Monday, December 17, 2012

Spend Your Sunlight

If nothing else, the recent fire in Leominster and the horrible events in Connecticut show how critical it is that we make the most of our time with our loved ones.  With these events in mind, I found myself watching this video, which features a friend of mine. Jennifer Argenti surfing on the California coast.

The message of this beautiful song is repeated often in its chorus: "you've got to spend your sunlight wisely".   Meaning, make the most of every moment - make each day as fulfilling and meaningful as you can.  Both the message and the song have a special significance for me.

I went to college with Jennifer.  Not only is she a shortboard surfing champion, she is a talented and well respected musician who travels the world playing with various artists.  She's actually the violinist responsible for the haunting violin tracks throughout the song.  She's played with Willie Nelson,  Dishwallah, Jeanne Mas, Laura Roppe, Danny B. Harvey and, of course, Micah Brown, the NPR and KROQ featured singer-songwriter that wrote and performed this song.

As if that wasn't enough, Jenn recently started running triathlons as well.  She is a vegan, and is currently sponsored in her athletic endeavors by Crush Sunglasses/Kreed Eyes...  She even has her picture on the little tag attached to their sunglasses.  She's my age, but looks like a 25 year old supermodel.  I'd be jealous, but she's also one of the sweetest, most sincere people I've ever known.

I guess you could say that Jennifer spends her sunlight wisely.  In fact, when I first got back in touch with her on Facebook, my initial thought was that her professional life sounds like the career path described by a little kid...  "When I grow up, I'm going to be a surfer, and a violinist...."  Not all that far apart from my friend's daughter's dolphin trainer-pediatrician-astronaut ambitions.

When I knew Jennifer in college, she was a very nice, pretty, exuberant girl.  A talented musician, yes, but if she had any super-athlete tendencies, they weren't obvious to me...  Then again, we were both going to a "serious" music school.  You know, Bach, Beethoven - some modern stuff by composers I can't remember now (I switched majors and schools my sophomore year, so it's all a dim memory) There was a jazz band, but as far as I knew, there were no violins in it.   And the music school was in Ohio.  No big waves there, that I knew of.  So, while I had no doubt Jennifer would do well in life, her transformation from Ohio classical musician to super cool surfer/violinist was a bit of a surprise.

I'm not sure how much this has to do with her success these past few years, but Jennifer became a vegan 17 years ago.  And she says that since giving up eating animal products (fish, meat, eggs and dairy), she's felt incredible - clearer headed and full of energy.  Obviously, she has plenty of energy - what with the triathlon training, surfing and all...

For me, watching her in this video was a clarification, a confirmation, of what I want.  I want THAT...  Not to be a surfer or a violinist, (although it would be very cool) but to have the energy and clarity of mind to make the most of every second of my day.  And if she can do it, why not me?   I can at least TRY anyway...

So far, the eliminating sweets and sodas from my diet has been a success.  I feel a LOT better.  I've actually enjoyed making Christmas cookies this year - it's usually amounts to agony of overeating and feeling utterly gross.  But I still have a lot less energy and stamina than I'd like.   So, on the off chance that it'll help, I've eliminated meat from my diet as well.

What the heck - in for a penny, in for a pound, right?  And it certainly can't hurt to eat mostly fruit, raw veggies and whole grains.  For protein, I've been having lentils, hummus, cheese and smart balance peanut butter.   It's been 3 days now, and so far, so good.  No cravings, no angst, no problem.  It sure beats the diet coke and cookies "diet" that I usually indulge in this time if year.

I'll let you know if the clarity and super-athlete tendencies start to develop.  Or maybe you'll hear about me in the news someday, when I win my first Ironman Triathlon...  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Like everyone else, I was horrified to hear of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  So senseless.  So sad.  In contrast, the lifestyle changes I'm making may seem trivial.  But they're not.  And neither are yours, if you have something in your life that you would like to improve upon.  What you do every moment of every day matters tremendously to those around you.  Because sometimes, life is short.  And it is always unpredictable.

So, here's wishing you the good health and energy to spend your sunlight wisely this holiday season.

Happy Holidays.

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