Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's not about the bike...or the dress...

I was away for a bit a week or so ago, which perhaps you noticed! While I was out of town, I did some bicycling and had a great inspiring moment. Or so I thought. Sometimes, you need to see inspiration in action to believe it.

I mistakenly thought that taking a bike ride near the beach would make for a pleasant and flat ride. Sea level's a low elevation, right? Ah, but the path I chose managed to have way more incline than decline. Pedaling up these hills certainly provided me with an exquisite view of the seascape, but my quads and calves certainly weren't savoring their surroundings. Accordingly, I shifted to a lower gear to make it easier for my legs to pedal. When the road flattened a bit, I added more gear. But I certainly took off gear when the incline challenged my muscles.

After several ups and downs and ups and ups, I discovered a learning moment as clear as the blue sky above me: when things get difficult, make things easier for yourself. Don't heap on more (in this case, gear), because you'll make your tough road even tougher. Making things easier means you get yourself up that hill.

No question - all of these things seem obvious. But whenever we ADDers are in the thick of whatever turmoil we find ourselves in, these notions manage to escape us. We're quite good at getting wrapped up in one thing, which begets another, which begets...well, you get the idea.

The lighbulb in my head burned brightly thanks to all of those pithy thoughts, and shortly thereafter I thought that I needed to blog all about these fantastic thoughts the moment I got home. But an even better idea superseded it:

Try it out for yourself and then report on the results.

Little did I know that I'd get such an opportunity the following evening. I was attending a wedding that following weekend, and in true ADD Libber fashion, waited until the last minute to find a frock. I waited until the last minute because I'm picky about dresses. So I figured I'd squander some of the $4.00/gallon fossil fuel in my car, hit one of the colossal suburban malls, and in no time I'd land the perfect outfit. Right?


Gracious salesclerks suggested volumes of frocks for me to audition in the triple mirrors of dressing rooms. Each dress, unfortunately, had its issues: skirt too straight, skirt too full, way too high cut, way too low cut, too slutty, too prissy. As the evening at the mall wore on, I transformed from a upbeat, optimistic shopper to a bitter castoff from "America's Next Top Model". I started dragging dresses to the fitting rooms that I didn't like, in the hope that they would fit and I'd deal with how they looked at another time.

Dragging dresses left me bedraggled. And then, the lightbulb from the previous day lit up. I thought of those pithy thoughts about taking off some of the load when the going gets tough. Perhaps it was time for me to call off my search for the evening?

At first, I balked at the idea because of the gas I used and the time crunch that remained. But then I thought, "What is it that I really want right now?" And you know what? At that moment, I didn't want a-line or taffeta. I wanted a lemonade. So I went to the food court and bought one, which ended up being my only purchase of the night. Shortly thereafter, I headed back to my car. I decided to make a plan when I got home.

Also in true ADD Libber fashion, I didn't make that plan when I got home. Instead, I downloaded pictures from my little trip onto my computer. While the camera transferred the pictures, I flipped through some random photographs. Those included some from a New Year's ball I went to a couple years ago...and I remembered that the awesome dress I wore was still in my closet!

I'd forgotten about it, which is odd because I own few dresses. I tossed it on and preened in the mirror from all angles. It still fit. Perfectly. And it still fit perfectly when I wore it last weekend when my friends tied the knot.

I can't guarantee you'll have a Cinderella moment and find a dress or Prince Charming or even a post-midnight pumpkin when you need one. But why not downshift when the going gets tough?

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