Behold the power of positive thinking. It’s the best way I know to start of a new year, or, at the very least, a new week. I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions since writing about my music resolutions for 2014, and I’ve thought of a few others as well (I can relate to quite a few of the ones on this list), but one that transcends music and all other experiences is to stay optimistic. When I really think about it, keeping a positive outlook can be as big a help as coffee for starting and sustaining me through the tougher days.
And it just so happens that the same 5 songs below that have been rattling around in my head lately all seem to tread on similar themes like persevering when things are tough keeping that positive outlook. Maybe it can come from within as in the case of the spurned lover in the killer blues track from Tedeschi Trucks Band, but often we need the help of others to support us or help us to keep our heads up, as in the selections by folk Americana prodigies Jason Isbell and Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Sometimes you gotta get real spiritual about finding the strength a la the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and sometimes… sometimes you just gotta embrace the dips and pitfalls to get the perspective in the first place (enter the wonderfully retro, dancy-schmancy pop sounds of Haim).
The holidays having come and gone, there’s no getting around the fact that winter has definitely set in, and many people consider today to be the most depressing day of the year. With all this negativity around, it’s good to know that, if all else fails, music is there to restore your faith, or, at the very least, help keep you on the right track during the winter doldrums.
*artwork by blondi227
My favorite collection of memories are the ones of Sunday mornings when my dad and I would take long car rides around the Washington D.C. area. On these particular Sundays I’d find myself awake around 7am, sleep instantly having vanished from my eyes the moment they were opened. Making the most of it, I’d amble down the stairs into the kitchen, lured by the smell of fresh coffee, to find my dad thumbing through the Sunday classifieds over three pieces of toast, dressed in his off-day bagel shop owner attire (jeans and a dark polo), presumably searching for his next business venture.
By the time I’d have entered the kitchen he’d already have a few destinations in mind, himself having been up since 4 (the fate of many a restaurateur on his day off). Ordinarily these places would be located in two very different parts of the D.C. metro area. This always added to the sense of adventure.
As I’d approach the kitchen table, he’d look up, smile a warm “good morning,” and nudge the plate of toast toward as I sat down.
“Want to go for a ride?”
“Great. Get something to eat and then get dressed.”
I don’t remember much about the places we’d see on these morning drives. There were the occasional trips through White’s Ferry at Point of Rocks to get from Maryland to Virginia, the winding roads in the northern and western parts of the area, the actual destinations themselves of course, and of course the weekly stop at Montgomery Donuts for a bear claw or apple fritter.
What I remember best of all is Casey Kasem counting’em down on the radio each week. Continue reading Sunday Mornings with Dad and Casey Kasem
It’s been nearly a week since my last run and almost another week since the run before that one. I’d blame it on lack of time due to a busy schedule or other that bad weather deterred me, but the truth is that I’ve kept myself off the roads due to fear of further aches and pains.
As I’ve been training and building up endurance, I’ve dealt with the aches and pains that I’d heard came with it. What I’ll refer to as “the usual stuff”: a stitch in the side, a twinge in the ankle or shin, a wobbly knee. With proper training and care these issues can be managed and lessened.
Although I’ve kept an eye on these things I haven’t treated them, allowing them to continue and even grow in frequency. And lately in additional issues, most notably a very sore hip during my last 5 mile run two weeks ago.
Obviously I need to take steps to fix the problem by adding stretches to my post-run regimen that focus on easing the sore spots. However, each day I put this task on my to do list and each night I have to carry it over to the next day’s list. I’ve got lots of things that I want to do when I get home from work. I want to read some, write some, play some music, take a run, not to mention make dinner and catch up with the girlfriend, and I get discouraged when I can’t get to it all, or give appropriate time to each thing.
The good news is that I did run today and that it went very well. Post-run observations alone show that I haven’t lost any ability to simply go out and complete a distance or time goal (the fact that it was all around more agreeable weather didn’t hurt either). I just need to get to the next step of the conditioning. And to get there I need to make the time for planning.
I can’t expect that I’m going to get to everything on my list every day. If I’m really looking to devote the right amount of thought and care to them, I need to look into how much time it takes me to do any given item and then pick two or three to focus on per night.
And I need to be okay with rolling things over from day to day. And give myself some credit. After all, I am still running more distance and more often than I ever would have dreamed I could have just 5 months ago. And that’s something to be proud of.