the first time… I guess) one member of the hiking party fell apart without the rest of us noticing why.   In one case, the hiker sat down with a severe headache and didn’t want to go on.  We were lucky enough to be on an AMC-led hike that day and the leader pulled out his extra liter of water and had her drink up.  She popped up, refreshed and fine.  She had set out on a longer hike than she had in mind, hadn’t brought enough water and she hadn’t felt dehydrated but then again she wasn’t thinking clearly by then.

Flash forward a couple of decades to a longer hike with a group who had prepared all summer. It’s the way down, and one hiker can barely put one foot in front of the other.  The park crew comes up to see what we are up to and gives us flashlights because we are hours later than expected and now it’s getting dark.  We coax and prod and soothe our friend, but it’s a hard slog for the last two hours.  Then we get to the parking lot, she guzzles some water, and she’s fine!  How did we miss this?  The biggest problem was that she didn’t feel thirsty – and she even had some water left for most of the time.  But once dehydration set in, again, she couldn’t think straight.  We all missed it, but I hope to never miss this again.

95% of hiking accident happen on the way down. This statistic comes to us from the Monadnock State Park info sheet and it also matches my personal experience.  Just think about the idea of stepping up onto something steep compared to stepping down from the same height – I can just feel the difference in stability from here (and I’m sitting in a coffee shop, stepping nowhere at all.)   Which brings me to the next lesson:

2015-10-31 11.33.18-1

Hiking poles are the best invention ever. OK maybe not ever.  Vaccinations are better.  And the wheel is really good.  But hiking poles are so great for turning us into stable three or four legged creatures and reducing the impact on our knees and other joints.

All this makes me want to pack some water, grab my poles, and do some hiking!  Want to go with me?? Send me a message!

 

 

Keep Trying Until It Sticks

Hi!  I missed you all!  I have missed sharing what I learned.  I’ve been writing down things as I learn them, all along: on little scraps of paper, in notes on my phones, in reminders that I tell Siri to set, all with big intentions of getting back in here to write it up.   What I 2016-05-05 14.50.49have not yet learned is how to keep this momentum going and keep the blog posts coming.  So come along with  me, watch this space one more time and we’ll see if it sticks this time.

I have learned that I’m not ready to give up.  My greatest blog supporters (also among my greatest life supporters), my two sweet daughters, sometimes remind me that one option is to just let this go, call it a thing that happened and has ended. Not yet.  For one reason, the very concept of a Lessons Learned blog keeps my eyes and ears open at a certain level of awareness that I want to keep.

I have also learned how much I love to share what I learn.  It’s not like it was when I was in my 40’s, the years of what some of us call Be Me Be Jane University, in which I knew everything and just wanted everyone to do everything my way (also why did any of you even LIKE me then??)  Now I know that I don’t really know anything at all, and I want to share the joy of learning as I go and find more and more ways to learn from you.

 

 

 

 

 

Flip It!

I learned a new way to make a tough decision.  Actually, I learned a new way to find out what you already know.  Lava told me this a long time ago and I used a variation of it last night.  Here it is: Flip a coin and see how you feel about the result.  There’s your answer!

Last night I crowdsourced my exercise decision for this morning: Should I go to spin class, water aerobics, or yoga?  I put it out on facebook where thirty friends weighed in.  As I watched the voting and read the comments, I realized that although I always love yoga, I really needed a workout and I wanted the answer to be water aerobics.  Yoga won the vote.  I had committed to go with the results, so I did both!

Next time, I’ll flip a coin.  Or maybe ask my friends – it was so cool to hear what they thought – I have so many yogis in my midst!  And then I’ll see what I think of the answer.

Flip!

Lessons from the Phone – Level 2

Why was it so darn important that I got my mom a new phone, and that it worked?   Well, of course I want to help her, and of course it didn’t help her to give her a half-working phone, but if you had seen me thrashing around her nursing home room, more frustrated by the minute, when I could have been peacefully visiting her, you’d think I was some kind of crazy person.   Even as it was happening, I didn’t know why it was so important.  At that point, although she was asking for it, she wasn’t even very interested in using the stupid phone.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that what I was trying to do was to fix the whole situation.

We’d all had a long hard month since the night my mom fell in her apartment, one that had recently included a 911 call, a trip to the the hospital, and now the adventure of rehab.  In that time, there was very little that I could DO to fix anything.  “Fixing” the problem of providing a phone for my mom took on way too much importance, like it was going to make everything OK.  And it really wasn’t.

Fortunately, other people, starting with my mom, are doing the work that will make a difference.  The phone is just a nice-to-have, and I’ve learned a little bit about what I can fix, and what I can’t.

Lessons from the Phone – Level 1

Here are some things I learned on my quest to get my mom a new phone for her stay in rehab:

1. There are “pre-paid” phones, but that’s not the same as “pay as you go” phones.  Pre-paid includes two different schemes: you pay a flat fee every month, just not with a contract, OR you pay only for what you use (pay as you go.)  Then within pay as you go, there are plans in which you pay a high amount, like 25 cents, per minute, and others in which you pay about two dollars for any day you use the phone, no matter how much, and nothing on the days you don’t.  And those minutes expire – you can have them longer if you pay more up front, but then you have more to use up.

2. There are fancy-schmancy phones for seniors.  You pay much more to have simple operations and some bells and whistles that include medication alarms, a built in 911 that finds you via your cell signal and even, for a fee, access to nurses and doctors.  The most popular one is Jitterbug, which costs around $100 for the phone and then has monthly charges on top of that – similar to any other plan until you add the services.

3. Without Jitterbug, it’s easy to find a simple phone.  We all like to make fun of our friends with flip-phones (well not all of us, some of us are nicer than others) but the thing about a flip-phone is that you can set it to answer when you open it and hang up when you close it, and that’s an easy thing for someone not used to cell phones.  It’s working beautifully for my mom.

4. When you buy a new phone, test it before you leave the store.  Dial out from it and dial in to it!  The first phone I bought had a defective ringer – it didn’t ring.  I spent SO much time reading the manual and searching the web.  It became a thing with me – something I would figure out if it killed me.  But there was nothing to figure out. It was just broken.  I really wish I had figured that out in the store and saved a bunch of trips.

And then I figured out why this was all so important to me.  But that’s the next lesson.

The Universe has a message for you

Denise introduced me to tut.  No, not this Bad Boy King

King Tut
King Tut

but a free subscription to messages from the Universe. Or from a tax consultant named Mike.  Whatever.  Still great!

My first sample note included this:

“… One day, they’re going to name something big after you, jane!
Like a statue, a college… or a hurricane.”

So, just like Denise, Jason Mraz, Richard Bach, and a whole bunch of pageant winners, I have signed to receive Notes from the Universe.

Have some fun!  Sign up!  And let me know what you learn!  www.tut.com