Category Archives: ideal life

Steps Toward My Best Life?

In the interest of maintaining my current (good) level of mobility, and in fact making it even better, I’ve been working at increasing my level of physical exercise. And because I’m on a disability support pension, and not a millionaire, I choose the cheapest method of increasing my mobility, by walking. That’s it, I put on my walking shoes and I walk, briskly, and as many days as I can manage.

I don’t have a fit bit or any other fancy gadget, to tell me how far, or how fast I’ve walked, I just count the steps and that’s it. Last week I think it was, or perhaps the week before that, I started on doing a certain number of steps inside our house, then the same number outside in the back yard, then the same number in the front yard.

It was 300 in each spot, I think. then, as that got easier, I did some more, and then more, and more. Today has been my best day, I decided to do some roadwork rather than keeping it at my place, and I did 500 steps in one direction, turned around and came back home, so 500 steps in the opposite direction. That made 1,000 steps, but there was more to come.

I decided to finish up the session by doing more steps on the back veranda, and then around our swimming pool. So I went up and down the veranda, down a cement path, and then back to the veranda, and off around the pool, and back. Step by step, 200, 300, 400, and then 500 steps!

And these steps aren’t casually strolling along, these are brisk, pump up the heart rate steps, and I can feel proud of myself for doing them! I have an appointment to see my neurologist next month, after having another MRI in a fortnight. I’m certainly feeling well, and able to take part in ‘normal’ life. Of course at the moment, in our current Covid-19 scaled back world, nothing is really normal. But getting outside and walking, that’s normal, no Covid issues out there, the virus would have to be really moving to catch up with me with my brisk walk!

So do I have an end point, or goal in mind? Am I going to take this further, into some kind of competition? No, toning my body, keeping healthy, and staying that way, that the best goal I can think of, for anyone. Weight loss comes into it, a bit, I’d certainly like to weigh about five kilograms fewer than I do at the moment, but keeping active with the walking, and maintaining my healthy diet, that’s enough.

This is today’s lunch, I’m not finished eating it, and suddenly realised a photo would be a good idea. So, in the bowl is my usual lunch of nuts and seeds, with currents too. with the addition of celery and carrot, both of which I’m trying to remember to include, because vegetables are powerhouses of good nutrition! I usually have more fruit, than just some currants, but not today. More vegetables is better than more fruit, and I am not deficient in fruit on most days anyway.

So exercise, and a healthy diet, what else is there for a ‘best life’? I definitely feel having a purpose in life helps toward a ‘best life’, and I feel my life of working for my community in a couple of volunteer roles, covers this one. I also have a project I’m currently working on, that excites me, and is going well. I’m a writer, and this project is related to words, and is right up my sleeve in terms of my abilities.

I’m editing an anthology of poetry and prose, written in response to Covid-19. The anthology will have the title of “Plague Invasion – Creative Writing Responses to Covid-19”, and at the moment the anthology has nearly 100 pages. I’ve received pieces from writing group friends, other friends who are poets and writers, and people from overseas I didn’t even know, until they contacted me, and got involved. I’m so thrilled with the responses I getting!

So I can definitely give a big tick, to the purpose in life aspect of a ‘best life’. And I am a good person, trying to be a better one, in terms of helping others. I’m working at being a good and Stoic person, aiming for the highest level of what a person should aim at. I’m getting better at not ‘blaming’ anyone for anything, and understanding people do bad things because of ignorance and lack of understanding the proper ways for humankind. This is a tricky part of being a Stoic, and while I do better than other people do at this, that’s not the point. I’m not other people, I’m me.

My best desire for those others is they may see what I do, and model my best behaviours. But if that doesn’t happen, I’ll not mock them, I’ll pity them instead. Well,. that’s my aim, anyway. I’ve found this is not simple, I’m certainly not as wise as I wish to be. Social Media sure gets in the way of that one! I know that, and think on it, but it’s one of the things that leads me astray, into the silly and less wise ways I wish to attain.

