The lessons of Sioux Falls, SD

My time in Sioux Falls, SD is coming to a close. I have visited here 3 times, yet something in me wanted to live here for longer than a weekend.  I am delightedly grateful that opportunity presented itself in April.   I have had an amazing time here. The lessons are many! Let’s review what I learned or remembered while living here:

  1. I love living with people who are kind
  2. Hearing and saying “Good Morning”, “Have a great day”, “Good night”, “Coffee is ready” makes life so much more enjoyable to live
  3. Riding my bike from Spoke-N-Sport with streamers is joyful.  Having Journey run along beside me is even better.
  4. Sparkle encrusted glasses make sight more fun.  My prescription changed just enough to warrant new glasses.  When I put on my new specs, the world literally came into amazing focus.  Funny how that works!
  5. Taking myself on dates is a great practice and empowering.  Being a single woman has its’ peaks and valleys, yet I am determined to not let my relationship status dictate my adventures.  I found myself looking forward to solo dates.  I went wherever I wanted whenever I wanted and met incredible people along the way.  It turns out that it is fun dressing up no matter what.  Looks like, I may finally be embracing the desires of the young spirit that lives inside of me!
  6. Just go to the events you want to regardless.  This town is riddled with music festivals all summer long. The perk is that I ride my bike to many of them.  Yes, I have lights on the bike for my safe night time riding.
  7. I thrive in full family infiltration.  I rent a room from the most amazing couple in all of the land; Tom and Jessica Ries.  They are now my Sioux Falls family along with all of their family and friends.  This feeling of inclusion is by far the way I want to live my life.  I look forward to finding an Arizona family to take me in for the winter!
  8. Live music in a small bar is sweet!  If you get to Sioux Falls, be sure to visit Ferson on 8th on Friday’s, Remedy on 8th and Railroad on Saturday (well, any day is great there), and Bin 201.  I look forward to coming back ASAP; in the summer of course.  
  9. A thorough orientation is mandatory to set me up for success.  Because I have only worked for 3 companies during my 24-year career, I forgot how important the orientation is.  They may be boring, but make all the difference in the world when I have to get up to speed quickly.  
  10. I am a kinesthetic learner, MUST have an example, and have to perform the task at least once for it to stick.  You can talk to me all day long, but if I don’t actually do the task or play the game, you have wasted your breath.  
  11. Cooking and eating as a family makes eating worthwhile.  It has been delightful cooking for Tom and Jessica.  We have shared recipes and exposed each other to new things.  Apparently, I like to bake.  That is something I did not notice until Jess pointed it out.  What I really like is to eat sweets.  Since I am gluten free, tasty items need to be homemade.  
  12. First dates are educational for certain!  I have had a number of first dates over the past 6 months.  They have all been interesting to say the very least.  There are many things that should not be shared in the first 15 minutes of meeting someone. 
  13. Do NOT let someone leave ANYTHING with you before the 5th date.  It just makes it awkward.
  14. CH Patisserie has the very best macaroons I have ever had.  Vanilla and pistachio are the flavors I could consume all day!
  15. Biking in a dress is best with bike shorts.
  16. Amazon Prime is worth the money.
  17. AMT (Amy Miller Training) Yoga sculpt classes create results that are amazing, remember to take days off, or your body will scream at you
  18. Massages are worth the time and money when doing AMT 5 days a week
  19. Bean Bag tournaments are so much fun even when you suck at it
  20. Inclusion matters, so does exclusion.  Both say something to the person involved, be considerate and mindful of the message you send.
  21. Catan, Ticket to Ride and card games create a connection like nothing else can.  I lived with gamers (not the video kind)
  22. Marissa Reveland is amazing!  She is my recruiter and lifesaver from Med Travelers.
  23. Allowing space for loved ones to show up however and whenever they want to is very difficult, but necessary for growth.  Just keep breathing while you wait with the door to your heart open.
  24. Being ghosted hurts. Tell people when you are not interested 
  25. The Marco Polo app has allowed me to stay super connected with friends all over the country in a way that works for us.  Add the helium voice to the message and I am laughing for days.
  26. Comedy specials get me through some of the tough moments.
  27. Be still, breathe, and set yourself free.
  28. Nobody is watching or really cares about what you are doing.  Just live your life

I look forward to what the next 6 months have in store for me!

