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May Mixed Bag

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May is such an emotionally charged month. It marks the season of mothers, proms, graduations and we can feel the swift approach of summer as the daylight lingers late into the evening. I don’t have any graduates this year and am done with prom so my mind will be full of my mom, who passed away five years ago. In this month’s Mixed Bag I’m reflecting on lessons she taught me, recalibration when something pulls you off track, an update on my race training and the satisfaction of a well-organized garage. Welcome to the May Mixed Bag, please enjoy!

Maureen Elise

I learned so much from my mother, not the least of which was how to juggle a career and family while still making time for herself. I like to think that I started with her standard as my blueprint and then tweaked the model to suit the times, adding my own layer of hacks unique to me. My mom cooked our meals from whole foods, outsourced things she didn’t like or have time for and taught us to use our own resources when navigating our own busy schedules. She led by example when it came to things she thought were important like a healthy diet, physical fitness and music. She let us form opinions and make decisions ourselves (most of the time!) while making her own position on any topic crystal clear. Her paradigm of career plus family was not the norm at the time but she normalized it, leading me to seek the same balance in my own adult life. I sure do miss her but am bringing all she taught me into the next phase of Method Seattle: Life Coaching. More to come!

Training Update

We almost always encounter a setback on the journey towards a goal and I hit mine two weeks ago. My left side is a mashup of old and new injuries that flare up every now and then and has been the main reason I’ve avoided running for the past 10 years, opting for lower-impact workouts like spinning and strength. I will spare you the long description of my injury but it involved my calf and the pain was acute. The good news about recurring issues is the knowledge of effective protocols and after ice, rest and compression I was back to walking Gus and riding the Peloton but not feeling great about running a 12K. My first run back was this weekend and I’m happy to report that with the added security of a compression brace on my knee, not only did I feel mostly fine on my 4 mile run but also recorded my fastest time. So with 3 weeks until the Bay To Breakers I’m feeling optimistic. I go for 6 miles next weekend – stay tuned!

Lesson In Recalibration

My friend Amy had a ski accident in February in which she tore ACL and MCL tendons in both knees and the meniscus in one. Her surgeon told her he’d only seen similar damage twice; once in a dirt bike accident and the other when a lumberjack was pulled off a tree when his rope got caught in a wood-chipper. Um, wow. Amy is a lot like me, very productive in life and committed to her fitness so the news that she was looking down the barrel at 2 knee surgeries whose timing coincided with her oldest daughter’s college graduation and her youngest daughter’s high school graduation pretty much SUCKED. Add the lack of her regular fitness routine (or any routine for that matter) put her mental health at serious risk. How the heck was she coping?

The answer is a good lesson in the art of recalibration. Upon hearing the news that her injuries required surgery on both knees she first went into shock, then denial, then the reality hit and she let it all out in a flood of tears. Unlike me, Amy is not a cryer but in order to recalibrate she needed to let those feelings of fear, anger, impotence and loss wash over her.

Giving yourself space to feel your feelings and grieve your loss of control is an important foundational element of recalibration. After she had her cry, Amy was ready to figure out the best way to work through the upcoming celebratory season under her new circumstances. They say constraint breeds innovation, so putting back the pieces of your life when something unexpected throws you off course can actually be fun if you are in the right mindset for the work.

Amy was in the right mindset because she had released her feelings of loss and frustration. By the time I got to her she already had a delegation plan for both graduation celebrations, worked with her surgeon and PT to optimize the timing of her surgeries and established some boundaries for herself to ensure she didn’t try to do too much. She’s now pretty excited about the new plan and ready to enjoy these milestones in her daughters’ lives. I share her story because it’s a good reminder that when something bad happens it’s actually good to let your feelings out. Once you’ve done that you may be surprised at how well you are able to recalibrate.

Garage Season

Last July we cleaned out our garage. It wasn’t in too bad of a shape but as it’s always been Jay’s domain I hadn’t ever inserted myself by creating a storage system. So now I did. We got rid of a few outgrown bikes & hung the rest, disposed of old leftover remodeling materials and got the burgeoning Christmas light collection under control. Fast forward to last weekend. We took advantage of a sunny Saturday to put out the deck furniture and do some work in the backyard. At the end of day Jay commented that it was really easy to find things and he appreciated the ease of navigation as he retrieved tools and cushions. Of course it was fun to admire the organization transformation way back in July when we actually did it but it is now, 10 months later that we are really reaping the rewards. Just highlighting the fact that organizational systems are the gift that keeps on giving in your home. And garage season is upon us!

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