The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. – John Campbell
I’ve posted before about the restorative power of practicing one’s art. Doing that thing that nourishes your soul and reminds you that there is beauty in the world is so important. In this era of endless chores, responsibilities, and commitments, it is much too easy to forget who you really are. A lack of time to meet all those responsibilities and commitments is often the culprit, and we end up sacrificing ourselves in order to meet those external demands.
This post is a reminder that once in a while, no matter how much laundry needs washing or the fact that the fridge needs to be cleaned out, you must to make time for you. Sometimes, you need to let the stack of bills go for a few more hours, and spend that time doing that thing that refreshes and recharges your soul. That thing is what makes your stress level drop. It’s what centers you. It gives you pleasure and fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment. It rejuvenates. It speaks to you as nothing else in your life does or can.
You deserve time to do your thing.
Although this concept is not news to me, I tend to forget it all too easily when mired in the pressures and stress of day-to-day life and school work. Yet, I was reminded of something this weekend that I want to share with you in the hopes it will inspire you to make time to nourish your soul.
I’m an introvert with a capital I. Socializing has been known to induce panic attacks for me. Most people annoy the hell out of me. I have little natural patience, and I’m inherently high-strung. These are hard truths I’ve learned to accept instead of change. I try to force myself into uncomfy situations because I know that people are nice and good and once I get into the situation it’s usually okay and not as terrifying as I imagined. Still, I will pick a book at home over a night out with new people every single time. Alone is my happy place. All too often, I sacrifice my alone time to meet obligations and other’s expectations.
This weekend, I refused to let myself get sucked into that pattern.
So with dishes piling and vacuuming waiting, I told my husband that I was disappearing to my sewing room to be “creative” for a while “or else I will go insane”. Because he is wonderful, he said, “Go! Be creative!” Bless him, and bless him for being in my life. He knows me better than I know myself. What I’ve recently learned is that if I don’t take time away from everyone to recharge my energy, I gradually turn into a grumpy, short-tempered and irritable pain in the ass. Someone who is quick to anger and given to blow things out of proportion. Someone who is NO fun to be around.
I have two primary creative hobbies. One is writing fiction. The other is sewing. I was feeling too scatter brained and full of tension to write a story. My thoughts were jumbled, and my stress level too high to concentrate on the feelings of characters. So I scurried to the basement to my sewing room. My stash of sewing machines, fabric, thread, and patterns is like a balm of creative possibility. After looking though a few old quilting magazines, I settled on a small wall hanging project. I’d been hoarding a purple and black fat-quarters bundle that would be perfect for a rail fence block pattern.
The process of cutting fabric and stitching the blocks had the usual effect. Twice during the process, I made a mental note of how much better I felt. After a few hours, my blood pressure had lowered, and the prospect of human interaction didn’t make me cringe. I paused and took some deep breaths. I focused on how I was feeling and tried to take note of the calm, soothed, and relaxed state I was in. I was present in that moment, and was able to recognize the huge difference in my mood. I sent a silent mantra of gratefulness out into the Universe, and felt it return to me with acceptance and loving kindness.
In that moment of clarity and inner peace, I made myself promise that I would not allow myself to sacrifice so much in the name of obligation. Making time to be creative cannot be secondary in my life. It must be a primary goal. Being creative is who I am. To deny that or set it aside is dishonoring my essence and my purpose in this life.
Don’t deny who you are in favor of all those things that our society places so much value on. Yes, of course the mortgage needs to get paid and groceries need to be bought, but it can wait a few more hours or that extra day. When you feel as though you just can’t take it anymore, that life’s demands are too demanding, and that you are forgetting or losing yourself in the life you have, please make time to practice that part of you that makes the crappy parts of life bearable. Don’t sacrifice too much of yourself all of the time.
Don’t forget who you really are.
The next day after I’d finished my quilt top, my mom came over to my house. My top didn’t come out perfectly, and I asked her what I had done wrong. She gave me some tips and I will need to rework parts of it. That’s okay. I didn’t get angry at myself for the mistakes. I was simply grateful for that time to hold fabric in my hand. I was grateful for the soothing hum of the sewing machine, grateful for the snippets of thread now littering the floor, and most of all, grateful that no one was placing any demands on me or my time.
