Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Job Runners


My training had not been as smooth as the previous year. My legs ached and my ankles bled. I ran in either snow or in rain. There was no sunshine from January through mid-May. To say I had no great expectations for my second 1/2 marathon would be an understatement. I knew I would be lucky to have the same time as last year. A few days before race day, high on delicious Asiago Chicken Penne and rested from shortened runs, I decided I would just enjoy my city.

Lucky for me, I had trained in the rain. There was a light drizzle that Sunday morning, more like a mist. The temperature was cooler and perfect to warm up in. The start was uneventful. We took to a highway next to the lake but the mist was so thick the lake was hidden from us. All around me, people were commenting that while we don't have a glorious view and the weather is not picturesque, this was our city and that's why they were running. I agreed whole-heartedly.

We were rewarded as we ran west into the neighboring suburbs. There were spectators out! They held their umbrellas and huddled together tightly, but they were there holding handmade signs, ringing cowbells, cheering and clapping. It was beautiful. The misting rain showered us all with feelings of pride. This is our city.

There was one man sitting in a lawn chair in his front yard, no umbrella and no coat. He shouted the same thing, again and again: "Good job runners! Tremont loves you!" My friend who walked the 1/2 marathon and finished almost two hours after me said that while many folks had returned to warm cars and hot showers, that man was still sitting there shouting when she walked past. "Good job runners! Tremont loves you!"

That man makes it so easy to enjoy my city. We had a beautiful race.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plight of the Twenty-Somethings

The American Dream still burns in all of us. We learned in school how life was supposed to work, we grew up truly believing that we could do anything we set our minds to, and here we are. Welcome to the quarter-life crisis. In my reading of this issue in college, I never thought it would affect me. Disillusioned, anyone? Is it time to move out of my first job? Is it possible to find something meaningful? Is there anyone out there who really does enjoy going to work everyday?

Maybe the problem is that I was raised to believe work was something you wanted to do. Isn't that what our parents and teachers said - what do you want to be when you grow up? Wasn't that the question at my high school graduation - what do you want to study? Now I am here, and what I want doesn't seem to exist in a real job. Who has my dream job? And when are they going to retire? Times are different and we are all holding tightly to our current jobs regardless of whether it is a good fit or we enjoy it. We fear unemployment. And we fear unemployment because of one more question - what do you do for a living? It's the standard opening line when meeting someone for the first time...

If life is made up of more than just a nine to five, should the job matter this much? If what we do is just one extension of who we are, why is what we do the only thing we mention to others? Unemployment often feels like failure. We fear failure. If it must be failure, it is just failure in one aspect of life. We don't have to fail our other responsibilities or commitments.

I want to live a life that is not defined by my job. As unsatisfying as my job is right now, focusing on the rest of my life is the only thing that will keep me sane. I live on a beautiful property. I am married to a wonderful man. I have two loving families. I am currently learning about how social media is a tool to aid non-profit organizations - on my own time. I am excited about my next big travel adventure. I am in the middle of decorating my first home and making it look like me and Mister. I run. I walk. I have quick access to beautiful trails.

I'm a twenty-something. I don't like my first job. And until I find something that makes me want to bake muffins and bring them to all my co-workers, I'll re-direct my thoughts so that I can remember daily that my life is beautiful.

Monday, May 2, 2011

We Don't Have tv

I would just like to point out, for the record, that with no television we still heard about the death of Osama bin Laden in a timely manner. Yes, we heard the news for the first time this morning. Yes, we were asleep by 10:15 last night. Yes, we still hold firmly to the belief that we don't need television.

No TV? Wellllll, we have a television box. But no cable. And no converter box. It works great for watching movies! Which we enjoy every Friday night, along with some pizza and popcorn. 

This is a shocking thing to most of our peers. Frankly, it’s an expense we are not willing to have right now. We  will sit down and watch movies together, but neither of us have a “show” that we have to tune in for every week. I hear my co-workers talking at lunch about The Bachelor or The Apprentice. I have nothing to contribute. And surprisingly I am all right with this. In high school I had a favorite show or two for every night of the week. My schedule was the TV guide. Now in our first year of marriage, it doesn’t have the appeal it once did.

We woke up this morning and had breakfast together, and didn't turn to media until we had parted for the day. Mister heard the news from the radio. I saw it on the Book. (Note: I am on the Book less since giving it up for lent... I really really am) I like that we are don't depend on television to relax our minds after work. We arrive home, we run, eat dinner together, and talk. We read - he reads the paper and I read my Real Simple  magazine. We may watch a movie and cuddle. We try to be in bed by ten. He has to be up at six for work and running makes us both tired.

I wonder if we would be so together if we had TV. And even with all this together time, we can’t wait for the weekend when we can spend MORE time together. We read emails together. We plan our budget together. We talk about how we want to decorate our house. Would we talk so much if we had television? What if I don’t want to find out? It would be an interesting experiment to have television for a time and see how our lives change. Would I become addicted to a stupid sitcom? Would he spend hours watching reruns of Family Guy? Would our television time be separate or would we watch together? 

I think we have a good thing right now. Someday, we may fit TV into our budget. I’ll savor the present. Our life without TV. Our first year together. Documented by trails carved in ice by our skates and mud on our running shoes, and not sedentary lives seated on the sofa. And we still heard the same news that everyone else did, maybe just a few hours later than most, but we both felt rested when we got up this morning. :)

We know exactly what we are missing out on, and I think it’s the best decision we have made.