End of an amazing, epic adventure!
As I sit in the airport waiting for the flight home — I still feel the rocking motion of the boat. I’m told this is a phenomenon called ‘Jimmy Legs’. 🙂
I’m soaking in the memories of the experience and the bittersweet feelings of saying goodbyes with new friends.
Yet I am finally headed home.
Such a wonderful mix of feelings…
I spent a lot of time sitting by the pool (saltwater pool!) working on this blog. I was slathered in sun screen since I skimped on ‘solar cream’ on day one and seriously sunburned my rear-end…
Lesson quickly learned. 🙂
This whole experience?
An incredible gift.
We’ll start with the short version…
I stayed active. Made the best food choices I could given the situation. I’m thrilled I was entrusted with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from my university. I met some incredible friends. I’m so happy to be headed home.
Win, win, win!
The longer version?
I came on this cruise intent on doing the best job I could for OSU and also to work on testing my lifestyle in a new environment.
You’ll recall that I shared in my previous blog that I was worried about gaining weight, getting lazy and going bezerk with the unlimited food.
I really wound up learning/re-learning some critical life lessons.
I realized about three days in that there was a massive amount of accumulated life wisdom on this boat regarding health, wellness, business, adventure, relationships…. So I shut up. Listened intentionally. Observed. And tried to ask some good questions when I had someone’s ears.
Here’s my top ‘lesson’ list straight from my journal:
Age is simply number. There were 55 year olds who are marching steadily toward the grave with an attitude of having given up. There were 85 year olds kicking up their heels, laughing, having the time of their lives with each of the days they have left. Age is only a number.
Size matters. European food portions were served on this ship. Not American super-sized versions of portions. There was a dazzling array of foods — at seemingly all hours. Elegant and intentional presentations. Food and the dining experience was treated with respect and care.
Size REALLY matters. Again, this is a European ship. Smaller towels, smaller showers, smaller chairs. It is built for a non-obese/normal weight population. A large (pardon the sad pun) portion of the inhabitants of this ship were overweight or obese. They struggled with some of the accommodations. Watching their struggles served as a good reminder for me. The old me, 392 pounds, wouldn’t have fit in my shower stall in my room. Likely wouldn’t have been able to use the commode that was wedged into a tight corner. I couldn’t have sat in the dining room chairs, worn the luxury robes provided and would not have been able to share a stairwell with anyone. That’s just naming a few of the reminders I saw that put my old and new lives in perspective.
Friends. Friends are where you make them and where you take them.
Accountability. I found new friends on the boat who quickly and happily agreed to being accountability partners. Meeting for walks/stretching/running, grabbing extra ice waters and focusing on great conversations; not on food. I shared my goals and ideas — they shared theirs!
Kindness knows no language.
Listen. Two ears, one mouth. I listened a lot on this ship. Heard incredible stories of strength and determination and heartbreak. I consciously tried to make sure I walked away from a conversation having listened more than I talked. I mean, I know I talk. A lot. And I recognize that it’s a bad habit. This ship was good practice for me to re-learn the value of listening.
Drink water. The older runners on board make plenty of water a daily habit. Sparkling eyes, great skin, general good health. They were laughing at me when I finally strung together all of their advice and told them the only thing I could find in common with all of them was that they wouldn’t give-up, had worked to make sure running stayed a habit in their lives and they drank plenty of water. Everything else they suggested/lectured me about was a wildly mixed bag of contradictory advice.
Blowing a snot rocket on the boat deck is a) not acceptable or appreciated and b) super tricky with cross winds. 🙂
Rest. I got great advice from a guy named George on day 12 of this adventure. He had my number as far as my cheerleader/extrovert/go-go-go personality. He said ‘Take ‘me’ time for you. Rest, recharge your emotional self. Not just your body. Or you’ll crash.’ And MAN WAS HE RIGHT! That sounds crazy given that I was on a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. And resting and relaxing is like ninja-expert-professional level sport. BUT I hadn’t been resting or relaxing for me… So I took a day and slept in. Hard. Woke up after about 14 hours of sleep. Ate a good food. Worked on this blog. Just kind of ‘hid’ and took care of myself all day long. Even extroverts need some quiet time now and again.
Routine. Routines are powerful. I spent time thinking about whether the routines I have created were being used for good/health or comfort/excuses/control. 🙂 Shaking up my routine has helped me evaluate those elements that I want to embrace and those that perhaps weren’t serving me best after all.
Be present. So hard for me to remember. But I had plenty of time to practice breathing and enjoying only what was in front of me.
This time on a ship was good for me to realize I can stay active and make smart food choices. It did NOT look at all like the activity and food that would be my ’norm’ back home, and it honestly took me about 8-10 days to be OK with that.
I kept portions under control. I took stairs. I drank water. I mostly stayed away from the desserts (Fresh sorbets… Man. They were amazing!). I kept the focus on people and good conversations instead of food. By the time we docked, I knew every nook and cranny of that 1/13th of a mile track on the top of the ship. 🙂
I am reminded that I really do have the best of both worlds.
I loved this trip, new friends, the countries, the Panama Canal crossing, the fire-testing of my lifestyle in a totally new environment.
And yet I am thrilled and excited to be heading home to my family, friends, healthy foods, trails.