I ran 6 miles yesterday, and I am definitely feeling it. I am getting back to running! Although it is hard to come to terms with my current limits, (did I really used to be able to run 18 miles at a stretch?) just being out and being well enough to pound pavement is such a gift.
Running and I go way back. I was never fast, and I was far from being “athletic” as a kid. I guess I always admired runners, and was fascinated by the sport. Once I finally got to know long slow distance, I kinda fell in love.
Like with weightlifting or the theater, I think once you pass a certain point you’re an addict. I love it, but it comes with a bundle of nerves every time. That feeling lasts at least until I manage to get going, although I sometimes even get butterflies about running while I’m running. It’s a strange feeling; like I am not sure if I can do it, even though I have done it plenty of times before. But the nerves are bundled up with joyful excitement too. There’s this primitive part of my brain that is always ecstatic about running. That’s enough for me to keep returning to it.
Even if the road was tough, you can’t help but feel better after a run. I struggled a bit yesterday to find my pace. Still, around mile 3 I finally figured it out, and I felt pretty great from there. It is nice to be happily recovering on Monday morning.
I feel like I’m ready, more or less, to start another week. I am hoping to be all-round “better” this week; more productive, more active, and more in line with my own ideals. I am trying to do more of what matters to me, and still working on that work-life balance thing. Running seems like a good start for that.
There was a piece on me tonight on Here and Now. 🙂
I had a lovely conversation with Krissy Holmes yesterday, about my involvement in Canada’s Smartest Person. Overall, I think it went fairly well.
Perhaps my Paganism kinda takes over, but it’s hard for it not to, when my house is awash in stones and pentacles! Anywho, it’s honest, and you can get to know THE REAL JENNNQ MARTIN a little better by watching it, if you’d like.
Plus, there are briefly naked ladies! This is because Krissy asked I would draw tarot cards about my experience, and I agreed, and I drew three naked ladies. This is quite a feat since I was only drawing three cards, and most of the cards in the deck truly are collections of cups and swords and the like. (Also, two of the three cards were Major Arcana, which gives you some insight as to where this whole experience sits for me!) So, yeah… naked ladies, pervs! (Also my cat. My cat is there the whole dang time. Practically turned herself inside out for the camera person, actually.)
I can’t embed the video, so you have to click on this ridiculous word:
Every morning when I get up, I turn on the radio. My car is full of CD’s. I will sing at the drop of a hat, and usually for much less than that. I prefer to shower only when the mini Bose speaker we have is hooked up to my phone via Bluetooth, and it’s playing one of my awesome YouTube playlists. Did I mention my YouTube playlists??? I have one for everything, of course! Workouts, summers on the deck, late at night, parties, and several for Hallowe’en. 😉
Then there are the records Jason and I listen to, and the occasional concerts and live shows we love to get out for (how we actually met). I also couldn’t forget all of those hours logged listening to my favourite jams as I run across the city, or lift weights, or, well, basically do anything. (I even had a birthing playlist, for when I was in hospital with my daughter. At one point, I scrapped it entirely in favour of Rob Zombie, but that’s a whole other story!)
The obvious truth is, I simply can’t imagine my life without music. It’s part of almost everything I do, and it still holds the power to make me excited every day.
So, I’m passing on a few audio goodies. Just 5 songs I love. I am aiming to be quite varied here, so if you hate one of these, chances are there might still be a surprise here you will appreciate!
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” A well-known classic, but this version is extra-special. This one is the performance at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. EVERY artist here is a heavy-hitter, but if you HAVEN’T seen this cut (yes, I know it’s been going around), you simply must watch it and wait. You will probably think it is quite good. And THEN PRINCE will show up, and he will MELT YOUR FACE OFF. I’m not kidding. His guitar solo at the end is enough to leave the finest guitarists gaping in his wake. Get ready to chant “we’re not worthy!!!”
