Welcome to DORO – Pull Up a Chair
by Mia Jackson
Ever since I was a little girl I loved wordplay. As I grew up I moved from simple word searches to the delightfully frustrating New York Times Sunday puzzle and found great pleasure in getting close to finish. When I actually DID finish one, it was cause for major celebration. I’d cut it out and put it in a journal or tablet somewhere. For years, I would attempt to complete a crossword puzzle daily. I’d buy the San Jose Mercury News each morning and spend time on the train thinking through the clues. It was a way to step back from the business at hand and lose myself for awhile.
Somewhere along the line, I let go of my NY Times habit. I started a business, moved across country and found myself working around the clock. I stopped buying the paper newspaper and moved to online round-the-clock information. Sure, the puzzles moved online with the articles but it just doesn’t feel the same. Every now and again I’d pick one up as I grabbed a Sunday paper to clip coupons that I always seem to forget at home when I go shopping. But the daily brain break no longer happened. I now see that it was just another symbol of how I let go of the simple, sustaining parts of my life.
Skip forward a decade and I’ve moved again to a new Southern city away from the 24-hour work cycle. I realized how much time I spend working or worrying about working. The good part is that the sports part of my career is still exciting and enjoyable. But the actual business side of the business can make you pull you hair out, put on pounds and forget the day of the week. One particular evening I found myself feeling guilty for getting sleepy because there was so much left on the to-do list. It finally hit me – I have NO non-business hours! Thanks to a revived Bikram yoga practice, I meditate more and had a chance to really think about that guilty feeling. In the moment, I realized how utterly silly it was. Getting mad at myself for being tired? So I wondered what space and simple pleasures do I allow myself. What did I used to enjoy that I don’t do any more and why? The “what” was simply to identify. The “why” wasn’t.
I remembered my love of the puzzle and restarted my crossword habit. I picked up The Dallas Morning News and gave it a go. Aside from the fun, I noticed that putting down the phone and laptop for a bit was a really good thing. At night, I pick up that folded paper with my pen (yes I do the puzzles in pen) and let me mind try to figure out random clues about opera singers and colloquialisms that I never use. I worked hard to get that 5-Across clue the other day and felt quite accomplished when I finally answered it. Now, it’s on to other items on that list of things I used to do and I hope they’re just as satisfying.