Thursday, August 20, 2015

I just do.

A couple weeks ago, I had a text conversation that left an impression. I was texting with a competitive athlete about her training. I know how long my training takes...and I'm only doing a fraction of what her training demands. This person is an adult with normal grown-up responsibilities...you know...like working to pay for shelter and food. (Being a grown-up is so overrated.) So I couldn't help but wonder...how does she do anything else?

"How are you going to fit a job into all this training?"
"I just do. ..."

I just do. Of course. When something is a big deal and non-negotiable, people make it work. Happens all the time. Parents coordinating kiddo stuff. They just do.

I was struck by her simple (profound) answer...and thinking maybe I don't have any "I just do." Right now, my life is pretty easy. (I am grateful!) I should have plenty of time and energy to "just do" what I want...and yet...

Fast forward. Last night, I was out to dinner with a colleague and her (grown) daughter. Her daughter is in the midst of a career crisis. She asked about my work history...she was not interested in the actual jobs, she was very interested in the why. She wanted to know..."Why did you apply for each job?" We were talking about my job at FedEx...and I said "I'm super debt adverse. My scholarship money ran out...I wanted to finish school...FedEx would pay for school...all I had to do was pass a weightlifting test and throw boxes from 11p-5a and I could go to college. WithOUT debt. That was a big deal to me."

"You worked night shift?" (Colleague)
"Yes."
"You went to college during the day?" (Colleague)
"Yes."
"How did you do that?" (Colleague)
"She just did mom...that's what people do." (Colleague's Daughter)

She just did. I do have it.

Turns out...just do is a product of motivation. That means it's available to everyone (including me!) at any time. All one needs is the right motivation.

Work. School. When my brother was sick and I went home to help. I just did. I've had seasons where my I just do was prominent. I guess...I just haven't needed it lately.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Outside My Comfort Zone

Taking a leap (or even a teeny tiny baby step) outside my comfort zone is not something I like to do. I don't do it willingly. I have to be pushed. Strongly, and from behind.

They call it the comfort zone for a reason...it's UNcomfortable outside that space.


In the past few years, I have come to appropriately appreciate my health. I am amazed at what the body can do. My fitness level has dramatically improved over the past year, but there are still a few moves I struggle with. (Olympic weightlifting, specifically the snatch.) Of all the fitness forms I've tried, weightlifting is the one that changed my body. It's also fun (and empowering) to move a heavy bar.

The only way to get better at something is to do it. I'm terrible at the snatch. It's precisely because I'm terrible, that I must do it. A lot. So I switched my training program...I moved from the regular fitness program to the barbell program.  


I started my new training program last Monday. I've done more snatches, snatch pulls, and snatch balances in the last week than I've done in all of last year. I've dropped the bar and fallen down more times than I've caught the bar in the receiving position and stood up. I probably look stupid with as much as I fall down...but I don't care. And nobody else cares either. I don't see anyone making snarky faces or comments when I fail. Instead, I hear a lot of cueing and encouragement...and big cheers when I make the lift.


Saturday was a busy day at the gym (so there was an audience.) After I dropped the bar and fell on my butt for the 6th time in a row, I took a time out. I sat down with my back to the bar. (A needed break and a silent tantrum of frustration.) I thought about how annoyed I was that this particular thing is hard for me. Then I thought about that Monday...my first day...I did 20 snatches....and 3 were perfect. I might've just missed 6 in a row, but I made 4 before those misses. This might be really hard 
for me, but I've made successful lifts...I am capable.


Everyone has to start somewhere. This is my beginning place. I know I won't be a beginner forever. I know this will get easier. I know that one day, my comfort zone will expand...and this will fit nicely right inside my comfort zone. Until then, you'll find me on the platform - dropping the bar, falling down, and getting up to try again.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vomit Happens

I'm often asked "Do you travel a lot for work?" Because it's all relative, I'm never quite sure how to answer that.  If you asked "Do you drive a lot?" The answer is absolutely.  I average 1000+ miles/week. But I know the travel question is related to air travel.  So that varies...some years and seasons are heavier than others...the average is 6-8 times a year.  For some people, that's a lot.  Others do much more flying and that number seems low.

I have done a lot of flying in my life (pretty much all domestic)...I was a transplant kid with family far away...I worked in logistics and calculated weight/balance of planes...and I studied air traffic control.  It is fair to say I've grown up very comfortable in airports and around planes. There was a time that flying was fun. That time ended sometime around the year 1998.

