Sunday morning run ramblings; To mace or not to mace, that is the question

There is a greenway in the city that I live in.  It runs from the southeastern part of town all the way up to the northeastern part.

There are pieces of it where it is obvious that it is in the middle of the city, where roads and structures, houses and cars can be seen everywhere.  There are other parts where you could imagine you were wandering through the woods in the countryside if you didn’t know better.  Many of these trails connect to greater parks too.

I am very happy to have something like this near to me (well, within a half hour’s drive anyways).  It is nice to have a place to bike, walk, or run without having to worry about having to run in a circle or getting lost.

When I first moved here, I wanted to go for a six mile run, so I used googlemaps to map out a route.  Once I got out there, though, I had to change course several times because roads did not connect and everything was closed off.

I don’t know if it’s just in this location, or if it’s a general trend everywhere, but it seems like everything is becoming more insulated.  Most neighborhoods are gated and only have one or two entrances, everything is a loop that doesn’t connect to anything, and even uninhabited land is all fenced up, claimed, and protected, lest someone get the crazy idea to walk over it to get somewhere faster.

But I digress.

Today I want to talk about something else.

A couple of weeks ago a woman was sexually assaulted on one of these greenway trails at the back of a park while she was running.  At nine o’clock in the morning.  Without headphones.

I have mentioned that I like to run, alone, with loud music, on weekend mornings when my husband is home to watch our daughter.

Now, I have been aware for a while that bad things can happen to women who choose to run alone with headphones.   I have also been aware that bad things have happened before on the greenway trails, although usually during less heavily trafficked times and more in certain parts of town than others.

Which is why this incident spooks me.  It was in broad daylight during a time when one would normally see plenty of bikes and pedestrians out and about, as well as the occasional police bike patrol.  And it happened in what most would consider one of the nicer parts of town.  Apparently, the woman had heard something behind her, but she though it was just an animal so she didn’t turn around.

When I was at my Stroller Strides classes, the women talked about it a lot.  They said “Don’t you go running out there on the weekends?” or “I’d be afraid to go out there alone.”  It was a little awkward.  I wanted to defend my right to run alone on the greenway, but I knew that they were right to be cautious.  So why would I insist on continuing to do something potentially dangerous?

I thought about the incident a lot in the days leading up to this morning run; I was adamant about going anyways.  I thought about carrying a knife, an idea I quickly dismissed since I don’t know how to defensively use a knife and it could easily be turned against me.  Mace might be nice, but I didn’t have any and frankly I’m kind of scared of mace too, since I sprayed myself in the face with it once when I was a kid.

Ultimately, I decided to go for fingers in the eyes and the nose and just scream like hell if anyone grabbed me.  Repeating this like a mantra, I reasoned with myself that it was most likely that nothing would happen to me at all.

Really, what I did was to make a risk decision.  I weighed the likelihood of something happening against the benefits I would gain from going and decided that I would rather go.  And no, nothing happened (or I’d be writing a very different post, I’m sure).

I can almost hear the people that would disagree with my choice in my head, nagging me about safety precautions and prevention.  Or maybe that’s just my own little voice of caution.

But here’s the thing….

We all draw a different line when it comes to acceptable risk; that’s why some people bungee jump and others don’t.

Just for reference, I have seen myself at both ends of the caution spectrum.

As a former raging alcoholic, I used to put myself in risky situations all the time (although I wouldn’t say there was a lot of conscious decision-making going on there).  I can’t even tell you how many times over I could have been arrested, raped, beaten up, mugged, or killed or could have inflicted harm upon someone else.  I really didn’t give it much thought, and for whatever reason, I escaped about 15 years of perpetual drunkenness and poor decision-making largely unscathed.  I’m convinced someone was looking out for me.

When I first got sober, I went the opposite direction.  Suddenly, I was sure something horrible was going to happen, like I had used up all my “get out of jail free” cards and the next mistake would surely be the last straw.  I would leave the house in the morning and imagine I had left the stove on and the house would catch on fire and my cats would die locked inside.  I’d imagine I’d left the door unlocked and a burglar would come in and destroy the place and kill my cats.  I’d imagine I’d look down at a text on my phone and go careening off the side of the road at 70 miles an hour— and I would be dead and my cats would die alone of starvation and dehydration.  (I didn’t have a child at the time, my cats WERE my babies).

