Last year, I decided to make the most of June with a project I called “Joyful June.” Every day of that month, I did one thing that made me ridiculously happy. The activities ranged from the simple (running a route I hadn’t run in months, or walking to the grocery store instead of driving) to the somewhat-extravagant (shopping at Lululemon).
I enjoyed the experience so much that I had no choice: I had to bring it back this year.
It got a great kick-off last weekend, when I helped my friend Charity move into her new house. Moving is always exciting. Sure, there’s stress and tons of tiny details – but it’s EXCITING. It means a fresh start, whether you’re moving across town, an hour up the highway, or across the country. Helping someone with that, especially someone who’s been looking for a fresh start as much as Charity has, is tremendously rewarding. Plus, there’s nothing quite like moving to show you the immediate results of your labor. Between the time that a group of us arrived at Charity’s old house on Saturday morning to empty it out, and the time that I left her new place on Sunday after helping to set up the kitchen, somehow, a brand-new home was born and a new life was started. What a cool thing to be a part of.
I also got to pet-sit. As I’ve said before, I enjoy pet-sitting because a) it allows me to set up temporary camp in a home besides my own, b) I get to see and explore new neighborhoods, and c) I get some quality “fur therapy” without the responsibility of full-time pet ownership. This particular job took me to downtown Albuquerque to hang out with two Italian greyhounds and one sassy cat. How could I not enjoy the experience when their owner has a painting of a sunflower on her living room wall?? Plus, the house sits within walking distance of one of my favorite restaurants in town, the Standard Diner. You can bet I moseyed down the block for a dinner – and even better, the TV in the bar was showing a Colorado Rockies game. Bliss!
While pet-sitting, I got to go exploring in my running shoes, which always makes me happy. I’ve run in downtown Albuquerque before, but always during a race, never on my own. On Saturday morning, I did an out-and-back run. I picked my turnaround point based partially on what my watch said, but also on a tried-and-true practice for running in an unfamiliar area: Trust your instincts. When the houses you run past cease to look cute and the barking of the neighborhood dogs starts sounding…er…hungry, it’s time to turn around. I trotted back to the house without incident, although I was sorely tempted to stop at a house emitting absolutely heavenly breakfast burrito aromas. Yummmm.
I picked a different route for Sunday’s run, aiming for the zoo. I found it, ran around the surrounding blocks a little bit, then headed back. Since it was before 9 am on a Sunday morning, the streets were pretty quiet. No heavenly aromas on that run, but still some fun exploration.
Now if I could only find a race with breakfast burritos at the end.