The Blog

For all the ways I’ve waxed smug on the blog about laundry as meditation, I still don’t look forward to it. It’s laundry. You know what makes it easier? Having decided when I’ll do it, and sticking to that.

You might think it’s trivial, but that’s because it isn’t in context. In the context of dozens of other things that come around all the time, that keep the trains running, it helps to give them their own special places on the schedule.

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Is that why Darrell and I spend so little time, relative to the average, looking for things?

The same is true for chores. There’s a time and a place. When we’re “home” -- wherever we call it at the moment -- you’ll probably find me doing laundry on the same day of the week. No sense wasting brain cells making the same decision over and over. Not only that, but I’ve also been finding places on the schedule for things more important than laundry -- like sharing more of my work. Pitching. Reaching. I’m starting to think of myself as someone who does what she’s supposed to do when she’s supposed to do it. It’s momentum.

You start small, with a laundry basket, and soon you’re on your way to becoming the owner of a chain of drycleaners -- or whatever your little entrepreneurial heart desires.

Trivial? I don’t think so! Momentum is magic.

“I think it’s great how much you and your husband love to run,” someone told me a few years ago. I looked over my shoulder to see the person she was talking with. “Who, me?” I finally asked. “We don’t love to run,” I told her. “But you do it almost every day,” she said.

The secret to life.

We don’t run very fast -- well, except for thirty-second surges every two minutes -- or very far. But we’re devoted. Rain, snow, sleet, or hail? We could give the postal service a run for its money!

You might be surprised by how little effort it takes to stay in shape. You don’t have to be a maniac about it.

But consistent? That helps!

I don’t know if I remember this correctly, but it seems to me a little sister once took it to my parents about not getting her started in some sport -- ice skating, I think -- as a toddler. She couldn’t have been much older than that at the time. As to why it mattered: “How am I supposed to make it to the Olympics?”

She had a point. World-class in anything usually means a lifetime of dedication and practice.

new Charlie HamblinUntil I talked with Charlie Hamblin, I wasn’t sure it was worth it. Charlie’s a roller skater on the US World Team, and I wondered if he missed out on a real childhood. “Not at all,” he says. “It was difficult and it was worth it.”

Charlie’s learned a lot on the rink. He’s learned to work hard, to be patient, to persist. The most important thing he’s learned is that hard work and great fun are not mutually exclusive: “It’s work and play at once.” Charlie didn’t have as much free time as other kids -- still doesn’t -- but he had some. And he lived to be on the rink. Still does.

Charlie says you can tell which kids have been brought up with a good work ethic or have learned it through sports: “They manage themselves well and they get things done.”

Hard work. A fun life. Don’t let anyone tell you it has to be one or the other!

What are you up to?
October 13, 2016

sunset in VermontOnce upon a time I took a freelance writing class from a teacher who was on his way to making a living as a writer. Good move! You can learn a lot about writing from someone who’s doing that successfully.

Vince was fond of asking, “Is there a story here?” Good question! You can learn a lot about your life from having the courage to ask yourself that.

Is there a story here? If not, what the heck are you doing with this little wisp of time on the planet?

No, it isn’t too late.

But it’s late!

A good friend once told me most people go after half their visions with half their hearts, which is why they fail before they start.

How sad.

What if you were just starting out and could do anything you wanted with your life? What if you had a chance to do something that made your heart sing? Would you take it?

Please say yes. And send postcards!

Hey. How’s it going? Did you get enough sleep last night? If you didn’t, may I make a suggestion? Go a little easier on yourself today if you can. Maybe ask people to stick to the easy questions until you get more coffee -- or a nap.

Needing sleep to function isn’t a character flaw. And if you drive while you’re drowsy you may as well be drinking or texting.

Some things are life or death.

Have you ever felt crushed under the weight of someone’s eagerness to help?

I have. And you might find it interesting, why I think that is. Because sometimes you want to scale a mountain -- literally or figuratively -- by yourself. Challenges are fun.

And, sure. You probably will need help along the way. You’ll likely find it, because people love to help. So don’t be shy about asking.

But offering to help? I’d be careful with that one.

Maybe the person you think needs your help really doesn’t. Maybe she relishes the challenge, insurmountable as it might seem to you. Maybe your attempts to help are making her wonder if you’re really behind what she’s going for after all.

Maybe she’d be more inspired by watching you tackle your own problems!

You know, for now.

When Katie was little we never tried to talk her out of being sad. We never told her not to cry. Well, Darrell did once! He came around but quick, though. And of all the things we feel great about, letting Katie feel what she feels is right up there.

Generations of us didn’t have that, did we? Our parents and their parents and God-knows-how-many-of-those parents were schooled in the “I’ll give you something to cry about” way. And cry, some of us did. We just didn’t know why. Now I do. We were sad -- but before that could register, we were ashamed. And then confused! So confused we didn’t even know we were. No wonder we soothed ourselves in not-so-healthy ways at times.

I broke up with my college boyfriend shortly before I started working for the same company he did. No problem. I’d been assigned to an office in Texas, and his office was in Minneapolis. But a few weeks before I moved, so did my assignment. Minneapolis it is!

I was heartbroken. I knew it would be easier to get over him with several states in between us. The thought of seeing him at so-called happy hours did not enchant.

So when my mom volunteered to help me move, I should’ve passed. I didn’t need help moving. I needed space (so to speak). I don’t know about you, but feeling bad is bad enough without feeling like you’re spoiling someone else’s time.

Did I say anything? Of course not! It took me years to understand what I just shared in the last paragraph.

You know what used to make me sad? Thinking of the young woman I once was, who didn’t trust her feelings. Now I’m glad it took so long to learn. Remembering it made me a better mom. That’s why being a parent is healing.