Appreciating The Moments

I still look back on 2012 as a bad year.

And that sucks, because I know the year wasn’t all bad. As I’ve reminded myself (and the world), 2012 may have been plagued (kind of literally) by illness and injury and other frustrating setbacks, but it was also the year that brought me the job of my dreams, a new apartment with a fun roommate, a somewhat shocking marathon PR and a new best friend.

What camera? We failed, Ty.

I went through the year feeling, for the most part, depressed. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Days I just didn’t think I could do it, whatever “it” was that day. I took a beating physically and emotionally.

I think that’s because I was constantly looking at the big picture.

I was always thinking about how I was injured, so I was missing out on my training runs.

I let myself get bogged down by every Crohn’s symptom and I was overwhelmed by days out of the office (and in the bathroom).

I had big goals and I was always thinking about them. In many cases, I was watching those goals fall by the wayside or drift away entirely (Eugene Marathon, we’ll meet someday, I know it). Most days, I felt like a failure. A sick, unhappy little failure.

Woe was Ali.

We may only be a few weeks in 2013, but I can already say with tons of confidence that this year is kicking 2012’s ass. Hard.

There are still, what, 49 weeks left in the year? So a lot can change between now and December 31.

But regardless of what gets thrown my way, I know this year will be better than the last because my mental stability is more solid than it was in the past.

My overall mindset is optimistic, positive and determined to see the good things more than the bad.

I am obsessed with sunrises. I’m going to tattoo one on my face.
No. That’s a terrible idea.

An example of my overwhelming optimism: If I sleep through my morning run, don’t have time to brush my hair, rush to the office in the rain, get stuck on the subway and then realize I’m dangerously close to missing a deadline at work, I won’t freak out. I won’t look at all those terrible things and resolve to a day of distress. I’ll force myself to think, “Well, that all sucked, but the rain was a great excuse to wear jeans, blow-drying my hair would’ve been a waste anyway, and my body probably needed the break from running. Plus, my umbrella is cute.”

It’s not just the view on life I’m trying to improve.

This year, I want to take better account of the little moments in life that are so important. They get brushed aside because they’re not, say, 26.2 miles long.

But the little things are crucial. The little things are kind of magical. And the little things add up.

Nothing huge happened in my life this weekend. There were no running breakthroughs, no major accomplishments conquered, no big changes made.

This weekend was filled with the little moments, though.

There was quality TV watching time on Friday night with Brian.

In honor of Lance’s big confession, Brian made E.P.O. for dinner: eggs, potatoes and onions. Sadly it didn’t give me much of a boost the next day. I obviously just need a higher dose. And some testosterone. I want to blood dope so badly.

Date a cyclist and you’ll have plenty of opinions about Lance Armstrong. You’ll read all the books. You’ll know about all the riders. You’ll feel cool when someone challenges, “Name a cyclist other than Lance Armstrong” and you can rattle off a dozen. OK, you can rattle off like nine.

There was sleeping in on Saturday. No rush to get out of bed, nowhere to be, nothing to do.

There was a morning Skype session with my favorite fast-crawling dude.

Got my mind on my monkey and my monkey on my…PJs.

There was a slow, Jersey Boys soundtrack-fueled run in the Saturday sunshine with unexpected good company.

There was an entire day spent on the couch watching TV and napping periodically. In a bunny onesie.

Recovery mode: Nailed it.

There was a second Skype session, this time with the whole Feller family.

I used to pride myself on “not being the jealous type.” But when Tyler looks at anyone but me during our Skype sessions, I become filled with jealous rage.
He looooves typing. He prefers GChat to text. SO DO I. Yet another reason we are besties.
As soon as Grandpop comes around, Tyler does not care about Auntie Ali. Grandpop hogs him and sings him songs from “Fiddler on the Roof.” And you know what? I just can’t compete with that.

There was a dinner date at one of my favorite NYC restaurants. There was mac and cheese I couldn’t not order.

There was a Sunday morning spin class with friends, a leisurely trip to the grocery store…

You people told me to “plan for the week on Sundays.” So yeah. I DID THAT. Boom.

…and an unofficial Bejeweled Blitz tournament between Brian and me.

There was a shoe shopping trip.

Black tie wedding shoes. Now I just need to learn how to walk in them without looking like Mariah Carey.

There was a long-overdue massage.

And, at the end of the weekend, there was a home-cooked meal (yup, by me)…

See that pot on the stove? I PUT FOOD IN IT.

