I switch perfumes all the time. If I’ve been wearing one perfume for three months, I force myself to give it up, even if I still feel like wearing it, so whenever I smell it again it will always remind me of those three months. I never go back to wearing it again; it becomes part of my permanent smell collection.
Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting are just not as powerful as smelling if you want your whole being to go back for a second to something.” —Andy Warhol, via Gretchen Rubin
A good friend and I were emailing about all of the goals you let go as you grow up. This post is dedicated to you, Cassie.
When I was young(er), I wanted to be:
- a marine biologist
(I still think I may spend my retirement years living at the beach and tracking whales or measuring water pollution levels or something.)
- a musical theater star on Broadway
(Turns out, they kind of want you to be able to sing really well.)
- a singer/songwriter
- a life-changing high school teacher
(I was a competent educator, I think. But it wasn’t my gift. Or maybe I just didn’t try hard enough. I don’t know. I have some regrets.)
- a polyglot
(Learning even one second language is so freaking hard. I still struggle a ton with Spanish.)
- a missionary
(Remaining religious as an adult is helpful in this line of work. As is not being a clingy homebody.)
- a young mom
(Funny how being a parent tends to sound better when you’re years away from it.)
(You know you’ve let yourself think that just maybe that could be you someday. I would totally run for office just as long as I never had to ask anybody for money. Or knock on any doors.)
- an Indiana Hoosier, like everybody else in my family
(I am a Hoosier because I’m from Indiana, but what I mean by this is a graduate of IU. More regrets, here. Not that I chose DePauw instead, but that we only get one set of four years of college.)
I also thought I’d have thick hair, cute clothes always, a house in Indiana, at least one dog, and my husband’s last name. I thought Chicago was scary and all the people there were mean. I didn’t know what a PhD was. I thought statistics were way boring and that running was the living worst.
Things certainly do change. It’s fun that we have the opportunity to get to know ourselves as we get older.
Pizza and the Downton Abbey Season 1 Finale. Oh, buddy.
I have a big, stupid grin on my face.
I’ve walked approximately 13 unassisted steps, spread out over 3 trips.
After the first 3 steps, I called my mom. (Always.)
I may have spoken too soon about the no weight gain thing. I’m wearing my skinny jeans for the first time in a month and a half. The ankle space is now big enough - the waist is another story. Were these tight before? I can’t remember.
Whatever, I’ll take it.
I’ve been toying around with adopting a new personal political code. I’m almost to the point, as strongly as I feel about some issues, that I think that changing how we do politics is more important than which party happens to win power in any given year. I think we need to focus on electing people of integrity and then allowing them to maintain that integrity. The way the we run and publicize elections these days almost guarantees that won’t happen, and the only way to change is to - all of us - stop putting up with it.
I know it’s important to be politically active, and I plan to continue to be - in respectful, productive ways. But so often we find ourselves in screaming matches (real or virtual) with each other over wedge issues that are obviously, transparently fabricated by campaign directors to turn people against each other, make them so angry they’re sure to turn out to vote. Or by the media to garner viewers who get sucked even further into their bitter cycles of hate and fear. I just don’t want to play this game - and it is a game - anymore.
So here are some rules I may try out this election season. I hope they don’t come off as cowardly - I don’t think they are. I just believe that we need to give each other a little space, give our potential leaders some room to be the genuinely good human beings I think they intend to be.
1) Learn enough to know who you want to vote for. Then make sure to vote. Don’t vote if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, don’t be afraid to vote for a third party candidate or write someone in. That’s a bold, brave choice, and it’s good for all of us to have non-mainstream views represented.
2) Turn off the radio or TV, leave the website or close the newspaper if the political piece deals with campaign strategy (what Romney said to try to entice values voters or what Obama did to try to gain the upperhand from Republicans) rather than substantive policy questions (what each would do about immigration). You need to know very little about how someone attempts to win an election - only enough to gather whether or not s/he will operate ethically when in office. The rest will make you angry and encourage the kind of sensationalism that makes elections toxic.
3) Do not react to any purposefully inflammatory comment, video, footage, Facebook status, meme, or article no matter how ridiculous, offensive, or enticing. Don’t click “Like,” even if it’s pro your candidate. Don’t comment. Don’t write a letter to the editor about it. Don’t reblog it with a rebuttal. Just don’t acknowledge it. Those kinds of moments are orchestrated to draw attention to a candidate for all the wrong reasons. Every click, every uptick in web traffic, every page view gives that person exactly what s/he wants. We all should be better than this.