“Frenzy” It’s awesome to go way back musically sometimes. This song is from 1957, and it is…well, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins doesn’t really have any equal, so it’s hard to describe. I have never heard another voice like this. It might just put a smile on your face! 🙂
“Mr. Midnight” We play The Devil Makes Three a LOT around the house, but I realize they aren’t that well-known. This is not the type of music high school me would have approved of, as it is bluegrass, but I absolutely LOVE IT now. I can thank Jason for this one. It’s fun, the musicians are talented, and it might just win you over to the twangy side too. Check it out!
“She’s a Bad Mama Jama” I had no idea that I wanted to be a “bad mama jama” before I heard this totally sweet old-school disco track. It turns out that I do! I do want be a “bad mama jama,” Carl Carlton. I do! Shake it!
“Are You Satisfied”I like boppy dance music, but I dislike a lot of pop music. I’m not a fan of sub-par singers who are relying on auto-tune to give them vocal power. Let’s face it, a lot of modern pop certainly feels that way! It was actually my daughter who turned me on to Marina and the Diamonds. I haven’t loved a singer this instantly since Florence + the Machine came along! She is TOTALLY a pop singer, but this gal has a gloriously dramatic voice. She is capable of really nice live high notes many singers wouldn’t touch, and some truly resounding lows that a lot of female vocalists simply do not have. It’s pop music, but it’s GOOD pop music. Try it. Ya might just bop around the house!
I hope all of the sounds that greet your ears this weekend are a blessing to your soul! Have a great one!
Practically as soon as I get gung-ho enough about pursuing my own happiness to build a whole blog about it, life gets all up in my face like…
“Yo, you sure about that bro?”
I feel like I’m being tested lately. You guys already know about the not-so-great job stuff from last time. Since then, a few other things have gone wrong. Most of them have been small irritations, but not all. I could get into them here, but the point of this is not to bring you, or myself down. Suffice it to say that all in all, lately I’ve been feeling more blue than my hair.
That’s not my style. At my core, I believe I’m a happy person. I practice writing down my gratitudes. I often find myself deeply moved by art or music. I receive and give many hugs. I am such a loved and lucky lady!
In fact, I’m intensely aware of my good fortune in being born and raised here. I can explore my rights and freedoms in ways that some, in other parts of the world, simply cannot. My feeling “blue” comes with its own compounded burden of guilt, since I realize I am in such a good situation. I am a woman living in Canada. I am educated. I choose my own friends. I am free to discuss my politcal opinions with them. I could shave my head and show it off in public if I felt like it. I can drive a car (or a mail truck). I speak two languages. My teenager STILL thinks I’m cool.
Yet, who among us is immune to sadness? Not this happiness-seeker. I know this cloud; the one that just sort of shows up from time to time, making all of the great stuff that much harder to see, and turning “happiness” into something that takes real work, attention, and a critical mind.
I mean, as greedy as my Western privileged white-girl blues can seem, if you feel sad, the choice is always there to give into it. I could wake up tomorrow, and once the offspring is off the school, I could just wander back into the house, sit my arse down, and cease making progress at all. No one will yell at me if I don’t tidy up. No one will weep if I do not write a word. Not a soul would notice right away if I abandoned my personal schedule in favour of a little Jerry Springer, or Netflix, or YouTube, or just endlessly scrolling my Twitter feed.
But you know what happens when you quit. Giving up only feeds the blues. When you stop fighting for positive momentum, and it gets harder and harder to start again. When you allow yourself to fall further behind, your mood sinks even lower. It’s made worse when you wake up the next day to a mountain that’s a little higher. Worse when you become that much further from where you ought to be.
I won’t quit. I can’t quit. I have goals that I’m after, and too many promises I’ve made to myself.
I console myself by thinking that maybe I’m a late bloomer. That’s not so bad. So, I didn’t become a “success” in my early twenties or anything. So what? I’m certainly not alone there. Maybe I just don’t “make it” until I’m older than average. Maybe that’s ok. I want to think it is. It’s hard to not feel a pang of jealousy when I know so many smart, successful people, and here I am, Jenn Martin, still curious about EVERYTHING, but not much further ahead than I was 10 years ago. I’m just plugging along, hanging my hopes on a star.
