I do a lot of my best and deepest thinking while I’m riding or running. Even if I’m listening to music or a podcast, my brain can somehow tune out the voices and let me explore my thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams.
Sometimes, in between a thought, a feeling, a fear, a dream, I’ll snap into reality again and I won’t remember getting to where I got. Like my brain will take the reins on the trails or the roads and let my creative mind wander a little bit somehow landing me exactly where I meant to go. Sometimes that happens when I’m driving, too, which is funny and…frightening.
One of my thoughts and dreams last night on my bike ride was whether or not I should start a podcast. Is that not the most quarantine thought you’ve ever heard? I’d call it “Me + My Teammates.” I’d catch up with my college running friends, high school swimming and diving and running friends. I’d chat with my old coaches and trainers. I’d get to re-live my glory days and theirs, recalling some of our most favorite moments, wins, and fails from meets and races past.
Last night, descending from Louisville into Boulder on my bike, it sounded like my best idea. Maybe I need a new creative outlet. Maybe I miss those days more than I thought. Maybe I just miss talking to those friends.
I think I’ll carry the idea around a little bit like I do when I’m shopping for jeans at J. Crew. I drape them over my arm and browse the sweaters and then the blazers and then the jewelry (is J. Crew’s jewelry not the best or what) and if I’m still in love with those jeans, I buy them. If, after a week of stewing on Me + My Teammates, I still love the idea, maybe I’ll do something about it. Maybe that’s also a fear: not doing it and regretting it.
I let the idea fade from my brain as I moved onto a new one over a bowl of this chickpea lentil stew thing I whipped up a couple nights ago. I was inspired by this recipe but didn’t have all the ingredients it called for, so I worked with what I had and it turned out really great. Maybe I just need to be creative in the kitchen, I thought. I’m getting pretty good at the basics of cooking thanks to Youtube videos from Bon Appetit, Matty Matheson, and Sam the Cooking Guy among others. Like that the base of a good soup begins with a mirepoix: carrots, onions, and celery. And that pasta water is liquid gold and should be reserved to help thicken and emulsify sauces. Maybe these things are obvious to everyone else, but I grew up on hamburger helper and tuna noodle casserole. I’m unlearning and learning at the same time, people.
Lately I’ve also been getting sudden urges to chop all my hair off and also get bangs. Maybe it’s another form of creative expression, maybe I’m tired of my hair getting stuck in armpit when I leave it down, or maybe it’s a subconscious desire for change amidst all this same-ness. Wake, run, eat, work, eat, maybe bike, eat, read, sleep, repeat. My days are the same and until a couple weeks ago when my neighbors set up an inflatable spider on their lawn, I had forgotten Halloween was even a thing. I love routine as much as the next neurotic and single 30-something, but the intangible Groundhog Day filter through which I see and experience every day is getting old and tired. I guess I’m also worried about what this world will feel like when winter keeps us inside and away from people even more than it already does these days.
Someone please save me from my thoughts and also another round of bangs.
A couple weekends ago, swimming in those thoughts, I wrote and re-wrote (about seven times) a post about when an important person in my life wrote me a hurtful email the week before I moved to Colorado. I wrote it because on October 4, 2017, I arrived in Colorado after five hazy days of driving solo from Florida. I wrote it to remind myself that even at my lowest I had a little fight left. Here’s some of it, if you care to read:
If you haven’t done enough reading already, I’ll leave you with two books and also some podcasts. I just finished The Last Man on the Moon, and I’m about to start Spaceman. They’re both from my dad. He keeps sending me books about space because it’s our favorite topic, and my shelves are currently exploding with memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, and books about NASA’s space program. I can’t get enough. (Dear Sam: this is why I haven’t gotten to any of your recommendations yet, SORRY)
And then some podcast episodes I’ve listened to lately and loved (warning: it’s a mixed bag):
I actually have more than that, but I will spare you because who is even still reading right now?
Hope you’re doing great, whoever you are and wherever you are. Leave me your book and podcast recommendations!