Why, hello there, Ira. Thanks for confirming that I’m not crazy.
I’ve been the “creative type” my whole life – a dancer and at times, a choreographer; a writer; a chronic crafter. And in all my artistic endeavors, I always dive in with the same zeal and enthusiasm and optimistic vision, and inevitably I always hit the same wall.
In high school after I’d had years of rigorous ballet training, I suddenly felt the overwhelming desire not just to master and perfect, but also to create. I’d witnessed and worked with so many brilliant choreographers, whose work could evoke so many emotions and make me feel like I was watching a piece of music come to life… it made want to strive for greatness like theirs.
But time after time, my work seemed to fall short. It felt too choppy, too forced. The creative juices would quickly run dry, and instead of feeling liberated by the creative process and the possibilities, I felt burdened. Like I was stuck in a math problem I just. couldn’t. solve.
For a while, I thought I just wasn’t cut out for it. There were also days (many of them, in fact) when I thought I was just a crazy perfectionist. Turns out, I was wrong… and I wasn’t alone. (Enter: Ira.)
Ira Glass, an American public radio personality and host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life, is a fellow creator. Aside from being poignant and wonderful and generally adorable, he’s also accomplished, articulate, and wise. (Marry me? No? Okay.)
The following is a quote from Ira himself that feels like validation and a breath of fresh air every time I read it. It reminds me that mastery takes time, and it encourages me to push ahead. It reassures me that imperfection is okay, and patience is necessary.
As a new blogger, I think this quote still applies to me in a big way. I’ve been struggling lately to keep writing as often as I want to, and New Kid Frustration is totally to blame. I have plenty more to learn, try, and master before I’m as good as I want to be… but wise words like these are often the nudge I need to just keep going.
Have you felt these frustrations? Does this quote resonate with you?
Show of hands: who made New Year’s Resolutions back in January? …now who is still following through on said resolutions? (Beuller? Beuller?)
Resolutions are daunting, and the weight of a year is heavy. It’s always exciting at first to identify the changes we want to make, and it all feels so promising at first. But the excitement lasts, oh, about a week if you’re anything like me, before that excitement turns into pressure… which turns into failure… which turns into guilt… which turns into giving up entirely.
But there’s something tangible and immediate about today. I can do ‘today’ … ‘today’ doesn’t scare me. ‘Today’ is conquerable.
I’m not ashamed to admit that part of this may have stemmed from watching The Biggest Loser this season. (There, I said it.) But look at those people! They’ve taken their life into their own hands, and one day at a time, they’ve decided to fight the lifelong battle to reclaim their health and their lives, to make choices that nourish their bodies and promote their happiness. It may be reality tv, but it’s also inspiring.
Today is a bit-sized piece, and 5 is a manageable number. Therefore, I’ve compiled 5 easy ways that I can take control and make today healthier – no matter what I ate yesterday or an hour ago, no matter how lazy my morning was, these are 5 things I can do, now:
- This amazing video explains how 30 minutes of exercise makes a big difference. I could try to summarize or recap the highlights, but really, you should just watch it. It’s awesome.
- I make much better decisions about food when I plan my meals for the week, for a few reasons. Not only am I forced to go grocery shopping and start eating fresh foods from my fridge instead of making bad takeout choices, but it also increases my awareness of what I’m putting in my body. Plus, bonus – I really, really enjoy cooking!
- Perhaps the easiest step I can take is to decide today when I’m going to exercise tomorrow, and stick it on the calendar. My life revolved around my ballet classes for 15 years, so at a young age I grew accustomed to knowing exactly when I had class, and I planned around it. Adding an appointment to exercise on my calendar puts me back in that mindset of blocking out a time slot, and holding myself accountable.
- I know myself well enough to know that shooting for 3 hours at the gym is, well, a joke. But what I can do instead is maximize my down time. Use that commercial break to squeeze in some crunches. Do some squats in the kitchen while I heat up dinner. Work on those calf raises while I brush my teeth. So many possibilities – just have to be creative!
- In the wise words of Real Simple, there’s always a chance to inconvenience myself. I can park further away, opt for the stairs over the elevator, carry my heavy groceries to the car instead of pushing them in a cart. The little things add up.
What daily habits to you use to better your health? Do any of these work for you
With all the weddings and bridal showers that keep appearing on my calendar these days, I find myself having the same debate, over and over (and over…):
To stray from the registry, or not to stray from the registry?
On the one hand, these people clearly took the time to cherry pick and tell us – their family and friends – exactly what they want. Do I really think I know better than they do?
But then, on the other hand, my inner Martha Stewart can’t handle the idea of buying some thing for someone, peeling off the sticker, putting it in a bag with some tissue and calling it a day. A gift that doesn’t involve some combination of brainstorming, envisioning, making several trips to Michael’s, cutting, gluing, tying elaborate bows, and/or washing glitter off my clothes feels too… I dunno… easy. It’s just how I’m wired. You craftaholics understand.
So, in answer to the question at hand – to stray, or not to stray – I say, a little of both. Honor their wish list, and add some flare.
I was recently invited to a friend’s bridal shower, so naturally I kicked things off by checking out her registry. I immediately narrowed down the list based on my price point and personal preferences, and I was left with…. a bundt pan.
Because nothing screams “pizzaz” like a bundt pan.
Clearly I had work to do. My mind immediately went to ‘function’. What good is a bundt pan with no recipe to use it for? And so, the ideas swirled, and I grabbed the necessary supplie and fuel (yes, that’s a venti… don’t judge me…) and got to work.
I tracked down a few spectacular-sounding recipes for bundt cakes (thank you, Pinterest) and raided my supply box for a way to craftify them. Enter: Glitter. Lucky for me, I had lots of lovely paper scraps on hand that coordinated nicely together, thanks to years of frequenting Michael’s and compulsively overspending. Whoopsie. I also think there’s something really special about a recipe that’s lovingly hand-written, so I put my crafty handwriting to work too.
Once the recipe cards were ready and to my liking, I wrapped them up in a neat little bow and tucked them inside a card file I found at Staples.
Last but not least, I’m a sucker for killer gift wrap. And I mean killer gift wrap. More often than I’d like to admit, I find myself at Paper Source spending more on wrapping supplies than I spent on a gift itself. And this, my friends, was no exception. Throw on a lovely bow from my ribbon stash leftover from Christmas, and I was ready to rock and roll.
By the way? Favorite. Wrapping Paper. EVER.
Voila! A registry gift with flare. Putting all of this together brightened my day, and reminded me of how fulfilling it is to put personal touches on the gifts I give to the people I hold near and dear.
Do you stick to the registry, or do you lean toward more personal gifts? Perhaps a combination? Share, s’il vous plait!