Before you were a mom, a dad, a runner, a husband, a wife, a career person, a caretaker of elderly parents, whatever, you were you first. There is nothing selfish in recharging yourself so that you can be emotionally available to those you love. And those that love you will see the peace and joy your thing lights up inside of you and welcome it.
Do your thing and do it often!
Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement nor am I being sponsored by, or asked to promote, AchieveMint. I just think it’s a cool app and wanted to share it with the three people that read my blog. (Hello, faithful readers!) If you like it, great! And if not, that’s cool, yo!
Okay, and off we go!
If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I love a good bargain. Paying retail for anything is hard for me to justify. If it’s on sale, or better yet, clearance, I’m all over it. Thrift stores are my favorite places since they are sustainable for the environment, the closet, and the wallet. Plus, thrifting in Boulder has its perks! There always seems to be great fitness gear in like-new condition just waiting for me.
The other thing you should know about me as a runner is that races keep me motivated to train. Yes, I appreciate running’s many benefits and I take satisfaction from them, but if I don’t have a race on the horizon, it’s easy for me to start skipping runs in favor of easier forms of exercise. Or doughnuts. Or those chocolate mousse parfaits they have at Whole Foods. Bless my thighs that concoction will be the death of me.
As you know, races cost money. Hence, when my brother-in-law told me about an app he uses to earn money for doing his regular fitness activities and tracking them with his Fitbit, I thought, “I have a Fitbit. I use it every day. Please tell me more, awesome brother in law.” (FYI, you do not need a Fitbit to use the AchieveMint app, but more in that in a sec.)
So here’s what happens. First, you create a free account with AchieveMint, and sync the fitness and social media apps you are already using to your AchieveMint account. Then, AchieveMint gives you points based on the activity you track with your apps. So if you track your run using MapMyRun or RunKeeper, AchieveMint might give you 66 points for a 2 mile run. After 50,000 they will send you an electronic VISA gift card for 50.00.
That’s totally one race entry. You could maybe even get two 5ks for 50 bucks. That’s TWO FREE RACES, people. And free is always better.
The beauty is that there are lots of different ways to earn points. If you check in at the gym using FourSquare, BOOM, 65 points. If you tweet a healthy article, that’s another easy 5 points. If you log your sleep with your Fitbit, that’s 20 points. You earn points for using apps like Facebook, Instagram, and FitnessPal, to name a very few. You get a big bonus for each app you connect with your AchieveMint account, and if you use a Fitbit device, the points rack up even more quickly. You can set weekly goals, such as running four times a week and cycling twice, and earn a big bonus if you complete them.
Points rack up pretty quickly, and the more you exercise, the more points you can earn. I’ve been using the AchieveMint app since 6/9/14 and I’m already at 8540 points. A good fitness week for me right now is running 6 miles, cycling 2 miles to work 4 days a week, walking 1-2 miles a day for my job, and squeezing in yoga or cross training once a week if I’m super lucky. If you’re training for a marathon, the points could rack really up fast.
I have a Fitbit One and I have it synced with MapMyFitness. AchieveMint connects with both to give me points for the steps I took and the walking I did in a day, even though it’s really the same activity. Check out the screenshot below to give you an idea of how points accumulate.
So far, I’m loving it. I find myself constantly checking my point accumulation and wondering how long it will take me to get to 50k points. I don’t feel that the money is motivating me to be fit, but that it’s rewarding me for stuff I’m doing anyway. I plan to reinvest my ‘winnings’ back into myself by paying for races and whatever else I need to stay fit. That includes cute, functional gear. Priorities, man.
Finally, here is part 2 of the 4 part post about visiting Paris. My second day in Paris was dedicated to seeing Notre Dame and looking for a few gifts to take home. I know it’s not news, but the Metro stops are beautiful. Especially if you have a thing for art Nouveau like me. I didn’t see nearly enough of of Paris’s unique Nouveau architecture but I did find this gem when I got off the train in Ile de la Cité.
Feeling peckish and knowing I was facing a big crowd (not my favorite thing in the world), I stopped at a street cafe and discovered the croque-monsieur. It was the first food I tried to replicate when I got home. My attempt was okay, but not quite as tasty. It might of had something to do with the river view I enjoyed while I ate it…
My destination was a few blocks down the street. The crowd was big but not suffocating, and I spent some time admiring the Cathedral’s impressive architecture. I enjoy history, and to stand before a building that is almost 1000 years old is just mind boggling to me.