After hours of therapy, many AA sessions, and a short round of anti-anxiety medication, I mellowed out a bit and learned how to calm the desperate voice of fear lurking in my head.

Now, I try to find a happy middle road between living without fear and having a healthy amount of it.  If I feel fear, I ask myself it is useful to my situation.  If it is, I take precautions.  If it is not, I tell it to go away.  I’m far from perfect at this, but it is how I try to live now.  Sometimes, though, there is something that I have a healthy fear of, but I choose to confront it anyways.  Reckless?  Maybe, but if I have something to gain from it, I have to take a good look at it and see whether the risk is worth the reward.  I have to figure out where my line is.

How free should we be to draw our own personal line?  That’s a tough questions to answer, but I think that being too cautious is just as bad as not being cautious enough.  I think there is a trend in our society today to try to protect everyone from themselves, and it kind of freaks me out.

Imagine, if you will, a hypothetical future, a sort of “Idiocracy” meets “Demolition Man” (remember the whole “salt is illegal” thing?) kind of world where people’s ability to think critically and make their own decisions has been degraded and the government makes everything that’s bad for them against the law.  I don’t think this is fantasy, I think this is a definite possible outcome of the way we live.

Why?  Because of liability.

When I was stationed in Spain in the military, I went to lots of town carnivals.  Many of them were heavily focused around drinking but they usually had a few rides for the kids.  I remember watching kids get on this one ride that was a big circle that would spin around and simultaneously tilt from side to side—think Gravitron but without a roof and slightly slower so people aren’t smooshed up against the sides for the duration of the ride.  And no, they were not in any way strapped in.

Kids of all ages got on this thing and proceeded to stumble and fall around while the ride was going—great fun for the kiddos, I imagine, but I couldn’t help but think to myself “This is an accident and a lawsuit just waiting to happen.  This would never fly in the USA.”  And it’s true.  The ride was pretty dangerous, and I’m sure kids have been injured on it.

Now, forget about the kids for a minute (I do think children should be protected, even from their parents’ dumb decisions), and just think about the principle of the thing.  Here in the States, we are very quick to assign blame and ensure that someone is bearing the burden of liability.  Often, this ends up not being the individual but the organization.  This is why we end up with warnings on things like “Do not drive vehicle with sunshade in place.”  Somebody drove with a sunshade in place and then blamed the company who made the sunshade for not telling them not to.

So we end up with warnings on everything.  But what happens when it is decided that individuals are not capable of making smart decisions, when people don’t heed warnings?  We force them to–think seatbelt and helmet laws.  And some people still resist even that.

Why?

Well, some people just really feel like they should have the right to take risks if they want to.  I personally think it’s pretty dumb not to wear a seatbelt.  I think it’s pretty dumb not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle.   But….. I would choose not to wear a helmet on a bicycle if I could.  Sometimes I don’t when I know no one will see me.  Why?  Well, I grew up riding bikes in Germany where everyone rides bicycles all the time, not just for sport but for transportation, and you don’t see a lot of helmets.  It just seems excessive to me.

And that’s the thing.  I have my line.  You have yours.  Obviously, some standards need to be maintained so that we are not creating a burden to society through reckless behavior nor are we infringing on personal rights.  But regardless of what we think of each other’s assessment of acceptable risk, there has to be an allowable gray area where I can choose to take more or less risk than you do.  I think that this is an important thing to uphold.

Running alone with headphones is something I look forward to all week, and it does a spectacular job of recharging my battery, giving me greater patience, mindfulness, empathy, and serenity for days afterwards.

I want to run alone with headphones.  Period.  I can make small adjustments to reduce risk: make sure my running route is in the most heavily-trafficked area, make sure I wait until the sun has completely risen rather than trying to get out earlier, buy some mace (maybe).   But I am not willing to stop.

I don’t want to let a rare event frighten me away from something that gives me so much back.  For now, I accept the risk.  And for now, thankfully, that’s my decision to make.

 

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Where is your line?

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Finding the Spirit; Here’s your sign

So, I’m a big believer that the universe talks to me.  Some people would say this is God.  When I first started praying in AA, I got all hung up on who I was praying to.  Was it a grandfatherly man with a white beard?  An earthy, motherly figure?