I’m taking steps to improve. The “behind” feeling was definitely worse at the beginning of last week. In fact, it was so big, inundating, and kinda scary that I had to do something about it.
I made myself a battle plan.
THE HAPPINESS BATTLE PLAN
I sat down with a pencil and a clean, unlined sheet of paper. (I don’t like to be confined. Even by those dastardly lines! Ha ha.) Alone and with NO distractions, I got introspective. I wrote notes on the attributes that would make up my ideal self. Physically, mentally, spiritually, career-wise, socially…everything! I went crazy with it. No limits. (This had the almost immediate effect of helping me feel better. Purpose is everything!) I made notes on the most awesome person I could want to be: well-read, informed, friendly, funny, fit, living in accordance with my morals/ideals, spending time with loved ones and making a difference…all of it. (I tried to be as specific as possible.)
While that was fun, and a pretty illuminating exercise, a pipe dream version of myself isn’t anything, unless I can make those ideas functional. (Sort of like how saying you want to “get fit” doesn’t get you any closer to a six-pack or make you better at prepping meals!) I took that sheet of ideals and I extrapolated it into goals on a new sheet. For everything I had said I wanted, I carefully considered how someone would actually get there.
For example, yes, I do want to be more well-read. I have an English degree, and I love books, but for the past few years, I genuinely haven’t read much. (Life gets busy!) A goal? How about I read a book a month, plus I actually keep track of them for myself? I could even do a little review! (Bring back the book report, yeah!) That’s a real goal, and it’s a lot better than continuing to feel self-concious that I read too little.
THEN I took this new list of goals, and started scheduling things into my planner. I slotted in gym time, reading time, ukulele time…all of the fun things I actually want in my life, in a proper space.
It’s worth noting here that my planning style used to be way more chaotic. I used to just have one list for to-do’s AND my schedule. It was all in one place, mangled together. It was ugly, and a mess, and I NEVER wound up getting everything finished.
As of last week, my schedule is now JUST a schedule, and my to-do list is separate. In fact, I actually sub-divided those “to-do” tasks: one list for ‘urgent’ things and one for everything else. My schedule pages look a LOT less stressful now, and there is NO excuse for not attacking the “urgent” list first!
I also want to highlight here the fact that I once used to have this crazy idea about fitting everything into a single day. Like, my ideal day would involve cooking, cleaning, working, writing, singing, personal projects, research, working out, playing an instrument, spending time with my child and partner and everything else. Of course, it’s impossible! My solution? A schedule that leaves lots spaces, so I don’t go crazy, and that spans the whole week.
I know I’m neurotic, but you guys, whatever it takes, right?
A lot of folks believe in more of a “go with the flow” approach, but I find a lack of planning stressful. If you want to get things done, this is one system that takes into account your vision for the future. You will at least know that you are doing things in accordance with your higher self!
The whole process, start to finish, took me about 2 hours. I now have ideals and goals that I can review periodically, and I can always check to see that they’re infoming my schedule. The new plan isn’t perfect. I still need to play with it, but I already think it is VERY helpful. I can at least see a path toward progress, instead of dealing with the awful feeling of treading water.
Plus, while I’m not at my very best now, I think that happiness is cumulative. This is a good way of making sure I am actually doing those smaller, happiness-inducing things that wind up meaning so much. (I’m even planning on seeing my friends more, as I don’t very often, and I crave those deep, thought-provoking conversations!)
So no, I’m not where I want to be. Yes, I want to wash these blues right outta my head. (Perhaps literally…I’m plotting a new dye job to boost my spirits too!) I am willing to work for it, and if you’re like me, you might just be well-advised to go back to the drawing board and do the same.
Happy Monday everyone!
Now get out there and shoot for the stars! 🙂 -Jennnq