I am not good at anything that requires consistency. I have to give myself assignments and praise and treats just to do the things most people do all the time. I have a calendar in my kitchen that serves no purpose other than to document my exercise. If I exercise on a given day, I get to put a sticker on the calendar. That’s right, at age 40 I reward myself with stickers. And what’s worse, if I miss a day and leave it stickerless, I often quit exercising altogether for at least a week. Since my perfect streak is broken, what’s the point of even trying? Take May, for example:
I was rocking it. I was so consistent with my exercise that my knees no longer hurt after Zumba class and my muscles didn’t scream at me when I went to Boot Fit. I felt like an athlete. I was going to lose all my winter padding and finally feel confident in a swimsuit! But then May 15th was a busy day and I figured missing just once couldn’t hurt and so now here I am on June 10th trying to get back into the habit.
This week all my attempts to try something new from my List were thwarted. So many tries, so many failures. I figured I would just skip this week’s post because no one would notice anyway. But tonight as I was dragging myself to Zumba lamenting my lack of consistent exercise lately, I realized that if I skipped a blog post this week it would be just like missing a sticker on my calendar.
I had a plan for this week but I had to postpone it because we traveled to attend my husband’s grandmother’s funeral. It was lovely to see all the family who traveled so far to be there and fun to see our kids reunited with their out of state cousins. The funeral service was very touching and it was especially meaningful to look around at all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and realize just how many lives she touched and how widespread and down-deep her influence was. She was so very unique and special and unassuming and humble all at the same time. I was very grateful to join with the rest of the family to remember her and say goodbye to her. It was much more important than a silly blog challenge.
I was still planning to go forward with my plan but Friday night I went to my son’s three hour play practice instead. This particular son is not the theater type – for years we’ve tried to get him to speak up instead of mumbling and to sing in the right octave instead of joining the bass section. He really wanted to audition for this play and was willing to sing high and speak out and even do choreography, and what was so amazing to me is that he’s actually good at it. I had no idea! So even though I had made big plans and sitting through a three hour rehearsal interfered with those plans, watching him sing and smile and skip around the room with the other kids was totally worth it.
At this point I bagged my original idea and found something that could be done in one day and that my husband and I could do for our weekly date. But then he noticed some problems with the sprinklers that had to be fixed so that our newly planted garden wouldn’t die. And since I really like having fresh tomatoes in August and I really, really like having my canned salsa in February, I had to admit that fixing the sprinklers was more important than my blog challenge.
I thought of yet another thing I could do that night after we attended the Cultural Celebration for the Payson Temple. But then on our way to the stadium to watch the outdoor program, it rained. And hailed. And rained some more, with all the rain gutters flooding over and turning the street into a river. We worried about whether the program that 13,000 teenagers had been practicing for months would even go on. And, more importantly to us right at that moment, we worried about finding a parking spot. I know much has been said about the miracles that happened to make the program possible, but few have heard the story of the Miracle of the Shirtless Man.
As we did an initial loop of the giant parking lot, we realized that there was no hope of us finding a parking spot and possibly no hope of the program even happening. We considered just turning around and going back home, but just at the moment of our deepest despair we looked up to see a man wearing pants with a belt and nice shoes, but NO SHIRT, come out of nowhere and run to his truck as we approached his parking spot. And as he pulled out and we quickly swiped his spot, we couldn’t help but wonder where this man had come from and why he was shirtless on the BYU campus. That’s not something you usually see at BYU. Just yesterday I had to pick up my husband on our way to the swimming pool wearing a tank top over my swimsuit and I got so many withering stares because of my bare shoulders that I wanted to hang a sign out the window saying, “Just Going Swimming…Nothing to See Here.” So where did this man come from and what was his story? Whatever the reason for his shirtlessness, his appearance right at that moment was miraculous, especially because the program didn’t start for another hour and we were able to wait out the rain in the comfort of our parked car with giant cookies to nourish and strengthen us. So what if the program was delayed so long that we got home too late for a blog challenge? The Miracle of the Shirtless Man made it all worth it.
We found a different challenge we could do Sunday during the day when we had lots of time together, but then we started planning out an upcoming family vacation and soon our casual discussion became a day-long planning session, deciding how long to drive each day, where we would stay, and all the other details that are kind of necessary before taking off on a 15-day road trip. This provided me with another valid excuse for procrastinating. Then the next day we went to a barbeque to meet new friends and catch up with less new friends and it was delightful and I forgot all about the blog.
Today I thought I could go to the newly dedicated Payson Temple and then write about how cool it is that after living somewhere that required crossing international borders to attend the temple, we actually get to live within walking distance of a temple. I was so excited, both because I would get to go to the new temple and because I would finally have something to write about. But then my only babysitting age son at home went to practice with his band for a big gig, which of course is more important than me meeting an imaginary deadline, so I was planning to just let this week pass without writing anything.
But then I thought about my sticker calendar. And then I thought about the fact that this blog doesn’t really require me to be consistent about anything – I just try something then move on to the next thing then move on to the next. The only thing consistent about it is the weekly deadline. A deadline that only I worry about, but as my husband once said:
As I sat at his grandma’s funeral and heard about the traditions she kept for over seventy years that tie her family together, I realized he’s right. Some of the traditions would have been easily lost if even one person along the way decided they just didn’t matter anymore. What made them matter was that someone decided to make them matter. My sticker calendar is pretty dumb but it matters to me and it makes a difference to me. If we had to miss our weekly date night, it probably wouldn’t make our marriage crumble, but we’ve decided it matters, so we make it matter. So even though I failed at trying something new this week, I’m posting this to remind myself that even if it is just a silly blog about me doing silly things, it matters to me. And that’s reason enough to stick with it.