Scarlett’s Letter August 6, 2013

This day was so extremely ordinary I really don’t have much to say.

Yah, right, like that’s ever going to happen!

So my day went like this; I got up. I worked. I ate dinner. I watched Modern Family re-runs on Netflix and totally justified not working out. I was a little sore. And tired because I didn’t sleep well last night, and I had to get up so early this morning. So, I chatted on the phone. I read for a while. I am headed off to bed.

And I was a little disappointed with my day because of its complete and total lack of luster and sparkle. So what’s missing here? One can’t go wine tasting and skydiving and canoeing every day. Okay, so yes, one could, but not most of us and certainly not all the time. There is a time and a place for ordinary days. I guess, really, ordinary days make magical days all that much more magical. If magical were the ordinary then we wouldn’t know or appreciate what was magical. Do I make any sense here? Perhaps I’m having magical withdrawals. Am I addicted to magical? Is there a twelve-step program for that?

So, if an ordinary day is so ordinary as to make one feel disappointed, then what’s missing?

Two things I can think of right away; gratitude and self-discipline.

I have had ordinary days where I only worked and ate and read and slept and have felt accomplished and amazing. The difference between those hundreds or even thousands of ordinary days and today could only come down to the fact that I didn’t set aside that twenty minutes this morning, or for quite a few mornings now, to write down, yes, with a pen and paper, the things I am grateful for. This single, simple mechanical exercise really, truly helps put things in focus and brings more clarity to my purpose for the day, no matter how mundane.

As to self-discipline; carrying through with one’s intentions, based on roles, goals and guiding principles, on a daily basis, reinforces one’s self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. I know it is impossible to accomplish big or ongoing goals in the course of one, ordinary day. But few days should pass without some forward motion. Today passed with very little forward motion and the justification that my intentions for self-improvement today were not all that vital. Had I followed through with my intent of doing some sort of vigorous physical activity, I am quite sure I would have felt a genuine sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Self-discipline also comes into play with setting aside that special, quiet time each and every morning to write those important thoughts down; things we are grateful for, our “ONE thing” for the day, and thoughts and intentions towards our effort to evolve. Falling out of this practice, much like not going to the gym, undermines my self-esteem. I thrive on the quiet, contemplative exercise of focusing my thoughts, my cares and my intentions. I also thrive on a good, hard work out. That I haven’t really been doing either, regularly, has to be one of the reasons for this funk.

Tomorrow is a new day and one that, no matter how ordinary, I intend to sprinkle some magic into with gratitude and a little self-discipline.

Dang it, I didn't do this today.
Dang it, I didn’t do this today.
Dang it, I didn't do this today.
Dang it, I didn’t do this today.
Dang it, I didn't do this today.
Dang it, I didn’t do this today.

Scarlett’s Letter June 12, 2013

It was an agapanthus and oleander kind of a day. If you have spent any time in California, especially in suburban neighborhoods, especially older suburban neighborhoods, you may have noticed that most of the cookie cutter houses have been landscaped with agapanthus and oleander. True, both do flower, but to see the same shrubs, leaf shapes and flowers in every single yard, yard after yard, block after block, mile after mile is a little mundane. I understand the overuse of these plants; they are hardy, drought tolerant, flowering and impossible to kill. But totally unimaginative. I have long held a bit of a prejudice against them.

My day was mundane, to a point, nothing remarkable. I was nose to the grindstone with work, preparing for a couple of intense weeks on the road, one in NYC, so I would far prefer to prepare now than my evenings in Manhattan. So, I spent the day in front of my computer, doing battle like Michelangelo, the arch angel, against not the devil, exactly, but a Dell, an HP printer, Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. But I got it all done, and a “company meeting” online, too.

I decided a good hard, run was just the ticket to quicken my pulse and make me breathe and feel alive. Nearly seven miles on a loop I “created” on Google Maps through a bunch of neighborhoods I know from the past, but forget exactly how, or more precisely, whether, they connect. They don’t, for the most part. It was a good seven mile run, except for the plethora of agapanthus and oleander. I deserved pizza for dinner, and I could’ve eaten the entire Amy’s Margherita pizza, but I know how to outsmart myself, I cut it in half BEFORE I baked it. The whole pizza would’ve been 900 calories, I only burned 800 running, so portion control measures were appropriate.

So, for an ordinary day, and an extraordinary run, through ordinary neighborhoods with ordinary landscaping, on the bright side, the oleander and agapanthus were all in vivid bloom!

P.S. Eleven push-ups! And that was after a seven mile run, half a pizza and two beers!

Portion control, sometimes, has to be "forceful". I cut the pizza in half before I baked it. I knew I'd eat the whole thing, otherwise!
Portion control, sometimes, has to be “forceful”. I cut the pizza in half before I baked it. I knew I’d eat the whole thing, otherwise!