“Just try it!” my parents would say to me so many times as they rolled their eyes at me.
I was a picky eater. Still kind of am, but not as bad as I used to be (or like my cousin who does not eat tomatoes as a grown up person still is).
More often than not, due to a variety of factors (including but not limited to: my healthy respect for people with authority, and my dislike for punishment), I would give in and try whatever my parents were trying to feed me, rolling my eyes before, during, and after. (It seems like there was a lot of eye rolling going on… Hmmm… Maybe it was all in my head…) My parents scrutinized my facial expression as I tasted whatever they asked me to eat. Of course, the only correct reaction to a random food tasting was: “Gross!” followed by a collection of disgusted faces to show that I tried but, unfortunately, that it was not something I would be able to eat again. Not willingly, at least.
“See, you did not persuade me,” I would think with pride every single time.
There were instances in which I had to put on my best poker face because the new things I tried were actually quite tasty. I believe my parents knew when I really did not like something and when I was only putting on a show, but I played my role anyway. Kid vs. parents wars must go on, after all!
As an adult, I learned to like most of the things my parents swore were tasty yet I thought were the worst. An acquired taste, I guess.
While I believe that secretly we all just like being rebels sometimes, I am also convinced that there is a ‘right time’ for certain things and that it cannot be rushed.
No, I still cannot teach my body to get up at 6 A.M. on a daily basis without it kicking and screaming. Yes, I have tried to no avail for many, many years. First, per my parents’ request (school), and then for myself (you have got to work sometimes to keep that light on). However, I have become quite decent at getting up at 7 A.M. most of the time during the workweek. I call that a win.
For years, I swore that the evening was the only time when I could work out (because I would be too sleepy in the morning) and whenever I tried to exercise in the morning, I would end up boycotting the routine pretty quickly. Then came a time when I started running in the morning every single day, promising myself that I would go back to bed as soon as I got back from that run. By the time I was done with it, I was not sleepy anymore. Since running was never my favorite, the moment I lost the main motivation for that action, I decided to quit. Plus, it did not help that I was in an accident and was undergoing rehab, which meant no working out. Back to lazy mornings it was for me but there still was this seed in me telling me that I could do so much more with my mornings.
Many from the writing community suggested that I write in the mornings. Clearly, they did not know me. My body is on autopilot for the first few hours of the day and the brain does not want to engage unless absolutely necessary. If it does, it tends to hold a grudge against me. I prefer not to aggravate my brain because it can be quite vicious when it wants to be.
“There is no way I can write first thing in the morning,” I thought to myself. “But I do want to find more time to write.”
Every year, for Lent, I try to either give up something that might not be the best for me or start doing something that might be beneficial to me. Forty days is a perfect amount of time to build (or get rid of) a routine/ habit. I have to admit that this year I did not put that much thought into Lent ahead of time so it caught me by surprise. There was always the option of giving up sweets and/ or snacks, but that was rather boring and would provide me with somewhat limited benefits. I had to come up with something different.
It was the night or maybe two at most before Ash Wednesday when I opened a book that was given to me recently, entitled “The Listening Path” by Julia Cameron. One of the earlier chapters talks about “Morning Pages” (later referred to as Pages). It asks that you write three pages by hand right after you wake up. How is that different from what the Writing Community had recommended? Stay tuned. I will share more on that topic with you tomorrow. All I will tell you for now is that I decided it was something I would do for forty days straight and something I am still doing today (way past the Lenten season).
You know me – one challenge is not enough. Since I decided to write in the morning, I thought it would only be fitting to do something related to writing in the evening, just before bed. Again, I had been told before to write down story ideas from everyday life at the end of each day, but, truthfully, it never went anywhere. However, just as Lent was about to start, I read about “Homework for Life” and this time it clicked with me. (If you have not realized already, I will spell it out for you – I am a sucker for challenges. The reasonable ones, of course.) The goal was to just jot down bullet points that might help you craft a story in the future from something that happened to, or around, you that day. Something that would only take a minute and might help me improve as a writer? Sign me up for the challenge. Yes, I completed the challenge. No, I am not keeping up with it today. More details on this challenge to come tomorrow as well!
What I want to tell you in a round-about way with tales of food tasting, exercising, and Lent challenges is that you never know what the first step to success will be, so don’t close yourself off to anything. Try new things! Who knows where they might lead. And do not worry if something does not take. It might just not be the right time. Be patient and keep trying!
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