Then I considered that a higher power could probably look like anything it wanted to.  This really opened things up for me, because I can imagine seeing my higher power as anything I need to in any given moment, and it is still the same higher power.  The image changes, but not the essence.  Sometimes it looks like an older brother/sister, sometimes a mother/father, sometimes it’s an alternate version of me or an ideal version of me, sometimes it’s just the wind or the trees or the stars.

Whatever it is, if I plug into it, it talks back.  The trick is, I have to have my eyes open.  And I have to initiate contact somehow.

Praying, meditation, art, writing, these are all ways that I can “get in touch”.

And then I just have to watch and listen.  And, most importantly, follow my compass.  Pick up on leads when they appear.

This blog was a lead, a voice that was whispered into my ear on a dark, lonely night when I was asking how to keep from going insane.

____

My last post was about how I needed to get back in touch with my spirituality, how I had faltered and needed to take a step back towards the light.

I said that I needed to commit to something, but I felt that I needed to start small so that it doesn’t feel unmanageable and I risk being discouraged and throwing up my hands on the whole thing. I said I could commit to meditating five minutes a day.

That was Friday.

Now it’s Tuesday.

I had to work this weekend (I work one weekend a month), and my husband was sick with food poisoning.  And my daughter has been very fussy lately, teething and crying a lot and waking up a lot at night.  Needless to say, it was kind of a crazy weekend.

I did not meditate.

And Monday, I did the very thing I was trying not to do, which was throw up my hands on the whole thing.  I was thinking, “Whatever, I suck, I’ll come up with another plan.  Later.  Sometime.”

And I didn’t have a blog post for the weekend since I didn’t run nor did I meditate, and I thought, “Whatever, I suck, I’ll write about something later.  Sometime.”

And I was sitting here this morning reading other people’s blogs and feeling melancholy about the whole thing.

And I got an email.  From someone I know from AA.  She was my sponsor for a while and remains a friend, a relationship that has become one of my most treasured.

We are both busy and live on opposite sides of the city, so we only meet and catch up two or three times a year, but she is wonderful about unexpectedly dropping a text or email with a piece of wisdom or inspiration, usually uncannily when I need to hear it.

So this morning I received an email from her with a link to a guided meditation on a meditation app, saying “I haven’t listened to it yet.  I’ll wait for you to try it first.”

You try and tell me that’s not the universe talking to me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go meditate……

Finding the Spirit; A Holding Pattern

Me, I believe that there are many paths to truth and none have to be mutually exclusive.  I think that the idea that there are winners and losers in spirituality (i.e. heaven and hell) is a uniquely human idea—mankind has a hard time imagining a world in which everyone can be right and everyone can be happy.  If one person is right, someone else has to be wrong.  I say that’s baloney.  I have learned to respect religion for what I believe it is, which is a tool to get people closer to their idea of God (or whatever you choose to call it/him/her).  What gets YOU closer to your higher power may be toxic for ME, or vice versa, but that’s ok, because we can each choose the path that works for us individually.  I think that none of us can really be certain of anything in the spiritual realm except for what our inner compass is telling us, and if my inner compass is telling me something different than yours is telling you, it doesn’t necessarily mean one of us is wrong, just that how I interpret the truth might be different than how you would.

I’m not really sure that I need to go out and commit to a religion to be effective in teaching my daughter what I want her to learn;  maybe I should take her church-hopping, or maybe I should just try to expose her to different ideas through books and media.  What I do know is that I feel like I am not in the best place to make a decision on a course of action.  I have not exposed myself to enough belief systems, I have not asked enough questions, and I have not kept up with my own practices and standards.  I’ve never even read the Bible, and that in and of itself seems like a pretty daunting task to undertake without a guide.

Truth be told, I’m fairly certain that if I am seeking spiritual truth in the right way, I will never run out of questions and may even become more unsteady on my spiritual path.  But I don’t want to tell my daughter that she has to explore and seek truth and follow her own heart if I haven’t done a thorough job of it myself.

“It is not WHAT you believe in that redeems your life, but THAT you believe.”

-Anon

 

So, here it is, four months after my original blog post on “finding the spirit”, and I am no closer to attaining spiritual enlightenment.

I’m sitting here trying to figure out where the problem is.   Am I overwhelmed by the topic?  Bored?  Frightened?  Maybe a little bit of all of the above?

I have some books on spirituality that I have not read yet.

