2018

The moment past failure is where greatness lives.

I was working on a story for work about resolutions, and learned that according to different surveys, only some 40 percent of Americans bother with making a resolution at the beginning of a new year. I am one of them, I guess. Those same surveys suggest that most people who try, end up failing by the time March rolls around, but if you push past March, 60 percent of people end up accomplishing their new year, new me goals.

I’ve never thought of myself as an optimist, but I do regularly make a resolution or two at the start of a new year, knowing the odds are that I will not make a significant change for the entire 12 months. That doesn’t mean there is no accomplishment– last year I wanted to read one book each month, but it did not work out that way. I did still read for pleasure more than I had in the last few years. I resolved to lose a certain amount of weight while also getting stronger, and that did not happen. Still, I learned some important lessons about being happy in the healthy body you have now, while wanting something more for yourself in the future. I wanted a more robust savings account, and again I did not reach the numerical goal I had in mind, but again, I developed better money saving habits that have helped me with small unexpected matters like a few car problems that would have just destroyed me financially in my mid-twenties.

For 2018, I plan to continue on goals that remain important to me, even if my steps towards those goals are small. You know the saying– the time will pass anyway. In my early thirties, the biggest change in my life is accepting that it is ok to be happy where you are now. What I mean is that in my twenties I felt like I was passing the time waiting to live the great life I expected. This feeling is not unusual for many young journalists. Most of us want to be in a huge market making the millions of dollars reserved for so very few, and that can cause a person to feel like they should just go through the motions until they get to that place. That is a terrible way to live. What I want now is to cherish my life as it is without losing sight of how I would like my future to look. It is for that reason that I am resolving to have a daily gratitude journal for 2018.

In a 2003 study on gratitude, researchers found that practicing mindful gratitude does have an effect on your well-being. In the study, people who wrote down things that happened in the week that made them feel grateful, reported being happier than people who focused on their problems.  It is tough not to focus on your problems, though. I could read an entire newscast perfectly, and at the end only find myself talking about the wonky way I pronounced the name of a town. That is why the action of writing something down is so powerful. It is the active choice to look at the good, sit with it, and be happy.

Celebrating our successes, no matter how small, can also provide the energy we might need to reach the top of the mountain. Still, in the event you don’t reach the summit, it would be nice if you enjoyed the journey that got you wherever you landed. This probably sounds like I’m trying to go for a real poetic kind of metaphor, but I am not. A few years ago I literally traveled for hours to climb a mountain, and could not reach the summit because it turned out I was not ready for the level of difficulty, and I had a panic attack over how steep the drop looked, and there was a storm coming, so I turned around. It was the right thing to do, and I do not regret it, but at the time I was really unhappy about this. Looking at the pictures now, I notice how nice the views look. I bet they were more majestic in person. It’s too bad I didn’t notice then.

Enjoy your life. For 2018, I’ll keep enjoying mine.

 

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The Winter Purge

I really like my apartment. It is equal parts industrial and cozy and has a walk in closet, but if we are looking at square footage alone, it is small. I really enjoyed having a small apartment two years ago because I had just moved back from Germany, and didn’t have a whole lot of stuff. I felt free of the trap that is stuff. However, I am very much an American, which means I like stuff. I like owning cute things, beautiful things, interesting things, things, things, and more things. Two years since moving into my cozy apartment with its industrial edge, I started to feel suffocated– overcome with the need for more bedrooms, more space, more stuff. So, I sat down to think about why that might be, considering nothing significant had changed in my life.

While scrolling through my Pinterest page full of decorating tips, furniture ideas, clothes I coveted, I realized I have way more stuff than I had two years ago. Why did I want more? Maybe it is not that I am outgrowing my apartment, but I have crammed too many things I don’t really need into a limited space. So, in an effort to explore this further, I started to pull all of my belongings out of bins and drawers and out of my closet. Some of those things I forgot I owned or haven’t worn since I moved to Oklahoma for this or that reason. It really didn’t matter why I was keeping all these things, the fact was that it was all there taking up room in my home, sitting underneath the stacks of new things I was busy looking at now.

Being surrounded by it all felt like too much to deal with while I was still busy buying Christmas presents, wrapping them, mailing them. I grabbed two fists full of clothes to start shoving everything back into a large blue storage box, and stopped myself. Self, I thought, don’t wait to do this as a spring cleaning project, instead, do a winter purge.

I’m not quite done with this project, but I have boxes full of clothes to donate, and clothes to sell. One highlight includes getting rid of an Anna Sui dress I bought in college more than a decade ago. It is a size two, and I kept telling myself I would fit into it again one day. The truth is, I didn’t look very healthy then, and I started weightlifting five years ago, so it is unlikely I will ever be that small again in a healthy way.

 

Listen, I still like owning things. In fact, I just bought three dresses for work, two for fun, and I have my eye on this fantastic pink chair, but in the middle of this unfinished project I realized that a lot of the panic I’ve had about not owning enough was unfounded. I own too much, or maybe too much of the wrong thing. That realization has made it easy to walk past the 50% off everything sales, which is a welcome feeling.

I say skip your spring cleaning, and instead do a winter purge. What aren’t you using anymore? What is holding space in your life and keeping unhealthy thoughts alive? Get rid of it. After all they are just things, and if you find that you need another pink pencil skirt two years from now, you can just buy another one.

Just Call Me Jack

I spent twenty dollars on juice. Juice!

Let me explain.

I have a cold, and I’m a mess over it. I made myself go to work Wednesday because, it’s just a cold, after all. Well, that was a mistake. I lost my voice by mid-morning, and I was slowly getting closer to the keyboard with every key stroke as I wrote pieces of a story that probably won’t make sense today.

