Monday, February 10, 2014

Jelly Beans

Maybe I'm late to the party.

This video went viral awhile ago, so you may have already seen this. I watched it and loved it. Not because it gives jelly beans a starring role, and not because I suspect they are Starburst jelly beans, the best ones ever, but because it is a succinct, sweet way of asking a simple question:

How do you want to spend your time?

With a little bit of math and some fun artistry, they show us that, of all thousands and thousands of minutes and hours you have in this undefined lifetime of yours, you'll spend a lot of them on things you may not even think to count. Like grooming yourself. Or sleeping. Or working (Ok, we've probably all thought at least a little bit about how much of our lives we spend working.) Point is, when we say we have years and years ahead of us, a lot of that time is already accounted for. Take away the time you spend driving places, paying taxes, visiting doctors, and cleaning your kitchen, and there are far fewer days ahead of you.

So how do you want to spend them?

How are you spending them? What did you do last week?

Did you watch some good trash TV? Laugh at some good memes on Twitter? Pin some pictures of really sinful chocolate recipes? Sit through a deeply unproductive meeting becuase, well, we have these meetings every week?

I don't know how many days and hours I have left. No one does really. But I do know how I want to spend my time.

I want to read. I love books that take me into someone else's world for a little while. I love magazines that give me new ideas and studies to consider. I love the peace and quiet of a book, some cozy blankets, and a dog or two warm against my legs.

I want to spend time with people who light me up. Some of those people are just good people that give you the warm fuzzies when you're around them. Their genuine good mojo shines through every conversation. Some of those people offer me insight and perspective I'd never considered. They force me to think differently, expose me to new experiences, and introduce me to things and places I likely would never have found on my own.

I want to move. I want to run and hike and do yoga. Stretching, climbing, sweating- I want to do things that remind me I'm alive, maybe earn me a few more days of reading, and help me justify my sugar addiction.

I want to be inspired. Some weeks it's the homily from a really great priest. Some weeks it's accomplishing a task at work in a different way that helps me realize I'm learning new things all the time. Some weeks it's a great story on the news or a simple act of kindness from the people in my community that get me excited to be better than I was yesterday.

There are a lot of other things I want to do with my time. Travel. Be with family and friends. Sniff Christmas trees. Eat pizza. Lie in hammocks. Swim. Make a difference. Be the change I want to see in my world. Help other people- even just a few- realize how small the world can be and the power of a community.

It's not like I can suddenly stop going to all non-productive meetings or give up on laundry. I enjoy a paycheck and personal hygiene. But I can be more mindful about where and how I'm spending my time. I get far more satisfaction from 30 minutes of a novel than 30 minutes of blog browsing. Investing 20 minutes in straightening the living room brings a sense of order to my day that I can't find on Instagram or in the athletic apparel section of Target.

Around the end of last year, I was thinking about the year that was coming to a close, and I was reminded of this gem that I will forever associate with my senior year of high school and blasting this soundtrack while driving on the drive to school. This was when Rent was a hot show on Broadway and CD players were not standard equipment in every car. (Please tell me you've experienced this soundtrack, or at least this song.)

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure, measure a year?

How do you a measure a year?
How do you want to spend your time?

I hope I have lots and lots of jelly beans left. I hope I have the presence of mind and the strength of character to spend them doing what matters most to me. 

I hope you enjoy all your jelly beans with all your heart.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The B List

We're not talking second-rate celebrities here. We're talking about how many things I really like that start with the letter B. (Have we established that I went to school to be an elementary school teacher?)

Bryan Williams. I can't put my finger on it, but I genuinely get a little excited the nights that I'm home for the 6:30 evening news with Bryan Williams. (see also, Brokaw, Tom)

Brokaw, Tom. It's a news anchor thing. I feel like I can trust them. They get dressed up for work (at least their top halfs anyway) and they're classy. Tom also writes books, and I like them.

Brownies. Duh. Also, brownie batter. #lickthebowl

Barre classes. I don't attend these classes regularly (see bargains) but I love the way they make my muscles quiver and give me a nice hour to pretend I actually took ballet lessons as a child and could be a willowy graceful dancer had I been properly trained. Ha.

Blankets. Down comforters are in first place, furry/fleecy in second, then quilts, electric blankets, knit blankets, wool blankets, and afghans.

Bargains. Love them. Not enough to get into the whole couponing thing (our pantry is exactly one section of shelves (two doors) in our kitchen. I hear amazing stories of people getting $200 worth of groceries for $7, then I realize they have 20 cases of diapers and 73 cans of baked beans and I'm like, nah. I do have a really huge bag of quinoa from Costco though.

Biscuits. Fluffy, hot, waiting for butter. Mmm. Bonus for sweet potato biscuits.

Bruno Mars. Those were some sweet moves last night. I like his band and their whole vibe.

Babies. Specifically, borrowed babies. I love their chubby cheeks and thigh rolls and giggles and I love giving them to their mothers and going home for an uninterrupted night's sleep.

Baby dogs. (We get ours on Saturday!)

Best friends. I get to see three of mine in less than 2 weeks and I am excited. Rom coms, shopping advice, makeup help, honest feedback, non-dude conversations. So so excited.

Blogs. It took me a long time because they have this attitude of self-importance. My life is worth documenting every single day. People want to hear what I have to say. This blog is an excuse to take a picture of every meal, outfit, and Starbucks purchase. But then I found some really good ones that have great recipes, interesting conversations, and genuinely funny people. They are just the right length for reading. I love magazines because they're quick, digestable, lightweight, and have lots of cool pictures I can cut out for inspiration boards. But then life got busy somehow and I currently have 2 unread issues of Runner's World, 2 unread O's, and a half-consumed Food Network magazine. I can read a blog post while I eat my lunch without being all obvious and flipping pages.

Books. I'll always love them, even if I am currently averaging about 2 books per year. (So. So. Sad.) Assuming I can still see when I retire (because it's certainly going to be many many decades before that happens), I will read books every day. It will be glorious.

A few more that need no explanation:

Buster. Beans. Bread. Brick houses. Breakfast. Burritos. Backyards. Beaches. Boy Meets World.