15 Things Running Has Taught Me

IMG_4473It’s been nearly two years since I ventured into the world of running, but only recently that I’ve started to think of myself as a runner. In this time, I have learned:

1. If you look cute when you leave the house, great. If you look just as cute when you get home, you’re doing it wrong. 

2. Sweat is fat crying. Sweat hard, sweat often.

3. Listen to your body. Not that little voice in your head that tells you to slow down, or go home. Listen to your breath, FEEL your heartbeat. Fancy heart rate monitors are great, they’re also expensive and unnecessary. 

4. In your playlist, no song is stupid if it keeps you moving.

5. It’s okay to walk.

6. Learn to block out distractions. 

7. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pain =Progress 

8. Don’t ever smell any of your clothing after a run. Trust me.

9. Don’t carry water or Gatorade if you’re not going to drink it.

10. Not everyone appreciates my rendition of “Sexy and I Know it,” especially at 5am.

11. Everything bounces and wiggles. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Get used to it.

12. Long sleeves make great tissues.

13. Protein. Protein. Protein.

14. Good form is better than being fast.

15. If you’re seeking perfection, you’ve picked the wrong sport. There will always be someone stronger and faster. Compete against yourself, not those around you. 

The Problem With Dating: The First Date

You spend minutes, sometimes hours, preparing yourself: perfect hair, flawless makeup, a cute outfit.
Sometimes, you meet him there. Other times, if you’re lucky (and feel comfortable enough), he picks you up.
You’re nervous, awkward, and you want to make a knockout first impression.

I’m talking, of course, about the first date. That almost always awkward get-to-know-you event that occurs somewhere before dating, and after merely talking.
And I do mean awkward.
In this age of internet everything, a first ‘date’ is usually something simple like a walk on the waterfront, coffee at [insert coffee shop of choice here], or a drink (one!) at a local pub. Someplace to have a chat and get to know each other.
So rarely, these days, does the word ‘date’ imply anything in the traditional sense: dinner and/or a movie, for example.

Some say chivalry is dead, others say it’s on a time-out.
Either way, dating can be an absolute nightmare.

When the first meeting isn’t so successful, it’s easy enough to predict where things are headed: Nowheresville!
Perhaps he was too forward: “So, after this should we go to your place or mine?” ; Maybe he exaggerated his height in his online profile: He told you he was 5’11” but, when you arrived at the pub in your lucky heels, your 5’2″ (5’5″ in those heels) frame towered over him; Or maybe he turned out to be a nearly middle-aged pot head happy to work a dead end job for the rest of his days.
(All examples from my own personal dating archives)

No matter what goes wrong, it’s fairly easy to escape a bad first date. 
Us women usually have a system – I know I do. It generally goes a little something like this: 
If you don’t hear from me by X time, call me with an emergency. Make it sound real.
And so, the bad date ends. 

But what about when it’s a good (or great, or wonderful) evening?
Those of us with a “system” in place, sneak off to the bathroom to call off the dogs (I’m having a wonderful time, he’s sweet/nice/cute/etc, I’ll check in later), keep our phones stashed WAY out of reach, and enjoy the evening. 

This is where The Problem comes into play.
You’ve have a wonderful time, he’s held your hand/kissed you goodnight/etc (*wink wink*), you feel as though you’ve made a connection with this person. You like him. Or at least you like him enough to want to see him again.

But you’ve got NO idea if he’s on the same page!

It’s 2012, we do absolutely everything electronically now, with little to no time wasted, and there is STILL a waiting period to find out if there will be a second date.
Every text message, email, voicemail, all of it subject to what-does-this-mean scrutiny:
He could have meant this, but what if he meant that
What do I say? What do I do?

Sound familiar??

Generally, the period between date number 1 and the request for date number 2 is more nerve wrenching than those pre-date jitters. We play it cool on the outside, but inside (and to our girlfriends), we are a mess!
Why is it so hard for men to date without playing The Game?
Who decided that a 3-day waiting period was standard protocol? We’re not buying a gun! 

Most girls (and I say ‘most’ because there are notable exceptions) are not looking for a life-long commitment, at least not off the first date. 
We want him to know we  had a lovely time and would like to see him again. And, more importantly, we want to know we made a good enough first impression that he will want to see us again too. 

Simple right?

So why do we make things so complicated?

As a now 30-something single woman, who’s spent HOURS agonizing over every moment of the first date (every look, every touch, every gesture), and dissecting every syllable after, here is my advice to all the men out there: 

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
If you like us and want to see us again, tell us. If it’s not jiving with you, that’s cool too.
As long as you’re honest and upfront about what it is you want, expect and are looking for in a potential relationship, no good woman will fault you for it.