Just before noon, I caved and asked my boss if I could go home. I had gotten a flat tire in the morning, because life can be really hilarious sometimes, so a friend from work took me home.

I napped for hours and N fed me all the things you feed people with a cold. Thursday morning I felt…still terrible, but much better than the day before. I got ready and left my apartment early to swing by a Starbucks. On the way there, I realized that I didn’t want coffee, but there was one of those fancy juicing places right next door to the Starbucks in Nichols Hills.

I walked into this sleek and clean room. There was a young woman behind the counter with long brown hair, a bright face, and a warm smile. I told her I had never been there before and that I had a cold, so that I was looking for something that might help make me feel better.

That is when everything gets a little blurry. She said a lot of fancy words about their fancy juices, and what she drinks when she isn’t feeling well. I was confused and my throat was hurting. I think all I said was– “Ok. Yes.”

She punched some numbers into the cash register and said $17.95 please. I had a twenty in my hand…and there it went.

I know cold press juices are expensive, and I was fully prepared to spend seven dollars on juice, but not all my cash. So, what in the world happened?

On my way out the door I started doing math…

The fancy juice was like eight dollars. I agreed to a morning shot of lemon, ginger, celery, and cayenne pepper– that was three bucks. Then I agreed to another bottled shot to take later in the day. The bottle is about the length of my index finger. Isn’t it cute?

Yeah. That was almost six American Dollars!

I sat in my car still wondering what the heck I had just done, and realized there was no way the clerk could be telling me the truth. She said she drinks the combo she sold me for several days in a row when she is feeling under the weather. Impossible! Unless she makes six figures, which I guess she could make based on how much they charge per drink.

I will say, everything I had was delicious, and I do feel better. That may have more to do with the DayQuil than the juice, or maybe it’s both.

There you have it. I played the title role in the modern day version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Moral of the story? I’ll buy anything if I’m hopped up on cold medicine and cough drops.

I better feel perfect tomorrow.

About Fear

I’m afraid of a lot of things. I don’t like to think of all the things I fear because then I start counting them, and fear I fear too many things.

Mainly, though, I’m afraid of all athletic challenges. So let’s talk about that.

You want me to knock on the door of a man facing murder charges and ask for an interview? I’ve done it, and I wasn’t afraid. Tell me to jump onto something or do a handstand? I panic.

You know, it took me almost four years of crossfiting to feel semi-comfortable jumping on a 24-inch box. It’s like a mountain to me.

 

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I fell once, and have a scar on my leg to remind me. It hurt a lot. It still hurts if I touch it.

Now I have to jump once or twice near the box to remind myself I can reach it. It’s almost like a tic.

A coach who believes in me kept pushing me to try a few months ago; I almost cried, and I’m not a crier. I came to terms with the fact that I would always just jump on a 20-inch box for a workout, and that really was alright. Then, out of nowhere, I decided maybe a 24-inch box jump was a possibility for me.

Crossfit has taught me something intresting about myself— I’m a pessimist. I’d say I’m a realist, but isn’t that what pessimists say?

I see only everything that could wrong: I could fall. It could hurt. If I try, I could break something. I have before.

I think it’s ok to be a pessimist in that way. Let’s call me careful.

Despite my reservations, I’ve also learned I can still achieve many things that seem so impossible. I just take more measured steps.

Yeah, This Actually Happened

It happens to everyone. I’m talking about that moment right before a live report when a woman in a wheelchair gets stuck directly behind you, you help her, and then get stuck in her wheelchair– so you miss your live report as a result. Yeah, it happens to everyone.

Let me rewind that for you:

Tuesday afternoon I was rushing to meet my photographer at City Hall for a live report on an upcoming public hearing on the potential implementation of security cameras downtown.

Script– written. Soundbite– fed. Liveshot– set.

It was close, but I was ready. Then, 5 minutes before the report, all things fell apart.

An angry man approached me. I know he was angry, because he was yelling, a lot. He was angry at the military, specifically soldiers who were “committing crimes” and “making his life miserable” and (wait for it…kids close your eyes) “saying he is f-ing his dog, all over the internet.”

Yeah, this actually happened.

Four minutes to live report.

After that, he yelled at me about how I ruined the occupy movement, was lumping occupiers with the tea party movement, and I was the reason soldiers were being terrible to him.

This whole time a woman in a motorized wheel chair is trying to get around him and me. I would have told the man, but he was so busy, you know, yelling at me. The woman, seemed to have found her way around, and then I heard a thud.

The man stomped off as the woman got suck in some hole in the side walk.

Yeah, this actually happened.

Three minutes to live report.

I ask the woman if she needs help, and quickly realize she cannot speak very well. I can see she does need help and deadlift her and the motorized wheelchair from the uneven sidewalk.

Impressed? You should be.

However, the woman decided to drive her wheelchair forward before I had stepped away from it.

Did I mention that I still had the microphone in my hand? Because I did, and then the cable was rammed into one of her tiny wheels, wrapped around my legs and nearly threw me on the ground.

Yeah, this actually happened.

One minute to live report.

I try to get the woman to stop, and she finally does. I don’t have a lot of time, and try to get loose, but quickly realize that the cable that is caught in the wheel will not come out. I still can’t understand how it got stuck in the first place.

I yell out for the photographer, and he tells the producer the live shot is not going to happen, because I’m caught on a wheelchair.

The only way we are finally able to get loose is to find some scissors inside of City Hall, and cut the new cable.

The woman left and I was left yelled at, sweaty, and confused.

Yeah, this actually happened.

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