Tonight during salsa class, I was reminded of a valuable lesson from my pal Doug. He’s 60 years old; he’s rockin’ out two artificial hips; he can move like no other in the class; AND he can teach a young gal a thing or two about life.
“Holly, you’re turning before I’m directing you to turn,” Doug said, shaking his hips to the salsa beat.
“What are you talking about?” I responded, even though I knew exactly what he was talking about.
“You are supposed to be following,” Doug replied. “NOT leading.”
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed Doug E. Doug, but I am not the following type.”
“Oh, I noticed. Trust me.”
“I’m a lady of the 21st century,” I said laughing. “I can’t help it.”
“And I’m an old man stuck in his ways. I will lead, and you follow.”
I happily consider myself a modern woman – independent, strong and capable. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve liked being the one in charge. Whether it was taking the lead on a group project in high school or being the bank in a game of LIFE, I’ve always sought out the leader role. You can almost always find me on a need-to-know basis, because well…I need to know.
Through the years, I’ve slowly (but surely) learned there is a time and a place to lead as well as a time and a place to follow. Nobody likes a know-it-all who can do anything and everything for themselves – and quite frankly, I can annoyingly be that person. When I was teaching in Thailand, my friend Thomas constantly got mad at me when I would refuse to let him carry my luggage (even when I clearly needed it). He would always remind me, “Holly, it’s okay to ask for help.”
Because it is.
It’s okay to follow others’ leads and make a smoothie you saw on their blog…
1 cup vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup frozen cherries
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. vanilla brown rice protein powder
splash of vanilla
1/4 cup Not Sweet Vanilla Galaxy Granola
…or perhaps take inspiration from their blog for a delicious bowl of oatmeal.
Whether it’s following ways of the world and enjoying what’s in season…
…or taking a hint from a Web site for inspiration…
…or listening to your body’s needs for what to eat pre-run, surrendering control can sometimes be the BEST thing we can do.
Maybe it’s just following the beat of some good workout jams…
- Fresh Air Brother Ali
- Bust Your Windows Glee
- Hate on Me Glee
- Ooh La La Goldfrapp
- Butterfly Jason Mraz
- Down Jay Sean f/ Lil’ Wayne
- Pumpkin Soup Kate Nash
- Poker Face Lady GaGa
- Bamboo Banga M.I.A.
- Paper Planes M.I.A.
- Pure Pleasure Seeker Moloko
- Rude Boy Rihanna
- Momma’s Place Roisin Murphy
- Hips Don’t Lie Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean
- Holiday Vampire Weekend
- Young Money Vita Chambers
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take control of what you eat and put together, for example, the perfect yog mess. There’s nothing wrong with 0% Plain Chobani Greek yog + 1 tbsp. sunflower seed butter…
…along with a sliced banana…
…topped with 1/4 cup of Not Sweet Vanilla Galaxy Granola…
…and all mixed together.
The question is: why don’t we follow – including our cravings – more often? Whether that means a big ol’ yog mess or a giant bowl of roughage (ahem, salad), following the natural signals our bodies are sending us is probably a much better thing than trying to force your body to want something.
2 cups spinach
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup yellow pepper
1/2 diced avocado
drizzle of ranch dressing
sprinkle of nutritional yeast
Or forcing something to happen when it’s not ready. Perhaps a new relationship? Maybe patience is the best thing I can be learning right now. And yes, that is what Mama Everythingtarian said. And yes, mom – you are right. And yes, she loves it when I actually admit that.
Because when I let things happen, unexpected good things can result…like brown rice + edamame alongside roasted broccoli (with salt, garlic, crushed red pepper + nutritional yeast).
I still don’t always like following. No offense Sateesh, but you dance too rigid and slow for me.
And I still don’t have patience. Can we set up a real date already Mr. Lawyer?
And I really do enjoy leading others. I mean, I am a blogger for a reason…
But sometimes that can all take a back seat. Sometimes it’s okay for me to just go along for the ride…
So, thank you Doug for taking control, twirling a girl around and letting her just FOLLOW.