…clean sheets (courtesy of Bedmaker Brian)…

Nothing is better than fresh sheets on a Sunday night. Brian was PSYCHED when I pranced into the bedroom and was like, “BRIAN! POSE WITH THE SHEETS! LET ME TAKE YOUR PICTURE FOR THE INTERNET!” This is the fakest smile I have ever seen. I’ll allow it, since he worked for roughly 40 hours this weekend.

…and fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.

Raise your hand if you eat so much dough that by the time the cookies are done, you don’t even want them. Or rather, you DO want them, but you’re too full to eat them. Life sucks.

From scratch.

Despite what Naive Ali always believed, “from scratch” doesn’t mean “add water to the bagged mixture and stir.” Evidently, from scratch means you use ingredients like brown sugar and flour and eggs.

At the end of the weekend, I felt refreshed, relaxed, happy and full.

It probably won’t be a perfect year. Heck, it probably won’t even be a smooth-sailing week.

I’ll probably face some challenges, some setbacks and some straight-up crap.

But I promise to remember — and to appreciate — the little things along the way.

Because even on the worst day, even under the worst circumstances, you can always whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And then at least one of out those 365 days is guaranteed to be a sweet one.

See what I did there? Tying in the word sweet as a regular adjective and making it about cookies, too? Where’s my friggin’ Pulitzer? Or do they not award Pulitzer Prizes to people who say “friggin’?”

SHARE YOUR LITTLE MOMENTS: Take a minute to think back on the weekend. Forget about the long run you did, forget about the big race you ran (congratulations, though!) and forget about whatever was on your To-Do list that you didn’t get to. Tell me about the little things that made your Saturday and Sunday special.



41 Responses

  1. It’s been SO long since I’ve enjoyed a good chocolate chip cookie. I was watching the Food network over the weekend while I put together something I’d bought from IKEA (aka was watching it for like 6 hours) and a show about chocolate chip cookies came on. That plus your post has made me crave them all week! Looks like a simple enough recipe, too.

  2. Thank you for this post! Honestly, just what I needed on a “I hate everything” morning. My current little moment is the amount of avocado in my Panera salad. Uhhhh yes.

  3. I had cleaned my entire bedding – comforters included on Friday morning so could not wait to get into bed on Friday night. There is nothing better!

    And bunny onesie – simply awesome.

  4. I think this is an amazing outlook to have!! Good for you! I had a wonderful Sunday morning breakfast/giant cups of coffee with one of my best friends.. We sat for hours chatting about the last few weeks where we were both apparently too busy to talk to each other, it was amazing!

  5. Adorable post. My sweet moment was walking my dog with my husband in the cold fog. I traveled home from work for the weekend only to travel again today, two days with the two of them is never enough, but I appreciated the small moment. Especially because I say my hands are too small to pick up my dog’s poop so my husband does it. That equals love, right?

  6. The surprised but delighted look on my friends’ faces when they saw me at the Vibram HK100 ( at the start and CP3 – I flew to Hong Kong to cheer, support and volunteered at the race and didn’t tell anyone (so hard to keep it under wraps!). Totally worth it.

  7. I always remind myself, even after the worst, most nerve wracking days, that at the end I get to go home to my husband and cats, call my mom or sister, or do something else that is truly ME. It definitely makes me appreciate every single day.

  8. umm can i have your weekend, please?

    my happy little moments included laughing out loud at modern family and buying a new deep conditioner.

    {what fiddler song does your dad sing tyler? }

  9. I got to hang out with my sister Friday night who spent the night before catching a flight Saturday morning. We had a fabulous dinner (brick over pizza) and incredible dessert (RED VELVET BREAD PUDDING. Yum.)….there’s nothing better than spending an amazing night with my husband, laughing with my sister, and showing her around my favorite spots in my neighborhood!

  10. Went to a friend’s baby shower…she is having triplets! Which is crazy to me… Then came home to my husband putting together a new bed for my 3 year old girl. No more crib! It’s the little things…

  11. No little moments this weekend…it was a big one. Being back in the UK, being back with my parents, snow, watching my little boy make a snowdog (that looked like a snowbird)….it was all lovely. And I watched Moonrise Kingdom which was lovely too.

  12. I can totally relate with the Lance Armstrong statement as my father is an avid cyclist who watched Lance win three of the Tour de France titles in person. He cycled cross country with Tyler Hamilton as well. Love your new perspective on life! Have a wonderful 2013.

  13. I know you don’t want to hear about races, but I was running a trail race on Saturday. In the last few miles I came up on a couple runners running the opposite way as they were running the 50 miler (I was doing the 31k) and the guy cheered for me saying, “COME ON ELIZABETH!!” The thing is, I have no clue who he was and our names aren’t on our bibs. It totally made my race that someone knew me and cheered for me when we’re essentially out in the middle of nowhere. And my bf went to see Silver Linings Playbook with me on Sunday and we both thought it was great! That made my weekend too. 🙂

  14. I see lots of cheese in your “preparation” photo. That’s a good sign I think:)
    Dough is the best. Who needs the actual cookies.

