Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Break Was Not a Break...

With spring break crashing to an abrupt close, I'm finding it necessary to channel all of the forces I can muster for 6 more weeks of focus.  I still have a lot to do in the next six weeks.  I may have mentioned this before, but 5 classes plus 2 labs is like taking 7 classes (a lot of freaking school time).  ECSU estimates that for every hour spent in class, there should be two hours of homework...  so, 21 hours of class means 42 hours of homework per week?  Crap. 

Anyhow, I spent my spring break working at both the post office and my firewood job, and I took on the joyful task of painting the kitchen, the living room, and the hallway - purple, green, and green respectively.  Also, for the entire week, the weather hovered above 60 degrees during the day with glorious sunshine, so it was almost like being on vacation someplace really nice.  The weather, and the fact that I was "on break" made it tough for me to follow my training schedule, so I just rode outside as much as possible and enjoyed myself.  Back to work with the plan tomorrow (rest day, thankfully).

I capped off the break with the first race of the mountain bike season today.  It would figure that the beautiful week would have a forecast of rain for the race, so I thought the best option would be to bring my 26er with the grippy tires.  The course had lot of wooden bridges and roots that would be pretty greasy with wet weather.  The 29er (yeah, I have that option now) would have been faster and less brutal, but the tires on that bike are not something I'd have been comfortable with on wet wood.  As luck would have it, the course was bone dry.  I would have been fine.  I managed a 3rd place finish.  It wasn't my best race, but I certainly left as much as I could on the course, and did a fun lap with some of the guys afterward.  I'm tired and look forward to sitting on my butt at school tomorrow.  

*girl stuff to follow...
So, I blogged about this topic before, but I gotta say, being a female is rough.  I had a feeling I was going to get a visit from my least favorite aunt today.  I even calculated the day based on the classic method of counting the days out on the calendar, and it looked grim.  Crossing your fingers for it to hold off a day or two doesn't work, just in case anyone was wondering.  Aunt Flo arrived right on time, first thing this morning.  Needless to say, I was feeling very under the weather for the race.  Biologically, what do guys have to deal with?  Spontaneous boners?  Balding?  Poor them.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Preaching a lil', but I'm not sorry

-the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust
-the state of feeling certain about the truth of something
-a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities
-the telling of private matters or secrets with mutual trust
-a secret or private matter told to someone under such a condition of trust
THESAURUS: trust, belief, faith, credence, condition, confidentiality...

To me, a relationship of any kind, whether it be a friendship, a marriage, or a business alliance, should be built on a mutual confidence towards one another.  There should be no question that anything discussed in private would be passed along without permission.  When that's done, it implies that the person who broke the confidence can no longer be trusted.  Thus, whatever relationship existed (friend, marriage, alliance) is no longer intact because its foundation has been destroyed.  Rebuilding something like trust is probably one of the most difficult things to do.  That's why so many relationships end after a partner cheats, or a friendship falls to pieces after someone purposefully shares information that was given to them in confidence.

I'm writing about this because I think it's important that we all evaluate ourselves and our habits.  Are we being the kind of friend or partner that we want in return?

I think it's important to consider integrity.  Not just in our relationships with others, but in all areas of our lives because there's no room for the alternative.  Integrity can be defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.  There's really no room for the alternative if you want anyone to trust you or find you worthy of their time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Meditation About Motivation...

I've been asked a lot lately, "Liz, how do you stay so motivated?"
My lazy unthinking answer has been, "Golly, I just don't know."  Ok, maybe my answer isn't exactly that hokey, but I usually mumble something about it being tough, but I just do it.

Well, I've been thinking about it, and I have a LOT of things that keep me motivated.

#6 Fitting into my favorite pair of jeans.  I SURE DO know that that's kind of shallow, but I don't really care.  Nothing beats being able to fit into a nice fitted pair of jeans... especially a pair that you couldn't fit in a few years ago.  That's motivation enough for me to eat well.  Never mind the feeling of mental clarity and overall goodness that comes from good nutritious food.

#5 A good job that I enjoy, someday.  Yes, someday, when all of this school stuff is done with, I hope to have a job I love.  No, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I have ideas, and I'm moving in a direction of progress rather than sitting around wishing things would get better on their own.

#4 Balance.   Having lots to do is, in and of itself, a HUGE motivator.  Finding that sweet spot where you are just managing to fit everything in while still allowing yourself some downtime to blab on your blog is key to the balance equation.  If you aren't scheduling yourself a little downtime, do it.  You can motivate yourself in knowing that you have a scheduled break.

#3 Do what you love and love what you do.  I LOVE to ride and race my mountain bike.  While I don't have tons of time to be doing that right now, I am putting in enough time training indoors to make the few rides that I get outside the most amazing rides ever.  Yes, I get disappointed that I miss lots of good rides, but it's knowing that I have other priorities that I also love (school, family) that keeps me optimistic.  There are still plenty of things that I have to do that suck, but finding the positive aspects of those and really focusing on them makes them much easier to bear.  Delivering mail?  It's monotonous and mind-less, but there are good things about it that make it less awful.  Of course, the paycheck is one of them. :)

#2 Friends and Family.  The people in my life who believe in my ability to succeed are a huge motivator to me.  Whether it's an acquaintance, a close friend, a family member, or my little girl, I have a network of people who never fail to lift me up when I'm down or drop an inspiring line or two my way.  Thank you!

#1 Life is short.  My mom, an amazing woman, mother, artist, teacher, nature-lover, (former cycling enthusiast), has a degenerative brain disease that has left her a very far cry from the person that she used to be.  She lives in a nursing home and can no longer form sentences to speak let alone do any of the things that she used to love doing.  I miss her terribly.  Yes, I know, I'm lucky to still have her in my life, but it's really hard to see her the way she is now.  What's most tragic about this is that she's young.  This all started in her early forties, and it happened fast.  I've learned so much from this.  When I say life is short, I'm acknowledging that it's too short to waste doing trivial things that you don't love.  If there's something you don't like about your life, you should do something to change it, because someday you might not be able to.  Even if you were to die next week, wouldn't it be better to know that you took a few steps before that in a direction that makes you happier?  I might be swamped with stuff to do right now, but I'm moving my life in directions that make me happy, and in turn, the people around me are happy because I'm less miserable than I could be.

So yeah, I'm motivated.  I definitely have my down days, and I absolutely have moments of self-loathing, self-doubt, and defeat.  But, it eventually passes.