Going Home Part II

In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside.  What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball! 

The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit feelings. I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of Chicago and of Illinois, it was tough to see all of the places I missed. Walking around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of enemies. It was also great to see a dear friend, chatting with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.

I live in Central Texas for many reasons, though not for the food. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own.  Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas for shopping, movies, and other activities, not because it is a growing city, but rather this is the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief, that too many people in the  Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago.  We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold.

Anyhow, I look forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years.  It’ll be good!

New Year’s Day, it’s time to set goals…

I am not much of a goal-setting person. I cringe twice a year when I have to discuss work-related/professional development goals with my supervisor. I don’t have a five-year plan, and I’m still not sure if I’m in the right career – it’s just the kind of work I have been doing for a long time, and  I chose it by default.

Courtesy of pixabay.com/Wokandapix

The funny thing is that I was an athlete for many years. I successfully set goals for my tennis and my training a few times, which included an undefeated regular season during my junior year in college, beating my time 1 1/2 mile run my sophomore and junior years, winning the City Championship my high school senior year, and various strength goals I set at different times. Beyond that, I have reached savings goals at different times but I haven’t made goal-setting a  regular habit… but I’m going to try it this year, at least for a little while.

So…  here I go. First, I plan to post something a minimum of once a week. It may not be lengthy, but I want to get back in the habit of posting more regularly than I did for most of 2017.  Second, I will attend my weekly Yoga class that I joined through my employer’s Wellness program and I will work out at least one more time each week, not counting the two or three walks I take with Husband on the weekend in good weather. Thirdly, I plan to meditate for  5 minutes at least  three times a week.

Courtesy of pixabay.com/pixel2013

Phew… that seems like a lot, but i have been thinking about each of these activities and done them somewhat inconsistently in recent weeks. I think that they are all doable, especially if I start to see and feel benefit from them.  Wish me luck!



In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 01/19/15:  “Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?”

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Tennis Player”, I enjoy warm sunny days, playing tennis with Boyfriend. Sunday (01/18/15) was the first opportunity we have had in quite awhile to play, and I enjoyed every minute. The sun was shining, the wind was nonexistent, and the temperature was 68 and beautiful. Boyfriend and I smiled and ran each other around the court pretty well! The courts where we play are well-kept, have good traction, are blue and white (which I prefer to green and burnt red) and are situated near a serene landscape. We are happy to live near multiple courts, which enables us to play tennis rather than spend our tennis time searching or waiting for a court Playing tennis gives us both a good workout, with both long points and quick bursts of energy (aerobic and anaerobic, cardio and high intensity movement). This combination allows for a fun and pleasant experience for Boyfriend and me. 

I feel fortunate to live in Central Texas most of the time, especially in winter. Even though we had several weeks of cold and rain, we didn’t get snow and, while it was dreary and mostly unpleasant for the past few weeks, it was warmer than in would have been in the Midwest. Even with warmer winter temperatures, we have not had a day that was fitting for us to play tennis in almost two months. The ability to enjoy an activity together, sweat a little and feel my muscles work was something I had been looking forward to all week as I watched the weather forecast. I feel glad that we seized the moment, as the weather has returned to cold, windy, cloudy and rainy the past few days. On the bright side, it’s not snow, though it could turn into ice.

I find being in the sun refreshing and rejuvenating while walking, sitting outside, especially when I take a few minutes away from work. I used to spend a lot of time driving with my previous job, more than I do now, and the office I worked from had several large, third floor windows that allowed for sun and natural light. I could sometimes duck over to a Starbucks to sit outside while typing case notes to both work and relax a little. Now, if I can, I take a lap or two around the office building to escape from my windowless office, sometimes with music on my phone for a bit of oomph.

Sometimes I drive, with good music and the windows open can be rejuvenating. I recently had the chance to drive back and forth from San Antonio for training on the toll road. Rather music, a good stretch of the ride was taken in silence as I delighted in little traffic on the 80-mile-an-hour toll road, alone. Unlike some, I normally enjoy driving and have often taken to the road as a refuge and a little time to collect my thoughts or decompress after a stressful day.

In this stressful world, you have to find ways to rest, relax and rejuvenate!

© blogdaysofchrell 2015

Tennis Player

I am a tennis player, and have been since age 8. For a long time, tennis was an everyday part of my life- I was fairly good and it became a part of my family routine. We played tennis and watched tennis. I chose tennis over soccer because I didn’t like to play soccer and I didn’t have the gumption to kick the snot out of others. Tennis was easy to stay with because I had instructors and coaches I liked (for the most part) and, even though tennis was yet another thing that made me stand out as different from those around me, I fit in here more than anywhere else.  I could shine a little when I won a match or got compliments and encouragement from fellow tennis people.

Tennis player was an identity I sometimes didn’t want but didn’t know what to do without. I grew up in a neighborhood where people did so-called normal things, and nobody but my family played tennis. For this and other reasons, I was ostracized with few friends. Kids are cruel to people whom they view as different.  I was told that I was weird, did I know what kind of people tennis players were (with derogatory names attached), and that my sport matched my strange name. I found it amusing that the very people who teased me would inquire if I still played tennis and did I go to college on a tennis scholarship when I later encountered them.

As with any other pursuit, there are successes and struggles. I learned to use my talent and skills to the best of my ability and, while I was never the best, it paid off when I put in the work. I am most proud of my undefeated season, being named to the conference team (the first #6 player to do so), and being MVP – all as the #6 player on the team. I am disappointed that, at times, my efforts to differentiate myself less and deal with life got in the way of achieving greater success, both on and off the tennis court. Tennis has taught me lessons I might not have learned otherwise about acceptance, commitment, and persistence. Some of my fondest memories as a youngster include meeting famous tennis players and being a “ball kid” at the professional tournaments in my city.

I struggled again with my tennis identity once I became a “former athlete.” I graduated from college and was no longer competing or training regularly, which was an adjustment after 14 years. I realized that tennis, like many other things, was now my choice.  I didn’t have to formally train or compete, I could just have fun. I played for so long for so many reasons and now it is something I just enjoy, especially on a warm, sunny day with a slight breeze. I am a tennis player.