Enjoying Sundays: How Life Goes On After Football
I'm in mourning.
This is the slump of the year. No football. It's sorely menacing and I hate it. Mostly, I'm whiny because the Texas A&M Aggies didn't acquire all my national championship dreams and the Dallas Cowboys didn't take the Super Bowl (which still stings and I really, really thought this was the year). So that's the start of it all - fan disappointment.
But it goes deeper. Life after football means no fall weather. And for many Texans like me, fall weather is more of a mindset than a reality. Fall weather is something like driving down the street on a cool (or kinda hot) evening and seeing Friday night lights, tailgates and slower Saturday paces. It means people's attire is nothing short of head-to-toe team colors and appointments with Fantasy Football Leagues. It means grilling out and staking out a spot around the big screen.
Life after football also means no anticipation toward Christmas, where stoked fires aren't as meaningful, where chili is just chili and not a sign of the season, where baked goods are harder to come by and are often replaced with lesser-than store-made Valentine's treats. Bah humbug.
But, even after all that, I dug in deep and decided that my life can indeed continue after football season. I can still enjoy my home and my environments, even if my DIY chalkboards aren't handcrafted with the SEC football schedule and motivational quotes by Peyton Manning.
Here's what I think enjoying Sundays might look like this year:
I set a goal this year to read 12 books. For me, this is audacious. Being in my 5th year of full time teaching, I rarely have time to read, and when the opportunity arises during the summer, I'm usually on mental hiatus to recuperate altogether. But over the past year, I've listened to more podcasts and favorite speakers that have challenged my approach to reading. I now view the act of reading as a necessary habit to think more (and better), to stay creative, and to process ideas. And Sundays are now the best time slots to let the books come open. Let's be honest: the afternoon TV slots have now depreciated substantially but the body is still in lazy mode. So I say let the reading marathons begin!
2. Goal setting
Another byproduct of all this podcast listening is the urge to participate in goal setting. I usually don't write down my own personal goals, but I realized that I accomplish much more in a day if I work in small, doable steps. So I started writing small goals in anticipation of reaching larger goals in the next few years, small goals that are doable and achievable. Sundays are perfect for goal setting. They give you the platform of looking at the week ahead and planning out your strategies for tackling the goals with success. They also allow (for most people) a work-free environment where stress levels are low and opportunities to envision things and ideas can be done in a myriad of environments, such as a local coffee shop, a favorite outdoor spot, or a cozy nook in the home.
3. Bike riding
I particularly love bike riding because it's an easier exercise on my knee than many other options. Having endured many knee injuries from years of soccer playing, bike riding allows me to run off some steam with less pressure. On other occasions I don't run off steam at all; it's merely a spectator ride. I love that riding a bike can take you further than running but is still more intimate than driving. The whole process allows you to take in all of nature, enjoy the wind, seek out new places in town and appreciate common spots in a new way. Let's all channel our inner Lionel Richie as we bike into the start of our week singing "easy like Sunday morning".
4. New recipe hunts and meal planning
Okay, I'm just throwing out a line and hope I catch something here. I've never meal planned, ever. But if I keep changing my habits in reading and goal setting after all my listening to podcasts, then learning how to be more creative in cooking and possibly setting aside time to meal plan is most likely the next pursuit on my list. And what better day than Sunday to tackle the week's food? Much like the goal setting experience, Sundays allow the opportunity to plan out and envision the week, including what meals and time slots will look like. I don't know if I'll meal prep or not, but it wouldn't hurt to at least set a food budget for the week, plan date night dinners, or sneak in time to research fun new recipes. Sunday afternoons offer perfect baking time, too. You can bake treats for coworkers, sweets for desserts, or a variety of pastries and breads for breakfast for the week. If Sundays in the spring are going to compete with the fall scents, I'd go with the sweet aromas of strawberries, cakes and cookies.
What about you? Are you still in mourning like me, or do you love what the new year brings on Sundays? Share your thoughts (and any recipe/meal-planning ideas!). I'd love to hear from you!