Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tomorrow Sometimes I Don't Love Ya

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, you're only a day away."

It's such a catchy little tune- even more catchy to start using, right?!

-I'll do the dishes tomorrow, I just want to go to bed....
My Nana told me never go to bed with a sink full of dishes.  It's so nice to start the new day off with an empty sink and one less thing to worry about.

-I'll take you to the park tomorrow...
I have been saying that to my three year old for the past two months, yep, still haven't gone to the park.

-I'll start working on my consecutive chest to bar pull ups tomorrow, my arms are too sore today.
Well, that was back in March, and guess what, my arms or hands are always going to be sore.

-I'm going to get my kids to love hiking and outdoor adventure activities.
Well, maybe next year because Maeve is too little.  This year, I have too much work to do, we just moved, we just don't have enough money.  It's almost time for school to start.  I just have to finish this one thing at home today and we'll go tomorrow.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, but sometimes you ruin everything!

Tomorrow can be such an easy excuse.

Why start today when there's tomorrow?

I'll always have tomorrow.

Well tomorrow, screw you!  I am vowing to stop it with my rationale that you will always be there and start living my life today!

A few summers ago, I did a challenge with my kids and we made up a list of stuff that we would not normally try or do and we would get challenge points for attempting or succeeding at the task.  That made life interesting, kept us focused each day- and not waiting for "tomorrow".

Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today.  If my toilet goes uncleaned for one more day, will that ruin my life?  NO!  But, if I don't take my kids back to the zoo to see the dolphin show, will that ruin my life or theirs?  Technically, no- but I made a promise and I didn't follow through to them, so there's a little distrust building here.  Also, always choosing work and chores over fun with the kids is sending a message that they are a little less important.  I'll never forget the Oprah episode I watched when she interviewed a mother with OCD about what memories she'd rather have her daughter have when she was older 1) that the towels were always neatly folded or that 2) she and her mom had tea parties together.
Why does tomorrow seem to always steal the fun and excitement because today is busy cleaning, organizing, and emptying a to-do list.  I'm not suggesting go party all the time and let your house rot until you are a candidate for Hoarders- but take note of how many times you are passing off things you say are important to you with an excuse and the hope that tomorrow is waiting around the corner for you.

Look at your day- how many times do you waste time on meaningless things like checking Facebook or instagram?  Oooh, how many hours do you spend on pinterest looking up cool ideas for things to do with your kids or make for fun family dinners or more inspirational memes to get you pumped to start working out?  At that moment, your kids are sitting on the couch bored watching TV when they could give a care if they do a toilet paper roll craft- they just want to spend time with you.  At that moment you could be lifting a barbell over your head feeling unstoppable.  At that moment, you don't have to be planning that tomorrow you will be doing this and that, you could actually be doing it.

I'm suggesting you live your life, take your to do list and move up the important stuff- maybe if you have ten chores in there, replace #3 with go to the park or read for 30 minutes.

Be sporadic sometimes.  Instead of waiting until this or that happens, take that trip to the mountains or enter that competition you've been on the fence about trying.  Live your life now while you have the passion to do so.

Teach your kids to enjoy nature and expose them to all the wonders of the world now, not tomorrow, because tomorrow, they will be 18 and leaving for college and then you will wonder where did the time go.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'm not gonna let you steal my fun anymore.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My life is like a chipper WOD

This is an old one from my archives.  I sent this out when I was coaching crossfit back in March.  I've been having a lot of moments this week wishing for a Groundhog Day and I needed to read this as a reminder to myself.  And oddly enough, we repeated this same workout I mention below yesterday, so it was fate.

Sometimes people ask me how I do it.  If you haven’t asked me, you may be thinking do what???  Live my life, that is what.  Honestly, sometimes I ask myself, “self, how do you do it?”, very rarely do I ask, “how are you going to do it?”.

To clarify, I don’t have a bad life, just a busy life- and I do a LOT of things.  I don’t like to be idle, and I like to learn as much as possible. I want to make sure when all is said and done that I made the most of my time on Earth.

A typical day for me consists of getting up at 4:25 AM and going to bed at 10:30 PM.  There are days when I literally don’t even have time to eat-(yes, Dave, I promised I will stop and eat lunch every day!)

People were asking me my advice for the 14.4 WOD (WOD is Workout of the Day).  In this chipper style WOD, are a myriad of things with a lot of reps- at first glance it can be downright daunting.  As I was in the first group from the box to tackle the WOD (go 5:30 AM!!!), I had no advice heading into it, but my own intuition- tackle one thing at a time, worry about nothing else until you finish what you are doing.

Then it dawned on me- I’m good at chipper WODs- partially because I have pretty good endurance, but partially because my life is like a chipper WOD.  Every day is filled with a myriad of activities, dishes, laundry, cooking, dishes, laundry, homework, getting kids ready, coaching, planning, posting, advising, shopping, cleaning, did I say dishes???  There have been days where I wake up and the day is so full, I blink and I’m back in bed again, without ever having sat down.