So seeing where I’m going wrong, I can take steps to get better in regard to my Social Media ‘misdoings’, and others, and think further on ways to go beyond those foibles, and consider things in the wisest ways possible … I suspect more reading on the ways of my Stoicism hero Marcus Aurelius, will help with this.

So my next step in achieving my best life may be a retail step, buying myself a copy of my hero’s book, Meditations, which is filled with his thoughts on life. One such thought is this one:

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

With this book in my hands, and the words once read, in my mind, I hope to move ever upward! I love the Stoic way in life, and hope to always hold as well as possible the Marcus’s ‘Meditations’. That is my philosophy, and I feel it’s a good one. It certainly helps me to accept the things that happen, whether brought on by ill health or misdeeds of others, or my own less than good decisions … I am ‘only’ human, but wish to be the best human possible.

Peer Support Groups Are Great!

Yes, I truly believe this, that Peer support groups are great! Unless they’re not, in which case they’re not really ‘support’ groups at all, are they?

When you find, or start a peer support group, and begin to connect with others, who are dealing with the same thing/issue/illness or whatever it is, that is troubling your life, it can be the very thing you’ve been looking for in life, to make things flow, and go better for you.

I’m involved in a peer support group close to my home, for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The group is one I began, back when I was doing a work placement with the MS Society SA & NT, having seen a need for such a group in Gawler, which is the nearest biggish town to my home.

A happy little rhyme I wrote ‘ad hoc’ that was posted to a notice board for others to read and be encouraged by, and me, holding my two walking sticks, Jane the Cane and Mick the Stick.


At the peer support group, members could talk about symptoms, medications, thing that have helped them, and just life, as it can be, when MS slows you down, and people without MS just don’t understand what it’s like. Talking with people who truly know what it’s like, when you say you’re fatigued from having a big day, the previous day, and you just need to sit and rest today, to get over it. Oh, what a marvelous caring thing that is!

There’s a saying – “MS, if you don’t get it, you don’t ‘get’ it”. And it’s true, if you don’t have MS, you won’t truly know the deep and intense fatigue that fills you body, when it comes. And you won’t realise the absolute truth of it when a person says, “Just because I could do it this morning, doesn’t mean I can do it again tonight.”

Your peer support group members will understand though, and they will be there for you, understanding you and how things are for you, when other people, family and friends can’t understand. The same things can hold true for other illnesses, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, 

Cancer Survivors, Bushfire Survivors, there are many groups, peer support groups, with people who understand what you’re going through, because they’re living the same life, in some ways, if not all.

Knowing people who’ve been through what you’re now saving, but have come through it, and are doing ok, or even going well in life, can be inspiring, and give you hope to keep in going in your life. Having hope for better times can be the thing that encourages you through the hard times, lifting you up, and keeping you going. And hearing from the inpiring people who have gone from victim, to survivor, and are now thriving, what an inspiration that can be, to know them and hear their stories!

Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things, and showing you how you can do extraordinary things too, that’s what a good peer support group can, and should be. If your peer support group isn’t like this, step up and make it so, you, and the other group members, will be thankful for it!

Peers are your people who understand, and support is help to take you higher, to a better life, a better version of who you can be. Ever peer supplier group should be like this, as an overarching principle. A peer support group that is only a weep and wail pity party isn’t actually a peer support group. Sure there are tears that will happen, but there should be cheering up and moving upward and onward too, and hugs, if and when appropriate! Peers should help, not hinder, uplift, not cast you downward.

Good, Bad, or Useful? Look at your Life …

Is it mankind’s greatest mistake, to believe in the advertising mantra: ‘I have these things, therefore I am?’ To have many things, equates to nothing really, if you don’t have Self. Self respect, self knowledge, self actualisation, self belief …

As a person dealing with a few challenges in life, as many do also, I know, that things can quite easily change from good to woeful, sometimes. Illness, abuse, disrespect, financial troubles, they can pile up and up until it seems nothing can ever make things go well again. My previous blog post on this blog was this one, where I was touching on the concept of thinking deep things. I suspect this blog post here is even deeper than that previous one.

