Photo by Black

I keep thinking about Black's explanation in a recent Ask R&B about exercise that her motivation's "selfish and shallow" and due to the fact she's invested a small fortune accumulating size 2 clothing for decades. What she neglected to mention was that she wasn't always a size 2. And there was no apology just, in typical Black fashion, a statement of fact and an acknowledgment of her reality.

So, yes, on the surface, Black's motivation may seem, even to her, selfish and shallow. But the more I think about it, the more I think it reveals a side of Black that's not about her collection of designer clothing or even the financial investment.

First, there's commitment. A promise or decision to do something and stick with it. Yes, we all make commitments, but let's be honest, the ones we make, let alone keep, tend to be for short-term or one-off things. Like calling a friend or making sure we spend less time on our gizmo and more time with our kids or partner. We always start with good intentions, but how often does it truly become a lifelong habit? How often do we "commit" to something that will require a fundamental change in our behavior that will be difficult to make and even harder to maintain?

Which takes me to perseverance. Let's be real. How many of us could truly maintain a rigorous exercise schedule for years, let alone decades? Forget the motivation. That's a lot of years of keeping to something that at times is difficult and sometimes even painful. (Black hurt her back in high school doing gymnastics, has bad knees because of running on concrete for too many years, and I'm sure has the typical aches and pains that come naturally with aging.)

Finally, we have overcoming obstacles. I've already listed several, but this may be the biggest one of all. I know that Black loves pasta! (Occasionally, I've seen her indulge, but usually see her exerting extreme willpower.) In fact, she loves carbs. Full stop. And if that isn't a big enough obstacle to overcome, then I don't know what else to say to you. Except, keeping with the carb theme …

Cake may not be one of her temptations, but the proverbial icing on the cake regarding Black's "selfish and shallow" motivation is that because of her commitment, perseverance, and ability to overcome obstacles, she's also svelte.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.


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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?
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