It’s been one of those weeks of busyness and activity, of getting things done, making plans and having a few anxiety attacks along the way. Such is the embrace of living. One thing my endurance training has taught me is the need to pay attention, make a plan, be flexible to change the plan and ride the waves of emotion and thought. Things which seem random and strange often have a meaning or a purpose but sometimes (OK, for me most of the time) the meaning or purpose isn’t quite clear. Right now, I’m not going to worry about meaning or purpose. I’m going to embrace the random. Here we go:
Be prepared. Pack a granola bar
Several years ago I was at a sportswriting symposium at St. Bonaventure University and one of the older sports reporters (I wish I could remember his name) said he always made sure to have a granola bar in his work bag because you never know what’s going to happen in the course of a game. I remember thinking at the time: Brilliant. In live sports reporting any number of things can conspire to screw with a timeline: overtime, technical malfunctions, deadlines, bad weather, inedible press room food, vending machines which don’t work. It’s kind of the old scouting philosophy “Be prepared.” I thought of this last night as I pulled out a Nature Valley from my bag at halftime of a women’s basketball game which started at 6, thereby messing with normal eating patterns surrounding dinner. That granola bar saved me from a headache, distracted writing and from raiding the concession stand for pizza and candy. Moral of the story: Planning isn’t as time consuming or thoughtful as we often make it out to be. Sometimes it’s just about dropping a granola bar into your bag and getting on with your day.
Last weekend while out to eat, my dad ordered decaf coffee. Wait. What? Decaf coffee? I had never heard those words come out of his mouth before. Ever. I was a shocked as I was when as a pre-teen I heard my father say the word “pissed” while on the phone. This does not compute. Turns out his doctor’s recommendation for his slightly elevated blood pressure was to cut back on fully-leaded coffee. (This makes some sense as my parent drink coffee pretty much 24-7.) Then this morning I turned my desk calendar to this mantra for the day: “No job is beneath me or above me. If a job needs doing, I do it.” I immediately thought of my dad. A great example there. Of course now this means I really do have to vacuum and clean the kitchen floor this weekend.
The women who came to Roycroft in East Aurora for the workshop “Lessons from My Inner Athlete” were all incredible. I enjoyed meeting them, hearing some of their experiences and sharing what I’ve learned over the years. We met at the workspace in the back of The Copper Shop Gallery, where local artisans display and sell their work — from pottery to art to jewelry to notecards and books. It was a beautiful space, filled with energy yet also quiet and we all walked around to browse and shop at some point during the morning.
When talking about shopping, and balancing one’s spending and accumulation of stuff, Sally (one of the workshop participants) gave me the money phrase: “I like to be surrounded by beautiful things.” It’s not about the quantity of things but the quality of them. It’s not about following (or blindly following) the dictates of a particular style, but rather about cultivating your own. My decorating style is best described as “early attic” but I have some wonderful pieces which I cherish because they’re beautiful, sometimes sentimental, and make me feel happy.
Heck, same things happen when I think about my clothes for working out. It’s not about how I look to other people but about how I make myself feel. Sure I can feel happy and strong and confident and beautiful in my old running shorts and gray t-shirt. But every so often, I feel really good putting on something new and different and vibrant. It’s not about vanity. It’s not about how much I spent on it. It’s about expressing my authentic self. Sometimes that’s about comfort and ease. Sometimes it’s about bright pink compression socks.
It didn’t take much to give myself permission to buy a beautiful handmade bowl at Roycroft. It was within my budget and something I would find joy in using. With that bit of inspiration in mind, I bought myself an inexpensive bouquet of flowers at the grocery store this week for no other reason than they made me smile and feel good — about myself, about my apartment, about all the work I’ve done this week.
My friend Jude is The Foodie, writing about all things food-related for the web news site Below The Falls. She took a detour from writing about food to writing about her journey in healthy eating. Jude, who has “struggled with her weight” for years, has found that space where she can be on a healthy path while enjoying life. It’s a journey not a number on the scale for her and one in which she embraces the day as it comes. Check out her column and be inspired. (And for more inspiration from her, join us for the Women’s Adventure Retreat: Winter Play! on Feb. 12.)