  15. I had a similar weekend to yours in that it was filled with lots of small and wonderful things! I even got a massage 🙂 I would say the number one thing that made me smile was making snickerdoodle cupcakes from scratch… before noon, on a Saturday, nonetheless!

  16. LOVE your onesie!!! Where did you get it?? LOL I love choc chip cookies… more the dough than the cookies, I think.. (don’t even get me started on cookie dough ice cream.) Just want to say thanks for your blog, Ali.. I always find myself laughing (to the point of tears sometimes) when I read it. 😀

  17. I love this post and I can’t even believe all the fresh goodies coming out of your kitchen. Beautiful potatoes and poached eggs, green onions and ginormous pots, homemade from “scratch” chocolate chip cookies (yes, I prefer to eat way too much dough too). If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’ve got a glimmer of a food blogger in you. And big kudos to you for actually taking some time to relax and hang out on the couch in a onesie (this is hard for type A folks, I know).
    This weekend, I made (from scratch) chocolate covered bananas wrapped in walnuts. They were magic, and I also went to a anniversary party and danced like a maniac. Good times.

  18. I am glad your year is turned around so much! This made me happy 🙂 I got free B&BW lotion this weekend and we ate junk on Friday night. Like ordered out for the first time since I can remember and the hubby and I went out to see a movie. A date. Love it

  19. I have TOTALLY had too much cookie dough and not wanted the actual cookies. Phew, I’m not the only one who does that.

    I have definitely suffered from “big picture-itis” — feeling depressed because you’re not sure where the big picture is headed. I’ve learned to let go of that and it makes me so much happier because, as your post so wonderfully illustrates, there are so many great little things we ignore if we only concentrate on the big picture!

    Best small moment this weekend was definitely mountains. That is, driving up to them on my final full day in WA with my family and showing my favorite place there to the boyfriend who was also visiting. Maybe that’s a big moment? Medium, perhaps. But it was great 🙂

  20. Clean sheets made my Sunday, too! I can’t say I baked cookies, but I did manage to down 7 double-stuff Oreos. (Somebody baked them at some point, right?) They certainly helped make my day yesterday 🙂

  21. This has been my favorite post of 2013 to date. It made me laugh and smile so much 😀 Little moment this weekend: I had an unexpected dad-daughter day yesterday. Hung out with my dad, got lunch, and talked the entire afternoon. I loved it.

  22. Little things this weekend….

    Letting my husband (who’s been pulling a lot of late nights these days) sleep in on Saturday…the cool breeze that comes with a day of rain in a tropical country…fresh homemade waffles (even if they were a little flat)…snuggling a pretty brand-new-baby (that I could give back when pooping or crying commenced)…

  23. Good WE on my side too. I loved watching the snow falling on Friday night and I liked walking around snowy Paris on Sunday.
    I also took the time to READ and reminded me that I love reading.

    You are right, it’s great to think about the little things which make us happy… but I have to admit, even if I often promise to myself to try to do that instead of always seeing the dark side of things, soon enough I am back to my old habit…

  24. I’m appreciating that life has FINALLY slowed down since the Holidays. Glad you were feelin’ it too up in NYC. It was a good weekend for a break!

  25. There is absolutely nothing better than clean sheets, particularly when combine with just showered. I live for it…

    Nice running into you Sat!!! Let’s do that more often.

  26. dude i totally declared 2012 as a not great year either… i gave it a 6 out of 10, and made the executive decision that 2013 is going to be amazing. little things this weekend… lazy saturday morning brunch with a friend… chocolate raspberry coffee.. skyping with my colorado friends… 🙂

  27. Those cookies look awesome. We made cookies too, definitely a highlight of the weekend although ours were not from scratch. I have a certain Bob and his Red Mill to thank.

  28. I went to tea yesterday with one of my really good friends. We’ve been trying for months to find time to go and yesterday things finally worked out. I love all the little sandwiches and scones and it was fun just to sit a chat for a few hours.

  29. I finished the laundry, I made dinner, had my SIL’s birthday party, family dinner, my friend came over and painted my nails. It was a great weekend!!

  30. I looooove fresh sheets! Yay. And fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies 🙂

    my weekend was out of the ordinary as I was travelling and driving by myself for most of it. But I got to my cousin’s baby shower and I got to see a friend’s new baby. babies everywhere.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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