Woody Allen once quipped, “80 percent of success is showing up,” and throughout this year I’ve tried, I believe without fail, to take every opportunity this once in a lifetime experience has afforded me. I’ve reiterated it often enough that it is one of my themes, but I cannot but be healthier—physically and mentally—the more time I spend at Five Seasons, and so I’ve committed without thinking—whether it be a 6:30am group with Laurie, a spur of the moment lunchtime walk with Joseph around both banks of the Ohio River, or in a second of the day workout, hitting the heavy bag in Stephanie’s kick boxing class—to drop everything that is inconsequential and give attention to what I had neglected for far too long, my health and fitness. For I will likely never again have the flexibility of so much free time, without being in school or having to work, and if I—nay, when I—get it right, I will never again have to lose so much weight.
Agreeing to do everything that my team thinks will help me improve and knows that I can do has made me greatly more functional, leaner, and keener to try new things in order to get more experiences out of life. So when Joseph asked me to speak at the Newport HeartChase committee meeting for their mission moment, I didn’t over think it, and I didn’t freak out realizing that I’m nervous enough walking around each day, let alone preparing to speak before a group of strangers. Instead, I decided that since I was going to talk about a subject I know better than anything else—myself and my journey—I wouldn’t think about it at all, wouldn’t imagine all the ways I could stuttered and stammered my way to total embarrassment. I told Joseph I’d love to.
Not being preoccupied on my little speech on Wednesday seemed to spur my active mind into attempting new things. For the first time ever, I did my first load of laundry! It’s probably ridiculous that a 27 year old man-child hadn’t ever washed his own clothes (especially when Mindy told me that her 10 year old son does his own laundry!), but the laundry room is the domain of my grandma, and she seems to like for me to be reliant on her as a way of feeling needed. Well, Nana had been out of town visiting her sister, and at first it was alright because I had enough clean gym clothes. Then Nana decided that she was going to stay a further four days, and I began to get nervous, trying to figure if I had sufficient outfits remaining in my dresser drawer, contemplating whether I could get by wearing once sweated-in clothes. When Nana decided that she wasn’t coming home until after Christmas, the solution became starkly apparent: it was time to do it myself.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cooking a new recipe, building a desktop computer, or teaching oneself to launder one’s clothes, it takes so much longer to do things for the first time. Mistakes are darn near guaranteed, techniques are yet to be developed. I focused completely on not ruining the gym clothes I spent so much money amassing that I didn’t think about how much clothing constitutes one load of laundry. I had figured out the right water temperature to not ruin my polyesters, but I smushed two weeks of dirty clothes into the washer. At the end of the wash cycle the clothes were sopping wet (there were too many of them to spin the excess water out) and there was a soapy soup at the bottom of the tub.
Not knowing any better, that this was wrong, I flung the dripping articles into the dryer, and turned it on. I walked away, coming back an hour later to a stopped machine. Done, I thought, expecting to feel nice and warm freshly cleaned clothes, but reaching in and feeling the same sodden mess. The newb figured out his mistake and halved the load, in the process at least doubling his time. Yet at the end of a long afternoon, I returned upstairs with what had been a source of great angst, and instead of being tired I felt excited and liberated. Liberated from having to rely on others for what I can do for myself. And this feeling set off a chain of events that lead to a week of great progress…