(of food) No longer fresh and pleasant to eat; hard, musty, or dry: “stale bread”.
Wednesday night I was telling a friend about the wild ride I’ve been on during the past two years. While nursing a glass of wine, I explained to him how liberating it has been living outside of the box for the first time in my life, and how embracing the cowgirl spirit ultimately landed me in Austin.
He looked straight into my eyes, and, with the wisdom of an ancient Buddhist monk, softly asked, “Now that you are no longer living on the road, how do you keep your life fresh?”
My enthusiastic chatter about my experiences screeched to a halt as I pondered his question. I’ve actually been contemplating this question for months now. Breaking through the restrictive rules I had set for my life by living on the road was actually quite easy. I was having new experiences every day. As a result, life was incredibly fresh because every place I visited and every person I met was new. I didn’t follow the rules on my road trip because there were no rules. I was making them up as I went along. 13 months ago the road led me to Austin, a city that captured my heart in such a way that I decided to call it home. I love this city, and I hope to call it home for a very very long time. That said, the longer I’m here, the more I become settled into a routine. Routines are important to the extent that we need to be productive and dependable in work and in relationships. Yet routines can equally be dangerous. I’ve found that too much routine in my life breeds boredom, which makes life feel stale.
When I was a child my mom would regularly bake loaves of brown bread. My sisters and I would salivate at the smell while it was in the oven, and later eagerly devour warm butter-slathered slices of bread. I want that for my life. I want to salivate with expectation for each day’s experiences. I don’t want my days to be stale bread, rather, I want to devour them with the same urgency that I used to eat my mom’s fresh baked brown bread.
When I felt the first inkling of routine-induced stale bread surface in my life a few months ago, I called my friend Heather and asked her to sign up for a beekeeping class with me. It was a random way to spend a Saturday, given I’ve never once in my life had a desire to keep bees. Yet it was something wildly out of my routine, and although I most definitely do not want to be a beekeeper, I still feel a giddy spark when I think about the experience.
The stale bread was served again recently. So, when my friend Dawn, Production Designer for the TV show BAR RESCUE, called to say they would be in Austin making over a couple bars for a few weeks, I eagerly accepted her offer to join the art team. It would not only put some much-needed cash in my pocket, but it would also be a new experience for me. Working on the show was grueling physical work with very little sleep. The experience was both exhilarating at times and humbling at others. My previous Hollywood experiences were at an executive level, yet here I was shopping for curtains and bar stools, painting, helping create and decorate, and on one day even scrubbing paint drippings off a men’s urinal (disgusting disgusting disgusting). My body is still bruised and sore, but my spirit is singing because the experience was completely out of the box for me. Life feels fresh again.
I need to keep my life fresh. Part of my commitment to living with the cowgirl spirit is to keep doing the work, to not let life get stale, to keep having new adventures, and to constantly challenge myself to live an authentic life that brings me happiness. I’m already brainstorming about my next adventure to ward off stale bread. By doing this, I’m ensured another metaphorical helping of my mom’s warm butter-slathered freshly baked brown bread. I’m already salivating at the thought.
Read me on The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-buckley/