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?
I’m the kind of girl who really appreciates the role of a good routine.
My weekends have been a little frazzled lately. Some days I’m too ambitious and end up overbooking myself, and wishing I had a weekend to recover from my weekend. Other days, I find (arguably too much) comfort in lounging the morning away in bed, making some lists, pinning some recipes I dream of trying, and catching up on quality (terrible) television.
Don’t get me wrong, both are totally appropriate ways to spend the weekend. Having said that, even if I’m going to spend the day living like a couch potato (which, again, I’m rarely sorry about), there’s something really fulfilling about setting the tone for a loungetastic day early on, and with a sense of intention.
Today, I reminded myself of just how much I love a good lazy Sunday routine. Not only does it start my day off with a sense of purpose and serenity, but it also tends to propel me into whatever I’ve decided I need to accomplish that day. It’s a lovely little gift I need to remember to give myself more often.
Clouds and drizzle set the stage for an especially cozy morning today – I owe you one, Mother Nature. To capitalize on these ideal cozy conditions, below are just some of the things that made my morning thoroughly soothing and satisfying:
Starting from the upper left and moving clockwise, in the picture above…
1. Coffee. Need I say more? This morning’s latte was accompanied by a perfectly soft, warm blueberry scone. Om nom nom.
2. Oh, how I love me some fresh flowers. The ones pictured were actually a gift from parents when I got promoted at work about a year ago – they’re far cheerier than the wilting ones I have on my kitchen table at the moment. I’ll be replacing those this week, since there are few things that brighten up a room more than a vase of fresh flowers.
3. Ira. Ohhhh Ira. If you have not yet discovered This American Life, today is the day to change that. It’s an amazing radio show-turned-free-podcast hosted by the amazing Ira Glass, and their About page does a far better job of explaining it than I could. They also provide a staff favorites page, if you’re a new listener who doesn’t know where to start. Some of my personal favorites include Testosterone, Blackjack, and Allure of the Mean Friend.
4. That little snuggle bear’s name is Penny Lane – she’s a maltese, about a year and a half old, and has waaay too much personality for that tiny little body of hers. Snuggling with her is the BEST.
There’s one more important aspect to this routine that’s worth mentioning: I know myself well enough to know that most of what makes this whole process so therapeutic is being alone. This is a lovely segueway into what will hopefully be my next post, one that I’ve been working on for a few days now.
Are you a believer in the importance of a routine? What constitutes your perfect Sunday morning?
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
Have you ever heard of TED Talks?
According to their own site, TED – which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design – is “a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” There are conventions devoted to these topics and more each year featuring a plethora of fantastic speakers, and more than that, there are gazillions of amazing talks on a huge variety of topics available for free online.
My dad was the first to introduce me to TED Talks, and he and my mom and I watched Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability together not too long ago. I just love Brené Brown, and after watching this, I kinda want to give the woman a hug. (Apparently, awesome articulate women have that effect on me.) Really though, I could listen to this talk again and again, and still feel its impact.
I know the 20 minutes looks daunting, but I seriously, seriously recommend you watch the whole thing. She’s brilliant.
Have other TED Talks grabbed your attention? Which ones? There are so many out there, I’d love to hear your recommendations!