I have an invitation to go to a church that I have not taken up yet.

I haven’t been going to my AA meetings.

Heck, I haven’t even been meditating and praying, which should be basic maintenance for me.  I mean, at least five minutes a day, it’s not that hard, is it?

What’s holding me back?

Nothing.  Nothing is holding me back.  I am holding me back.  And why on earth would I do that?

Maybe I’m experiencing a little bit of dissonance.  I talked a little bit in a previous post about how we, as human beings, have a tendency to only handle the thing that is demanding the most attention at the moment.  Actually, that’s probably a trait of most living things; the difference is, human beings have the capacity to recognize that there are other things that need our attention, so we can override this tendency and focus on something else.  If we couldn’t, we would never accomplish any long-term goals.

So how do we override the tendency towards short-sightedness?  Well, I think we have to be able to mentally set priorities and make decisions based on those priorities.

Easy-peasy, right?  Not so fast…..  There has to also be congruence between what we want to believe and what we ACTUALLY believe.

For instance, when people ask me why I work out, I tell them it is because I want to be healthy, but that is only partially accurate.  I mean, in my early twenties, I used to be able to smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink for six hours straight in one night and get up and run five miles the next morning.  “For my health”.  Yeah, right.

I no longer smoke and drink, and I am much healthier and happier because of it, but being healthier and happier was not the primary reason for quitting either.  The real reason I gave up drinking was because I got to the point where I couldn’t trust myself when I drank and the real reason I gave up smoking was because I had developed asthma and had a hard time breathing some days.

The real reason I work out because I want to stay within the average to slightly above average range of what is generally acceptable to our society as far as attractiveness standards go.  Yes, I enjoy the health benefits and I have become kinder to myself as I’ve gotten older as far as making sure I am working out in a way that is healthy for me personally, but I don’t know if I’d have the wherewithall to get my butt out there to exercise on a regular basis if I didn’t have that first motive in the back of my mind.  It is the REAL, RELIABLE motivator.  Being able to say I am healthy is a side benefit, but I know that the health bit is what people like to hear, so yes, I tell people that I work out primarily for my health.

And I don’t think I am alone here… I think lots of people lie and give false primary motives for doing things, because no one wants to look shallow or careless or egotistical or whatever, or at least not overtly so.

So, you see, there’s what I show the world because it is what I am SUPPOSED to feel/believe and then there is the way things actually are in my head.  Everybody is this way to some extent, but some people are more congruent with their insides matching their outsides than others.

I would like to be more congruent, and it sounds very simple, but in reality it isn’t always.  I mean, sometimes people can have internal core beliefs that they don’t even realize they have.  For instance, a depressed person may tell themselves over and over again that life is hopeless, regardless of the face they are showing to the outside world, and they may not even be aware that they are saying this in their head.  This is why positive affirmations are so useful; it’s a way to talk back to yourself.  And if you say something often enough, it might just become true for you!

Anyways, I think that this is my dilemma with the spirituality seeking endeavor.  I feel like this should be important to me.  Okay, I don’t feel, I KNOW.  It’s important to me, and it’s important to me that I teach that to my daughter.  I know from several years in the rooms of AA that I am so much healthier/wiser/more serene when I am connected to a higher power, and I want my daughter to understand that no matter how she chooses to see God/Buddha/Allah/Gaia/whatever, it is important for her to have a relationship with that higher power.

Problem is, somewhere in my head, I’m thinking, “Yeah, yeah, but playdates/housecleaning/work/appointments/cooking/working out/blah blah blah” and there’s just no room in there for spirituality.  I am SAYING it’s important, but at the core, I’m not really BELIEVING it.

That was supposed to be the point of the blog…. To keep me on task.  But even with the blog, I still managed to sneak away from the main point with my run-ramblings diversion under the pretense of “loosening up the writing juices”, which has been great fun, but totally not on topic.  Or maybe I did need to “ramble” for a bit.

Whatever.  The point is that I acknowledge my avoidance of the original topic and I acknowledge the necessity to move forward.  At least a step, an inching forward.  And something small, something that I can’t justify worming out of.

Really, I need to be going regularly AA meetings, at least once a week, but I don’t think I’m in a place where I can make that promise and mean it right now.