Stepping inside, I could understand why people are amazed by its size and grandeur.
The stained glass windows left me speechless.
To think that these were made by skilled hands 850 years ago. They’ve survived both World Wars. They’ve shed their colored rays on the coronation of French Royalty from Henry the Fourth of England in 1431 to Napoleon I in 1804.
As I stood taking photos of the exterior gardens, the bells began ringing. Talk about the right place at the right time! I only had video capability on my camera, but it I had to record it!
And my favorite picture I took the whole trip! This made up for the mostly dark and blurry photos I took inside the Cathedral. I did add a lock. I now feel guilty about it.
Up next, the husband and I visit the Eiffel Tower at night, and we have the best beer we’ve ever had.
I have many goals for 2014. I wrote them all down on a nice crisp sheet of college ruled notebook paper and pinned them to my inspiration board beside my writing desk. Number three, below cultivating calmness and patience, was “run the BolderBoulder“. I viewed this goal as the next step in my motivation to keep running since fun-run 5ks don’t hold quite the same charm as they used to. Plus, the BolderBoulder is my hometown race. It’s been around a long time, and as a native of Boulder I felt is was something I should do at least once in my lifetime. It’s my birthright. Right?
Apparently, I had no idea what I was getting into. Apparently, this race is legendary. Apparently, Runner’s World thinks the BolderBoulder is America’s best 10k. Apparently, 54 thousand people ran the BolderBoulder last year. My assumption that the race would have maybe 20k runners was totally wrong. Silly native Boulderite that I am, I’ve never actually seen the race in person. All my life, I somehow managed to avoid Boulder like the plague on race day. When I was a kid living in the Mapleton Hill neighborhood, my family prepared for the race as if we would be under attack come Memorial Day. All our BBQ supplies were purchased by the previous Thursday night. Dad made sure to stock up on beer long before the crowds swarmed Liquor Mart. We tried not to lave the house all weekend. But this year I find myself repelling the teachings of my youth and following the herd into Folsom Field instead.
I started training in January, like every good New Year’s resolution maker/goal setter should. Then, three weeks later, I injured my left knee as a result of careless clumsiness. It took eight weeks for my knee not to hurt when running, plus, it’s was winter and I had to face a hard truth. Colorado girl that I am, I don’t like running in the cold and snow. I was legit worried about slipping and falling. All of this taught me something, though. Apparently, I’m a wimp-sissy-la-la who really just needs to buck up and order some Yaktrax already. Winters here are beautiful, and draped in a soft, white, peaceful, quiet that you can’t experience at any other time. So, I can learn to ignore it when my nostrils freeze together and I can’t breathe, right? Sure I can.
I picked up C25K again 4 weeks ago and was feeling great. After a minor 2 week set back due to lack of time (stupid finals and overtime at work), I’m back at it again this week. The BolderBoulder is in six days. Am I ready? Meh, I feel ready enough. I’m not going to be as strong as I wanted to be when I set this goal in January, but I’m ready to set a pace to beat for 2015. I’m ready to see what all the fuss is about. I’m ready to participate in a homegrown event that is steeped in tradition with a passionate following and rich history. Mostly, I’m super stoked to be a Boulderite running in the BolderBoulder.
Sorry I have no photos for this post. Until I can take some of my own, I have none to share that aren’t copyrighted. I’ll be posting about my BolderBoulder race experience on the running blog Scootadoot sometime next week, and photos will be included!
Running is not something I ever thought I’d do (voluntarily). Being diagnosed with asthma at age 3 and forever being told not to run, ever, pretty much squashed any inkling or aptitude I may have had. As a result, I hated track and field day, and I was always picked last for team sports. Always. In jr high, I played soccer (goalkeeper) and volleyball, and pretty much managed to avoid running. I was more than happy to keep running out of my life.
What changed? Why on God’s green earth would I start running in my late 30s? WHO am I becoming?!?! Well, there are a few answers. At first , it was what all my cool friends, the Chicks over at Scootadoot, were doing. Since we are all spread out across the country, I thought running would be a good way to stay connected to my girls. Plus, it’s good for me, and that never hurts. Now that I’ve been doing it for a bit, I run for one reason, stress relief (but more about that later).