I cannot approach my days thinking, “how am I going to do this?”, I approach them like, “let’s do this”, I may not be all sunshine and rainbows when I say this (OK fine, I can’t rub the smile off my face when I see a full sink again), it’s true, I just LOVE doing dishes (insert sarcastic laugh), but the truth is, I have no choice but to do what I need to do. 

The same logic applies to a chipper WOD- if you are rowing 60 calories and all you’re thinking about is the inevitable fact that if you get off the rower, you have 50 TTB ahead of you, you are not really focusing like you need to (sometimes looking at the big picture can be pretty overwhelming).  When you are rowing, the only thing you should be thinking is, pull hard to the chest, 1, 2, 3 return—- that’s another calorie, yes, one pull closer to another one.  Not focusing completely on the task at hand can distract you from that task, make your performance drop, and simply weaken your mental edge.

“Slow and steady sets the pace.”

Have you ever seen the movie, GroundHog Day?  Bill Murray just keeps living the same day over and over.  How many times in life, have you wanted a groundhog day?  Some days before 8 AM, I’m ready for groundhog day- have you ever tried to make lunch for four kids, breakfast for five kids, all while trying to get said kids to eat that breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth and pack their bags (while one is on task, the others will play)?  I’m pretty sure I could tame a pack of wolves now.  

Have you finished a WOD where you wanted a groundhog day?  Most of the times I have not- unless I performed extremely poorly at something I know I can do (double unders).  Here’s the thing, a WOD is something we train for by practicing skills and techniques, but looking at the big picture, what are you using the WOD to train for? Are you doing a competition, are you doing a race, are you just trying to stay in shape, are you challenging yourself?  What are you training for?

“Oh you want to know what I’m training for?  Life MotherF#$%er!”

And that sums it up, my life is a chipper, my WOD was a chipper, my performance in each helps me in the other.  

I have wanted a groundhog day, but honestly, they do not exist.  I cannot wind back time to try to start my day over, it’s just actually not possible.  

The same thing applies for a WOD, you cannot redo a WOD- you can do it again, but it will never be the same- how did you eat that day, what time of day did you do it, how much sleep did you get, did you wear the pink underwear instead of the blue, was it a full moon, did you use the same bar you used the last time, did you come in after a bout of road rage, did you have your protein 55 minutes before the WOD not 60?  All these things and more affect your performance.  Finishing a WOD and looking back, so many things could have happened, but what actually happened was the WOD and you did it.  

Most of the times, we think well if only this or only that- partial truth:  damn it if I didn’t do three sink fulls of dishes yesterday, my hands would be soft and supple and the TTB would have been faster, more truthful truth:  if I do extra TTB once a week after a grip intense WOD, I will train myself to tolerate them more, today was some damn good practice and a great reality check. The WOD is there for training, take from it what you may and move onto the next one.  We always do WODS again, I think we did Fran 4 times last year.  WODS are a dime a dozen, why waste your time and energy on one.  

Our weaknesses are being exposed.  Let’s take this next year to make them our strengths.  

I would love to be able to take away some arguments I’ve had with my kids or re do a day when I know they will be accidentally dropping a glass of milk right at a crucial moment, but it’s just not possible.  I take things away from each experience- kids don’t get glass, be more prepared, etc.  You learn something new every day.

You learn something new every WOD.  Stop focusing on the alignment of the stars during the WOD and start focusing on what you learned.  Own your WOD and your times because there is never going to be an exact redo!

Go into this week remembering that you only get one chance, make it a good one!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Am I Doing Wrong?

What am I doing wrong?

I found myself asking myself this question the other day- out loud.

How many times have you found yourself asking the same question?

My kids went back to school this week- I wondered where the summer had gone and how we never made it to the water park or to the amusement park.

What did I do wrong- nothing.  We spend a month in Massachusetts- we had football and band practices that couldn't be missed and did not allow time for day trips- We did other things.

My kids went back to school this week and I made lots and lots of lists of things I would get done with all my "free time".

What did I do wrong- the lists didn't get emptied, things didn't get done.  I spent my days filling out questionnaires, doing dishes, laundry, shopping, getting physicals, cooking healthy meals- I wasn't doing anything wrong, there were just other things to do.

My kids came home grouchy and irritable from school almost every day this week.  I found myself asking more than ever "what am I doing wrong".  I had special snacks ready, I had a smile on my face and an extra amount of patience.  I didn't do anything wrong, people get tired, people get irritable, it doesn't mean it was because of something I did wrong.

