Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why isn't shopping considered a sport?

I don't think shopping gets the respect it deserves. Instead of being considered an errand or chore, I think it should be considered a sport. It sounds more appropriate to say you are going to an iron man cart-a-thon, than to say you are going grocery shopping. Or, for those who are exercise enthusiasts, maybe they would prefer to say they are going to acquisition calisthenics?

Just as football, basketball, soccer, and many other sports activities are very physically demanding, shopping requires the shopper to not only be a quick decision maker and agile, but strong as well. I know, you're probably rolling your eyes and scoffing in disdain at the mere thought of grouping something as simple as shopping in with world class athletes, but hear me out.

Have you ever tried to lift the last 35 pack of 16.9 oz bottles of water from the back of the grocery store rack, without bouncing your head off the store's steel racking, while trying to place the giant case pack on the bottom of a grocery store shopping cart?  This is weight lifting and wrestling combined.

The really hard part of this task is trying to set the case pack on the shopping cart, without either dropping it on your foot, or having the cart scoot away from you. It's as though the water has some kind of reverse magnetic field which pushes the cart a few inches away from you every time you get close enough to load it onto the shopping cart.

Ever encountered an elderly person when they are on an electric ride around shopping cart? As soon as an attendant unplugs the cart from the charging station, the elderly person takes off at full throttle. Watching them traverse store aisles loaded with patrons is much like watching the running of the bulls in Spain as the patrons flee in panic or try to climb to higher ground.

How about Black Friday shopping in the electronics department? You had better be able to block as well as a Super Bowl defensive lineman if you want to get your hands on an electronic item at a rock bottom price.

Have you ever been to a 50% off women's shoe sale at one of the nice department stores? If you haven't, you might should consider donning a helmet and shoulder pads. Shopping at one of these sales is like being in a Roller Derby match, complete with body slams and take downs for that pair of killer designer pumps.

The threat of ice or snow in the South sends people in droves to the grocery store to quickly stock up on milk, bread, and batteries. When the stores' supplies start to run low, customers channel their inner Rocky Balboa and will box 12 rounds for a loaf of Mrs. Baird's bread.

Once the shopping trip is complete and all of the shopping bags have been loaded into the car, the sport of shopping doesn't end. It's now time to drive home. Shoppers revving their car engines in the parking lot sound akin to NASCAR drivers preparing to speed off at the first wave of the starting flags. And, if you've ever been in a parking lot crosswalk when one of these speed racers is bent on breaking their best land-speed time, you probably agree they are ready for their race car driving debut.

Hopefully you can now see shopping isn't for the faint of heart. It requires the shopper to be physically and mentally prepared for any obstacle they may incur. It also requires them to have a game plan, so their victory can be celebrated when the shopping list is complete.

The difference between sports and shopping is in the awards ceremony. In sports, a metal trophy symbolizing the sport is awarded to the top finisher. In shopping, a glass of wine in a crystal goblet and a few bites of chocolate are the coveted award. Both the shopper and the athlete are able to celebrate their victory.

So, can we now agree that shopping is indeed a sport?

Monday, February 6, 2017

When my search for perfection hindered growth

This past weekend my husband griped at me for not writing on the blog lately, or anywhere else for that matter. I slinked down in the couch where I was sitting when he gave me the "you're being lazy and not using the gifts you've been given" speech. I haven't really looked at writing as a "gift" so much as a release of the build up of stuff that runs through my head. I definitely would not say I'm "gifted" with the written word in any way, shape, or form. I just like to talk...... a lot.


I have always believed writing is something people with talent do. People like Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, and Maya Angelou are writers. Not me. Writers are people who know grammar and have a gift for making words become movies in our heads. I wish I had that gift, and because I realized I didn't have that gift, I let that stop me from writing.

My perspective towards my writing has been that I just spew whatever is in my head onto the computer, cross my fingers, and hope it makes sense to people who read it. When looking at writing from this perspective, all I could do was fail, so why continue? 
It wasn't until I was talking to my Dad about some other hobbies I enjoy, and that I thoroughly stink at, that I realized lots of people do things for fun with no expectation of perfection. Can you believe people just do stuff for fun and however it turns out, is how it turns out? It was pretty heavy stuff realizing people are happy with their efforts because it was their outlet and they enjoyed their journey toward reaching completion, no matter the finished product.

It was then I realized: writing is my release. Some people play golf, work on cars, garden, participate in marathons, and lots of other things. For me, I write. Not eloquently, or even with proper grammar, but it is something I do which I can actually complete.

When the internet started exploding in 2000, writing emails to family and friends gave me a way to "talk" to them from another state, without incurring an exorbitant phone bill (that was back when telephone companies charged for long-distance phone calls by the minute). Writing emails gave me a way of relating my day-to-day experiences in a new state with all of the differences in culture.

On Sunday after I still had my fanny firmly planted on the sofa, my husband set his foot down and told me to get in my office to start writing or there would be no Super Bowl snacks for me. And he meant it. What?! No layered bean dip for me?! Well, that threat finally got me up off the sofa!

There I sat at my computer, wondering: Why bother? Is anyone really going to read this? 

It was then that it dawned on me: Why does it matter if anyone reads it or not? This is my release, my outlet. If I write for other people, I will never please anyone - least of all myself. I also realized if I don't write for me, I will continue to be firmly entrenched on the sofa, feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

So, 2017 will be the year which will see me making a few changes within myself. I've spent the past 2 years taking care of major medical issues with my family, which I gladly did, however, it is time for me to take care of myself as well. You can't give to, or care for, others if you're using everything up within you, and not nourishing and replenishing your soul. Writing is my soul food and it is time to nourish me.

Happy 2017! The redhead is back! It may be a wild and bumpy ride with a few sharp curves, but it's time. As a matter of fact, it's beyond time. Let's do this! 

PS - I started the new me by changing up the color of the blog. I like blue. It's calming and peaceful. What do you think?

Christie Bielss