Chicago Weeks 5 & 6: Family Visit and Goals

Week 5 beat me up.

I’m recognizing the importance of rest days. As it turns out, if I’m out and about too much on the weekends, I turn into a cranky monster by Tuesday.

I handstand at navy pier, while my brother's afro majestically blows in the wind

I handstand at navy pier, while my brother's afro majestically blows in the wind

I DID enjoy however, getting to see my mom and brother! If you’re only reading for Circus shit, skip down to the Circus Talk section, otherwise prepare yourself for a bunch of Chicago recommendations and a play by play of my time with my family.

On Saturday, we checked out Jam for breakfast and then walked to Aloft so I could show them where all the magic happens. After naps (them) and laundry (me), they checked in to their Air B and B.

Then, we headed to iO Theater where we had dinner and saw Whirled News Tonight, an improv show. I’d definitely recommend any of the shows at iO if you’re looking for (relatively) inexpensive entertainment in town. During the show, Charlie and I had second dinners. Turns out circus school creates an appetite that can rival a teenage boy that already has over 60 lbs on you…

Sunday, we trekked to the grocery store, ate a quick bite at the Air B&B, then headed to Navy Pier and acted like tourists. We even recreated a picture on the ferris wheel from 10 years ago - check it out in the slideshow below! We ate at Weber Grill, then headed back to Logan Square for card games (I kicked their butts) and more food.

Mom and Charlie visited Aloft for lunch, and once I was done with school, I got a home cooked meal! Mom had intended to use whatever leftover pork tenderloin we didn’t eat go into Tuesday’s dinner, but there were no leftovers…no matter. She bought more and we scarfed down Sweet and Sour Pork before heading to Cadillac Palace Theater Tuesday evening to see Motown the Musical.

Random side note: I read The Boxcar Children when I was little, and I distinctly recall thinking that the books would be half as long if you cut out all the descriptions of food. I mean, it makes sense given that food is vital and they were hungry. So now that I'm a bottomless pit from all the training, I'm worried my blog, like my life, is permeated by food.

All right. Let's talk Circus.

On Fridays, the full-timers discuss goals. Every other week, each person shares their progress and updates the group on new goals. The goals vary in discipline and duration. For example, a 2 week goal of mine might be to get 10 catches of a new juggling pattern, while a 6 month goal of mine is to hold a 1-minute straight handstand.

When it comes to goals, the more concrete, the better. I know this has been repeated in so many books and articles about productivity, but it's worth repeating:

You are far more likely to achieve your goals if they are broken down into measurable, smaller goals.

So for example, "lose weight" might be the goal. But "lose 5 pounds by November 19th by controlling portion sizes and cutting out soda" is a far more concrete goal with something that can be done every day. When we discuss goals at school, we make sure to not only state the goals, but what we are doing in order to meet them. It's also a time when the group can check out form or offer any suggestions that might help.

I LOVE this accountability. Pssst...I'm brainstorming ways to bring this back to Cirque Dakota next Summer. Students, shoot me a message if you would be interested!

More of my goals:

  1. Run 3 miles in under 30 minutes
  2. Get 2 rollups consistently on straps/silks
  3. Straight handstand for 1 minute
  4. Get 10 catches on 10 juggling patterns by Thanksgiving break
  5. Get a front walkover

Balancing all the goals can be challenging, so I'm trying not to have too many. Or rather to focus on a few at a time, since I can only do so many handstands before my forearms scream, so many rollups before my bruised biceps force me to stop, and so much running before I render myself useless for the week. So it's nice to have goals in each discipline so I can rotate my focus depending on what hurts.

It's all about finding the balance. Pun intended.

Coming up next week: Paul and I got engaged (SPOILER) and I discuss what we've been doing in physical theater.