Author Note: Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is one of my all-time favorite posts. I hope you enjoy reading it as much this time around as the first time.
Overheard on... the phone
“Wrapping each other up in towels and cramming themselves into the laundry baskets may be fun, but it’s not really sustainable fun.”
My sister and I were talking about our Thanksgiving dinner but I found I had to keep raising my voice to be heard over the mayhem occurring in the background of her house. As usual, with a family of six, there was a stack of laundry that needed sorting and folding. However from what I could hear on my end of the phone it sounded like every time she made a pile, one of the kids or family pets would ruin it. Definitely not sustainable fun!
I was intrigued by this phrase though, wondering if it might capture a whole new parenting vocabulary. Not just sustainable fun but also sustainable work or schedule or communication or friendship. At my daughter’s age of eight few ideas stay sustainable.
For example, she recently decided to help feed our dog. In concept, fantastic. In reality, one forgotten meal and the plan was dumped. Definitely not sustainable.
Or we decided at one point that rather than argue about things that made her unhappy we would pay attention when she raised her hand and
discuss it logically, reaching a decision after hearing from her. I think it was the conversation that went something like; “It’s time to-” hand raised and discussion, “I was not going to say homework, I was going to say brush hair-” hand raised and discussion, “If you are willing to go out like that-” hand raised and discussion, “Yes, we still have to go to church.” Hand raised and discussion. … You get the idea. After half an hour of this I had completely forgotten my original request, we were late to church, and she still didn’t have her hair brushed or know what the consequence would be. Definitely not a sustainable plan.
Sustainability, whether in our energy plans or in our families, takes a future view that is not always easy to see through the murk of our everyday lives. We want what we want when we want it. Still, it is a goal worth pursuing. A sustainable goal, if you will.
My sister eventually did make it out of her house, ready for an activity that wouldn’t leave her house in shambles or one of her children in tears. The laundry, however, is still sitting there.
“We sat in bed and laughed at your videos last night.”
Why does this not surprise me? I have been acclimating myself to the idea that this is my year of humility. Fitting, I think, since my book releases are making me a more public figure. My daughter likes to think I am famous… but aren’t we all within our own circles?
With publicity, though, comes attention. To be honest, I am not really big on attention. I like not having to wear make-up or worry about how I am being perceived. I am happy to have my characters take center stage. As a reader, though, I like to get to know the author of the books I enjoy. I always read the bio and sometimes even follow them on Twitter (btw – if you want to find me there, go to @dwilsted… or if you want to see one of my character’s tweets go to @jessatbettingj)
So, it may be that readers of BETTING JESSICA or UNTANGLING THE KNOT are also curious about me. Obviously my bio is published (link here). But now, with my goal of learning how to kick a field goal, my personal achievements
will be balanced by my personal failures…. And in a comic way.
By now you have probably seen my video blog about this journey. While I have jumped into this with both feet, part of me knew that the water was shallow enough I could wade out if I wanted. Not so anymore. I think I just threw myself into the deep end by inviting the help of a professional athletic trainer, Alex Molden. He has agreed to begin working with me to build the strength and mobility I will need to actually accomplish my goal (without hurting myself in the process).
There is nothing like including someone else in a project to ensure commitment. In this case I am fortunate to be working with one of the best. Perhaps Alex will also be able to help me understand how to handle public attention, since he himself has had lots of it over his lifetime (first playing football for the University of Oregon and then later in the NFL). He even has his own Wikipedia page.
So, check in over at my Untangling the Knot Vlog page in a few weeks to catch my first training session with him… it may be that my humility will reach an all new high.
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