Living in the Moment

Sarah Rose

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Life is so weird and fast and fake feeling, like a movie playing in reverse. One minute you're climbing on monkey bars and learning to tie your shoes and the next you're folding laundry and wondering how you got so wrinkly and the next, well, you may as well be at a retirement home. I don't remember a ton about my childhood, probably because I'd live almost exclusively in my brain if I could. But I do remember baking apple crisp with my grandmother on rainy summer afternoons. Her apple tree produced the smallest, sourest apples and the only proper thing to do with them was to bake them into something sweet. Life is kind of like that too, it can turn sour and end sweet or vice versa, except sometimes you don't even realize it's sour until you're out of it and then you think, "Thank God I didn't understand how hard that would have been at the beginning."

I like doing laundry and it feels weird to admit that, like I'm shunning some sort of adult code that we all agree to live by but never talk about. We hate doing laundry and dishes but we love staring into our phones and drinking ourselves to death and making jokes about how old we're all getting. If I was a kid, I would roll my eyes at my grown self, because kids don't know any better than to be selfishly in the moment. They are disgusted by adults because we are disgusting. Kids believe you when you say you're going to do something because kids mean what they say. Kids learn all their bad behaviors from somewhere, so it's always weird when parents blame their kids for acting out. It comes form somewhere, and apples can't fall far from their tree, after all.

Not that I would know a damn thing about having or raising a child. I have an elderly cat who remains the love of my life, and I'm quite satisfied with that. My problem, I think, is that I'm too much like a man. If I were to have kids, I'd want a housewife to make dinner and clean the toilets and fetch my little brat from preschool. Then I'd come home from work and engage with it for a while before putting it to bed at 6 p.m. so I could go about doing things.

I didn't really mean to write about kids, but here we are. I saw a video clip the other day of an inmate who killed his cell mate because his cell mate was a child molester and I don't think anyone in the courtroom had a problem with that. I don't know what happened to the guy who murdered his cell mate, but it does seem like you can't just go around murdering people. Probably, he thought well I'm already in prison anyway. When you have nothing to lose, you can feel like you have nothing to gain either, but that isn't true. That guy will probably rot in prison forever but at least he got 45 seconds of internet fame and the support of millions of nameless, faceless, AI-obsessed humans.

I only know about kids because I used to be one, and when I was a kid there were no smart phones or AI or endless streaming services. We had about 13 channels and some were redundant but we lived just fine. We read books and thought thoughts and spoke with other humans. We listened to the radio and waited for our favorite song to play and sometimes that took days. I used to record songs from the radio to a tape and play them over and over and over again. I would burn my own CDs and give them away to my friends. One of my boyfriends made me a mixed tape of love songs and I didn't like a single one but I never once thought, "Wow, this boy barely knows me." I just thought he had poor taste in music.

Life is sort of like that sometimes too; you never know you have poor taste until someone reminds you that Velcro shoes are meant for very young children or the elderly and you are, in fact, in neither of those camps yet. You'll be able to wear adult-sized Velcro shoes soon enough, and take advantage of the senior discount at Enterprise and say things like "back in my day" without any self-consciousness because your day has passed and everyone damn well knows it.

When I was a kid, I spent summers barefoot, priding myself on not needing shoes to do things like walk over gravel or pull weeds from the garden or shoot hoops in the driveway. I was a kid in the late 90's and early 2000's, and I have no idea what being a kid now would even be like. Maybe it's because I'm an adult with adult responsibilities, but life now just seems more complex. It's hard to not feel like you're constantly behind the curve, like if you just run faster without stopping, you'll be able to catch up.

The thing no one ever tells you is that sometimes, you have to slow down in order to keep moving forward. Sometimes, you have to stop completely. If you're always rushing forward, you won't even notice that you're rounding the bend into middle age. You'll completely forget baking apple crisp with your grandmother on rainy summer afternoons. You'll stop understanding kids, and you'll decay into a cynical old hag with nothing spectacular to say or think or do. Thank God you didn't understand how hard it would be at the beginning.

P.S. Read about how to write about yourself here, find your favorite childhood movie here, or read about living in the moment here.


Sarah Rose

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Keeping The Promises You Make to Yourself

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.] “Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Today I'm writing about confidence, the polar opposite of desperation and wise older sibling to cockiness. If you close your eyes right now, I'm sure you can picture someone you know who is cocky and doesn't that just irk you? Confidence is something to be earned while cockiness is a symptom. One is showy, the other is self-assured. One is overstated and inauthentic and the other is poised. I believe that the best way to increase confidence is to consistently keep the promises you make to yourself. You can't grow self-assured about anything until you have proven your own competency to yourself, and you can't grow competent until you show up. I've known many people who make promises they never keep. Whether it's a friend making a plan they never intend to follow through on, a business not returning your phone call, or a workplace not fulfilling their end of a compensation plan, we all know what it's like to encounter flakey, inconsistent people. You probably don't like or respect them very much, right? It's hard to trust someone who doesn't show that they're trustworthy, which is why confidence comes from trusting yourself. When I was in school, I got straight A's, and not because I was that smart. I studied hard and told myself that I would do the absolute best that I could. Once I understood that I could achieve straight A's, that was the standard I held myself to. Once I knew what I was capable of, anything less was unacceptable. It's important to point out that nobody else would have been disappointed with a B. Nobody can ever be as disappointed with me as I can be because nobody else cares as much. If you let other people dictate what success means, you'll always end up disappointed. When I'm training for a race (my next race is the Kodiak 100, in Big Bear, CA), I have to put in a lot of miles and a fair amount of time in the gym. Some mornings, the last thing I want to do is wake up and go for a run, and hit the snooze button more than once. Some days, I don't feel the least bit inspired to train, but I do anyway. I don't know much but I do know that putting in consistent work is one of the best ways to see positive results. You'll beat out many people simply by not quitting, by paying attention, and adjusting when things don't quite work. The worst thing you can do though, is bite off more than you can chew. Start with something small, even if it's setting an alarm earlier than you're used to (and not hitting snooze). Your promise to yourself could be as small as making your bed every morning to something as large as reaching out to five new people every day to build a business. Stephanie Barros from Igniting Your Spark outlines the following ways to keep the promises you make to you: 1. Make reasonable promises to yourself. If you've fallen short of a particular goal in the past, adjust it to make it more manageable, then build from there. 2. Put your promises on paper. Thoughts aren't solid, and they're easier to ignore than something you've written down and look at every day. Nothing is as solid as words on a page. 3. Do you mean it? The reason many promises fall through is that we never meant them in the first place. I personally don't see the point in making a promise you don't intend to keep, so be brutally honest with yourself about whether or not you plan to even try to keep them. 4. Change how you think about you. It seems universally true that we're nicer to others than we are to ourselves, and we're more afraid to let others down than we are to let ourselves down. It should be just as unacceptable to let yourself down as it is to let down other people. 5. Accept discomfort. Change is uncomfortable, no matter how big or small, and keeping the promises you make to yourself might seem uncomfortable, too. Nobody ever succeeded by sitting quietly in their comfort, after all. "A dream is a vision, a goal is a promise. You can keep your promises to yourself by remaining flexible, focused, and committed." `~ Denis Waitley xoxo Sarah Rose.

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