Courage and support.

It takes a lot of courage to get yourself motivated to run after spending nearly a year in a mostly hate relationship with the sport. It’s a lot easier to sit on the couch and do nothing than to get in your running garb, grab your water bottle and eject yourself out the front door and hit the streets. My common excuse is ‘not enough time’. I know better. I know all the excuses. I know the game and how it’s played. But I just got to the point where I didn’t care. Not caring attributed to my not-so-sunny attitude, irritability when it came to dealing with others and thinking clearly, and disruptive sleep patterns. 

Running isn’t just about being able to run or even finish a race. It’s not really about losing weight or staying in shape. It’s just a general, overall way of life to feel better about everything. More than just fitting in my clothes (which trust me, is super important!) running exercises my mind and my soul. I feel more positive. I give back an energy into the world that is charged with cheer instead of negativity. My outlook for the future is sunnier. I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. My family will only benefit from the better me. It’s not say I won’t have disappointing days or never face another obstacle. Running allows me to have the clarity to deal with those situations differently, positively, instead of always focusing on the negative. I’m fortunate to have such great support in my circle that encourages me to keep going, raise the bar, and never think ‘I can’t’. 

Grab a pair of kicks and hit the bricks.

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Ready or not, h…

Ready or not, here I come.

Quote

Thanks.

I’ve learned a lot in my 34 years. A lot I’d like to forget. A lot I’ve done that I’d like to forget. But there have been many things I’ve done, saw, and learned that I am especially thankful for. 

Today I’m thankful for my nephew Ashtin. He turned 9 today. He’s got a wealth of his own experience and knowledge under his tiny wings. I wonder sometimes, what must it be like to be a kid these days. Mostly, I feel outta touch to what the kids are into, what they think, what they hope for their future. I appreciate him (and my other nephew and niece) in more ways than they can imagine. In some small ways, they’re reflections of me and how I view the world. If they grew up to do something terrific in this world, I’d be extremely glad and proud of their accomplishments, just like they were my own children. If instead, they demonstrated horrible, reprehensible behavior, I’d be disappointed, angry, and sad. I love them no matter what choices they make in life, and am thankful each day that I get to spend getting to know them better.

I’m also thankful for change. People have the ability to change inside and out, but only if they want to. You cannot make someone do what you want, they have to want it for themselves. Like addicts. You can’t tell a heroin addict to stop shooting up because it isn’t good for their health and it makes you sad. They honestly don’t care. They’re addicts. They’ll change when they decide they want to. I’m marveled at all sorts of change. People make changes every single day. They choose to be happy, They choose to better themselves. I know many people who have been able to do this and seeing their transformation makes me proud to know them.

 

what the kids don’t know…

As I see more and more of you babies and little ones begin to start their lives in this world, I often think about what you won’t truly experience, and no, I don’t mean human interaction. It’s the things of yesteryear that me and my fellow gen X’ers grew up with, became accustomed to, and even in our short existences, wax nostalgic about over beers and cocktails. What am I talking about? 

  1. Televisions – I mean actual televisions. The ones that came encased in their own wooden box, they didn’t need any silly TV stand. The ones where you had to (are you sitting down?) get up, walk to the set to change the channel. No remotes kids! Do you know how many calories we were constantly burning? 
  2. Ice cube tray – I’m quite certain your generation will be marveled about how far we’ve come as a society when it comes to creating ice cubes. You won’t even know what one is if you saw it as you’ll assume ice has always come from the dispenser in the refrigerator wall, or from the big box dispenser at Taco Bell or in a plastic bag from 7-11. They still have 7-11’s right? 
  3. Landline – There are a couple levels to this. First, we used to have a housebound phone. These were devices you could make a call on from one house to another. Phones forevermore are constantly on the go and are not associated with the place that you rest your head. When you see really old movies from the 90’s you will be in awe that people used devices that were attached to a…wall! Second, when you see even older movies from the 80’s you heads will explore with the mere sight of the rotary phone! As a kid, we had to call our friends on a wall-laden phone that had a rotating dial on it and finger holes that corresponded to each number. We dreaded when our friends had a 0 in their number as it took 3 seconds for the number to register! Oh vey! And back then we were only dialing 7 digits to call someone!
  4. Be Kind. Rewind.  – What? Yes, generation zygote. In order to watch a movie, you had to go to the video store, select a book sized hunk of plastic, put said plastic into a VCR (ask me some other time about this device) to enjoy a movie. THEN, when the movie was over, we had to REWIND the tape before returning it back to the SAME video store. Wacky I know. Thank goodness you’ve been spared this inconvenience.
  5. Books – These didn’t always come downloaded to your iPad or Kindle. If you wanted to read a book you had to go to the library (a place with a collection of books made of paper) or to the bookstore (an actual store that didn’t exist online). Wait. You probably don’t even read.

