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“Hmmm…this way or that?”

Once upon a time, I was busting my ass trying to get into a school program for a particular medical career. I had fulfilled all the requirements, taken all the prerequisite courses (and gotten straight As), provided reference letters, and was more than qualified. But they had a 2-year waiting list, with special admissions given to only a lucky few. I wasn’t one of them.

I knew quite a few people working in the field who had already gone through the program and were familiar with the school staff. “Talk to so-and-so,” they said. I did. “Do such-and-such,” they said. I did. But still, I couldn’t leverage admission into the next class, and I was eager to get on with it, dammit!

When I heard through the grapevine that there were several vacancies in the class that was about to start, I showed up on the first day, hoping that my initiative would make an impression about how serious I was, and I would catch a break. My mission was clear: Push! Make it happen! Fight for what you want! …


Discovering the hidden power in cycling and life

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These guys knew the secret eons before I did.

I’m 51 and learning to ride a bike. I mean, I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid, and I did some pretty regular mountain biking 25 years ago, but this is the first time I’ve really learned how to ride. This is different. Let me explain.

My boyfriend got me into spin classes a couple of years ago. He’d been a spin class and cycling enthusiast before we met, and he advised me early on that one had to have clip-in shoes if one was serious about either of those endeavors. …


Finding peace through leaves, chickens and the International Space Station

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You’re in the passenger seat of a car that’s driving down a road, when suddenly the driver swerves to miss a pothole. What do you do? Most of us instinctively reach out and grab something stable, like the door handle. If you’re already buckled in, it’s not actually going to do much, but it makes you feel better. It’s a reflexive action — grabbing on to something that’s still when all else around you is shifting.

When it feels like everything around me is chaotic and the world is going to shit, I’m reminded of this quote about peace, and I make a conscious effort to reach for that “door handle.” …


A little carry-on taught me a big lesson.

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I wanted to back out, but I couldn’t. There was no way I was going to fit all the things I needed for seven days in a carry-on. But I’d already promised, so I had to find a way.

When I’d planned a week-long tropical vacation with a friend of mine, she proposed that we only take carry-on suitcases — one each — and thus avoid the extra time and hassle of checking luggage. “Sure,” I’d said, not fully thinking it through.

When it was time to pack, I couldn’t fit everything I’d planned to bring, but I had to do it, somehow. So I took a huge mental step back and reassessed everything — every last item — I’d been planning to pack. Did I really need to bring the full-size moisturizer? No, just what I needed for 7 days. Did I really need to bring the full-size makeup brushes? No, the travel set would do just fine. Did I really need to bring all the items of clothing I was bringing “just in case” something got wet or dirty, or could I probably get by re-wearing things or washing them, if need be? What essentials could I buy when I got to our destination? …


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So close.

Last week I did something very unusual: I had a face-to-face conversation with someone. Though our faces were six feet apart, it was the first time in several weeks I’d actually spoken to a person I didn’t know, aside from the rushed, muffled pleasantries I’d offered from behind my face mask to random checkout clerks at the grocery store.

At the time, it seemed like a simple, silly conversation, but in hindsight, I realize it served an important purpose: making first contact with a neighbor. …


Let’s enjoy the silence a little longer.

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“Don’t tell me to clean the closets — again!”

When the coronavirus lockdown began, many people (myself included) expected it to only last a couple of weeks. Local governments and feel-good social memes urged us to enjoy projects at home, delve into hobbies, read books and work out. But it’s been about six weeks now, and we all seem to be getting antsy.

On the news, there is footage of people in groups protesting the continued shutdown, and hearty talking head discussions of states planning slow reopenings. …


Post-coronavirus, what will we choose?

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“I’ll take unleaded gas. But no gym membership!”

“I miss shopping,” my friend said yesterday. Since the coronavirus lockdown, she hasn’t been able to visit her favorite stores for her usual hits of recreational retail therapy. And though I don’t love shopping as much as she does, I’ve also had to cut down my shopping considerably, to mostly just grocery essentials.

We’ve all had to shift our habits the last few weeks, and it’s forced us to find new routines, create new ways to get things done, and reevaluate what’s essential. Another friend of mine now cuts her boyfriend’s hair every week, which he used to get done at the barber for twenty dollars a pop. He’s loving it. That same guy is also reevaluating his “need” for a gym membership, since he’s found that his home workouts are just as effective as his gym workouts were, with the added benefits of clean, always-available equipment, a lack of “meatheads” in his workout space, and a 10-second walk to his workout instead of a 10-minute drive. …


It sucks, but COVID-19 is the Ctrl-Alt-Delete we’ve needed.

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The present COVID-19 pandemic is tragic. Not only is the virus vicious, mysterious and pervasive, but it has far-reaching social, economic and emotional ripple effects we are only beginning to see. I think it’s also the wake-up call the world has been needing.

Don’t get me wrong — this virus, and everything it’s causing — sucks. For the thousands who have died and will die, and for the millions more who will mourn them, it especially sucks. …


*Besides watch TV

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

We’re presently living through what they’re calling the worst public health crisis of the century. Within the last few days, businesses, schools and workplaces have closed so that we may “socially distance” ourselves from others for…we’re not sure how long. It’s stressful, troublesome, inconvenient, and has thrown a monkey wrench into our daily lives.

Up until last week, most of us had routines outside the home that kept us so busy we wished we had some time off. Now we have too much, and most of it is being spent at home. Even those of us working from home are faced with extra pockets of time that were spent commuting, and the strain of too-close proximity with family members. …


The hardest choices aren’t black and white.

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Some decisions are pretty easy to make. Growing up, most of us honed our decision-making skills with easy stuff like, Should I wear the blue pants or the brown ones? Should I sit here or there on the school bus?

But no amount of practice really prepares us for the realities of adulthood, where, every once in a while, we’re whomped over the head with what I call “Gray Decisions.” That is, those tough-as-hell quandaries that aren’t nearly as clear-cut as, Should I get the small coffee or the large? Nope, not that easy. Gray Decisions are those smoky, slippery, intangible dilemmas like, Should I stay in this marriage? Should I move across the country? …

About

Wendy Z Lewis

Award-winning writer and survivor of corporate America. I also perform as a statue, punch heavy bags, and sing badly in Spanglish to Reggaeton. WendyZLewis.com

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