So here’s a promise I can make AND keep.  I vow to meditate for five minutes every day.  I should be able to manage this pretty easily; I’ve been getting up early to work/write in the mornings sans baby daughter, so I am completely certain that I can spare five minutes of quiet to get things rolling.  Five minutes of acting “as if”, a sort of affirmation, to nudge me in the right direction.

I’m sure that this will help me figure out what step to take next.  Or, at the very least, it will give me something else to write about.  I’ll let you know.

Sunday morning run ramblings; Texas heat

Occasionally, there are days when inspiration fails.

Running solo is a special weekend treat for me, since most of my workouts these days are done with a jogging stroller.

However, my husband has some extra things going on with his work right now, which entails him being gone weekends and odd hours (which means his parenting services are unavailable during those times).

Thus, although I usually prefer to get up early and hit the trail before seven in the morning, today I ended up hitting the trail at around four in the afternoon.  This would be okay, except that I live in South Texas and it’s still around 90 degrees at the hottest part of the day.

Honestly, I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to running.  Heat greater than 80 degrees usually deters me from running outside.  So does cold less than 50 degrees.  Also, I just don’t run in winds greater than fifteen miles per hour.  Period.  Sometimes, I gauge the windiness by how far the trees are bending outside, and if I don’t like that, I don’t go.

Today, however, I thought, “But what will I write in my blog?  I feel thoughtless and uninspired.  I must run to get the creative juices flowing.”  I guess I should have considered that running in 90 degree heat might have just the opposite effect on me.   And it did.

So instead of blogging about all the wonderful thoughts I had on my run, I vow that later this week I will revisit the original focus of my blog, religion and meat (“wait, WHAT?” you ask?  You can read about it in my first post.)

And for now, here is a haiku:

Baking skin

My head pounds with each footfall

Thoughts crushed underfoot

Sunday morning run ramblings; thermostats, emails, and runaway trains

This morning I would like to talk about generational communication differences.  Well, actually let me zoom in a bit.  This morning I would like to talk about how my brain works and how that interferes with my communication.

No, let me zoom in more.  This morning I would like to talk about an argument I had with my husband last night regarding the thermostat in our house.  We can work outward from there.

Last night, my husband and I had an argument which began with what I thought was a pretty innocuous statement about how I thought we should turn the A/C down now that it’s cooler, at which my husband said “you’re impossible” and made little puffing sounds, not angrily but obviously flummoxed.  Confused, I asked what the problem was with what I had said, to which he said he had been wanting to turn the A/C down for months and that I had undermined any effort on his part to do so and turned down any suggestions to do so as well.  At that point I became a bit defensive and responded that I had no recollection of any of this.

Our discussion continued and heated until we reached a point where I think we both realized we had become reactive and not open to listening, so we mutually backed off.  Once things had cooled and I had reflected a bit, I began to really think about what I had said and done in the past few months.  I suddenly remembered that I had about a month ago changed the A/C schedule to come on more frequently at night after my daughter had seemed too hot while she was sleeping (I told my husband this but didn’t explain that she had been sweating when we woke up for night feedings).  Also, my father-in-law from Maine had been visiting for a month recently, and I had preemptively turned the thermostat down before he got here because I knew the summer heat would be uncomfortable for him (I don’t think I told my husband about this).  And I remembered several times when my husband had commented that it was cold in the house, to which I think I said “yeah, kind of”, or something to that effect (because in my mind, my daughter’s comfort is more important than ours right now since it affects how fussy she is and how well she sleeps).  It is likely that from his perspective, I just wanted it to be colder.

My husband often complains that I don’t say enough.  I don’t think he means that I don’t talk enough, because I talk plenty, but rather that I don’t say enough of what I think.  My brain is usually operating like a runaway train.  I realized long ago that to compensate, I often communicate by jumping to the conclusion without explaining how I got there, most noticeably when speaking to people.  Everybody does this to some extent, but my crazy-train-brain does it to the point that I often omit large swathes of thought processes in my language and often without me realizing I am doing it.  For this reason, I am often misunderstood when I talk to people because they are not getting complete information.  This has been something I have had to work on, particularly in professional environments, and I will probably be working on it for the rest of my life.

This is also why I like writing.  It is much easier to get everything down in writing, probably because I don’t have to do as much mental editing with writing as with speaking.  I just kind of word vomit onto the keyboard.  Also, writing actually slows me down a bit; just the act of writing forces me to take one step at a time, rather than just leaping straight to the point.

