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On Being Human: Part 2

Photography by Tammy Strobel

“I am under no illusions that I am at my final destination, or even close to it, but I am committed to my journey, wherever it might take me.”
—Philippa Moore, The Latte Years

Thank you for the kind comments and emails about my recent essay “On Being Human.” I appreciate your remarks, encouragement, and all the good vibes you’ve been sending Aubrey. Please keep the prayers coming!

Since I wrote the piece in mid-February, I thought I’d share an update with you. If you haven’t read my first essay, please read the article because it provides context for the updates below.

Let’s get started!

Our cousin Aubrey continues to improve! She’s breathing on her own, smiling, and can answer questions by nodding or squeezing a person’s hand. She was transferred from the hospital to an acute physical rehabilitation center last weekend. This is all very GOOD news. Aubrey is making great progress, and we have faith that she’ll emerge from this setback stronger than ever. We’re planning another trip to the Bay Area, and I can’t wait to see Aubrey, her mom, and her wonderful network of friends.

My Back Issues

Photography by Tammy Strobel

Exercise and regular movement keep me sane, so not being able to go on walks, bike rides, or swimming for the last month left me feeling ungrounded and emotionally scattered. The good news is that my back is slowly getting better. I’m able to sit and walk without too much pain, and was able to ride my bike! This is huge progress for me, and I’m grateful that I’m healing.

Also, I’m thankful that I’m seeing a physical therapist—Joal—because he’s taught me about good posture and how to move my body without wrenching my back. I’ll see Joal a few more times and then he’ll send me out into the world with a physical therapy program to do at home.


my tiny desk

At my last appointment, Joal encouraged me to correct my posture. I didn’t realize how bad my posture was until I started to focus on it. Making sure I’m sitting up straight and not slumping forward is hard! With that being said, following Joal’s advice is worth the effort because my back pain has decreased.

Based on Joal’s feedback, I decided to change my office set-up, too. I made a couple of modifications including using a better chair (with a pillow behind my back), and I raised the height of my laptop—with books—so it’s in line with my eyes. For now, I’m using my new set-up at my kitchen table.

I’m working in the kitchen because I said goodbye to my small desk over the weekend and donated it to a local thrift store. I enjoyed using my little desk because I adored the blue top and the old-time feel. However, the desk was made for a medium sized child, and it didn’t fit my body. I hope the desk brings joy to its new owner.

In the tiny house, I used our bookcase as a standing desk. I’ll be doing something similar—but slightly different—in our small apartment. Once my new office is set up, I’ll share photos with you.

Finally, giving away the tiny desk prompted Logan and me to rearrange our living room. Originally, our couch sectioned off the room, but it felt cramped, so we moved the couch under the window. Now the room feels very open. It was fun creating a living room that sparks joy!

new living room

The Whole 30

I began The Whole 30 on February 23rd, and so far the program is going okay. The Whole 30 recipes are simple and easy to prepare. For the most part, I’m glad I decided to participate in the program because I feel energized and healthy when I eat real food. I haven’t missed consuming processed sugar, cheese, pasta, crackers, bread, or rice. I have missed half-and-half in my coffee, fancy coffee drinks—like chai lattes and flat whites—and drinking a glass of wine on Friday nights. Hopefully, I’ll be able to complete the 30-day program. My cravings for half-and-half have been intense, and I’m afraid I’m going to fall off the Whole 30 wagon.

I started the Whole 30 to see if certain foods caused inflammation in my joints and because I wanted to eat healthier. I’m eating healthy and delicious food, but I don’t know if the program has reduced the inflammation in my back or not. I won’t have that answer until I start introducing specific foods back into my diet.

Photography by Tammy Strobel

Planning less is helping me let go of control and acknowledge the uncertain nature of life. For example, I didn’t expect February to be so hard (both emotionally and physically). Yet, that’s the nature of being human. Unexpected life events happen, and I’m trying to be okay with that reality instead of turning into a giant ball of anxiety.

Also, I’ve been reminding myself that it’s okay to ask for help. Life is short, meaningful, hard, and beautiful, and it can change in a second. So don’t be scared to ask for help or to express your love and gratitude to the people in your life.

In The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

With gratitude,

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sandra March 9, 2016, 9:40 pm

    I was interested to read about ‘The Whole 30’ book. I need to eat an anti-inflammatory diet for the same reasons as you. Mine isn’t quite so strict as I can eat brown rice and quinoa and two slices of wholemeal bread a day. I too miss coffee cream (half and half) and so have given up coffee! I also miss my daily treat of a little black chocolate.
    Your living-room looks lovely with the couch in front of the window – space in which to breathe!

    • Tammy Strobel March 10, 2016, 10:14 am

      Thanks for commenting, Sandra. It will be interesting to see how I feel when I start introducing non-Whole 30 foods back into my diet. Wishing you all the best. Thanks for reading!

  • Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life March 10, 2016, 3:32 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do a Whole 30 for quite a while now but haven’t made the jump. It’s hard being raised on rice and potatoes my whole life and eating very little if no meat. It’s great to hear that you are getting better slowly but surely but also you cousin’s recovery.

    • Tammy Strobel March 10, 2016, 4:56 pm

      The Whole 30 has been challenging, but in good ways. I’d suggest checking out the book. You can always start small and try a modified version. 🙂

  • Yolanda Fintschenko March 18, 2016, 9:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I really appreciate your comment about letting go and acknowledging the uncertain nature of life. It seems obvious, but can feel like a shock. So much of the time I fall into the trap of the illusion of control.

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