Whenever life gets to be a bit too much, I turn to watching the HGTV or DIY channels on my TV. About an hour or so of the Property Brothers, and I’m back to my old happy self. Lately I’ve been especially taken by a tall fellow in a cowboy hat whose specialty is reviving neglected or over-remodeled homes back to their original design and luster. Before he begins his transformative magic, he not only researches the year the home was originally built, but its style and connection to the new owners. This means he often has to get creative in finding materials, as some tiles, bricks, and ornamental accoutrements are no longer available or are too expensive to use. Thus, without cheapening his design, he sets about to restore the home with his own talented touch. This is remarkable in and of itself. Yet what most captures my attention is how he deals with the many challenges that surface with intelligence, humor, and passion. He is the house-whisperer.

            Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been lazier than usual—skipping my exercises, stalling with my writing deadlines, and fudging on my diet regimen.  I find that blaming is my default behavior by making statements such as “I’m too tired,” “I worked far too hard today,” “My body hurts,” and “I deserve a reward.” All of this is true, of course, and to be honest, I have been using those excuses for a long time.  When I was younger, I tended to ignore them and went about my business as if I were stronger, more resilient, and far more focused than I am today. So what happened? And how do I get myself back on track?


            First, I need to recognize that the default “chatter” is exactly that—chatter. And that in spite of being tired, overworked, achy, and deserving of a reward, I can know that underneath all the neglect and stress of my day, my mind and body are adequate for what I need and want to do with my time and energy—exercise,  write, and pay attention to what foods go into my mouth.

            Second, I need to develop a plan to restore and fortify my body with more sleep, vitamins, minerals and supplements, mindfulness practices, and strengthening exercises such as working with weights and resistance bands. An attitude change would also be useful, so that rather than seeing these activities as dreaded obligations, viewing them as enjoyable, life-changing behaviors adding more joy and purpose to my life.

            The body I was given as a child and youth is still there. It may take some TLC and concentrated work, but my plan over the next few months is one of restoration and renewal, with a dash of humor and meaning-making.

Gwen Overland