Pulling the Stick Out of the Mud

This morning I finally put the last few Christmas decorations up in the attic.  The urns that hold our front porch trees got filled with water in all the rain this year and it took us a while to figure out how to drain  and dry them.   Then there are the Christmas Stockings.  I almost always forget to pack them away when I take down the tree, but they went back in the attic this morning along with a few extra gift bags and boxes.  Christmas is, therefore, officially over.

I’ve had a good week.  My running plan is off to a good start and I even did some cross-training.  I finished two books and read two others, got a really neat surprise that I will write about later, and got to spend some good time with family.  I also learned a lesson about myself and came up with a plan to change it.

Here’s the lesson:  I am a terrible “stick-in-the-mud.”  I’m just not much fun.  I like my routine and I tend to try to stick with my routine no matter what.  Fun, I feel, is dangerous because it could mess up the routine.  I learned this by doing something a bit out of the ordinary yesterday.  I went with a group of students, parents, and a colleague to Staunton, Virginia to see The Tempest.  Though I adore Shakespeare and enjoy my job and the people with whom I work, I fretted all week about giving up Saturday to do something school related.  Saturday is when I get my “homework” done.  I have laundry, vacuuming, meal planning, and cleaning to do.  Also, my daughter and family were going to be here unexpectedly.  I was afraid I would miss time with them.

I got up Saturday morning and found that it was warm enough to run outside.  I was very happy about this because it’s been too cold all week. It was misty/foggy, but I enjoyed my two and a half miles.  I showered, dressed, and enjoyed breakfast with the “fam.”  (We also got to spend some time together the night before, so that was good.)  I met the group and we headed north.  The ride through the Shenandoah Valley was lovely and the conversation was stimulating.  We arrived, parked, and headed to a little grocery store and eatery in the adorable downtown area.  As I walked across the old and creaky hardwood of the grocery, smelled the homemade soap from a display near the door, and browsed the lunch menu, I felt myself not only relaxing, but delighting in the experience.  Life is short.  Chores will wait.  The stick must extricate itself from the mud.

I was already contemplating my stodginess when I made up my goals for the year.  I plan to run somewhere different, somewhere off my usual course at least once a month in 2016, but I don’t think that’s quite enough.  Today, in a different color pen, a full week into the new year, I added a goal for 2016. (GASP!)  I am going to try to DO something different, something fun, something adventurous at least once each month AND I made a new page after my book list labeled “Something Different.”  Under January I recorded my trip and  I looked at the two mostly-blank pages and thought about the kinds of things I might add over the next twelve months.

As the play ended yesterday, I listened carefully to Prospero’s final speech and I was struck by its beauty and by the magic of live theater.  The performance I attended yesterday was a brief moment in time.  Those people-actors and audience-came together in a unique event that will never happen again.  I was grateful to be a part of it, and humbled, and determined–to end my stick-in-the-muddiness and live a little!







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