Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sustenance and Spice and (almost) everything nice.

They say variety is the spice of life. If that's true, you can color me caliente. You'll find variety pretty much everywhere except my wardrobe. (2 pairs of running shorts, 3 pairs of work shoes, and 1 striped sweater that finds its way onto my body pretty much daily.)

I love variety- I crave it. I don’t want a big plate of my favorite food, I want 4 little plates of 4 different foods. I am happiest when I have four different beverage options in the fridge. Some of my favorite days are the ones that start with a group run, proceed to work, then wrap with a HYPE meeting or Chamber event. I love the variety of groups because it allows me to be the different parts of myself.

Process manager, project manager, volunteer coordinator, trainer. Runner, yogi, Groupon workout deal stalker. Went to school to be a teacher, employed by corporate America, supporting small business by doing the books and marketing. I am a mentee, committee chair, and wannabe community activist. In some groups I am opinionated, sarcastic, and outspoken. With other groups I listen, observe, and contribute little.

Some days, when I list it all out (because who doesn’t love a good list?) I feel slightly bemused as to how I got to this place where harvesting collard greens, VP panel discussions, learning QuickBooks, and 400 meter repeats all happen in the same week. But recently I have come to appreciate the variety that has gradually infiltrated my whole life. There are still days when I walk into work with 4 different beverages, but now I can point to 4 different “me’s” to go along with all those beverages. (Ok, so it isn’t a direct correlation, but you get my drift.) After a morning of being personable and engaging and collaborating with people, I sometimes welcome the monotony of transferring data from spreadsheets to story cards. The tedium of collecting 34 documents from 17 people is soothed by the opportunity to work with a great nonprofit that’s teaching me my strengths when it comes to minor construction. (Measuring and holding whatever is being cut/drilled steady.) When I’m feeling overwhelmed by making sure all the right agencies have been paid and the house is properly maintained, I can log into my Training Peaks account and follow a simple command. No thinking or decision making required, just do what it says.

When I think about the ways all my different roles and circles challenge me to tap into different aspects of my personalities, develop different skills, and maybe learn to work through certain tendencies, I start to think that, for me, variety is actually sustenance. It feeds my soul, makes me grow, and sustains me. Yes it's tasty. Yes it keeps the flavors new and interesting. Variety also keeps me going, keeps me excited about the new opportunities ahead, the possibilities in every new person I meet, and the element of surprise, wondering how this week/project/group is going to be different, how they are going to change me.

I am thankful for the variety in my activities, in my friends, in the people I talk to. I am thankful for the diversity of thought, the knowledge of different trails, and the chance to uncover a 'new to me' idea. More than anything, I am appreciative to realize that just because one group of people knows you as one thing, just because you’ve been a certain way your whole life, is no reason you can’t wake up tomorrow and be something completely different to a whole new group of people.

Variety is my sustenance and my spice, and yes- it always comes back to food.

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