I still have some issues with running, though. There are things I’m still worried about, mainly because I’m a worrier. It’s what I do. Here’s the top five:
1. Losing my boobs. Because really, I can’t afford for that to happen. I have none to spare. I know, this is shallow and shitty, but it’s honest. I’m fortunate to have a healthy self-image and I’m proud of my body, but if my tiny ta-tas disappear I will be super sad panda.
2. Scary stories my dad told me about running. My dad was a body builder and personal trainer at Gold’s Gym for many years. His favorite soapbox topic was how running was the worst exercise one could subject their fragile joints to. He would bemoan its benefits in favor of convincing me that runners destroyed the cartridge in their knees, hips, and ankles. “You don’t want to be hobbling around with a cane when you’re fifty, do you?” He also swore running was a definite boob-shrinker.
3. An asthma attack will finally kill me. Training in Colorado at a mile above sea level adds to this anxiety and certainly makes breathing difficult during running. However, I try to focus on the upside of the altitude problem by remembering that when I go to my next race at sea level, I’m going to KILL IT. (Or so the theory goes.)
4. I will lose too much weight. I know. Go ahead and grumble under your breath about how that must be a nice problem to have. I agree, generally it isn’t a bad problem to have. Generally. I happen to be one if those rarities who represent the other side of the weight spectrum. That’s the side that is never talked about, because there’s no reason to talk about us. However, on many occasions I have been asked if I’m anorexic or bulimic, and the answer is, was, and always will be, no. But lemme tell ya, it’s a super shitty feeling to try to convince someone you don’t have an eating disorder, and have to endure their pity filled looks of disbelief when you tell them you had chicken fried steak and eggs for breakfast.
5. Personal safety. I have a lot of fears about being attacked, raped, murdered, all of the above, or worse, sold into slavery. Most of it is ridiculous, and highly unlikely in my tiny town, but my unnatural fears may have something to do with that time I really was almost kidnapped as a child. There was a big scary van with no windows involved, and to this day those kind of vans creep me the eff out. To ease my fears when running, I went and bought some police mace last week. What I really want to have is a black belt in some amazing kick-ass martial art technique. Maybe that’s what’s next? I imagine myself like the women in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, utterly capable of subduing any threat with a thorough and decisive ass kicking, no sword needed.
Until then, I’ll carry my mace, be extra aware of my surroundings, and take my little dog, Coco, with me when I can. I’ll also carry my stupid inhaler on every run, just as I’ve carried it with me everywhere my whole life. I’ll be checking the mirror and scale more often, too, watching to make sure I’m not shrinking in all the wrong places. And I’ll be worrying. Worrying about whatever, doesn’t matter. You can count on it!
What fears did you overcome when you started running? Any advice for chronic worrying or addictions to fried food? Help?
I sat on a bench today
Next to the creek
Wide and fast with spring run off.
The sun shone on my peach colored blouse,
The breeze making it flutter and ripple
Like the creek.
I pulled up my hair,
And the breeze blew across my neck
Tickling the tendrils with flirtatious beckoning.
Not to go back to the office.
For me, 2013 will be highlighted by memories of one amazing event. Because of the generosity of an wonderful friend, I was able to accompany my husband on a business trip to Paris. As my friends and family know, I am cursed when it comes to traveling. However, this trip (my first to Europe), went of without a hitch.
Not being savvy with such significant jet lag, my body, and more importantly, my tummy, were all out of whack. I learned later that I likely didn’t hydrate or eat properly to stave off the effects of an eight hour time difference. My first night and full day in Paris were wasted as I recovered in our hotel room and I pecked on fruit and bread, anything else sounded none too appetizing. Lesson here is to plan accordingly. Next time, I will pack more protein rich foods on the plane and skip the celebratory glass of wine for water. Sleep is also your friend on these long flights. I kept telling this fact to my brain but it kept reminding me that we were flying over open ocean, and there wasn’t any way in hell it was going to let me sleep. Maybe an all-niter the day before is the answer there. Otherwise, it’s Prince Valium for me.
