Every morning my husband and I get ready for our walk around 5 a.m. to avoid the heat. We don’t make it out the door for at least 30 minutes, needing clothes, clean teeth and coffee!
Consistently, we see one other couple out early. We say “Good morning!” “What a beautiful day,” and usually walk on.
During the weekend, my husband stopped to ask about their granddaughters who are swimmers. They told us their oldest signed with Northwestern and their youngest is getting calls across the country at top colleges. They talked about how they did at CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) where swimmers compete for their high school teams and how they were top finalists.
“Our daughter was a multiple CIF Champion,” my husband mentioned. Yes, she was. That’s a memory I’ll look back on with pride.
Our neighbors talked about a meet they just returned from in Northern California, the George Haines International Swim Meet. Yes, we’ve been to that meet, too. It’s filled with top swimmers including Olympians from the USA, Europe and Mexico.
Here’s a video I took of warm up from the George Haines International meet in 2017:
The conversation with our neighbors brought back so many memories from the days our kids swam. Busy days traveling to meets, staying in hotels, sitting with favorite parents on the stands. Each morning we wondered what the day would bring.
I felt a little sad and melancholy after talking to our neighbors. I’m glad we were a swim family. But there’s no going back to those days. On a sad note, the team our kids swam with from kindergarten through high school folded a few weeks ago after more than 50 years. I couldn’t count the hours we spent volunteering and supporting our team.
My daughter celebrating with her relay team at the end of a swim meet.
What memories from days past do you think about in a happy or melancholy way?
My daughter had a job interview yesterday. She called me afterwards. She brought up a compelling point. They asked her how she handles stress or pressure on the job.
“I go to a private place, take a deep breath and shake it out. Then the anxiety leaves and I can prioritize what needs to be done,” she said.
She told me that was exactly what she did before the interview. She followed her pre-race routine. I’ve seen it a million times. She would stand behind the blocks, shake out her right arm, her left arm. Put her right leg on the blocks and stretch, repeat with the left leg.”
I remembered taking golf lessons when my kids were toddlers. My golf pro established a pre-hit routine for me. Each time I “addressed the ball” I would take two baseball swings with my golf club to loosen up. I’d take a deep breath and stand over the ball.
If you watch swimming, golf, or other sports — you’ll notice most athletes have a routine before they move. It frees their mind from thinking. It’s a signal to put their game face on and react physically, letting go of negative thoughts or any thoughts at all.
Six or seven years ago, I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, former wife of Martin Scorsese. She preached about morning routines. I began morning pages back then and have stuck with the routine. When I wake up, I reach for a journal and write three pages of whatever is on my mind. It can be a to do list, about my dreams, my prior day or anything that jumps into my brain. It releases anxiety and clears my head for more creativity.
Also, my morning routine includes prayer and a walk.
I feel centered and grounded and ready to carry on for the rest of the day.
What routines do you have in your life? What benefits do you see?
We had a seven-hour drive to get our friend’s children’s wedding in Temecula, Calif. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Riverside to sleep for the night. Saturday morning we took a walk while the temps were in the 60s. It felt wonderful. We stayed downtown in a hotel we often stayed at for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for California high school sports) for our son and daughter’s championship high school swim meets. It felt nostalgic. Memories surfaced about the hours spent in the hotel between prelims and finals. Our daughter would take ice baths after her morning swims and put her legs up against the wall while laying on her back. This was her way to recover and prepare for finals.
We were craving a breakfast burrito — probably because that was the staple breakfast at swim meets throughout Southern California — prepared by the hosting swim team.
We found one spot during our walk that was packed! So it had to be good. It’s called the Taco Station.
What are some of the fun, off-the-wall diners or restaurants have you discovered? Where were they and what type of food did they serve?
I got up early today because I had an appointment at the car dealership at 7:30 a.m. There’s a recall on our car. It was at risk of catching on fire, so I took the first appointment I could get.
My husband and I went for a walk in our neighborhood at 6:15 a.m. and I saw something that disturbed me greatly. At our little park a few blocks from our house there were a dozen kids waiting for the bus. They were all looking down at the their phones and nobody was talking to each other. They were all about six feet apart and I guess that’s a good thing? But the lack of interest in each other and their focus on their phones bothered me. They all looked very depressed.
What the heck is this generation going to be like in a few years? I know my kids hate to make phone calls. They never pick up the phone without trying to use a webpage, email or text first. But when they are around their peers, they don’t ignore each other. They joke and have fun together. They light up.
When I was a kid, I also had to walk to a bus stop. I walked with my brother and we’d laugh and talk and kick a rock during the quarter mile walk. Then we’d chat with the other kids at our bus stop. On the bus, we’d all be talking, laughing or singing songs.
I found this group of kids so depressing to see. They seemed isolated. Alone. Glued to their phones. I wonder if this is a result of the COVID shut down? Or, would they be like this anyway? Any thoughts? Have you noticed kids acting like this, too?
I guess the good news is they are going to school in person, right? Maybe it’s the start of a new school year and they’re not happy?