And to all you women out there (myself included) who spend sooooo much time wondering what to do/say:
RELAX!
So what if he doesn’t like you enough to see you again.
Life goes on. And rest assured, there is someone out there who is dying to spend some time with you

Besides, you are far too beautiful and fabulous to spend your life worrying, right?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Tough Love

Take a step back. 
Fucking look at yourself.
You are human.
You are beautiful.
You are so beautiful.
And you can be anything.
You can be everything.

Do not hate everyone because someone broke your heart, or because your parents split up, your best friend betrayed you, your father hit you, the kid down the street called you fat/ugly/stupid/worthless.
Do not concern yourself with things you cannot control.

Cry when you need to but, let go when it’s time.
Don’t hang on to painful memories just because you’re too afraid to forget.
Let go of things that are in the past.
Forget things that aren’t worth remembering.

Stop taking things for granted.
Stop taking life for granted.
Live for something.
Live for yourself!

Fall in love.
Fall out of love.
Fall in love.
Fall out of love.
Do this over and over until you know what it really is to love someone.

Question things.
Tell people how you really feel.
Sleep under the stars.

Create.
Imagine.
Inspire.

Share something wonderful.
Meet new people.
Make someone’s day.
Follow your dreams.

Live your life to its full potential.
Just live, dammit!
Let go of all the horrible things in your life and fucking live!!

And one day, when you’re old, look back with no regrets.

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Woah…is me

In the thick of last minute Birthday Party plans, I have been on the verge of an anxiety attack for days, days that have felt like weeks. 
I’m laying in bed when it hits me like a swift kick in the chest:

I know why I’m REALLY upset!

It’s not the “bad birthday ju-ju” that has followed me throughout my elementary school days, into my teen years when parties were a bit passe, and even cast a shadow upon my early adult years, and is now threatening to rear its ugly head for the umpteenth consecutive year. 
It’s not because I have NO idea who’s coming.
It’s not because all I have heard all week are apologies about not being able to make it.
It’s not the expense and all the trouble I’ve gone to to plan it for myself.
It’s not even because I’m turning thirty. Being upset about getting another year older is like getting mad that you can’t physically see oxygen.

What’s really got me twisting in knots is that I am twenty-nine, on the cusp of turning thirty, in the doorway of real adulthood, staring at the shadow of middle age, and I am alone. Single. Unattached. And not just a little bit single. Utterly, completely, soul-crushingly, heart-shatteringly single. 

As girls, we grow up with an image in our heads of how our lives are supposed to turn out. A white picket fence and trips to the soccer field, or an urban loft and two working parents – we’ve got it all mapped out. What our wedding will be like, what our husband will look like, right down to how many kids we’re going to have and what we’ll eventually name the little tykes.

So, at what point do we give up on that image of life, that ideal picture?
When is it time to settle as opposed to settle down?
Why do we have to? 

While it is true that we are the creators of our own destinies and that in order to have a happy ending, we must willingly accept the circumstances we are faced with. What we are not prepared for is the day when we must let go of all the things we’ve spent our entire lives hoping for.

For years my mother has hounded me to “get a man,” as if by some chance it were as simple as stopping at Sobey’s for bread or milk. And for years, I have gone from one extreme to another, deluding myself into thinking I am better off alone – happier. Or that I am simply too intolerable to be loved by another human being. 

Neither being true, I have spent the last year of my life in search of “middle ground.”
I’m more content in my own silence than I have been in my twenty nine years. I have a wonderfully small and close knit group of girlfriends. I have a family whom I love, and who loves me.

So what’s missing?

None of my puzzle pieces fit the way I, as I was growing up, thought they would.

I thought by my mid-twenties I would have a wildly successful career, a wonderful and handsome husband, and a few kiddies to chase after in the backyard of my ridiculously gorgeous house. I have none of these.

Again, the question that seems to have no answer:

At what point am I supposed to give up on that image of life, that ideal picture?
When should I quit searching for Mr. Right and forget the picket fence, handsome hubby and beautiful babies?

When is it time to settle?

A meditation

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”

Steve Maraboli 

An Influential March

March.
In like a lion, out like a lamb? In like a lamb, out like a lion?
The dreariest of months (in my opinion), inconsistencies of the weather alone are enough to break my heart. Grey skies, grey clouds, grey lawns, grey, grey, grey. One nice day, three snow days, two with rain; Spring so close by I can taste it, smell it, feel it in your bones! Only 31 (sometimes miserable) days until April.  