If you give in and do nothing things won’t change. But if you try things out, as they come along, changes of different kinds are much more likely happen. You need tools though, if you are going to make good and lasting changes. Family and friends who truly care about you, that’s the best tool. These are the ones who you have to trust, and believe. They may be watching you as you destroy yourself, as you hold, perhaps, to toxic people who don’t really love you at all.

If you’re wondering about these things, and whether you life could be better, this could be a useful first step:
Make a list of the people in your life, family, friends, and others. Mark each person as Good Bad or Useful
Then write up all of the Good people, the Bad Ones and the Useful.

Some of the people can be in more than one list, if so, write a short note about when they are in each list. For example you may put down a workmate who has been fun to be with, but who is also competing for the same jobs you are … write it down.

Then go through your lists again and this time, list the ways each person is in that group. You may realise a person in your ‘good’ list actually has more ‘bad’ things … you have to think carefully, and weigh it all up.

Fun to be with, but never pays their way, leaving you happy for one night, but unable to pay your rent? You have to think about it, and think hard, looking at what is in your own best interests. I hope you realise which list they should go in.

You may know others who are not much fun at all, really, but they are dependable, and will be there if you need them. These are people to cherish, get to know then better, learn what they enjoy doing, you may be surprised, and find they become real friends, in the good times, not just the bad times.

Think about your Self. Who are the ones who care about who you really are. Who can help you understand how to attain the deeper things that may be there for you? Who might show you ways to make yourself proud first, so others can see that, and realise you are worthy of respect …

If there are toxic people in your Bad list, they may not like the new you, but hopefully, you will have people in your Good or Useful lists to help you cut out the toxic ones, and move away from them.

There are organisations to help in some ways too, explore them, add them to your Useful list, or even you Good list, if you can make good connection with them. Community groups, service groups, medical people, these can go in your good or useful lists.

If there are organisations from your past that lead you down bad paths, add them to the Bad list too. There may be a venue where things have shallow appeal, but with bad results, such as hotels where toxic others hang out, or gambling establishments where you have lost much needed money. Add them all to your Bad list.

Doing thing like this, from time to time, when things seem headed in bad directions, they can help, certainly as a starting point. If you get help from others, these notes
can be invaluable resources to share with you helpers, who will be ‘in the loop’ and understand your situation better, and so be able to better target their assistance.

I believe it’s people, not things, that are the most important. I’d love to know what you think about this.

Health Care Plan for MS

Yesterday I checked in with my doctor, to get a new health care plan set for the following 6 months. I saw the clinic nurse there first, and we got some numbers and thoughts organised. The scariest number was my weight, where the scales at the doctors confirmed more of less the horror of our family Wii Fit machine told me about a couple of days before. I could blame winter for my increase in weight, but of course, it’s because of me.

Yes, winter is a time for staying inside, and for eating comforting foods that often have more calories in them than are useful if you want to stay slim … Salads are summer food, cakes, muffins and fat-laden main courses are winter food. But it isn’t winter now where I live, it’s Spring. and salad, warm salad, can be eaten at any time. So yesterday, when I went to my fave cafe (Poetic Justice, in Gawler), I had a small warm salad, and only looked at the yummy muffins and cheesecakes in the display cabinet …

But Spring weather, when it’s as lovely as it is today, that’s good weather for getting outside and actually doing things, physical things. So today, that’s what I did. Before I did that though, I did something even better. Today I began, yet again, my Wii Fit exercise program. I’ve said I’ll do it so many times, it’s beginning to bore me to write the words. But this time, I’ve told the clinic nurse and my doctor about it, and it’s written down on my notes at the clinic.

So this morning the machine went on, I weighed in, cringed a little at the result, and then did 31 minutes of exercises – Yay to me! It wasn’t the hardest workout I’ve ever done, but it was a good workout and I sure knew I’d done something! I burned 74 calories in that time, and that’s certainly more calories than I would burn sitting on my bottom and typing a little bit!

