A friend of mine often reminds me that "mistakes are life's tuition", which is very helpful in light of the last year of my life. Whenever I want to go back and punch 20-something me for getting 30-something me into my current position (which most days feels like being 24, but, you know, with the added bonus of being old), it's helpful to remind myself that my ability to make good decisions now pretty much comes from all of those crappy ones I made before. So perhaps I'm not a screw-up for taking longer to settle into successful adulthood. Maybe while I'm doing my best to be a supportive girlfriend during the home stretch of Frank's academic career, maybe I'm also completing my own dissertation on life. I mention this because the past week does seem a bit defined by bad decisions, if ones of the more minor variety.
The first was actually made a few weeks ago when my mom offered to buy me a half hog from Schacht Farm for my birthday. So the bad decision was made when I put down the deposit and filled out the order form. The choice was basically to ham or not to ham. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of ham, the novelty sounded good at the time. It was only a day or two before I went to pick up my meat when I realized that there would be *14 pounds* of ham that I could have just had them add to the ground pork portion instead. I then started having "ham regrets" regarding the proportion of processed versus unprocessed meat in my order.
I'm not a hater of processed meats by any means, as the typical arguments against them don't resonate with me. Saturated fat? Whatever. Salt? Whatever. Nitrates? Whatever. Sugar? Meh, I'm not crazy about the idea of sugar in meat, but it's a very tiny amount. I do, however, just sort of feel better when I eat meat that hasn't been preserved in any way, regardless of how natural the ingredient list is, so I've been trying to steer myself back toward plainer, if less tasty, breakfast meats. So the ham decision definitely worked against this, although it wouldn't really have been that big of deal had I not already been dealing with a very "on" anxiety switch this week.
My other bad decision had to do with my costume for Eva Bandman Halloween 'Cross. Back in the spring I saw a Facebook ad for some ridiculous leopard-print leggings with weird cutout garter things. They were hilarious enough that I was actually willing to shell out the $20 to buy them. So for the Halloween 'cross race, I incorporated them into an "80's Hair Band Groupie" costume along with a homemade ripped and bedazzled T-shirt halter top.
I thought I could live without a chamois for a 40-minute race, and I probably could have with normal pants. However, the various moving parts of the leggings conspired against me to form the most uncomfortable saddle contact ever and also gave me paranoia regarding exactly what the people behind me were seeing when I got out of the saddle for the three dismount/remounts and three steep descents per lap. I basically spent the entire race thinking about my pants. Add that to shock of what felt like my third "first race" this season after too many weeks without a hard effort. I basically had one good lap where I was sticking with the competition, and then slowly faded to next-to-last place. At that point I'd heard enough heckles about my "stripper" costume that I figured I'd just go with it, pull off the partially unhooked right legging, and tossed it in the Shamrock tent as I went by. It was good for some laughs, at least.
So, in the grand scheme of things, $84 of "wasted" meat (that I didn't pay for), a poor cyclocross performance, and a little self-induced embarrassment aren't the worst mistakes I could have made. I will, however, be avoiding bulk ham purchases in the future and only racing in costumes that allow for bibs underneath. And Frank is the only one allowed to see me "scandalously clad" from now on. Such is life, and I guess this just means I'm a little closer to earning my degree.