A Deep Well

It’s pretty marvelous to think about the deep well of possible experiences available to us in this world. Each day, each week, every new year – a chance to discover more of them. Among the things I discovered this year:

Banana splits. They’re amazing. I’m not sure how I made it so far into my third decade without trying one. I had my first at Napolese. Chocolate and vanilla gelato, fresh strawberries, almonds and a four-inch high swirl of whipped cream. And bananas, of course. Mercy.

An eleven year old grocery list in the pocket of a bag. This was three cities ago! It’s amazing the things that slip unnoticed through the years.


Micro goals. There’s a lot of talk about stretch goals. I’ve often been in the “dream big” camp. But when it came to running, I found success by having small incremental goals, until one day I was running a half marathon. Then a marathon. I went from struggling mightily to run two miles in June 2012, to a sub-five hour marathon in November of 2013.

If I had set out to run a marathon early on, I think I would have been discouraged well before I started thinking insane things like, “I just have an eight mile run today.” It would have all just seemed too impossible.

The most amazing bread pudding recipe from Pen and Fork. Make it with brioche (from Rene’s Bakery, if you’re in Indianapolis).

Unstated expectations cause way more havoc than I realized. Now that I’m tuned into this, I find a frequent cause of frustrations and failures can be traced to an assumption or unstated expectation somewhere along the way. Major kudos to my husband Louie for showing me the light.

Bridge. Louie had wanted to learn this card game for years, and we finally sat down with Uncle Ed and Aunt Rosanne in Chicago over Thanksgiving to get the basics. We started playing one night at six or seven in the evening. Before we realized it, it was 2:30 a.m. We were so completely engrossed (and excited, and frustrated too), we’d lost all track of time.

Bridge is definitely a great game for language geeks. Learning to bid is like learning a foreign language. It’s incredible how much you say with just one or two words in this game.

At dinner with our supper club, our friend Dan asked about highlights of the year. I hadn’t thought of it before, but realized learning Bridge was definitely one of the them.

A new perspective on the appreciation of the small things. This year was all about saving for some bigger goals. Because of this, we decided against any major travel in 2013. We took small trips, mostly to visit family in other cities. I missed the grand experience of travel, but learned a pretty cool lesson: in an absence of big events, it’s easier to see and appreciate the wonderful, smaller things. (See above, re: Bridge).

What new things did you discover this year?

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “What did you discover this year?”



  • Sacha

    In addition to unstated expectations, let me mention another concept that we go back to regularly thanks to the fantastic counselor we saw for a while: “the story I tell myself”. When someone says/does something your reaction is often based on what you are interpreting their words/actions to be instead of the words/actions themselves. It is helpful to stop and be mindful about that interpretation, to say “when [this] happened the story I told myself was that it meant [this] and that’s why I did/said [that] in response.” If you say that aloud then it gives the other person a chance to take part in what’s going on in your head, too, which can be very helpful in navigating through (potential) misunderstandings.

    Here’s an example: “When you asked me how long we would stay at the party, the story I told myself was that you didn’t want to go at all. I imagined having a bad time because I would be worried about your hating being there. I snapped at you because I really want you to go with me and I genuinely think you’ll enjoy yourself.” Then the other person can say if he/she really *is* dreading the party (and you can come up with a plan to mitigate that), he/she wanted to know if you’d be back before a favorite show or something, it’s no more complicated than the actual question, or it’s something else.

    • http://saramcguyer.com/more sara mcguyer

      Interesting! A little mindfulness goes a long way, for sure.