Posted in about me, ebb & flow, motivation

Do something for you

Tomorrow, May 1, I am celebrating six months of writing and posting every day.

I have always loved writing, even as a kid.

I was always redirected to math, and maybe internalized some of the “you’re not very good at writing.” Though I’m not sure that was true, necessarily. <shrug> I don’t know.

I did creative writing off and on from elementary school into college. I took a creative writing class in the summer after 8th grade, an independent study in creative writing in 10th grade, and a creative writing class my freshman year of college.

I’ve kept journals and diaries. I’ve written a bajillion letters, cards, emails. This is my fourth blog.

But outside of courses, I’ve never prioritized it. Until now.

Writing gets done daily (though typically what I write today is not what you read today). Not all of the writing is great—nothing done daily is done at the same level daily—and honestly, there are a few posts that I hope aren’t The One Post that someone comes across and judges my whole blog by.

Even with not all of it being to my standards, it feels good to write, to have a routine, even in the midst of everything else that’s going on in life. (And there certainly is plenty.)

It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. And the longer the streak goes, the more painful it would be to break it.

It helps A LOT that The Climbing Daddy is supportive. Because writing takes time, and sometimes the time is inconvenient.

So my invitation to you is: what can you add to your life that would make it better? What one thing have you maybe kept on the back burner for who knows how long that would warm your soul to get back into your life?

Pick a thing. Make it a do-able thing (read: not something that takes hours a day, unless your world is very different than mine). And do it.

Do it. Pick a thing and incorporate it into your routine. Make it part of your life.

What are you going to choose? Reply and let me know!

 

 

 

Posted in mindset, motivation, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Someday…

I saw this meme the other day. (I don’t know who to attribute it to, though the saying is widely said.)

And while it’s true, you can’t do it all now, either.

Many (most? all?) of us spend a lot of time on things that aren’t important (games, mindless scrolling, unintentional TV watching, etc.), and as a result “don’t have time” to do things that are more important.

(I’d argue that’s an energy issue, not a time issue, but that’s a separate post.)

So things don’t get done.

But there’s also the issue of avoidance. Of fear of failure or ridicule. Of lack of confidence. These are the bigger reasons things don’t get done.

That’s all the baggage that the meme was talking about (in my interpretation).

But there’s the flip side. Using myself as an example…

Someday, I would like to:

  • swing dance well (I’m mildly competent currently)
  • be somewhat fluent in several languages, including Spanish and ASL, maybe go back to German
  • be good at photography
  • have a book published
  • do pullups
  • do a TED talk
  • do other public speaking
  • learn basic woodworking
  • have my house in order
  • salsa dance well (I’m really bad at it—this will take a teacher with a lot of patience and skill)
  • hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim

And on and on. That’s what I could think of off the top of my head.

There’s no way I can pursue all of that right now, regardless of when “right now” is. Some of it is getting attention now.

Photography had been on my list for years and years, and it’s finally seeing light of day. I have a “real” camera now and have messed around with it some. Although it’s made its way up the priority list, it’s still not at the top.

I work. I have a husband and a kid and friends. I write here and am working on the book. I exercise, cook food, get close to enough sleep most of the time. We live in a house that needs cleaning. I have a garden in the back yard, as well as the rest of the yard that refuses to be just a dirt lot. (Oh, how I wish it would be just a dirt lot.)

The time that’s left? Sometimes I give it to one of the things already getting time. Sometimes I give it to photography. Sometimes I give it to drawing or trying calligraphy. Sometimes I give it to reading. Or playing games. Or playing ukulele. Or digging up more freakin’ Bermuda grass.

Prioritize. Figure out why you’re stalled on some things and get moving on the ones that are important. Or fit. Or you’ll regret not doing. Or have limited window of opportunity.

But some things? They have to go on the “someday” list. Even if social media tries to tell you otherwise.

Posted in exercise, gratitude, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Gratitude for more than health

A few years ago, I was doing a 10k and was maybe a little undertrained. (What?! Never!) Was running it with a good friend and we knew we’d have a good time, even if we didn’t have a good time.

Somewhere around mile 5, I got a text from the guy I was dating at the time:

Hey! As you make progress toward the finish line think about how really lucky you are to participate in that 10k. In the grand scheme of things it is pretty cool. It means you’re healthy enough, financially secure enough, living in a place that can safely put on a big event like that. It’s a good way to spend a free morning. Lots of people all over would love to be in your shoes, feeling what you’re feeling. It’s pretty cool. Hope you’re having fun!