4) When politics come up in person you have two choices. If you sense that your dad or sister or friend genuinely wants to talk, wants a real exchange of ideas…if you trust this person not to resort to snarky comments or chest-pounding, engage. Breathe. Keep that heart rate normal. Listen carefully. Stop yourself from interrupting or making faces. Speak calmly. If you don’t know or aren’t sure, say so, don’t posture. If instead you sense the person just wants a fight, deflect the conversation. Make a joke. Go to the restroom. Think about your trip to Florida in March. Get out of there. You don’t need to prove any points to anybody.
5) Respect those who win. You don’t have to like them, but acknowledging their victory and accepting them as your President, Congressional Representative, Senator, Mayor is non-negotiable. I had a political science professor remind my class of how critical it’s been to the U.S.’s stability that even when we hate a candidate, we accept the electoral process. And when the results are contested - like Bush’s 2000 victory - it goes to court, it doesn’t result in a revolution.
6) Keep it in perspective. You live in a great country, and you have a great life. If you’re worried about others, channel your frustration toward doing what you personally can do to help. Also, win or lose, remember that Americans are notoriously fickle. It’ll all change again in about 2-4 years.
Easing back into weight-bearing starting tonight! Still at least 4 more weeks in this boot, but it’s starting to feel like an old friend anyway.
Hi. My name is Brady. For a living, I drink green tea, listen to Ryan Adams, and read adults’ accounts of their most inspiring teachers, mentors, and role models.
I feel like I’m getting away with something.
I was reminiscing about our old house in Indiana this morning. I loved that place - I don’t know if I’ll ever live in a prettier home.
Isn’t it weird and sad how a place is your home for awhile, and then once you leave, you don’t get to go back?
In theory, I’ll be off crutches by Wednesday night. I still have to wear my air cast for about a month, but if all goes according to plan, in a couple of days I’ll be walking after 6.5 weeks of a “non weight-bearing” left leg.
I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t think there was any grand plan that stipulated that I would act like an idiot one Saturday night in New Glarus, Wisconsin and end up in the emergency room just so I could learn a few lessons. Nevertheless, I have made some changes that I hope I’ll keep with me even after I’m finally, finally back to normal.
1) A slower life is a better life. Because I can’t rush, I don’t. I take my time getting out of bed, bathing, changing the laundry, making coffee, doing my work, reading my favorite blogs. I’m much happier, and I get more quality work done.
2) In the future, I will be a better friend. I was never very thoughtful before when people were sick or injured. Now I know how much a visit, care package, or ride to campus can mean. (Thanks especially to bimsk, foldedmaptravel, and dearworld.)
3) Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. I’ve had tons of positive encounters with Chicago strangers in the last 6 weeks. And I made all kinds of friends in New Orleans and Siesta Key. (I was especially popular with the retirees.) When people can see that you’re struggling, they tend to be willing, even eager to help. Also, riding around on a scooter or hobbling on crutches is a great conversation starter.
4) Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re satisfied. I was very worried when my injury happened that I’d gain a bunch of weight. Turns out, as long as I paid attention, I wanted much less food than I do when I’m at my normal activity level. I haven’t been able to weigh myself, but I haven’t noticed any visible changes, and none of my clothes feel any tighter. Your body just knows what it’s doing, I guess.
5) Sleep as much as you can. I’ve let myself get as much rest as I want in order to let the healing process happen. My stress levels have never been lower.
6) Social services are critical. I’ve experienced firsthand a teeny tiny slice of what life is like for someone who lives with a disability. Amenities like wheelchair ramps, elevators, automatic doors, railings, handicapped parking, and airport escorts are really important, especially for those who aren’t going to heal in 10 weeks.
7) A body is not to be taken for granted. Like many runners, I used to be kind of cavalier about pain - considering knee tweaking and muscle pulls part of the package, even something worth bragging about. But for me at least, exercise is something I do to be healthy. I’m not winning any races, not making any money through running. I’m not doing myself any favors by treating my legs badly. When I get back out there this spring, I’m going to train more carefully, be more respectful of my limitations. Bottom line: If you’re healthy, you’re so out-of-this-world lucky. Don’t blow it.
- Amy, my sister, the birthday girl (and her husband who looks a lot like…my husband)
- Eight other family members/close friends. We are quite a crew these days.
(P.S. The Hearty Boys is great for brunch!)
Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, in an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press.
(I’m not familiar at all with the situation in Michigan, but I love this quote.)