This morning, while escaping zombies on the city greenway, I was thinking about how unattractive my blog is compared to some other blogs I have perused on wordpress.  This blog is supposed to be for me, and indirectly for my daughter, so I was not initially concerned with making it readable.  I want it to be low-stress and easy to maintain, after all, my main objective in writing it is to help me to be a more thoughtful parent, wife, citizen, etc, and I don’t need pizzazz to accomplish that.  But the part of me that wants people to like me still wants it to be read.

I wouldn’t read my blog.  I mean, I’d read it if it was, maybe, wedged in the middle of a cool book on philosophy.  Chapter 19 or something.  But if I was web-surfing, there are a gazillion other blogs I would read before I would read this one.  There’s no pictures, big paragraphs, not enough humor.

I was thinking of a co-worker of mine where I used to work; he is younger than me, a millennial.  But he is also a runaway train thinker, like me.  He writes painfully long work emails, like me.  But unlike me, he includes a TLDR section at the bottom.  Too Long Didn’t Read.  A little section with all the critical information in it.

Some other people I worked with who wrote long emails would underline or highlight certain portions, as if to say, if you don’t read anything else, read the part that I am shouting at you.

This used to irk me.  If I took the time to write an email, ALL of it was important.  If you only read the critical items, you are missing out on the background, the supporting information, the WHY.

This is where I get all, like, “kids these days”.  I’m not even sure if it’s a generational thing, but it seems to be.  I mean, everyone, all human beings, tend to be more attracted to things that stand out, like pictures, humor, and bullet points.  But I feel like now, more than before, people are less willing to consider things that are not immediately attention-grabbing.

It seems like a lack of discipline.  I insist that there are things in life that are not supposed to be fun and you should embrace that or you are being immature.  My husband, who is different from me in many ways, says that is my German Catholic upbringing speaking, that I have a fatalistic take on life and believe that pain is inevitable.

Well, yes, I think that pain IS inevitable, but I don’t think that’s fatalistic.  And it’s not like I don’t think that fun is important—-I place a VERY high importance on fun.  But I believe in balance, and if you are running around having fun all the time you are probably missing out on something.

In the same way, I believe that if people are only willing to pay attention to things that are attention-grabbing, they will not get the whole picture.  I think that this is a bad thing.  Or, at least, not a good thing.  And I’m not just being curmudgeon-y, I really feel like there is a trend towards less depth in thought, less of a desire to know or understand the reasons behind things.  I’m not saying that we should all just sit around contemplating the mysteries of the universe all day, or even that we should always read really long work emails, but if we stop being willing to entertain something that is not flashy, or pay attention for just a little longer than we are comfortable with, we will lose our capacity for critical thought and innovation.

This is why I am seriously considering home-schooling or at least alternative-schooling my daughter.  I find the trend in education to focus only on meat and potatoes disturbing.  Meat and potatoes are, well…..meat and potatoes (for instance, STEM subjects), but they are not a balanced diet and will not create thoughtful, problem-solving adults.  I feel like we have relegated education to “just the stuff they HAVE to know”.  How is that education?  I argue that this is not education, but rather indoctrination.

Are all problems in the world the product of people who refuse to read long work emails?  No.  But I can’t even express my frustration when I try to teach someone something and all they want to learn is the answer.  Because when the problem comes up again, they are no more capable of solving it than they were before.

I actually had one or two teachers in college who very much taught to the test and would say things like “a + b = c, that’s all you really need to know” and when I asked why, they said “I’m not going to ask you that on the test.”  Amazing how education can become something that doesn’t really need to involve learning, just memorization.

Anyways, if you’ve read all this way, I’m probably preaching to the choir.  Thank you for reading.

Maybe I AM just curmudgeon-y and am jealous of all the young millennials running around enjoying themselves.  But in my defense, I’d like to say that I DID spend the majority of my 20s running around and “enjoying myself”, and I can honestly say things are a lot better for me now that I’ve chilled out and have become willing to do things that aren’t immediately gratifying more often.

Maybe I’m just resistant to a different perspective because I feel like it doesn’t embody the same values that I hold dear.

Or maybe the next time I’m thinking of adjusting the thermostat, I should write my intentions in an email with a TLDR section at the bottom.