For (some) people who do not travel much, there seems to be a perception that work travel is cool and sexy.  It's not.  It's air travel.  And I HATE air travel.

Yesterday, I boarded the plane for home and attempted to listen to my iPod.  iPod died on song 2.  I thought I charged this thing, but I must've accidentally left it on after my gym time. Errr.  Good news, it's only an hour until my layover. I'll have time to charge it before the next flight.  I'm annoyed, but it's not the end of the world. Then I notice a smell.  And lights start going off.  The lady sitting directly in front of me threw up all over the place.  It takes the flight attendants 10 minutes to respond.  As they are working to clean everything up the best they can, a man behind me taps me on the shoulder. "Your bag under the seat...you need to check that."  OMG...I didn't even think about that.  So I grab the handle and slowly drag my bag from under the seat...it's covered in vomit.  I get the flight attendant's attention...I need help.  She pours some dusting powder on my bag and hands me a dry cleaning voucher.

You have got to be kidding me?????  You want me to carry my vomit covered bag off this plane, onto the next, into my car, home, and to the dry cleaners and then submit a receipt for reimbursement?  No freaking way.  Not happening.  Bring me trash bags.  So I unzip the bag and remove the contents into a clean garbage bag.  Then I throw the bag in the trash.  

By this time...as you can imagine... it smells pretty bad on the plane.  So I tell the flight attendant, we need coffee grounds. English is not her first language and she doesn't understand my request. She is trying to assure me that the cleaning powder she put down works.  I'm trying to explain to her we are in an enclosed space...and she does not want to start a chain reaction.  The gentleman next to me leans over to reveal he is a hospitalist and "it smells like work."  I appreciate the laugh.

She brings me 2 coffee pods.  She never understood the request so of course this does nothing for most of the people on the plane.  At least my row is no longer overwhelmed by the awful smell.  The Dr. says to me "Aisle 8 LOVES you right now."

I've never been so happy to get off a plane.  I make it to the next gate, plug in my iPod...and sit down just in time to hear my connecting flight is cancelled.  I learn the previous flight was also cancelled.  2 full planes.  No weather at home. Cancellation reason unknown to customer service agent.  All she can tell me is they cannot get me home...and if I want to get home the next day, I will need to connect yet again.  I take the earliest flights available, the hotel voucher, and request my luggage be moved to the carousel.  All this drama caused my brain cells to quit firing.  I suddenly remember I have a work travel team.  I call them.  They are unable to get me onto a better flight, but they do verify I'm in a good hotel and I grab a cab.

Yesterday sucked.  But as I was standing in the customer service line, I heard people say some really awful things to these agents.  I heard the agents do their best to respond in kind and try to get people home.  (Let me just point out, I was in a main hub and not all these people were on my flight.  There were all kinds of flight issues at the airport yesterday.)  I was not happy, but I know that jumping up and down while screaming obscenities is not going to solve my problem.  That's not going to make the customer service agent want to help me...and it's not going to make me feel any better.  

I am by no means a perfect person.  But I was truly horrified by the behavior I witnessed at the customer service counter.  How do you think you would respond if someone just started screaming and cussing at you for an unknown reason?  (Most of these outbursts happened before the customer service agent knew the situation.)  It is totally possible to express dissatisfaction, frustration, anger, and many other negative emotions withOUT that ridiculous, obnoxious behavior.  Did I mention that yesterday sucked?  Have I told you that I HATE air travel? But there are worse things in this world.  And I had some empathy for the customer service folks.  Sh!t (or vomit!) happens.

Oh...and fingers crossed, but this morning...I got moved to an earlier & direct flight.  It looks like today is going to be a good day. :)


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Truth

I saw a news story about an ad with a model in a bikini asking "Are you bikini ready?" Apparently, this ad upset a lot of people. One comment was "we want people to know that beauty and fitness come in all shapes and sizes."

Ummm...not exactly. Yes...BEAUTY comes in all shapes and sizes. And if they only discussed beauty, I probably wouldn't have been so engaged. But they included fitness. Fitness is a whole different story. There are different body shapes so there is a variation of shapes and sizes in fitness. But not ALL shapes and sizes are the picture of fitness. By pretending everyone qualifies as fit, we are dishonoring those that actually are fit. This is NOT body shaming...I'm not making fun or insulting anyone...and I'm not interested in witnessing or participating in any of that...I'm just pointing out, people are not the same.