So that’s today done, except that because it’s Spring, and a lovely Spring day at that, I went outside and actually did some things, as I wrote before. I did one of the Wii Fit Yoga exercises ‘Salute to the Sun’. I did that about five times, and it felt good to be stretching my muscles in the sunshine. After that, I went to the dog run we have, and I pulled up some weeds. This is another bit of a bend and stretch type of exercise, and it’s always good to get rid of the weeds I was focused on, with is the oxalis, which has seeds that are a menace for anyone with animals that have long hair, as our schnauzer does …

So my health care plan is under control, my mind is in a happy place, and my body, even though it doesn’t work as well as it could, still works well enough for me to do everything I want to do – my Mind, Body and Spirit are all going good!

What Does MS Stand For?

A good question, with many answers. The real answer is that it stands for Multiple Sclerosis. That’s a pretty boring name though for a really strange disease. There are lots of far more interesting answers, and I like to play with words, so here are a few of my alternate answers.

My favourite answer that I tell myself is that MS stands for Mighty Special, because I reckon that most of the people I know who are living with MS are mighty special people for sure! More Stupid is another possible answer though, because sometimes the cognitive problems MS can cause can take away your ability to give snappy answers and you’re left with dumb and slow answers because you’re brain and the nerves don’t work as well as they used to.

More Slow can be another answer at times too, because those nerves are slowed down and so your body is slowed down too. Magic Solutions is a more positive answer – having a chronic illness, one that might be with you for the rest of your life, can lead you to thinking up some amazing ways to get through your life in a good way.

Medical Swami – when you have MS, you may well have been through some of the medical ‘solutions’ that don’t cure you, but if you’re lucky, may help you with some of your symptoms of MS. So for some people, their medical people might look like some kind of wonderful people who can cure all that ails them. Time usually takes the shine off though, and the medical people become merely human again …

Another possible answer might be My Stash. Some people with MS find their own tablets, or foods, or something else they use to help, that they are sure their actual doctor/s may not approve of, so they don’t mention it to them. And hey, if that works for them, OK. It’s dangerous though, and it’s always best to check that things don’t clash with each other – bad things can happen that way.

My Supporters is probably the most important answer to this one. I love and cherish those who are helping me through this MS life. From husband, son, sofa dogs

dogs, mother, friends, and all of the people from the MS Society SA & NT who do great work to help those of us in South Australia and Northern Territory, and all of the other wonderful people working to help, I thank you all. Without the support I receive, my life would be a sad and sorry life indeed.

So that’s it from me, do you have any other answers you’d like to share with us?

Ah, Plans, Plans, Plans …

Well I was planning to do my Wii Fit exercises again today. I’ve stated elsewhere that I intend doing at least thirty minutes of Wii Fit three times a week, and aiming at upping three times to four times a week if at all possible. A fine plan, don’t you think? Yes, but plans are like clouds – they can look promising when you’re watching the sky for rain, but they can float past and give nothing …

So plans are good things to have, but unfortunately the best laid plans can end in nothing, as my plan to do my Wii Fit exercises today will not actually happen. I hope that tomorrow will be a better day for it, and I won’t fiddle about and run out of time for it in the morning, or that I will be able to fit it in later on in the day.

It’s not all a loss though in terms of exercise. I am emailed a Daily Challenge every day, from this website:
There are a variety of different ‘tracks’ to choose from, and when you sign up, you choose which track you wish to follow for a month, getting a daily challenge to complete and report on, on your page.

My challenge today was to toss a pillow, book, or similar thing into the air, clap my hands and catch the object. The fish here is the object I tossed up and caught. I did the right thing, throwing stripy up into the air, and caught him again the required five times, and threw in one or two more times, just because I could. It’s not a huge exercise, but it is a good one for working on my coordination, and I’m pleased with myself for doing it and not dropping stripy fish!

cute exercise partner

Today’s exercise partner

Stripy fish has also been a Christmas decoration – perched in our Christmas tree for a few weeks before and after  the Christmas period. It (I want to write he, but of course soft toys don’t really have a gender, not when they look like this one), it was a good choice as an object to throw into the air. My coordination can be a little dodgy at times and the threat of being hit in the head was there – it didn’t happen, but with Stripy, it wouldn’t have hurt either of us if my aim had been wayward!

