It happens all the time. You know that moment when you start to tell someone something big, and deep, and raw. It might be how you really feel about them, or a story from your past, or it might be advice you have been holding back from telling them. At times you hold it in and later, as you walk away from them, you think inside: “I should have said it, I should have told them, I missed my moment.” You might even go back to that moment days and weeks later wondering if you will ever have an opportunity to share it with them. I was reminded of those moments when I read this on David Kanigan’s blog: “There’s that split second moment.”
“you know when someone asks you a general question like “how are you” or jokingly says something like “do you ever even sleep” and there’s that split-second moment where you consider actually telling them things like whether they’re good or bad things whether they’re sad or happy or anything at all you just think about telling them everything but you don’t” -jackfrost.co
It happens when you are out to drinks with a good friend, or a new friend, or maybe even a colleague. You start to tell them some part of you that you may not share with many, and you start to tell them about you, and then you stop. Often it might be hard to know why. Maybe it is an intuition that you feel, and other times it might just be bad timing, but you feel that moment, you feel that urge, and it stays with you. How often do you have these split second ponderings? They happen fast.
Other times you look back and realize how grateful you are that you kept your mouth shut. You are not ready to share that specific story. You breathe a sigh of relief for that potential slip, as you are not ready for the rest of the world to know just yet what you have been through, or what you are still going through. It is still too raw, too new. Did you stop yourself because you were afraid, or did you stop because you heard a small little voice inside that said. Not yet, not now?
We all have those split second moments. How often do they happen for you?
Three things that are constants in my life on an almost daily basis are: exercise, vegetables, and writing. An odd amalgamation of things, but all critical for a bit of balance and inspiration in my life. You might wonder how these three have anything remotely in common. Their only commonality is that they ground me. On the days when I have the opportunity to run, eat a good amount of vegetables, and take the time to write, life just feels better. It may not mean that I have had an amazing day. Lots of shit could have happened, but these three stable aspects of my life help me to get through the shitty days and make the good days even better. Call me crazy, but it is true.
The ironic thing is that all three require discipline and none of them happened for me overnight. Consistent exercise was a gradual habit that happened over many years. My craving to run each day is the euphoria of pushing myself to the limits, having an hour that is just for myself, and the feeling at the end of a run when I am dripping in sweat and knowing I got through it. There is nothing else in my life that gives me that feeling and my day does not feel complete without my run.
How I feel when I run matters and, often, I can tell that if I feel horrible while running it has to do with some crap I ate earlier in the day. I am usually an evening/after work runner, so what I had for lunch and any snacks or junk food I ingest during the day matters. Which is why I have become a fanatic of eating vegetables. I have them in my green smoothie in the morning (usually spinach, kale, carrots), a salad for lunch, then for dinner, a vegetable, protein, and brown rice. Some sort of yummy concoction, but there is always a vegetable go with it. How far I have come from trying to get away with no vegetables as a kid and little to none in high school and college. Why have I become such an addict? I can now tell the difference in my body when I do not have these natural nutrients. More sugar + less vegetables and my body shuts down earlier in the day. More sugar = more exhausted. Since I know this about myself I do all I can to eat my veggies.
Writing. The final aspect to balance in my life. I write five blog posts each week and used to write in a journal too. My journal writing has waned in the past few months. It felt like work and I was not inspired to do it so I stopped. I know I will pick it up again, as that has been the ebb and flow of my life. There have been times when I needed to write, and write, and write to figure out my thoughts and unravel my world. Writing random olio keeps my mind open and aware. When you know that you are going to write a blog five days in a row you look at the world differently. It makes me more creative, have more wonder, and investigate the world.
What is not to love about my three life disciplines? A random olio of balance that is the core of who I am today.
All day Wednesday I thought it was Thursday. All day Thursday I wished it was Friday. It is not that I do not enjoy my days and nights but for some reason I was just off by a day and somehow that just made the week different. Now that it is Friday, I am ecstatic. I am ready for a weekend. I need some time to rest, reflect, relax, and recharge. Why is it the words that help us to replenish start with re? Alas, it has just been a full ass week.
