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Re-Entry, Sparking Joy, and Other Random Renovation & Life Tidbits

July 31, 2018

Re-Entry, Sparking Joy, and Other Random Renovation & Life Tidbits

We just got home from pretty excellent trip — hosting some clinics, Nationals for Peter, meetings for me, and even stopping in for a surprise birthday party in the town where we got married — and then we walked into a bit of chaos. So, what’s up? Pretty much all good things, but it’s definitely feeling a little hectic… Not because of our schedule, which is predictably bonkers, but because we’re in the middle of re-doing a bunch of stuff in our condo and I do NOT work well when surrounded by projects that are on the go. Even writing this at my desk is hard when there are boxes everywhere and stuff I could be organizing instead of getting a post and some other writing done! So, what’s up?

—> What we’re doing: We finally took up the old, ugly carpets in the office and bedroom and replaced them with a really nice gray-brown laminate. The results are great, but that project sparked needing to move all the furniture out and then back in, but also ripped a bunch of paint as we took off the trim, so now rooms need to be repainted. The closet got taken apart completely, so rather than putting it back the way it was, we want to optimize it for our needs. It’s a great problem to have since we’re finally starting to make this place feel more like a home than a quickly furnished rental, but it’s still a huge time suck / mentally, having everything just OUT is killing me. But it’s going to be SO. WORTH. IT. to have a place that’s finally ‘home.’

—> On that note, it was a perfect time for me to start reading Marie Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy. I loved The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing as someone who was OBSESSED with books on organization as a kid (anyone else love The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room?). I’ve written about using the Kondo method to clean out your gear and athletic stuff in the past, but the whole closet re-org thing has really given me a good chance to do a solid round of going through everything, not just my gear. I have a hard time with the whole concept of minimalism, no matter how much I like the theory, though: I definitely find myself wondering about the socio-economic implications of being able to be minimal. It’s tempting to just get rid of a ton, and that feels great, but what happens when your bib shorts wear out and you got rid of your other five pairs? (This got talked about in a twitter convo after I posted the first gear-cleanout piece, and I think there’s a middle ground somewhere between keeping enough and being reasonable about not wanting to re-buy $hit, versus getting rid of stuff that you legit don’t use/is broken/expired/etc.). I definitely struggle to figure out where that line is, because the “I might need it” reason is both legitimate and a handy excuse for hanging onto something.

—> Side note: I think the best way to use the idea of “Sparking Joy”/minimalism is after the initial clean-out, as a consumer going forward. I may not want to get rid of any of my bib shorts (because they are hella pricey to replace), so maybe instead of culling my bike shorts, I just don’t buy any new ones. Same goes for my dressier dresses — don’t need to get rid of them, but definitely don’t need to buy more basically ever. Also, letting stuff go as it wears out, and then not replacing it.

—> I wrote last year about the ‘art’ of re-entry after long (or even short but intense) trips. We spend so much of our time on the road, despite our best efforts/proclamations that we want to be home more, that the art of coming home is a big deal for us. I find it’s weird emotional and stressful for me in the first couple days as I try to shift back into routine and get situated again, and this time was a doozy as we walked into our bed being in the living room, all our clothes/closet stuff in boxes all over the place and two rooms in our small condo basically construction zones.

—> While talking about getting rid of things that don’t spark joy, I’m super stoked that a few friends and I are now planning a good clothing/gear swap — I haven’t had one of these in years, and I realized it’s so much easier to let go of some of my stuff when I think about it in the context of swapping clothes with friends. (I’m also donating a bunch of cycling kit to some younger new cyclists, and that makes letting go of kit a lot easier too!)

—> We finally booked a honeymoon, two years later! I have to admit, I felt a weird amount of guilt when it came to actually reserving our hotel/booking our flights because I haven’t booked a real vacation… ever? Wow, that’s a weird one. But normally, the only vacation I take is with my family (parents + little sis) to Virginia Beach, and even that hasn’t happened in a few years. Beyond that, Peter and I would occasionally sneak in a couple days here and there as ‘vacation’ mid-work trip, i.e taking a weekend in VA Beach with my family after we did a clinic in Norfolk, spending a weekend in Paris while we were in Belgium for the cyclocross season working with the Aspire team… Stuff that worked with our work/race schedule. And even within those weekend trips (including every race weekend), we rarely take a day off of being online and doing our normal work stuff, we’re just doing it in a different place, maybe taking a little less time. (Hell, even our wedding, the day before we were both turning in articles and recorded two podcasts!) All that to say… It’s time to take an actual vacation. We finally booked a 10-day trip for December and I am freaking stoked!

—> On that note, I wrote a while back about the fear of being offline. While the place we’re going does have wifi, I do plan to take at least a few of the days totally off the computer. We’ll see how that goes…

—> Who’s ready for cyclocross? (Raises hand.) Peter and I both spent yesterday doing some pretty serious work/conversations about what we’re up to this season. It’s the first time in four years that I won’t be working with Jeremy and the Aspire team (pour one out), but it looks like we’re still going to be heavily involved in cyclocross in some ways that are a little different for both of us, but we’re pretty excited about it. More to come there, so stay tuned!

—> Are you caught up on the Athletic Bookworms? I am DIGGING THE HELL out of Deena Kastor’s awesome book for the July/August read, check it out!

So, what’s up with you guys? Any great reads/new sweet gear/etc?




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