By Lori Welch Brown
Spring Forth in Hope
The book has closed on the first quarter of the year and tax season is in full swing. Your fools’ jokes have been played. The Easter bunny came a little early this year—felt early, right?! Tucked behind those Cadbury eggs and malted milk balls is some much needed hope with a capital ‘H’. Hope for a cleaner house, a leaner physique, a new love interest, warmer temps, or maybe even a new administration. Even if you love frolicking in the snow and wrapping yourself in 18 layers of LL Bean thermals, you’ve got to be at least a little bit excited by the prospect of birds chirping, blossoms of color, and driving with the windows down. Pedicurists are belting out a big hallelujah as all our winter hooves will need to be prettied up in time for their spring debut.
So, what is on your hope list? Safer classrooms? Smaller numbers on your bathroom scale? Tighter gun laws? A clean mammogram? An organized garage? I have a rather lengthy ‘hope’ list that grows daily and includes some of these things and more, but the reality is that while hope keeps me, well—hopeful, all of these desires require action on my end. Someone has gotta make the s#*t happen. If I want lower scale readings, I’ve got to hit the gym consistently and watch my diet. If my hope is for political change and/or better gun laws, I have to figure out how I can jump into the discussion and make a difference. I’m still a little unclear on that, but I am blissfully aware that I can no longer sit on my Pottery Barn couch doing nothing but watching and kvetching.
Action is hope. There is no hope without action. —Ray Bradbury
On the days I feel confused about the ‘hows, whens and whats’ of action, I have realized that I just need to start. Start moving. Start walking. Start driving. Start writing. Start. Somewhere. While coffee is my friend, coffee also beckons to me in the morning, “Sit awhile. Let’s think about your day. It’s cold outside. Maybe that can wait until tomorrow. What’s the rush?’ Then the ‘thinking’ kicks in, and opens the door for procrastination. Right. I don’t HAVE to go to the gym now. I could go this afternoon. I could go later. I could EVEN go tomorrow. When those voices start chatting, I start walking. Walking to my closet to grab my sneakers and workout clothes. I try to stay laser focused on getting into my car. Those voices follow me into the car and say, ‘Ok. We will go, but we don’t like it. We aren’t on board with moving so early. We’d like to request a light workout. Maybe we will walk on the treadmill for ten minutes, but that’s all we are promising.” I agree. That’s fine. We’ll just do that and see how it goes. Once I get on the treadmill, at about minute #7, the other more motivated voices wake up and say things like, “let’s go for 15 minutes. Maybe we can even do a mile. If you turn up the speed, we can cover more distance in a shorter amount of time, and then we can do some weights. That would be fun!” There are choruses of people in there, and it is my decision who gets the most air time and at what volume. I’m learning to turn up the voices and give center stage to the voices that are aligned with my goals. But, I also have to know what my goals and priorities are, and, be aware of my distractions. There are SOOO many decisions to make every day, and it is sooo easy to get off track. My hope for an organized sock drawer often ends up with every article of clothing I own piled into its own Everest atop my bed. Sigh. The best of plans are often…SQUIRREL! Yep. Subject to distraction.
I was just talking with a new friend about company cultures and mission statements—which gets me weirdly excited. Successful companies stay true to their core values and missions and block out everything else. If the new idea or concept or proposal doesn’t fit within their mission, it is immediately dismissed. They focus on THE ONE THING. While I’d like to do that at home, my husband would probably object if I said, ‘sorry—doing the dishes doesn’t fit into my mission of losing ten pounds and I am currently focused on THE ONE THING which is reading this really deliciously, gossipy magazine.” So see, even this article has gotten wildly off topic. What were we talking about again? Oh, yeah. Hope. I sure do hope I can stay focused long enough to see my way to Spring. #hopespringseternal