Once I had caught up on sleep and was feeling well enough to venture out, I put on my walking boots and headed up the block to the nearest Metro station. The Paris Metro is a dream to use and I found it to be safe, clean, and tourist friendly. Also, I had an app for that which always helps. I was easily able to get to every attraction with only one change of trains. Piece of cake!
I stepped off of the Metro and emerged onto the street. After walking a few blocks, I found myself crossing the Pont de la Concorde. Looking to the left, I caught my first real glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The River Seine was flowing under my feet, and I felt like a citizen of the world!
On the other side of the Pont de la Concorde, I found the Place de la Concorde, the Obelisk Napoleon took from Egypt, and one of the Place de la Concorde Fountains
I wandered up the street along the Seine with my Lonely Planet; Pocket Paris guidebook and map in hand and my eyes taking in every site they could. It was cool for September, and the breeze smelled like rain and croissants. The streets were crowded with pedestrians. I felt like a kid at Christmas. My vintage Italian leather boots were taking me closer to a place I had dreamed of since I started commandeering my stepmother’s Vogue magazines in the early 1990s. With a mixture of awed excitement and intimidated fear, I was strolling through the fashion capitol of the world.
That night after my husband was finished with his work day, I took him to see everything I had discovered. I donned my tennis shoes (thanks, giant blister) and we headed out. We strolled, and ate a wonderful meal, and braved Parisian traffic. We even found Laudree!
First day in Paris = FTW magic that made me want to move there. On the way back to my hotel, I got caught in the rain. Smartly dressed women in heels dashed by, their umbrellas shielding them from the fall storm. I ducked under the Pont Alexandre III Bridge to wait out the rain. A few locals were there too, trying to stay dry. I couldn’t help but think about all the people who had done this over the decades since the bridge opened in 1900. The moment was perfectly romantic, and so picturesque it was almost cliche. Somehow, it was reassuring to discover that something so cliche could actually be real. And beautiful. You think it only exists in a movie, but no, you can experience it yourself.
I leave you with the sound of the rain sprinkling the Seine in the shadow of the Pont Alexandre III Bridge. Au revoir until part Deux!
“Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is. But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master–something that at times strangely wills and works for itself. [. . .] it sets to work on statue-hewing, and you have a Pluto or a Jove, a Tisiphone or a Psyche, a Mermaid or a Madonna, as Fate or Inspiration direct. Be the work grim or glorious, dread or divine, you have little choice left but quiescent adoption. As for you–the nominal artist–your share in it has been to work passively under dictates you neither delivered nor could question–that would not be uttered at your prayer, nor suppressed nor changed at your caprice. If the result be attractive, the World will praise you, who little deserve praise; if it be repulsive, the same World will blame you, who almost as little deserve blame.” – Charlotte Brontë
It has been twenty-nine days since The Color Run – Denver, and in that time, a few things have happened that I never would have imagined:
- I fell in love with climbing
- I chose to register for the Electric Run instead of buying Muse tickets
- I added Pink and 3OH3 to my workout playlist
- I bought a real pair of running shoes.
- I flexed my biceps for my husband and was so surprised by the huge change I saw that I giggled uncontrollably
- I bought a trail bike
- I really liked riding said trail bike.
Fitness is becoming a major part of my life. I owe much of this shift to my participation in the TRUBLUE Reach Your Peak Training Program taught by Chris Wall. The impact climbing has had on my body has been HUGE. I started the program on June 11th and have lost six pounds, can see my belly getting flatter, and overall, I’m feeling more positive about my body. Climbing is fun. Really fun. And you don’t necessarily need a partner. If your local climbing gym has a couple of TRUBUE Autobelays you can climb alone whenever it’s convenient for you.
It’s taken me a long time to come around to climbing. I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. Therefore, one would think I was born knowing how to belay. I mean, Boulder is the “epicenter of American climbing” after all. I’ll be honest, after getting into a tussle with a cactus on a 5th grade class hike, I’ve been a bit of an ‘indoor girl’. Aside from tent camping as a kid and RV camping now, I steer pretty clear of the wilderness. The Rockies are amazing and beautiful and full of amazing and beautiful creatures too, like rattlesnakes and bears and mountain lions and…cacti.
