Thoughts From The Trail

Warning: A great night’s sleep plus an invigorating run/walk around the lake has been known to inspire a contemplative mood. Here are two thoughts I worked over this morning while I shuffled my feet in the gravel. They might be kinda squishy and groovy; sue me.

1. Butterflies Into Caterpillars


This story has been very helpful to me in the past, and I remembered it when I saw a butterfly futter past me on the trail today.

Once upon a time…

… a caterpillar and a butterfly were sitting on a branch. The caterpillar admired the butterfly’s wings and brilliant colors. How can I become a butterfly?, the caterpillar asked.

The butterfly answered, You have to want to be a butterfly so much that you’re willing to give up being a caterpillar.

So simple. To change, you have to be willing to change. Committed to change.

Have I been too resistant to a new routine? Is my affection and nostalgia for CrossFit preventing me from moving forward with a new, better-for-me-right-now plan? Can I let go of what I’ve been and been doing to become something new?

No firm answers here yet, but I do like butterflies.

2. Live Fast, Die Old

When Dave and I decided to self publish Well Fed, we knew we were choosing a more difficult, riskier path — and we hoped it would be the beginning of a whole new thing. Less than a year later, our fortunes have changed faster than we imagined. And while it’s been mostly wonderful, it’s also sometimes stressful and terrifying. Frexciting!

One of the reasons we decided to take the leap of faith, to believe in and invest in ourselves and try to build a life and business around Well Fed and other writing was to give ourselves the opportunities to live, to try, to fail… which brings me to this Frank Turner song: “Live Fast, Die Old” from his album Poetry of the Deed.

I like these lyrics:
Choose your path, show soul,
Live fast and die old.

But I’ve gotta be straight with you guys: some days this whole “let’s have our own business and try to live in Prague” thing is rough. But then I go for a run, I see a butterfly, I listen to a good song, I eat a Whole30-approved breakfast, and I think about all of you out there, muddling through or dominating your day, winning sometimes and taking a beating others. And here we all are. Together. Frexciting!

This video of Frank and The Sleeping Souls performing the song was shot at Emo’s, here in Austin.

I bought my soul back from the devil,
And now I’m keeping it all to myself.
I’m checking myself out of the program,
Because I know what’s best for my health.
So why live the dream like you’re running out of sleep?
I’m not playing to pass time,
I’m playing for keeps.

We only just started and you’re throwing the fight.
You’d rather burn out than fade away?
Well why not both, I plan to stay.
So let’s do this once and let’s do it right.

I used to act like none of this mattered,
I used to say that I didn’t care,
That we wouldn’t be doing this forever,
But the truth is that I was just scared.

So you put up a front to protect yourself,
But if we’re down on the floor,
Why get back on the shelf?
You can’t change your outfit now the night has begun.

But we’ve still got the fuel,
We still have the fire, so me and you, Jay,
Let’s never retire,
Let’s keep on making mistakes till we’re done.

I’m going to live fast and I’m going to die old,
I’m going to end my days in a house with high windows
On the quiet shores in the South-West.

So you sort the tunes and I’ll bring the beers,
And on my seventieth birthday I’ll see you right here,
And together we’ll watch the sun set.

There’s no one in my coffin,
There’s nothing in my grave,
I’m tired of being damned,
I’d rather be saved,
And we can never sell out
Because we never bought in,
And if they build it back up,
Then we’ll swing back through town
And burn the whole thing down again.
It won’t last so be bold,
Choose your path, show soul,
Live fast and die old.

(For more inspiration from Frank Turner, I suggest you also give “Photosynthesis” a listen.)

A Little Respect (Strength Monday 7/8/13)

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy stuff and work on skills...

Read More
Remember Who You Are

We're safe and sound in Prague after several airport adventures, involuntary fasting, and jetlag exhaustion; details coming soon. For now, I want to share this...

Read More


  • Jenn says:

    Thank you for posting this today. My husband and I just embarked on a similar adventure – moved across the country and are starting our own business – and it is scary! As today started to overwhelm me and those large clouds of doubt loomed over my head, your post was just what I needed. And you’re right, it is truly FREXICITING!

  • Jeanye says:

    Love the butterfly story! I’m facilitating a workshop next month all about change as it connects us to wellness. I may borrow this story for my intro! 🙂

  • April says:

    Thank you for posting this- I’m on Day 23 of my Whole30 and have been having a tough time coming to the realization that I need to give up ALL forms of sweets and treats (even paleo ones). I now know that it’s what I need to do and I’m slowly accepting that- and that butterfly quote is spot-on! If I truly want to be healthy, I have to give up on being the old, sugar-addicted me…what a great new mantra for me! This “groovy” stuff sometimes is what I need 😀

    • Mary says:

      April — For what it’s worth, it has taken me 3 years and dozens of setbacks to realize that I have to stay away from ALL sweets to stay on the paleo track on feel my best. A bite of chocolate on one day leads to 2 bites the next day and maybe a cupcake on day 3.

      If you are realizing this on day 23, you should feel pretty awesome about yourself!

      • April says:

        Thanks Mary! I’ve actually been doing a low-carb/paleo way of eating for almost two years now, I had decided to do a Whole30 so I could try to slay the sugar demon and as a result know that’s what I need to do! I tried for so long to justify making paleo brownies or cookies or whatever and the Whole9 team is right that it’s just not worth it (the whole sex with your pants on theory). And I’m with you on the chocolate- I might be fine with just one square here or there of the super dark stuff but eventually I find myself eating the whole bar- not good!

    • Mel says:

      Oh, man! I want to smack myself in the face when the groovy stuff works — but it works. Damn it!

      Congratulations on 23 days of Whole30-ing. Sounds like you’re learning a lot about yourself, and that is so awesome. YAY!