Fitness, Life, Uncategorized

In The Pursuit of Happiness: Part IV – Pick Your Boxes

I just spent a semi-spontaneous weekend in the sleepy little down of Downieville, CA with Marcus and the pups. This is one of our favorite places in Tahoe National Forest because it’s absolutely gorgeous country, it’s full of world renown mountain biking, and every time we go there it’s nothing but good times/memories.

I say “semi-spontaneous” because we originally planned on having a Friday-Sunday camping, biking, hiking trip but then I threw down the adult card and “suggested” we needed to stay home and continue to work on finishing building our house (2.5 years later). So, Friday we were little worker bees and got a lot done on the house and then Saturday morning Marcus threw down the fun card and started loading up the bikes and the camping gear. Naturally, I gave up on adulting and went and played.

We set up camp Saturday afternoon (didn’t take too long since we slept in the back of the pick-up) and then took the newly-rerouted PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) out of camp to hike 2500ft vertical about 4.5 miles up to the Sierra Buttes Look Out and then 4.5 miles straight back down. The views were epic, our legs were wiped and the pups had a blast. We got back to camp, made some grub and headed to bed at 8:30p!!! After a not-so-good night sleep, we finally rolled out of our sleeping bags at 9a and hit the trails. If you’re a mountain biker, imagine 20 miles of mostly single track with varying terrain and 5000 foot drop through the mountains. It was flowy in spots, technical in spots, windy in spots, and fun everywhere! I think I had a constant smile on my face all day!

After the ride we hit up a local taco joint, caught the shuttle van back up to the pick up and headed home. On the way home, we passed through Downieville again and saw two older gentlemen sitting up on their deck smoking cigarettes, drinking a beer and seemingly happy in that moment. Marcus made a comment that triggered this blog and this realization.  He said, “You can’t check all the boxes.” I said, “You’re right. Those two guys choosing to smoke and drink on a Sunday afternoon may be way happier than someone forcing down kale because they know it’s good for them.”

I would argue that I am a pretty healthy person. The choices I make on a daily basis benefit me.  I eat well. I try to sleep 8+ hours a night.  I exercise daily. I could be way better with stress, but something I am working on. However, this weekend I ate ice cream on Friday night, Cool Ranch Doritos on the way to camp Saturday. I ate around 8 little gluten free cookies throughout the weekend. I had chocolate and a Thai tea.  I had more sugar this weekend than I typically do in a month. I slept like crap. I put responsibility second and fun first. I did a lot of things I wasn’t “supposed” to do and I still had one of the best, happiest weekends I have had in a long time.

While hiking I got to be with the man I love most, my pups and being active in the mountains. Mountain biking, we got to explore new terrain, I got to challenge my skill level and I was forced to be present (if you’re not present while mountain biking, danger level goes up tenfold). I was in the moment, with those I love, in the mountains… I was complete. I was happy!

In life, there are so many things we “should” do. We should eat healthy. We should sleep enough. We should mediate. We should exercise daily. We should volunteer. We should be good parents. We should be good partners/spouses. We should be good employees/bosses. The list goes on and on. We can’t do it all! We can’t check all the boxes! And if we think we can or even try, something else usually suffers and that thing typically is you and your happiness.

Seeing those two men choosing to not make the healthiest decision for themselves and reflecting on the “unhealthy” choices I made this weekend made me realize that happiness is in choosing to check the boxes that are important to you in the moment. If we constantly force ourselves to check the boxes just because society says we need to, but those boxes cause extra stress and turmoil in our life, is it actually “healthy” for us?

I’m not saying to start smoking and drinking in place of kale and exercise, but I am saying pick your boxes. Pick what works for you in that moment and the boxes that will give you the most bang for your buck. This weekend, the healthy nutrition box was NOT checked, but love and laughter and play were and I am going to bed tonight with happiness in my soul.


This Week’s Favorites:

Favorite Quote:

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” ~Anonymous

Favorite Exercise:

Week 2 of the mobility series – Mobility From The Ground Up.  This week working on the lower leg. This is a big one! We spend a lot of time on our feet and often times in shoes that are less than ideal (insert image in your head of high heels!). But even with good shoes, walking, hiking, biking, jumping, and pretty much anything on your feet, involves the muscles in your calves and shins as well. Do this video everyday for a week and see if you can feel a difference in how your calves/ankles/knees feel! Test your squat before and after to see how it improves too!

Favorite Recipe:

Failed on recording a favorite recipe this week so I am going to give you the ingredients I made for my trail mix this weekend.

  • Almonds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Coconut Chips
  • Dried Mango

8 thoughts on “In The Pursuit of Happiness: Part IV – Pick Your Boxes

  1. I think this might be one of my favorite blogs yet! I love them all but this one REALLY resonates with me. There are so many hats I wear as a busy mom of 3 teens plus checking all the boxes I know I “should” be checking. Thank you for recentering me in saying, “which of these boxes are worth my time and truly boxes that are important and which boxes need to be purged for now!”… boom…ah ha moment❤.

    1. Thanks girl for taking time to read my blog and I am so glad that this one touched home. Just remember YOU are enough!

  2. Hey I’ve been following you for the past couple months and I love your posts. From the awesome workouts you do to the simple posts of you and your doggies just loving life. I Just read this new post, and totally loved it. I also find it very important to have a balance in life of work in fun. Being in the military, there a bunch of pressure to be the best at your job, or even the healthiest. Even though it is important to eat that Kale 🙂 but it’s also important to eat a couple cookies and take a deep breath sometimes. Keep doing your thing and being the best you, you could be. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Tyler Jenkins

    1. Tyler, thanks for going on my ride with me. Means the world! And you hit it on the head…deep breaths, being you and having a couple of cookies sounds like a good way to live! 🙂

  3. Hi Jenny, this blog falls right in line with maintaining balance. Loved the calf mobility video. What do you do with your dogs when you’re mountain biking? Do they follow along?

    1. Karen, thanks for following along and for the kind words. Yes, balance… or synergy… or whatever you want to call it is the goal. Glad you like the calf mobility video, please keep following along to see the other videos that are coming! Dogs don’t Mtn bike with us anymore.. used to but getting a bit too old for that now… but they will hike us into the ground! 🙂

  4. Hey Jenny. Sounds like your pursuit of happiness is going very well. I’ve been on my own pursuit and happier then I’ve been in years. Ironically my lady and I just went to downieville for the first time and did the downhill ride. So much fun. I was hooting and laughing the whole way down. My lady said, “you were so freakin happy!” I realize now that what I really was was in the present moment. Completely focused and engaged. I normally spend so much of my time mentally in 10 different places at once. My life has been getting much simpler and focus is becoming easier and the happiness is flowing. I’ve been reading your blogs and thanks for the inspiration. I hope to see you and Marcus soon and see the progress on the house. My place in cohssset is coming along too. Taking some time though.

    1. Vince!!! Sounds like you’re doing awesome! We may have missed timing to ride Downieville together this year, but next year for sure. It’s a special place. Maybe hit up Bidwell soon though? Happy to hear you’re happy and yes, I would love to see your place and also have you out to The Ridge!

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