I’m sure there are many things I have overlooked. I hope this gives you some insight into the tough times my generation had while growing up. We overcame great obstacles in our youth and I’m so glad you’ll never have to experience our hardships. 

Ming! (?, I’m assuming this will be the new catch-phrase in twenty years)

Appreciation.

I think sometimes it’s truly hard to appreciate your life when thrust into the hustle and bustle of everyday tasks, chores, and obligations. Humans get into a routine, a pattern, and a repetitive motion that follows the hands on the clock. There are different things that weigh on our minds, allow that monkey to climb onto our backs, and leave that chip on our shoulders. It can be difficult to see through the fog and over the peak to the sunny valley that lies just over yonder. Some of us get there, some of us do not.

As a society, in the face of insurmountable tragedy, we’re reminded how much we should truly appreciate life and those we love and hold dear to our hearts. It’s easy to forget to tell someone we love them as much as we should. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll call them tomorrow.” It’s easy to put everything off just one more day. Nothing is guaranteed in this life. We take for granted ‘tomorrow’ and ‘this weekend’ because we’re certain we’ll see it and almost everything will be the same; no change. For some of us, that will not always be the case. For some of us, today is all we have.

If there’s anything you take away from reading this short post it should be an appreciation for life, what it has to offer, and most important what you have to offer to those around you. Every single person makes a difference. Yes, I mean you.

Actions speak louder than words

I’ve always thought I was someone who was two steps ahead of the game of life. I’ve felt like I’ve been able to outsmart, outwit, outlast (no, not so Survivor-like) those around me despite my perceived disadvantages and really come out ahead of the crop. I am successful in my facets of my life; home, job, car, but there’s always been the one thing I haven’t mastered yet; these things they call personal relationships.

A funny thing (divorce) happened on the way to the forum (adulthood). I’ve always maintained that kids who come from crappy homes (abuse, neglect, poor, divorce, etc) still have a choice in how they carry out their future. Statistics show that many of them don’t fare so well, but many do grab life by the horns and really become outstanding members of society. Despite being a child from a divorced family and having an absentee father the majority of my life, I still call my story an overall success. Not having a male role model and being from Felony Flats held many strikes against me as I entered into my formative years. I’m not on welfare, don’t have multiple kids from multiple baby daddies, I’m not a cracked out street walker; the list goes on.

But I’m not perfect. I know, newsflash, eh? As far as I’ve come there are still things I never learned how to handle that impact my life today.

I was watching this television show about a guy who raped and murdered a couple coed’s in ’98/’99 in central California. They interviewed his half-sister who commented on his difficult upbringing, having been physically and mentally abused by not only his father, but also his stepfather. His lawyers thought this was a useful defense strategy that was leveraged to keep this guy from getting the death penalty in both of these cases. The theory was he had suffered abuse as a child and therefore he’s not totally responsible for his actions. I suppose one can argue both sides of that coin, however ultimately he is guilty. The same point can be argued that not all abused children are rapists and murderers, the extreme end of the spectrum.

By the same token I am still responsible for my own actions despite whatever experiences I had as a child. In fact, I make my own decisions. We all have crutches that we lean on from time to time, it helps take the sting out of mistakes that we have made and provides some reasoning as to why we do the things we do. Whatever helps you sleep at night, right? I do have room for improvement and will focus on being a better person to those around me. Relationships are not a dime a dozen and there are a few I’m interested in holding onto. I have to let go of the past so I don’t let it affect my future.

After all, I don’t want to be that person my brother keeps teasing me about. The lonely lady at the end of the block with all of her cats.

The meaning of life

What started out as a simple question, “What do you have to tell me today?” to me from my structural therapist  with my joking response of “the meaning of life,” turned into him telling me his interesting perspective on the topic. I wouldn’t say he’s a hippie and I wouldn’t call him a hipster, but he’s somewhere in the middle. He knows how to joke, but then can turn on a serious, spiritual, insightful side that really does get me thinking deeper.

What IS the meaning of life? His take was about living in the NOW and not in the future or the past. There’s no time for dwelling on what has happened, or worrying about what is to take place in the future. Being in the present and experiencing what ‘now’ has to offer. In addition to all that it’s about being insightful, kind to others, and having integrity. He assured me he could go on and on the topic, but left me with a lot to think about.

I’m a person who has a difficult time of living in the now. I spend too much time thinking about the future and rethinking what happened in the past. I worry about how my past actions and experiences will influence my future decisions, am I making the right decision? was that wrong? should I have put more thought into that? should I have said that? (well really, that goes without saying!) I’ve found I am becoming less of a future planner the older I get and have been trying to take life as it comes, one day at a time (damn, that was a good show). I get too shortsighted by what’s going on a week, a month, or three months from now and miss what is right in front of my eyes. My meaning of life is to make each of my days more meaningful and embrace each and every opportunity.

 

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