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I'd been thinking about doing a challenge to help me in my (suspected) COVID recovery, but hadn't gotten very far on the specifics when I came on here two days ago to see when the next challenge was. Surprise! I went ahead and started a topic to anchor my commitment to doing this one. The last two years have been quite a series of adventures and lessons. And, I have several more big ones planned for the next couple years that I need to get ready for. Expect to see goals beyond simply recovering. I've got hikes and back country travel planned–and plenty of other adventures–as soon as I am able to do so again. Stories, photos, artwork will be sprinkled liberally throughout. This gal has been rediscovering her younger wild nature child self the last couple years! I have also discovered that I have an additional spirit animal as I immerse myself in my sixties. (Ha!) River Otters at Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka, California. There will be more pictures of them... Stealthily shot out the door of my rental cottage on the shores of Cordova Bay, British Columbia, Canada, March, 2020 Juvenile Bald Eagle and ravens. So, goals. I got back on the soda and put on weight during the last two years. A sedentary lifestyle of sitting behind a computer for hours on end is not my friend and I've used sugar and caffeine to moderate my moods, energy, and attention span. My programming job is fast-paced and stressful, and there habits are not helping that either,. They are creating a long term form of health debt which, having just recently turned 62, is a really stupid thing to be doing. I want to live to be a healthy, happy, badass old lady, which means I need to reverse course on the stupid ass habits now, and build towards those big items in my bucket list. My health scare the last few months was a much needed wake up call. OBJECTIVES I resolve to use the next five weeks to: 1) Reduce my soda consumption 2) Increase my physical activity 3) Reduce my stress level 4) Create cool stuff GOALS Turning those into specific, measurable goals, each with an associated "WHY" for motivation: 1) Reduce my soda consumption to 25% (or less) of what I am currently drinking, with the end goal of being 100% soda free on or before November 1st, 2020. I'm not even sure how much I'm drinking, but it is a lot, so I need to track it throughout the challenge. Knowing how I am about tracking a bad habit, if I am diligent enough with it, I will eventually reach a tipping point where it's easier to just stop the habit than to keep tracking it. Shadowlion psychology... Make my environment conducive to quitting - have filtered water, ice, green tea, and yerba mate on hand and the ice tea made ahead of time to make substitutions easier. See if I can get D's buy in to purge the fizzy stuff from the house. Or to at least not drink it in front of me. This will help me lose weight and improve my overall health, leading to a faster recovery. I want to be able to hike harder trails sooner so that I can get those Arizona Trail section hikes in! (Hopefully some of the easier ones in Spring 2021.) Why? I want long term health and independence as I age, and to get those long section and thru hikes in before I get too old! 2) Increase my physical activity gradually, and as steadily as possible, given that I am still recovering from COVID-19 and am still quite de-conditioned from it. Increase my daily short walks and/or exercise biking beyond my current walking max of three circumambulations around the backyard or biking max of .5 miles in 30 minutes per day. Increase the variety of my free weight exercises as my costochondritis and joint pain heal. Increase weights, gradually and steadily, as I am able. My goal is to increase either intensity or duration by about 20% per week. Keep a log to help me gauge when I am ready to increase. In keeping with my otter photo above, make it FUN! Why? I want to regain my stamina and ability to do everyday things around the house, to be able to hold up my end of things. Longer term, I want to be able to haul my pack and photo equipment around easily for my hikes and other excursions, and to be able to move back up to the mountains and do my permaculture project, which will require my being in good condition to do physical labor at 7,000 feet elevation. 3) Reduce my stress through meditation and journaling. Keep my current meditation and journal writing, but extend the meditation from 2x a day for 5 minutes each to 2x a day for 10 minutes each. For journaling, keep my 15 minutes in the morning, but add on a 5 to 10 minute daily review and quick plan for the next day session in the evening. Why? The coronavirus (or its evil twin - my tests came back negative, though my symptoms indicated otherwise and my healthcare providers treated it as COVID-19) played havoc with my immune system and triggered off an old autoimmune problem that has been in remission for around 40 years. I am responding well to medication for it and have a good chance of it going back into remission. I do know from past experience that stress is a major factor for both length and duration of an episode, so keeping my stress levels as low as possible will increase the odds of achieving and maintaining remission. 4) Create cool stuff at least 5 times per week for a half an hour (or even more!). Do fun, creative stuff. Stay curious. Play! It doesn't have to be something to hang in a gallery. Sketch, take some photos, play around some digital art tutorials, whatever! If the joints are up to it, play a few minutes of music, too. Why? Life is too short to spend it all working and striving. Creating is good for the mind, the heart, the soul. And, otters - they are the epitome of curious and playful! Bucket List (Ongoing) Arizona Trail section hikes Thru hike the AZT Pacific Crest Trail section hikes Thru hike the PCT Relocate to the Flagstaff, Arizona area Design and build my permaculture paradise in the pines (including my art studio) Draw and paint wildlife and plants, landscapes Learn manual mode on my camera - ha! Take up the mantle of my uncle's woodcarving and art More "Creative Coding" - digital art, VR, games, data visualization Travel - National parks and monuments; wild places, the wilder the better Complete my Permaculture Design course and dual certificates Complete my Octalysis training (game making, gamification, and behavioral design)