A Paint By Numbers Life
The art of telling a good story is a true gift. To relive a personal experience in front of a group of people while being vulnerable isn’t for everyone. Add to that a story with fluidity, emotions, and a life lesson and you’ve got yourself a special person. Perhaps that is why I like The Moth podcast so much.
I first listened to The Moth a few years ago but for some reason or another, I did not subscribe to it. Last week I revisited the podcast and have since gained a new appreciation for story telling. As I rode with Mario to The Parlour in Durham yesterday (amazing ice cream by the way!), we heard stories of a young girl fleeing Afghanistan to come to America, a 16 year old teenager taking her brother to the 1983 All Star baseball game with practically no money, and a crazy journalist tagging along with a group of herpetologists in search of a 22 foot python. We laughed, I cried (good stories do that to me), and we were left with a few life lessons to think about. What it means to live in the moment, to be adventurous, and to live a paint by numbers life. I love good stories.
Last night as we finished our second episode of House of Cards, the lifestyle of Frank Underwood brought us to the discussion of what it means to lead a paint by numbers life. I haven’t seen a paint by numbers kit since I was about 10 years old and Mario has never seen one. Apparently they don’t exist in Cuba. In trying to explain this ready made picture with predetermined colors, the image of what Tom Bodette was trying to explain in his story became very clear. A cookie cutter type lifestyle lacking novelty, straying from adventure, and more of the same, day after day, week after week. That is something I never want.
Today I started with my own little dose of “adventure” and although it was nothing grand, it was a big step for me. As I mentioned last week, I recently switched gym memberships so I could start swimming. (I see an Ironman in my future, even though it’s a very distant, distant future.) Unfortunately parking isn’t the easiest to come by at a college campus gym and it usually results in a parking ticket or a $4 charge for the parking deck. Solution? Bike there! Now I still don’t own a bike so I rented one for a week. I needed to know if I was okay with biking alongside cars. Saturday morning, bright and early, I tried my route before there was any traffic. Last night I packed a backpack with my swimming gear and told myself no matter what, I was biking to that darn gym. Sure, it’s not far and biking isn’t a big deal. But I’m slightly terrified of getting hit by a car, my hip is still a little tricky when I stop and go, and the rental bike is only a single speed. It makes for an excellent quad burn on any type of incline.
I actually had dreams about biking to the gym. That’s how nervous I was. But I told myself biking, swimming, triathlons – these are all things I’ve wanted for a long time and the only way to start is by biking the 1.5 miles to the gym, swimming, and then biking home. When I finally made it back home and Mario met me at the door, I greeted him by saying “I didn’t die!”. And I didn’t. I didn’t get hit by a car, nobody laughed at my stellar swimming technique, and I even passed the guy in the lane next to me. It was such a small feat and a simple workout, but it left me feeling all sorts of excitement. I ventured away from my hour of intervals on the elliptical, my pre-determined paint by numbers workout, and tried something a little outside of my comfort zone. It made my Monday morning amazing.
I’ve never thought of myself as living a paint by numbers lifestyle but I see how it happens. Today was another step in the direction of making sure that I always try to add a little adventure along my path.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Injury Update: According to my doc, I can start working back into a running routine this week!!! I’m nervous and my hip still feels a little weak so I will see how it goes with my PT on Wednesday. Perhaps I will wait another week or two. It’s crazy to think about where I was two months ago and where I am today. Life just keeps on going. 🙂