Here are four things that have influenced, inspired or kept me busy this past March:

Peace Flash (www.facebook.com/PeaceFlash)
I have always described myself as a quasi-hippie, a “moderate granola type,” toting my peace sign, and make-love-not-war attitude. So much so, that I can sometimes be heard telling others I was born in the wrong decade. The 60’s missed me, and I missed the 60’s!
Peace Flash pops up in my Facebook news feed about as often as I need a reality check (it’s not always about you, Mandi), reminding me that through sharing my personal peace, I can influence the daily lives of others. 

Soul Pancake (http://soulpancake.com/ & http://www.facebook.com/soulpancake)
Soul Pancake is a social media outlet for big thinkers, not unlike myself. It is a place to go where you can explore (and encourage others to as well) what it means to be human. Everyone has an inner philosopher, and Soul Pancake is the perfect place to explore that facet of yourself. 

Tracks by Linds (http://tracksbylinds.com/)
Former co-worker, traveller, fellow blogger, and friend, Lindsey writes all about her adventures “galavanting” with her husband-to-be for his medical school rotations across North America. Her posts are well written, thought provoking, and insightful. Not to mention the Sunday music recommendations! It was at Lindsey’s suggestion that I (finally) put my fingers to keyboard here at WordPress, and share my thoughts with the world. 

Running (https://outofsightonmymind.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/why-i-ran-from-my-troubles-today/)
There’s something both masochistic and zen about going for a run. Time alone with your thoughts, headphones on, the outside world melts away. At the  same time, it’s pure torture!!  Propelling your body forward as fast as you can, for as long as you can. The aches and pains of joints and muscles. And the cold, let’s not forget about the cold!

So why do I do it? To put it simply, I run because I can. I’m not terribly good at it. That bothers me, and so  I run to improve my form. It just so happens that as a side effect, it improves my health.

With 46 days left until the Bluenose Marathon, I am averaging a 9.5 minute kilometer (3.5 minutes above my ideal goal). I’ve had some setbacks with shin splints and knee pain since I began training in January, I’m still doing a combination walk/run during my 3 training runs each week, but I am still confident that not only will I finish again this year, I will be able to improve my finish time from 2011.

What’s kept you going this March?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox 

Forgiveness

Skimming through today’s Metro paper this morning at work, I came across this small, for lack of a better word, blurb in I don’t even know what section:

Forgiveness for You and Others
Written by Natasha Dern,
Host of The Buddha Lounge Radio Show

 Have you ever felt that someone did something to you, something that hurt you so badly that you could never forgive them? Of course you have. There isn’t a single person on this planet who hasn’t suffered the inappropriate and careless actions of another.

In refusing to forgive old hurts, you live with them in the present.

A part of you may wonder, How can I ever forgive what they did to me? Just remember, forgiveness of the person does not imply permission to abuse or hurt you again but about restoring your own sense of well being and peace.

Lacing up my running shoes for another after work walk (I’m “resting” from running), the word still resonated with me, echoing through my crowded mind. Forgiveness. For-give-ness.

While never much of a issue for me in theory or in practice, the sometimes not so simple act of forgiving those who  have trespassed against me has, on more than one occasion, left me with the bitter taste of resentment filling my mouth. I can recall several instances where I’ve been wronged or hurt by the actions of another, given my forgiveness freely, only to have those hurtful, sour-tasting, resentful feelings creep up again later. Perhaps when feeling jealous, envious or even spiteful of that individuals’ interaction with another “Well how come you won’t/never/can’t/etc **insert insignificant thing to be sour over here** with me?”

By holding a grudge I’ve made a conscious decision to live with my sour feelings. 

We all get screwed over. That’s a fact. 

Oprah and The Color Purple taught me in my childhood that forgiveness isn’t extending an olive branch and then throwing the who-did-what-to-whom back out into the universe at a time that’s convenient for me. The act of forgiveness is letting all those wretched feelings out, and not allowing them to stew into resentments. 

As Miss Celie in The Color Purple puts it, so emphatically:

Everything you’ve done to me, already done to you

Those that have done me wrong don’t need me to forgive them and tell them everything is going to be okay. They have to live their life knowing that they’ve hurt someone or done some wrong. And, if they can live with it, really live, without being torn up by guilt. Then, why should I allow their bad behaviour to affect my life?

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Who Can Save Love?