Cheers,

Kristin Springfield

Glad to have tough days here

Even though life is so much better than it was for me in VA, there are still tough days.  I am sad at times and still crave a certain kind of connection.  Yet I have to say, I would rather be struggling emotionally here in Sioux Falls then back in Danville any day!  In South Dakota, there are only a few places the past shows up, which are in my mind and on social media.  I have a choice for both of those triggering items.  Thoughts provide an opportunity to be examined, challenged and reworked to be helpful rather than damaging.  Some days I am better than others in transforming thoughts.  Social media can actually be more difficult to manage, so I just block the people that my thoughts like to take hold of and punish myself with the past.  That at least keeps the highlight reels of some lives from popping up daily.

I’d rather feel sad and lonely here for multiple reasons!  There is zero probability of me actually running into a ghost from my past here while living my daily life.  If I were to see anyone from Danville here we would have a conversation about this great place and travel.  It is truly remarkable at the reduction of sadness that I feel because I no longer run into any reminder of my past here.  Even the positive memories had a sense of loss connected to them in VA for me.  Now the loss is replaced with possibility.  The slate is so clean here!  I have become rather skilled at going out alone to experience new things.  I remember being a child and having my mom encouraging me to attend things by saying, “Go! You might just have a good time and meet someone.”  So I go and see what happens.

Doing things alone is refreshing.  I take myself out to dinner and “we” have a great time.  Yet dinner goes pretty quick.  Even if I pause to look around the restaurant and watch people, it still goes faster than it would with someone sitting with me.  This is an opportune moment when thoughts can spin out of control carrying negative and damaging messages.  Moving through those thoughts is getting easier, but sometimes it does prompt me to finish my meal quickly.  My best defense is to move my body.  That way my mind has something else to think about.  Focusing on the weather, while paying attention to the sights outside soothes to me and unplugs the mind.  Taking myself out to listen to music is interesting as well.  I have met more people standing around at the music festivals and small venues than any place else.  There are always people who stand and listen during these type of events.  They are designed for listeners and well, dancers too.

Doing things alone provides the opportunity for me to free myself from all kinds of mental trash!  Doing solo activities brings all the 13-year-old fears of not being good enough or cool enough to have friends to the surface.  It is almost as though they are invited and demand the front row seat of my mind.  I combat them with riding my streamer adorned bike often.  I figure the best way to combat the child of my mind is to ride a bike like a child.

I take the time to dress up for self-dates due to another mom message I remember, “If you look good, you will feel good.”  When the 13-year-old in me calms down, I can relax and enjoy the moment.  Going solo provides the space to blend in with the surroundings and truly watch others in action.  Initially, people may notice I am alone and that I am near them. Yet, in a matter of moments, I become white noise to them as they return to their conversation.  That is what we all do when we are with friends, go on and have our discussions as if we can’t be heard.  Most of the time your debates go unnoticed because everyone around you is doing the same.  However, the solo person only has the conversation in their head to contend with while they listen to all that is happening.

People are remarkable!  I started taking a journal with me so I can document the insights gleaned from watching others.  It is better than social media for certain.  I am delighted to witness the sweet gestures of people who adore each other.  I observe the best of friends experiencing the true joy of laughter.  I also see the couples regardless of age who take each other for granted as they are out for the evening.  Those are the ones that break my heart.  Why be with someone you have grown tired of respecting and looking out for?