And then there’s the whole falling thing. Falling scares the shit out of me. I’m not afraid of heights, but the idea of falling is panic inducing. I could never sky dive. EVER. Even amusement park rides that drop you twenty stories are utterly terrifying. And the possibility of falling into a cactus? No thanks. Been there, done that. Hence, the appeal of indoor climbing.
At the gym, I feel safe, I feel in control, and I am still challenged. The mental challenges are just as grueling and difficult as the physical ones, and the exhilaration of besting both is as rewarding as any sport I can think of. It’s an easy sport to pick up; you only need a pair of climbing shoes and a well-fitted harness to get started, and my gym has both available to borrow for free. If you want to score your own gear expect to spend $150.00 – $300.00 for shoes and a harness. I recommend climbing to anyone who hates lifting weights and wants fast results. It’s low impact but incredibly strength building. And it’s fun. So very, very fun.
As mentioned, I made some tough, grown-up decisions with my money recently. I registered for the Electric Run – Denver on August 30th because I decided Muse’s new album was kinda sucky, and I didn’t think $100.00 for a pair of tickets was worth it. A 5k, especially an ELECTRIC 5k , is a much better expenditure of my funds, yes? YES! I’ll be running with my homies, team Scrambled Legs, again and we are so gonna rock the costumes!
In preparation for this event, I started taking running a bit more seriously. I invested in some good socks and shoes, and I’m running at least once a week in addition to all the other activities I’m doing. I created a new playlist that keeps my head bobbing and the inspiration flowing via memories of my girls at Scootadoot.
Running isn’t going as smoothly as I would like. That old right knee pain that made me stop running before flared up right away, although I can tell my new shoes do help a lot. I know the solution is to strengthen my knees. With time I should be able to run a complete 5k, and really, that’s all the runner I want to be at this point. Plus, I found a way to strengthen my knees that feels heavenly while doing it!
The last newly discovered treasure in my fitness epiphany is my new city/trail hybrid bike that I just scored. There was a time, a decade ago, when my husband and I rode our bikes along a cement bike path near the duplex we were renting. It was alright, but my bike, a cheap Huffy that looked like a mountain bike but was too heavy to pedal up an ant hill, made the activity pretty labor intensive for me, and not in a good way. Well, said husband recently scored a Trek mountain bike from a co-worker at a steal and on the 4th of July, we rode about 7 miles together, he on his Trek and me on my heavy-as-hell Huffy.
I was working SO MUCH HARDER than him! But I enjoyed the view from the saddle, and I could feel my bum knee getting a good, steady workout. It felt really good, and I wanted to do it more, but not on my slog of a bike. Coincidentally, there is a bike shop across the street from my house called Shalom Bikes, owned by a sweet and knowledgeable Peruvian man named Angel. He and my husband have gotten to be good friends over the years, they have ridden together many times and my husband bought his road bike from Angel a few years back. Well of course Angel had a sweet little hybrid ride that was the perfect size, and price, for me! I put the old slog out on the curb, and took my new 2012 GT Transeo 3.0 home!
This last Sunday, Rick (aka husband) and I tossed the bikes in the back of the Forester and headed to the Teller Farm Trail head of the East Boulder Trail. I drive by this trail head everyday on my commute to and from work and it looks so beautiful and peaceful. Although it was bit crowded by the time we got there at 10:00AM, the trail didn’t disappoint, and I got to test my new bike out on a gravel trail. It did fantastic, and boy do I love the disc brakes! Despite upgrading to a super cushioned saddle, my sit bones are really sore today but it was worth it. I know my bony ass will get used to that. It felt wonderful, but I was a bit surprised and sad when I looked at the gps and saw our ride was just over 5 miles long; it felt a lot longer than that! The views were amazing and the weather was absolutely perfect, in the mid 70s and overcast.
Soon, the Reach Your Peak training will wind down and Summer will come to a close. To replace it will be classes full Dickens lectures and Math homework. But I’m determined NOT to let that ruin the progress I have made. I feel good. I feel…hot. I was hit on by a twenty something guy the other day. As a late thirty something lady, I can’t lie, it felt good. He was a douche, but who cares? I’m almost 40, for Pete’s sake, I’ll take it. The point is I reached the point where I can see the changes happening. I never had the patience to get to this point before. It feels so right. These changes are for life, baby!
BRING IT, LIFE!