Recipient

Ann P.

California

Emerging from the Fog

At the start of this year I found myself reflecting on the past decade. What I realized was that despite 2 of the best moments of my life - the birth of my 2 daughters - I had spent much of the past 10 years lost in a fog of grief and anxiety. In 2011 my dad passed away unexpectedly, which caused an immediate acceleration of my mom's dementia to the point where she could no longer care for herself. In 2018, my mom joined my dad. In the years in between, I found myself in the position of managing my own household as well as managing my mom's care and finances, all while working full time as a criminal prosecutor. By the time I got the bare minimum done each day on all these fronts, I rarely had the time to do anything else. Even if I did have some free time, I felt guilty using it for myself rather doing something for my mom or family. As my mom steadily and agonizingly declined, and work became more high-stakes, I was constantly anxious about what might be thrown at me next. I wasn't my best self for years. My sleep and eating habits were awful, and exercise wasn't even a thought. I was fulfilling my obligations to everyone else, but I definitely wasn't taking care of myself.

A year after my mom passed away, after barely recognizing myself in a family photo, I had to confront the fact that I had gained 50 pounds and that it was time to manage my health. I started with getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night and eating more of a plant based diet. Then I started doing Pilates again, something I had enjoyed previously but didn't always have the time for. I've lost 10-12 pounds. Cardiovascular exercise, however, remains challenging to fit into my day. Several friends have praised Peloton as a solution to this problem.

This week I have a birthday -- my 44th. I don't know what this 2nd half of my lifetime will throw at me, but I'm not as fearful. I know that I will find a way through no matter how dense the fog may get, this time without losing myself.

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