Not everyone is a genius or a sports superstar or a perfect singer or (fill in the blank.) But we live in a culture where we are afraid of leaving people out or hurting feelings, so everyone gets an award for participating. I don't understand. When we acknowledge talent, we are not leaving others out. We are simply honoring talent (and hard work.) I don't think we are doing anyone any favors by pretending everyone is great at everything. It's not real.

When did this start? When I was growing up, you did not automatically get a ribbon or a trophy for participating. If you received an award, it was because you earned it. My elementary school played a recording of the National Anthem over the intercom every morning. You had to try out to be on the recorded performances. Although I participated in all the singing activities during music class, I did not sing well enough to make the recording. It's okay. I really cannot carry a tune. And I'm not scarred because my teacher was honest with me. She was not mean, she was simply recognizing and honoring those with nice singing voices. It didn't occur to me to be upset. Even as a young child, I understood people have different talents. Singing is not mine. You know what probably helped? At home, my parents did not pretend I was an awesome singer. So I was not surprised by the teacher's feedback. I can't carry a tune, but I sing. All the time. I just know that I'm not going to earn my paycheck by singing on a stage.

I think it's awesome to encourage dreams. You should tell young children, they can do and be anything. We live in the land of opportunity. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work." (Kevin Durant) But. At some point, you have to be honest. We are not genetically programmed the same way. Not everyone can be an NBA star, even if they work really hard at it. Our brains are wired differently. Some things will come easier or harder for you...just because of how your brain works.

There is a wide range of average...but in general, most people are average at most things. This is why it's so amazing when someone has remarkable talent. We should recognize and celebrate true talent. This whole everyone deserves a gold star thing is ridiculous. And now, I will step off my soapbox.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Movies vs Books

When it comes to movies, I want happily every after. I want to see the boy get the girl. I want to see an impossible or unlikely dream realized. I want to see long lost loved ones reconnect. If a heartbreak must be involved, I want to see something profound come out of the tragedy. I want to see the good thing that never would've occurred without the devastation. In other words, I still want to see a hopeful, happily ever after ending. The beginning and the middle can be a mess, but I want a happy ending.

When it comes to books, you can throw all that out. I want to read something real. I don't mean it has to be true...I love fiction...but I want to read about raw emotion, human desires, and real thoughts (not the edited, politically correct communication we share with the world.) I want to read about the small, subtle moments that become a significant memory. I want to read about events that shape our perception of the world...and the questions that keep us up at night. I want to read about how we became the person we are...and how we choose. Uncertainty is okay...because it's real. The ending doesn't have to be so neatly tied up, because life rarely unfolds the way we imagined. (Sometimes it's better!) 

Life is hard. (Even for people who look like they have it made.) There is no instruction manual and no crystal ball. The number of choices with "clear, right" answers are far fewer than those with "not so clear, just trying to make the best decision I can and hope it works out." You never really know all the consequences of a specific decision...there are a million unintended consequences that you couldn't predict...you will only learn of them after the fact...and then it's too late. But in the midst of all this, there are beautiful, perfect stories. Those are the ones I want to see on the big screen. I still want to know about the rest, I just don't want them accompanied with someone else's visual. I would rather read them.

Is there a difference in your movie and book preferences? What moves you? What kind of stories do you get lost in? What makes you ponder the world? For me, it's all about human behavior. 

"Why do you think you think?" -Ayn Rand

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sleep > Daylight

I have never liked Daylight Savings Time. I know, I know...extra daylight. Whoo-hoo. Sorry, I can't get into it. If you put sleep next to daylight, sleep wins every time. Sleep > daylight. Even as a kid, (when that "extra" hour of daylight meant an "extra" hour of outside time) I dreaded Spring Forward. And let's be honest here...the day doesn't get longer because we move the clock. (Notice it's now dark when you wake up?!) The day gets longer (or shorter) because of the Earth's rotation on a tilted axis. We do not make the days longer by changing the clock. (We can't make the days longer. That's all science.) We merely change the official record of what "time" the sun rises and sets. On Saturday, sunrise occurred at 6:47am and sunset occurred at 6:10pm. Day length 11:23. At 2am, we moved the clocks. On Sunday, sunrise occurred at 7:38am and sunset occurred at 7:16pm. Day length 11:38. Yes, we experienced +15 minutes of daylight...but this was not because we moved the clock. We *do* get something from moving the clocks, but our "gains" are not positive. We get an altered sleep pattern that will affect us for days/weeks, lower productivity, and increased heart attacks and traffic accidents. I'm not making this up, there is legitimate data behind these sad facts. For years, I've joked that the Monday following DST should be a national holiday. But I've changed my mind. I want to abolish DST.