So anyway, the Wii Fit may happen tomorrow, and I intend to do a little bit of extra walking today, choosing to park away from rather than directly in front of the cafe I’ll be at for a chat/group meeting at the cafe in Gawler I’m the Writer-in-Residence at. Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery is the cafe, a lovely place here art and good food are in abundance, and hugs and laughter often happen!

I have books there for sale, I hold a weekly Poetry workshop there, and I love the yummy cakes and things. And the coffee, oh the coffee – what writer doesn’t love to sit and think with a cup of good coffee close at hand? Bliss! So that’s it for now, I have to get ready for my ‘work’ at the cafe!

My Ideal Life

Have you ever thought about what your ideal life would look like? Is it anything similar to the life you have now? Is it even a possible thing, to live your ideal life?

I’m thinking about such things at the moment because, well because it’s still Christmas holiday time, and I’m at home with the computer and not needing to do anything much for the rest of the day … More particularly though, perhaps, I’ve been thinking about my weight, my health and what I can do so that I am happier with both of those things.

My weight is only a minor issue, I only have a few kilojoules I want to lose. My health though, that’s a different manner. When one has a chronic illness that causes a degree of muscle weakness and also fatigue, it might seem that physical exercise is just too hard to do. The reality though is something else. Doing more can lead to being able to do even more.

I’ve seen this happen for myself in the past. a couple of years ago, I was diligent in keeping up with my exercise program, and I was feeling physically much more able. Even now, when I think about some other people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (my chronic illness), I am glad that I am still able to walk, drive my car, even run a little if I really need to. Some of the people I know with MS need wheelchairs, and I hope to be able to avoid that.

As I’ve said here previously, my neurologist, when he told me what was ailing me, told me to “Use it or Lose it!” That thought certainly kept me going when I got my weight down to its adult lowest weight. It was a little too thin I think though, and I wasn’t eating enough nutritious food – vegetables and so on.

Anyway getting back to my ideal life – My current level of physical ability is OK, but ideally I would be able to easily go up and down stairs, and walk for miles. In my ideal life, I will wear size ten clothes and look great in them – no muffin top, with my jeans fitting me well, a little bit loose to be comfortable.

In my ideal life I will eat plenty of healthy food – with an emphasis on vegetables. This will lead to healthy skin, bones, everything, and I will glow with good health!

Of course in my ideal life, I will also be a popular public speaker, talking about various aspects of my life, and being seen a a lovely and inspiring person. And of course, in my ideal life, I will have written more books, and sold more and more and more of them, online, in bookshops, at book readings and launches, through my websites and at public speaking events!

I’m heading in the direction of my ideal life. I’m not there yet, but I’m more or less working on it, in a way. I’m not widely famous and being contacted constantly for more public speaking gigs, but I’ve had a few of them, and I’m known as a published writer around where I live and beyond. I don’t have all of my books in lots of book shops, but I have some of them in some places, and in libraries in South Australia and other places in Australia.

But the most important thing I’m doing to get to my ideal life, I think, is that I’ve signed up with a program being run by the South Australian government – Get Healthy SA  I’ve only just started – the relevant ‘tools’ arrived in the mail, and I’ve begun working on my plans/goals/actions and so on. I have my own coach who will help me to fine tune them, I think. He will contact me again around the middle of January and we will talk about it all.

Another important thing I’m doing that is related to attaining my ideal life is the workshops I have begun presenting every Sunday morning in a cafe gallery I love, Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery in Gawler. I’m also the writer in residence there, twice a week, so that’s three days a week in a lovely cafe, with lovely food – it’s no wonder the weight is piling on.

The group I’m leading with their writing is inspiring though – they inspire me as I inspire them, so we’re all winning. All in all, if this isn’t my ideal life yet, it’s a pretty good life, that’s for sure!