best worst idea

Just went running in the rain — yes, on purpose — and it really is the best worst idea. Not crazy / lightning / downpour style rain, of course. Just a nice little summer-night sprinkling.

And, man, it feels good!

Skittish about damaging my iPhone, I didn’t bring along any music. I hardly ever run without headphones now, but once upon a time, it was all I knew. I even ran my first half-marathon that way (2 whole hours, guys! how? why??) and it was my fastest¬†time so far, funnily enough.

Something about falling into the trance of the rhythm of my breath. Letting my mind wander where it wants to, without the helpful distraction of songs¬†or podcasts. It’s meditation. (And can also be maddening, don’t get me wrong. Have you noticed how¬†little¬†time you spend alone with just your own thoughts? It’s a jungle in there!)

Within minutes I was transformed back to high school, in my earliest running days, looping the u-shaped pavement of our neighborhood, with nothing to listen to but my feet on the ground¬†and the air in my lungs. (Didn’t have a Discman. Those things were bulky, awkward, and still skipped. We can all admit this now. It’s time.)

I started running back then¬†to “stay in shape” (hahahahaha. Shut UP, perpetually size-4 high-school me. Shut your DAMN. MOUTH.) and I got the bug for real my junior year of college, which is also the first time I ran with an iPod. A bulky, first-gen brick-sized item by comparison now, and I had to carry it because¬†I didn’t have an arm band or anything, but it was a revelation. (Didn’t hurt that it was my boyfriend’s¬†iPod. Is there anything better than a little voyeuristic love-drunk music-snooping? The¬†Garden State¬†soundtrack was in heavy rotation that year, I can tell you that much.)

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There’s something so nice and freeing about a little rainy-day run. Leaving the house knowing I’m going to get rained on. Doing it anyway. When I first started running and writing about it, I was constantly finding little metaphors for life. I can’t help it! They’re right there! Tonight’s would be¬†something along the lines of: Don’t always shy away from the potentially messy or uncomfortable things. Those things can also end up being the most peaceful and fulfilling, and almost always a better decision than staying inside.

And also puddles. Puddles are also fun.

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The Funk.

Growing up, one of my go-to chores was unloading the dishwasher. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time, but tonight, as I was putting away a handful of silverware in my now dishwasher-less kitchen, I had this vivid moment of de ja vu. (Or, if you trust the first impulse of my autocorrect, “de ja Vulcan.”)

There’s something so comforting about such simple tasks, in those rare moments when we slow down enough to recognize them. Like a scene straight out of Our Town, I started to feel nostalgic and thoughtful over the peaceful, predictable order of the dish drawer. No matter what, the spoons go here and forks can go there, and for 25 seconds or so, the world makes sense.

Life in general has felt not-that-simple of late. Just been in a funk. Not feeling creative. Feeling overwhelmed. Worried about the future. Painfully aware of being the only adult at the Kids Table on Thanksgiving (metaphorically. My family mixes it up at mealtime. But still). Just an overarching square-peg-in-round-hole feeling that I haven’t been able to shake. The feeling gets worse when I feel like I can’t write — then my go-to form of self-therapy is gone. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Funk.

So tonight was The Skinny Improv Christmas Party, and I almost didn’t go. Simply because of The Funk, and the digging-in-of-the-heels that takes place on the Sunday night at the end of a long weekend. But thankfully, I forced myself into the shower and into my holiday sweater and drag-queen-worthy red high heels, and I followed the truest rule of de-funkification I know: Go to the party.

The sneaky sinisterness of depressed moods is their tendency toward isolation. Staying home when you’re bummed feels so¬†right. Yesterday’s sweatpants and tomorrow’s worries feel like the perfect excuse to snuggle in and wallow. But wallowing’s no good. You have to go to the party.

Because that’s where the people are. People who, truth be told, are just as screwed up and weird as you are, in their own ways. But everybody’s figuring it out. This group especially. Just a bunch of big ol’ dorks we are. Improv draws an eclectic mix of performers and poets and introverts and extroverts and red fish and blue fish. (A pleasant side-effect: Our White Elephant exchanges are never boring.)

So I put an end to this Thanksgiving weekend, still overwhelmed and worried, but a little less so. Thanks to the dish drawer. And the party. And the healing powers of tacky Christmas sweaters. Blessed are they.

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oh-one-oh-one-twenty-thirteen

***H*A*P*P*Y**N*E*W**Y*E*A*R***

You’d have no way to know this, of course, but I feel like I should tell you that I just sat here watching my cursor blink for a good long while. Blink blink. Blink. It’s New Year’s Day 2013…and I find myself with not much to say.

Or too much to say… Endings & Firsts. There’s often a lot to say about endings or firsts, and I’ve seen my fair share of both this year. I’m not sure I know what to do with it all yet. Surely 365 whole days haven’t passed since I wrote about 2011?

I’m reminded of Dr Seuss:

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December’s here before it’s June.
My goodness, how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?

NYE

…2013.

This is the year I turn 30. (Chances are good I’ll mention that again, once or twice, before July gets here.)

I’ve done a Top 10 year-in-review list for the last two years, but this year feels funny for some reason. Maybe it’s just been a heavy year. 2012 was a heavy year for a lot of people…so I feel a little silly being all “yay me 2012!”…but maybe it’s even more important to focus on the good things that happened last year.¬†Yay, dammit! Yay if it kills me! Yay til I’m blue in the face!

YAY CONFETTI NOISEMAKERS CHAMPAGNE FIREWORKS YAY !!!

So.

Top 10 for ’12

10) A good year for comedy: I saw (You guys!) John Mulaney, Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, Louis C.K., Mike Birbiglia.

9) Got a record player for Valentine’s Day. The relationship didn’t last, but my newfound obsession with vinyl will.

8) Returned to True/False Film Fest and was¬†incidentally in the same room with an Oscar — for last year’s documentary win, Undefeated.

7) Got to be a part of The Mystery Hour. I wrote things that were on TV. That’s nuts.

6) Jennie & Sean got married in Memphis. I can’t say enough about how wonderful that weekend was. So I’ll just say that.

5) New job!

4) My brother got engaged!

3) New glasses! So excited about the things!

2) I (seriously) got (for real) an iPhone.

1) I drive a Prius now. (And I love it.)

Those are all in chronological order, btw. I didn’t mean to count down to my new material possessions, necessarily…though they are all pretty nifty. They’re also easy things to remember…one day I’m driving a 10-year-old two-door with windows that don’t roll down, and the next day I drive a spaceship. (It feels that way, anyway. The thing has a start button, for crying out loud.)

But¬†I am blessed with lots of good things that aren’t¬†things. Some of you are probably reading this right now, in fact. (You are, aren’t you!)

So all the shitty moments of 2012 can now officially suck it.¬†I’ll try to remember the good things.

I hope you remember your good things, too. And maybe 2013 can be a little lighter, for all of us.

Meanwhile, check out this obnoxiously joyous Joanie Sommers song I discovered on Spotify — so full of 60s spunkiness. Here’s to a new musical mantra.¬†Here’s to a new year. (Yay, dammit!)