Monthly Archives: December 2016

Time to Dust off and revamp for the New Year

By Andrea Freedman

With another year coming to a close, I can’t help but reflect on all the tragedy and hardship that went along with it. While I am not one to normally rush through life, this is one year I will not be sorry to say goodbye to! Never before has the term “out with old, in with the new” held so true for me.

I don’t usually like to write off an entire year and always try to find the positives instead. However, even I cannot turn a blind eye when it comes to how much sadness came my way in 2016. When a good friend said “Hang in there, this year is almost over”, it made me realize just how much I am looking forward to a fresh start when 2017 arrives.

It has never felt quite like I have been kicked in the butt as much as I have this past year, especially the second half of it. For the past seven months or so, every time I have tried to think positively and move forward, it seems as though I have had to face yet more sadness and I know I am not the only one. Others I know have had to say goodbye to parents or siblings, and the world as a whole has suffered the loss of an unusual number of musicians, artists and prominent sports figures.

Starting with the passing of my close friend back in June (who, by the way, would have said “Uhh, 2016 SUCKS!”), life has never gotten back to normal and sometimes felt as though every time I called anyone it was only to tell them more bad news.

When the other day an acquaintance commented “It’s nice to see you with a smile on your face” – which is usually the norm for me rather than the exception – I knew it was time for me to take back control of my generally happy, light-hearted personality.

Sometimes all we can do is take a deep breath, reboot and have faith that things can only get better. No matter how tough things get, if we look hard enough, we can all find something good about 2016, no matter how small that something is.

Personally, I am happy to say that I have made more progress with my writing career, have forged some new bonds and friendships this past year and have drawn strength from others who I know have gone through worse than I have; if they can forge on, I figure so can I.

Although I have been forced to face the possibility of my own mortality, I have also developed a greater appreciation for those who are still here and have made more of an effort to spend quality time with those who really matter most.

This New Years I will make only one resolution, that being to get back to my old self again.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have given me love, compassion and support in one way or another. Here’s wishing you and your families all peace, prosperity and happiness for the holiday season and the New Year. And when days are tough in the coming year, which some of them inevitably will be, if we all do as my grandmother always used to say and “keep smiling!” 2017 is sure to be a winner!☼

 

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2016

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Less than perfect sound system is music to my ears

By Andrea Freedman

Anybody remember the old Sony Walkman and how when you first got one it felt like you were at the height of modern technology? Oh, what I wouldn’t have given for one of those the past couple of months, despite the inconvenience of having to change the cassette tapes after my second iPod Shuffle broke and what was usually a fun time at the gym became tedious and boring.

broken-ipod-shuffle

When I first started going to the gym almost 29 years ago, the norm was that upbeat music would be played so that everyone in the gym could hear it. I also used to do aerobics classes way back when and so could rely on the instructor of the class to choose appropriate music that was sure to make us feel like moving.

After my first few silent workouts, even me, who is usually so gung-ho on getting to the gym in the morning, had been finding it harder to get myself in the mood to get there and even harder to get into “the zone” once I did. The time spent there, especially during the cardio portion, seemed to go by at a snail’s pace and I found that I was actually dreading it some days, rather than looking forward to it like I usually do.

As the computer I had originally put my songs on had since also been irreparably damaged, and as my new compact laptop does not come with a feature on the side that pops out and allows you to put a CD in to copy to your iPod, I was loathe to purchase yet another iPod as it would be difficult to load music to.

Not too proud to be seen with less than up to date electronics, I considered resurrecting my old portable CD player that I had purchased several years ago specifically for the gym but quickly gave up on the idea when I discovered that it was also broken.

good-old-fashioned-portable-cd-player

There came a point when I would have been grateful for even a small transistor radio, even though I would not have the flexibility of song choices that I did with my iPod. Just to hear any music would be an improvement.

Thinking that it would be better than nothing, I tried bringing just a headset to plug into the TV on the treadmill or elliptical, only to find some of the TVs broken or the sound inaudible, not to mention that there is only one channel available that plays music, and the song choices are not always conducive to working out.

That being said, the minute I took my headset off a personal trainer or so-called motivator would come over to try to sell me some training sessions or to ask me what I was working on and what exercise I planned to do next. I found it so annoying that I began keeping my headphones on even if there was no music coming out of it, just so that I would have a chance of being left alone!

At the end of my rope, I went to my cell phone provider to regale their staff with the details of my woes. After one of the gentlemen who worked there downloaded a free music app to my cell phone, I thought I was on my way. Off I went enthusiastically back to my gym, only to be disappointed when I was told that they do not have Internet service there and so I would be unable to play my free music while exercising.

Luckily for me as my husband is incredibly patient, he didn’t mind devoting several hours to finding a music program that I could listen to without an Internet connection and setting it up for me. He did run into a slight problem when practically the moment after he got the process started, he realized that I had very limited storage space left on my phone, which required most of an evening to delete things in order to free up some memory.

After much frustration and time, I am happy to report that I finally have music again! There are still a few glitches to iron out as well as things to get used to, like my cell phone battery running low faster, stopping in the middle of a song, and making sure I don’t drop or let the phone fall accidentally while I am running on the treadmill or that it doesn’t slip out of my hands when they start to sweat; besides all that I can hardly wait for my next workout!☼

 

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2016