Chapter 12: Desserts Spelled Backwards Is Stressed. And Vice Versa.

Red has always admired Black because she can go for a run or exercise with weights as a mental break from her day, not to mention the physical benefits derived from her workout routine. She's always envied people that exercise on a regular basis as she thought they obviously have more spare time than she did. Then, when she was in the midst of her "crisis", Black helped her realize that it might be that other people just prioritized exercise higher than she did.

P.S. – For Red, making exercise a priority still presented a challenge even though she knows all of its benefits. (How could she forget with Black's dedication to exercise serving as a constant reminder?) Ironically, the pandemic made Red look to exercise as a possible way to help reduce her stress. And it worked! So now her daily walks are a top priority. (Maybe we should make "positive changes due to the pandemic" a future post?!)


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Quick question. I was wondering if, and I repeat the word IF, I wanted to start exercising, how would I go about it?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Hello. Hello. Who is this? You must have the wrong number.

Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I didn't say I was going to do it, I said I was wondering.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


And what brought this on?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Primarily the obvious — health and fitness and weight control. But watching you use it as a way to temporarily get away from life and reduce stress is also a motive. Although I have no desire to run five miles.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


What happened to your Sunday movie? Are you trying to tell me you are not going tomorrow?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I'm not answering that question until you answer my question. If I wanted to start an exercise program, where would I start?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


The first step is to make it a short-term priority.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Short-term? No, I want it to become something I do on an ongoing basis, not just a quick fix.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I understand, but if you make it a long-term goal, you may procrastinate starting. If you make it a short-term project, once you start experiencing the benefits, you will become addicted. I bet it will go from being a scheduled task to a way of life within six months. It is similar to when you started Weight Watchers. Initially it was to lose weight, but then it became a logical way of eating.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


We'll see. For the moment, keep in mind I don't intend to become fanatical like you; I just want a normal exercise program.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


First, you need to find something that you enjoy. It can be as simple as throwing on sneakers and going for a walk. Or you can rent a yoga tape or go to a Pilates class at the local gym. Or come over here and work out in our gym.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


This sounds like it may take more time than I have available at the moment. I think I'll wait until I'm settled in the new house.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


No! What did I just say about procrastinating? Exercise does not require hours of time. And it does not have to be in a gym. You can start with 10-minute sessions at home and gradually increase them. The key is to start. And I would suggest doing it first thing in the morning.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


But that would mean getting up even earlier than I already do and you know I'm not a morning person.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Not necessarily. Get up at the usual time and do the exercise first. Before you get side-tracked by other activities like wasting 15 minutes IMing me. Plus you will not be awake enough to change your mind.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


That all sounds very logical, but I have a feeling that something is going to fall by the wayside, and I'm guessing it's the exercise.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


That's why for the first few weeks, or maybe even months, you need to schedule your exercise time as appointments. Ones that are etched in stone. Once you start, it will not take long for you to feel the results — physically you will have more energy, and mentally you will feel more confident and in control. And trust me, over time it will become addictive.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Somehow I don't picture me ever becoming a gym bunny, hopping my way to happiness. But I'd certainly be happy to be in better shape — mentally and physically.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I can remember what you looked like in that Winnie-the-Pooh Halloween costume, and I am picturing you in a bunny outfit hopping down the treadmill. It is a great visual. Hilarious, in fact!

Chapter 9: I'm Too Busy To Make A List Of All The Things On My "To Do" List

"Once upon a time" is how fairy tales begin, but once upon a time in Red's life, she had lots of things to do but was able to fit everything into any given day. And her worst-case scenario? Something might slide but would still get done in a timely fashion. But when her husband got fired, her fairy tale life ended and she had to take on more day-to-day responsibilities, which meant Red soon began to run out of hours in the day, the week, the month. Luckily, Black's advice about how to manage her time, although not an obvious "approach" until it was explained to her, made a big difference.

P.S. – If Red thought she was busy when her husband got fired, she had no idea what busy was until years later when she had to juggle being a single mom with being the warm and fuzzy half of Red & Black. In fact, this new level of crazy busy (Black likes to clarify that it's "good crazy") has now become the "new norm", which means that Red still struggles with way too much to do and way too little time to do it in. It's then, when she's really stressing out, that Black often has to remind her of the original advice she gave Red, and usually tells her she needs to re-read this excerpt …


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


I do have one question. What exactly did you mean by time management? I understand there's a limited amount of time in the day, but unless I give up sleeping altogether, I'm not sure how to find the time to do everything on my lists. I'm already getting up at 5:00 a.m. (and this morning even earlier!) so that I have some quiet time before I start the "mom" thing. Any suggestions? And just this once, skip the smart-ass comments!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


If I could tell you how to create more time in your day, I could make a fortune. There are countless books on time management, but I doubt you will find the time to read one, so I will tell you what works best for me.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


Type faster. What's the secret?
Keep Reading ... Show less
DON’T MISS A THING
For Red & Black Banter in your inbox ...
FOLLOW US ON

Chapter 18: Whine Or Lemonade? Your Choice

Three months into her "crisis" (Red's word, not Black's), Red looks back and begins to realize the impact of the lessons she was forced to learn were truly invaluable. And that as much as she initially fought having to face reality and actually make changes, vs. just hoping she could "wish" everything to be better, that would've fixed nothing. In fact, it would've only made things worse. Of course, she'll always question how Black could have been so optimistic, going so far as to say Red's crisis was going to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

P.S. – Red still questions Black's optimism, but that's because she's come to realize her natural tendency is to initially focus on the negative. She claims it's because she's "wired" that way, but that's ok because she has learned that just means she has to work harder to overcome the negative and focus on the positive. And challenging times are the perfect time to remind herself that although this mindset and approach may seem hard to do, the results can be so much better than initially hoped for.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I'm surprised to find you online again.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Why? Typical Saturday night. Done with dinner and no one to talk to once I get home. Only tonight home is a hotel and there is no one snoring on the couch.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Sorry.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


No reason to be. Everything will work out. One way or another.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


That's what you told me when Nick was fired. In fact, you went so far as to say you thought it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Did you really mean that, or were you trying to make me feel better?
Keep Reading ... Show less

Chapter 5: Open Your Eyes Before Your Wallet

To say that Red fought having to deal with her family finances is a huge understatement. But she finally summoned up the courage to start looking at their financial situation (well, maybe not so much courage as it was surrendering to Black's insistence) and slowly starts working her way through Black's six step "Where Is Your Money Going" checklist. As she prepares to tackle Step 4: Develop A Realistic Budget, Red gets to break some surprising news to Black about a fond childhood memory.

P.S. – Red rarely gets the "upper hand" in terms of her older sister, Black, and for it to be related to money makes it even sweeter. Yet, she'll admit that for all the enjoyment of getting to "break the news" to Black, she'd have been better off having the same childhood "punishment" as Black.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io




OK. I'm ready to tackle Step 4. Is this something we can do via e-mail or do I need to come over and see how you do your budget?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io




Here is where I have to say, "Do as I say, not as I do," because I have not done a personal budget in years. But I can remember my first one.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io




You remember your first budget? You have a strange collection of fond memories!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io



It was when Mom put me on a clothing budget. She gave me an amount I could spend every year and wrote it on a big manila envelope. Every time I bought something, I would deduct that amount from the total and put the receipt in the envelope. I always knew how much was left in my budget, so I never had to ask if I could buy something. Mom was brilliant!


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io




[Silence for 5 seconds, followed by a burst of laughter.] You're kidding, right?
Keep Reading ... Show less