I’ve often been grateful for good health and mobility, not just in the context of running. But he added extra layers that I take for granted most of the time.

So if you’re out this weekend, particularly at something you’re maybe less than excited to be at (I’m looking at you, track meet!), soak in some of his good thoughts about all of the other variables that we take for granted to make it possible.

But it’s also a reminder of one of the reasons I move it move it: because I can.

 

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, mindset, motivation, storytelling

My 20-year anniversary of…

…my senior recital.

For those who didn’t go through this, a senior recital is a big deal (for most of us). As an education major, I was required to perform a 30-minute solo recital as one of my graduation requirements. (I could have instead performed a 30-minute jury, which means just for a panel of professors who would grade it. Either way, it’s a 30-minute performance.) Many of us included some sort of duet or small ensemble as our final piece, and the ed majors usually shared recitals, taking turns, making an hour-long performance between the two.

Anyway, for anyone, it’s a lot of work. And it’s a little intimidating for those of us who were more accustomed to performing in an ensemble.

But my sophomore year of college, I developed some random pain issue in my right pinky finger. I was able to play my flute for 10-15 minutes each day before the pain caused me to stop. It would linger for hours. I also couldn’t write and ended up buying a laptop to be able to take notes.

It was written off by doctors as tendonitis.

I stopped taking lessons and participating in ensembles so it could rest. Six months later, with no improvement, I was given warning that I couldn’t continue in the music department without lessons or ensembles, since they were required for graduation.

And so I stopped playing flute and started playing trombone. Trombone doesn’t use any fingers.

Being a beginner in college was terrible. I took lessons with someone in the trombone studio, and at the end of my junior year, I successfully re-auditioned into the department on trombone.

Needing to be good enough to give a recital before I could graduate, I was immediately off the four-year plan. I practiced as much as I could, but like any other physical skill, the muscles need to build strength and endurance.

By my second senior year, I was practicing two to three hours every day, in addition to time in ensembles. I was getting … less bad.

Now, I hadn’t been a great flute player at all, and I suspect expectations of me all around weren’t that high. I don’t really know, and it’s probably just as well.

But something happened in these years. I learned grit. I had a giant mindset change. I had been very fixed mindset. When I started college, it was “The people around me have been taking lessons for years and I’ve only been for one year. I’ll never catch up or be as good.”

At the time, I had no idea what else I would do with my life, so switching to another instrument and continuing on the same path was the only viable option. I had to catch up and be as good.

By my third (and final) senior year, my private teacher suggested I was playing well enough to pass a jury. There was no way I was giving a jury! I’ve done massive amounts of work to get here—I’m giving a recital!

And so I did. On April 18, 1999, a Sunday evening. In a satiny blue shirt and black pants. Sharing a recital with a sax player. I played well. I was excited and proud.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done (with regards to things that require preparation and skill).

By the time I graduated, I had shifted to, “If I can get this good in this amount of time, what happens if I keep going?”

I found a teacher in NYC. I practiced three or four hours most days. In the financial desert of a teacher’s summer, I paid my bills playing gigs and teaching lessons.

All of that, 20 years later, is represented in this anniversary. A date I remember and at least give a head nod to every year.

At this point, I haven’t played a trombone in quite some time. Moving to Arizona wasn’t good for my playing, and when time became scarce, trombone was one of the things to go.

But the lessons I learned, the mindset shift—to say nothing of all the extra things I got to learn and do in two extra years of school and all of the amazing people I met on my musical journey—those have stayed with me. And maybe one of these days, I’ll pick the old horn back up and start over again.

 

Posted in ebb & flow, mindset, motivation

Let’s not make average harder than it is

A week or so ago, I wrote about being a runner. But a runner who is not very fast, doesn’t run far (relative to Runners), and likes but doesn’t love running.

It got me to thinking … the mindset applies to just about anything.

You can do stuff just because you like to do it without either loving it or being particularly good at it. Just enjoy the process.

You can do stuff that you don’t love (but don’t hate) and don’t want to do in greater quantity simply  because it’s good for you.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure from Out There to love everything! and find your passion! and really … that doesn’t apply to all people or all activities.

You can eat food that is not amazing. You can do activities that you’re just somewhat interested in. Your job can be good enough.

If we all try to excel (or give the appearance thereof), we don’t all become above average—we just make “average” harder to attain. (Math, people! We can’t all be above average!)

Do stuff just because you want to try it out for a while. Let your kid be interested in an activity without it being Olympic prep.

Of course, some people some of the time need to be above average, or will have a drive for a particular thing that will push them farther. But for most people most of the time? Average is OK.