My neighbor made these cookies that were amazing.  I wondered why my cookies never came out so good- I questioned "what am I doing wrong".  I made over 12 different cookie recipes before he gave me a simple tip- let the butter and eggs come to room temperature.  In many of the recipes, there was oftentimes a comma and then the words "room temperature", but in my hurry to get the cookies made, I was often too impatient to follow this step.  Sometimes we aren't doing things wrong, but we do take shortcuts, which most often change the results we are looking for.

I did a crossfit competition last weekend.  I attempted to bring a weight up to my shoulders that I had never attempted to do before.  Before I started, I told myself I would try, but I had a lot of doubt.  I rushed through and ended up falling down before securing the weight on my shoulders.  I wasn't mad, but I found myself wondering "what am I doing wrong".

My friend sat on the sidelines video taping the lift- after watching the video, I was able to say "wow, that actually looked pretty good, if I hadn't rushed it, I would have had it."  Instead of asking myself, "what am I doing wrong", I found myself using my mistake to make myself better.

There are two ways you can look at "what am I doing wrong"- 1) as a means to better yourself or 2) as a means to wallow in your own self pity.

I'm choosing 1.  Many times we know things we are doing wrong, but we don't want to change them because it means admitting things, changing things, doing things, or having to work harder.

Stop defeating yourself with what you are "doing wrong" and start looking at it as a victory.  If you are doing something wrong, at least you are doing something.  Do it differently next time.  Keep working.  Every mistake you make is one step closer to what you want.

We're going to have bad days, the kids are going to be kids, some meals will be epic fails, it may take you over two years to get a pull-up, your garden may not have grown for the third year straight, but there's always next time, tomorrow, or even next year.  Don't give up and don't beat yourself up.

If you are asking yourself, "what am I doing wrong"- try changing it up and asking "what am I doing right"?

As a constant reminder to myself, I have this hung on the wall behind my computer:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Making Choices

We all have choices to make.  

Some choices are easy.

Some choices are hard.

Whether a choice is easy or hard, we have to make them.  Many times we don’t even realize we are making the easy ones, they are that easy.

It’s the hard ones, the ones that stop you in your tracks that really burn a hole in your heart.  The ones that you could spend hours debating about either way.
    - Do I start chemotherapy or do I try an all natural, chemical free diet and risk the unknown.
    - Do I quit my job and pursue my true passion.
    - Do I pick up and move to something unknown and potentially great from this place where all      
      my friends are and all I’ve ever known.
    -Do I end this relationship or not

Some hard choices have a clear answer- a path you know you should follow, but for some reason, you can’t bring your self to make the choice.

When I was choosing which college to go to, I wanted to go to Rensselaer.  I got accepted and I got 2/3 scholarship.  I had received a full four year scholarship to UMass Amherst.  I wasn’t sure I’d get a better education there, but I knew it would help myself and my parents to not have to pay tuition.  I made the decision to go, but the weight of the decision did not leave my shoulders.  I knew I had made the wrong choice, but did not change my mind.  One day, in Biology class, I was thinking about Rensselaer.  I asked for a bathroom pass and ran to the payphone to call my dad to write a deposit check to Rensselaer, the burden had been lifted from my shoulders, I was elated to finally be going to the school I knew all along academically I wanted to attend.

Sometimes we know what choice we want to make but we don’t make it.  There are things that affect us, like other peoples feelings, fear, uncertainty, money, friends, etc.

Sometimes we put ourselves and our feelings last. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation and decide to stay in it, because you want to ride out the storm, you want to be the bigger person, you want to help everyone else, and you put yourself last.  

How often do you put yourself last?

As a parent, as a spouse, as a sibling, or child, you may find occasionally having to put yourself last is the only choice, and that’s ok.  

But, when you are in a situation where you are constantly compromising yourself and your integrity, that is not ok.  You should drop everything and run.

At no point in time should anyone or anything make you feel less than who you are.  If you find yourself in a situation where you begin to doubt yourself and your choices or you have to say “don’t you know me”- consider the choice no longer hard- get out!

I quit my job this week.  The choice was hard, but really I had put myself last for so long, that when I finally put myself and my feelings first, the choice became easy.  

This will not work everytime, but let me tell you, deep down inside, sometimes we know what we have to do to answer the hard choices.  We know what’s best for us and we know situations we should not be in.

Never ever ever ever (times infinity) let anyone make you feel less than you are.  It is not our job or place to tell someone who they are or make them feel small- it is our job to lift them up, to make them better, to help them evolve.  If we constantly go around making people feel small to make ourselves feel better, we are doing a huge disservice to our community.  A community works because of all the people involved working together to make things better, not make themselves better only.

You are amazing and when someone makes you feel small or makes you question your integrity, you walk away- you find a new friend, someone who will lift you up when you are down or help you make a better choice when you are wrong, not rip you apart.

Some choices can be easy when you look at them the right way- 

One thing is for sure, I’m choosing my happiness and my family’s over all else and I’ll be back on this blog more often now.