I have been on both sides of that “taking others for granted fence” and vow to burn it to the ground.  In my line of work, I spend my time with the elderly, and it is clear that the desire for connection NEVER leaves us.  It seems as though we are not designed to go through life alone.  I have met some wonderful people here and connected, yet there is still yearning for connection that remains unsatisfied.  My dedication to loving myself fully as I am right now has provided remarkable experiences.  I am proud to courageously go out alone to events in spite of not having someone to accompany me.  It was not all that long ago when that head trash was much louder than the courage and often kept me at home.

Wherever you go there you are.  I have to say that the location really does matter. At the end of the day, I am so happy to be where I am physically on any kind of emotional day!

Namaste!

Kristin Springfield
Riding Solo

I feel biking coming on!

I made a significant investment in my inner child today.  Over the past 30 years, the focus has been on collecting responsibility.  Now I have reached a place in my life where shedding responsibility and exploring have taken over!   Today that investment looks like a few new items: bike rack, bike, glitter streamers and a rainbow helmet that lights up.  My soul already feels lighter!  There is a road bike in my garage that happened to be about 2000 miles away.  That bike is 10 years and has seen me through all kinds of life events.  After 2 knee surgeries, I had to hang up my running shoes and find another form of exercise.  Biking seemed perfect.  At that phase of my life, I used to exercise to soothe my stress.  Hell, I still do, but with less panic or sense of urgency. Yet much like the need for new luggage before I left home since the old luggage carried so much emotional baggage with it, the old bike does the same with regards to exercise.

When I left home the end of March, biking did not cross my mind.  Hiking was my focus, but now that I am in Sioux Falls something has shifted.  I simply love this town and everything about it.  There happen to be 26 miles of bike trails around the city.  I have run a handful of those miles and borrowed my housemates’ bikes for a few more of them.  I have been pining to ride more of the trails to simply explore.  This desire is not about stress relief, escaping emotional discomfort or weight loss.  This is all about the craving exploration around the town with a smile on my face!

Entering a small local bike shop, Spoke-N-Sport, made my heart sing!  Walking in the door, I was greeted by a wonderfully knowledgeable salesman, Pete.  I explained that I am traveling all over the country so I need a rack that can withstand that abuse and one that I can navigate alone while getting in and out of the back of the car often.  Guess what?!  Yakima already solved my problem with a 34-pound drop-down rack!

Next step was to find a bike that met my new life need; fun!  Rather than sticking to paved roads, I wanted to try my hand at gravel and dirt trails.  Yes, I remember that usually, I steer clear of any kind of “mountain biking”.  This is more of a dirt path kind of bike that navigates small molehills well.  It is a giant step for me!  How could I resist when the bike of choice is purple?

Next was to find a helmet that expresses my desire of riding for fun exploration.  My eyes scanned the wall and locked in on my dream helmet.  Sadly, it was a helmet for 8 to 14-year-olds.  Expressing my sadness to Pete, his eyes lit up as he told me to try it on because they sent a large one.  My hands were on the helmet before he finished his sentence.  Before I placed it on my head, my new BFF Pete stopped me to turn on the glittering lights embedded in the front of this helmet.  I swear I squealed with delight!  It was too big, but Pete promised me they could add the needed padding.  Many friends report that I have such a small face, apparently, they are right.  My head is smaller than a 14-year-old!

The last step was all about accessories!  Spotting the glitter streamers brought me right back to childhood and college.  Like most young ones, I had streamers on my bike.  When I went off to college I had a bike to get me around campus that I tricked out with blue glitter streamers.  Oddly enough, someone stole my streamers just before I went home for the summer.  If they needed the joy of streamers, I’d gladly given mine to them.  It only seemed right to bring new glitter streamers to life again at this point in my life!

My plan is to ride off into the sunset on my purple bike with pink glitter streamers wearing my light up rainbow helmet laughing and smiling from ear to ear.  Who wants to join me along Sioux Falls bike trails?  We can always stop to do yoga under a tree!

Namaste!
Kristin Springfield
Happy biker chick