Tag Archives: giving

‘Tis Better to Do than to Receive

At the start of my Monday evening yoga class, we lie flat on our mats, lights dimmed, and our instructor tells us to “go to a favorite place.” This is necessary preparation; we must relax and think happy thoughts while attempting to turn ourselves into pretzels.

I take myself to hanging out at our campground up north, or running the Vasa Trail, or most often, on my bike on a beautiful summer day, riding from small town to small town just to see what comes next. Like coming across this doughnut shop in Durand, or the Civil War camp in Jonesville, or the synchronicity of riding straight to a bike shop in Ionia I didn’t know about just in time to avoid a catastrophic mechanical breakdown.

All right, my Dances with Dirt medals ARE pretty cool.

Okay, my Dances with Dirt medals ARE pretty cool.

These experiences, and the memories from them, mean far more to me than medals, or race swag, or most any “stuff” I get, whether from events or presents or whatever.

Which those dearest to me find very frustrating this particular month.

Not because of anything I’ve done, but by what I don’t. My birthday and Christmas are just a couple weeks apart, and when I’m asked, “what do you want for your birthday / Xmas” I don’t give them a lot to work with. Online wish lists have been some help, when I remember to actually put items in them.

Recently I got a desperate text from DD #1 – “WHY IS YOUR WISH LIST EMPTY?” and DD #2 texted, “Your wish list has one item! And I can’t get it til the 26th…” Even my DW pitched in, using the word “plea” in a phone call to me. I went there and added a few more things, but frankly, my heart wasn’t really in it. I was doing it more for them than for me.

I do NOT understand Christmas. The humans put up all these great toys, then tell me I can't play with them!

I do NOT understand Christmas. The humans put up all these great toys, then tell me I can’t play with them!

I came across an article online that pretty much summed up my attitude toward all this. A study found that while pleasure from getting a new “thing” fades after a few months, people place more value on their memorable experiences. That is, what they did is more important than what they have. For most of my life, other than my mandatory greedy kid phase, I’ve found it more fun to give stuff, or do stuff, rather than get stuff.

Only 500 PB&J sandwiches to go!

Only 500 PB&J sandwiches to go!

2014 was the most memorable running year I’ve ever had. And not because I filled a drawer with shirts, or a box with age group awards, or got a camp chair and cool jacket at the volunteer party. It’s the memories of the events themselves that give me the warm fuzzies, and allow me to survive yoga classes. It’s the sense of accomplishment from finishing the events, from talking to people I met on the trails, and working with the terrific events staff at setup and registration. And from many “living the moment” experiences and the feelings of gratitude from being healthy and fit enough to run, and run well.

Go and do!

Woodstock Saturday Finish (JW) - 2018

(Disclaimer: if anyone feels like sending me a gift card to my favorite running store, you won’t hear me complaining. You might even get featured on someone’s blog – which, by the way, just made the “Best of Ann Arbor Area Blogs” list for the second time.)

Seriously (for once) – I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday, in whatever form it takes. God bless us, every one!

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Going Green?

For someone from the center of all things maize-and-blue, green was quite a part of my life yesterday.

At the starting line, sporting the latest in upscale race fashion.

At the starting line, sporting the latest in upscale race fashion.

There was the holiday red and green of the Holiday Hustle 5K in Dexter. This run holds a special place in my heart, being my first race, the first race in which I won an age group award, and the first time I broke 20:00 in a 5K. Last year I served as a volunteer, and for some reason found setting up for a winter race to be fun, so I did it again this year.

I helped put up tents, string Christmas lights in the registration area, haul water to the finish area, and set up the finish chute – in between leaning over the heater in the warming tent. With the temperature unbudging from the low 20s and a steady wind, keeping warm was a real challenge. But the cold didn’t appear to hurt the spirits of the crowd of runners (nearly 1,100 finishers) and spectators.

The Grinch is smiling? Gotta be cold out.

The Grinch is smiling? Gotta be cold out.

Then there was the environmental “green” which already has a prominent place in our house, and in Ann Arbor in general. The plastic water bottles we handed out were prominently marked, “Made from Recycled Bottles” so at least some reuse of waste is going on, and we put out recycling containers, so many bottles will avoid the landfill a second time. Then there was this sign in the Joe and Rosie coffee shop, where I had lunch and my post-race peppermint mocha.

I understand the sentiment and support it...but really, can't we find a better way to phrase it?

I understand the sentiment and support it…but really, can’t we find a better way to phrase it in the A2 area? But see below…

Enjoy it, Tori and Sis....you're not likely to see this ever again.

Enjoy it, Tori and Sis….you’re not likely to see this ever again.

And how can I overlook a certain football game last night, as the Spartans knocked off the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten title. It was bittersweet for this house full of Wolverines, but heaven for my sister and my older daughter (the green sheep in the family). Congratulations, little brother! You done good.

Hey, what about my favorite type of green?

Hey, what about my favorite type of green?
(from wikia.com)

Well, the stock markets were closed yesterday, but here is a recent article from Marketwatch (an investment website) that suggests that we use our cash this season for other purposes than giving stuff to each other. And putting his money where his pen is, the author of the MW article is giving away everything he earns this month. “Every nickel. Every dime.”

Wow. How many of us are willing to do that? Sure puts a few chilly hours helping with a race into perspective. I’m not saying I’m going to follow suit, nor would I suggest that anyone else do so. But I will consider doing something more than we’d planned for. Go green!