Have an Outlet


Instead of getting to my point way at the end of the post and not seeing it until you reach the bottom, I’ll give you a shortcut to the main message: Have an Outlet or Else You’ll Burst.

Often, being active is my way to blow off steam. Take this winter, for example, when I got a membership to a local athletic club mostly for pool use. Sometimes I would climb the indoor wall, too, but the primary need at that cooped-up time in the year was mobility. Winter cooperates with beautiful white days or above zero temps every so often, but I don’t know when those will occur. I’ve waited in the past for my schedule to align with wonderful weather and have instead withered away to an ornery swear word. I ranted and raved and probably needed anger management. I certainly could use therapy … like a nice massage. I attempted sparing the expense on the budget for many years, but then last spring when the crap hit the fan, I realized the financial gulp was worth it. It was either A: Go on like a T. devil or B: Pay for two measly months and be able to count on being active. Yes, I decided seven months prior so as to allot for the money out. If I had a killer ski hill nearby I’d do it. If I had enough snow depth for snowshoeing, I’d hit the trails. If I had sunshine and a beach –or, believe you me, the ability to take quick flights to Vegas for a weekend– I’d be gone. For years, the responsible me said, “Not right now.” At long last, the frantically gasping me said, “You better, or else all hell will break loose.”

I admitted the reality of the situation: I was born to be active. My body was literally crying out in agony over my lack of movement. Waiting until the one hour Saturday morning Zumba class just wasn’t cutting it. For overwintering, I needed surefire ways to kick dormancy. I was a spewing volcano otherwise, pulsing magma through our home’s rooms and hallways.

The house was a better place when I got my multiple doses per week of muscle stimulation. Like a panda eating bamboo or a koala munching eucalyptus leaves, I was finally satisfied. The post-holiday pick-me-up got me through the harshest cold weeks. Would I do it again? I better.

Beyond physical activity, I also try to insert the arts. Listening to music is some help, but putting my hands to work and developing something I can produce with a proud “I did that!” is utterly gratifying. Last fall I was given some simple watercolor tips to implement using a basic paint set and brush. On our recent vacation, I packed supplies. Sitting poolside and along the shoreline were sublime settings. Within an hour I mellowed, undone by natural beauty surrounding my seat and delighted by a mild accomplishment~ simple yet spectacular; mediocre yet memorable. In the grand scheme, these products weren’t much, but they were noteworthy to me. My skin-deep souvenir from warm sunshine was nice, but these originals were powerfully meaningful– more lasting than my fading tan. They are now taped on my bedroom wall included in my growing gallery, symbolic of when time stood still and I absorbed beaming sunlight.

I’ll say it again: Have an Outlet.



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