Last night I was frustrated. There are times in life when I see those close to me (friends, family, Chris) struggle with situations they encounter in life. It is my nature to want to listen, help, synthesize the information and then try to fix or help find a solution for the situation. In recent months I have struggled a bit as there is someone close to me that has been struggling and there is not a solution that has surfaced. At times I find that I get frustrated because this individual is an amazing person, dedicated, does their best at all they do, and somehow they still get the shitty end of the deal.
I struggle because while I want to think that there are others looking out for each of us, the cards they continue to get dealt seem to show that no one is looking out for them, and they are on their own. Everything they try to do they find roadblocks along the way. Some are large and hard to imagine getting around, and others are numerous small roadblocks that gradually erode self-esteem and passion for life. It reminds me of the question: “Why do bad things repetitively happen to good people?” I know we all have lessons we have to learn, and while I am not sure what the lesson is for them, I am ready for a change to happen.
As humans we usually tend to balk at change happening. We struggle with it, but what happens when all we want is change and it never happens? Of course we could quickly rip the massive band aid off, but what if that is not really what needs to happen? I start with thinking that patience is the first step. What if you have been patient for months and months? What happens next?
I was talking with a colleague yesterday during lunch and the topic of giving back came up. How often do we sit in our own world and think about how hard our life is each day? What if we took time each week to help out another individual? I do not mean just to sit and listen. I mean something that we do with our entire body. We help out in a soup kitchen, donate our time in a homeless shelter, adopt a family, be a big brother or sister.
I spent many hours each week doing community service in college. There was a part of me that related to those in need. Obviously I did not relate to the incarcerated youth I worked with each week. I related to their need and desire to matter. I related to their desire to be cared for, loved, and respected. I taught a writing course one evening a week, and while there were times where I was absolutely out of my element (not on the writing portion) but on relating to teenage boys who did something in their life to be incarcerated. How did I have a clue what they needed? How do we ever really know what another individual needs?
Back to my lunch conversation. We discussed that many of us in our own ways want to support and give to others in our community. At times when we might feel most alone in our life and might not know how to give to others is when our world has been turned upside down. Yet, maybe that is the time when we need to give the most. When giving pulls us out of our own mucky world and shows us all that we truly have each day. How do we do it though? How do we get out of our comfort zone and take the leap to get out of our own world and make the difference in someone else’s life?
I have always told Chris that whatever child/children we might have, community service, taking care of our neighbors, and giving back is something that will be integral to how we raise them. I want them to see the difference between the have and have-nots. I want them to know that the world is full of people who are very different. We should never take for granted where we come from and all that we have in the world. Sometimes our gratitude comes from seeing all that we have through the lens of another person. If we are full of love to give to others how can we ever feel alone?
We could go through much of our life and not give a damn about anyone else. What a bore that would be, right? I was a sociology major in college, which for some of you that might mean a chuckle and a smirk and a comment of the sorts of: “Where did that get you?” Well I am not a doctor, or an architect, or an engineer. All professions that probably need a highly skilled sort of curriculum in school to ensure that we are not given the wrong drugs, our homes and buildings are do not collapse, and, well, engineers — they solve all sorts of problems.
I am here to tell you that I am an engineer of people. As a sociology major, I studied people. While many might think: “how are you applying your degree in your career?” I want to say back to them, “Every damn day.” I work with people all day long. Most of my days are filled with meetings, which are filled with people. Not everyone has the desire or patience to deal with people all day. Maybe I should make a button that says: “I was a sociology major, and I give a damn about people.” I would get lots of laughs, or perplexed looks, maybe a few strange questions.
Regardless of what I studied, or what others think about how that prepared me for the real world. I live my life caring about people, their todays and their tomorrows. Their feelings matter, what they are going through, what challenges them, if they take a stand in life. I care about it all. At the end of the day, we all work for different types of companies, businesses, non-profit, for profit. Whether we make art, sell a product, are in sales, provide customer support we all somehow have to deal with people. The business or company could fade away, the product could bomb, and yet we would still have people. So why not treat them right, take care of them, and help them to be better.