*Sunrise/sunset times above based on recorded times for my home address. The actual times for your home address may be slightly different.*

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Random thoughts

A peek inside my mind.

❤️ Have you ever read a quote that resonated with you so strongly it stopped you in your tracks? That's how I felt when I read the following quote. So true. So smart. I love this quote so much I could almost consider a tattoo. (Okay not really...I will never get inked...but that's another post.) Maybe I could commit to a wall hanging. (Yeah, that won't happen either. But I do love this quote.)

"A criticism is just a really bad way of making a request. So why don't you just make the request." Diane Sawyer

The world would be so much nicer if everyone understood this. I can't stand to be around critical people. They drain my energy. When I consider the intention, I must admit...not all criticism is meant to be malicious. It's not the message, it's the delivery.

❤️ It seems like the only way many women know how to start a conversation is by asking  "Do you have children?" "No." Awkward silence. "Do you want kids?" "No." More awkward silence. I love kids, but I do not feel the need to procreate to justify my femininity or purpose in life. I have a lot of thoughts on this topic...I could write a book. I didn't bring this up to defend my choice (it doesn't need defending.) I brought this up to point out how pervasive and weird this is. I get that many women my age are raising kids, so it's a big part of their life. If they want to talk about kids, why don't they just tell me a story about their kids? I'm happy to talk about kids...but to start with that question is just weird. Even more strange, this is also the first question other child free women ask. During my last haircut..."Do you have kids?" "No." "Do you want kids?" "No." Awkward silence. The stylist finally said "I don't have children either...I don't even have a boyfriend." What??? I was so confused...why would another child free woman (not actively trying to start a family) begin a conversation with a complete stranger like this? It makes no sense to me. This is not something men do...even men with kids. Dads are just as proud of their kiddos as moms are...but they don't start every conversation with "Do you have kids?" Why do so many women do this? What is the best response? I go for honesty...hey you asked...you should be able to handle it. The awkward silence tells me people are uncomfortable with my answer. So maybe there is a delicate way to answer this and avoid the awkward silence that always follows????

❤️ I go to a crossfit gym. Yes, I call it a gym. I once read an article about why crossfitters are annoying...and my gym didn't do anything on the list. Most people there call it a gym. I've never heard anyone criticize another's diet. (I have even witnessed the consumption of doughnuts and candy.) I've never heard anyone make fun of other fitness styles. We don't take pictures of our bruises or ripped up hands. We *do* talk about crossfit and lifting in the gym or with gym friends. Outside the gym, I do not discuss crossfit. Just like outside my job, I do not talk about work. I guess I'm going to break both those rules right here in the same blog post.

The open for the Crossfit Games started last Thursday. This is the 1st phase to finding "the fittest person on earth." So last week, Crossfit released several new youtube documentaries on the 2014 games...I'm sure this was all in an effort to get folks excited about the 2015 games. I watched the documentaries because a loved one recommended them. They were interesting and inspiring and eye-opening. Aha moment...I am not cut from the same cloth as these awesome athletes. I'm not just referring to their fitness level, I'm referring to their mindset. My brain just doesn't work that way.

I was discussing this with a work friend (who also does crossfit!) and she had some interesting insight. "Do you think you would feel differently if you did a different job?" We don't have a "leaderboard" at work. We have "ranking reports." Every Monday and twice a month, we get new ranking reports. In terms of our performance, we know exactly where we stand (and so does everyone else) every. single. day. "Don't you think at the end of the day, you're just mentally exhausted from that? In our culture, we are always trying out for the team...proving we can play. Do you think you would feel differently if your normal day was a less intense environment?" Huh. Interesting. Maybe. But I'm on this ride until it stops...hopefully that's retirement. I'm not looking to change my job. So at the end of the day, I guess it doesn't matter.