Who can save Love?
(Author unknown)

Once upon a time there was an island where all the feelings lived; happiness, sadness, knowledge, and all the others, including love. One day it was announced to all of the feelings that the island was going to sink to the bottom of the ocean. So all the feelings prepared their boats to leave. Love was the only one that stayed. She wanted to preserve the island paradise until the last possible moment.

When the island was almost totally under, Love decided it was time to leave. She began looking for someone to ask for help. Just then Richness was passing by in a grand boat. Love asked, “Richness, Can I come with you on your boat?” Richness answered, ” I’m sorry, but there is a lot of silver and gold on my boat and there would be no room for you anywhere.”

Then Love decided to ask Vanity for help who was passing in a beautiful vessel. Love cried out, “Vanity, help me please.” “I can’t help you,” Vanity said, “You are all wet and will damage my beautiful boat.”

Next, Love saw Sadness passing by. Love said, “Sadness, please let me go with you.” Sadness answered, “Love, I’m sorry, but, I just need to be alone now.”

Then, Love saw Happiness. Love cried out, ” Happiness, please take me with you.” But Happiness was so overjoyed, that he didn’t hear Love calling to him.

Love began to cry. Then, she heard a voice say, “Come Love, I will take you with me.” It was an elder.

Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that she forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived on land the elder went on his way. Love realized how much she owed the elder.

Love then found Knowledge and asked, “Who was it that helped me?”

“It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “But why did Time help me when no one else would?” Love asked.

Knowledge smiled and with deep wisdom and sincerity, answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

I came upon this story quite by accident in mid-spring 2011. My relationship was in turmoil and I, as most everyone of my generation now does, turned to Google for help. As I eagerly typed How to save my relationship into the search box, I prayed that a magic answer would greet me. 

While what I got may not have been an answer, per se, it was indeed a message. Something that stuck with me over the course of the next year while the relationship ended and I struggled to heal myself. The message is clear: only time is capable of understanding how great love is

They say that time heals all wounds. That couldn’t be more untrue. Yes, time will heal a broken bone, or a papercut, but how exactly does time heal a broken heart? It can’t. If it did, we wouldn’t have poets like Elizabeth Barreett Browning How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Shakespeare would not have written sonnet after sonnet to his lost love. Romeo and Juliet would never have been star crossed lovers, they would have lived happily ever after. Even Beethoven wrote letters to his Immortal Beloved Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.

It is not the time that heals our wounded pride or our broken hearts, it’s what we do with that time. Browning wrote poetry; Shakespeare wrote plays, sonnets, and changed theater; Beethoven composed some of the most beautiful pieces of music. So, while time may not be able to heal, it is able to understand, to provide the answers needed in order to move on to bigger and better things, to give us perspective. Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Things I Have Learned

I found this on someone else’s website, completely by random, and related to each of the 27 points. In fact, several of them were the partial inspiration for my writing this blog. I’ve re-written some of them, omitted the ones that didn’t apply to me, and added one or two of my own.
I hope that each of you reading this will take some of these simple life lessons along with you as you go along on your life’s journey.

1. The first pancake always turns out badly.
2. You don’t have to get along with everyone, or make everyone like you.
3. Love makes you stupid.
4. You always have at least 2 choices, even if you don’t like your choices.
5. Sometimes even women need to learn to MTFU.
6. Most people operate out of selfish motivations.
7. It’s rarely about you.
8. Soda is evil.
9. It’s okay to break the rules, as long as you are good enough not to get caught, and you aren’t hurting anyone.
10. “Be kinder than necessary ’cause everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
11. There’s three sides to every story- yours, mine, and the truth.
12. Time doesn’t heal anything– it’s what you do with that time.
13. Complaining and blaming other people doesn’t help anything, and makes you miserable company.
14. Everything in your life is your responsibility.
15. You train people how to treat you.
16. There’s always hope.
17. You can always be grateful for something.
18. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough.

19. You never really become an adult. You just get more responsibility, and become wiser.
20. Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness. Knowing when it is appropriate is a skill.
21. Google can answer everything!
22. Being silly is one of my favorite qualities in a person.
23. Honesty is always the easiest route. Even if it’s not in the short term.
24. You should never stop learning, or trying to be a better person.
25. Worrying is useless, unless it motivates you to take action.
26. When people show you who they are, believe them, and believe IN them.
27. Love as though it’s the most important thing in life, because love IS the most important thing.
28. Chocolate is an adequate substitution for nearly everything.
29. Listen to your parents, even if it irritates you to no end. They are almost always right, and they will never say “I told you so”
30.  IN LIFE, THERE IS ONLY FEAR AND LOVE. ONE OF THEM IS WAY MORE FUN.

What are some things you have learned?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox