Tough times don’t last…tough people do.

Fresh air never felt so good.

Gorgeous day for a walk/jog = wog along the city’s trail system, all the while soaking up Vitamin D and playing “I spy” with the family amidst a plethora of Mansfield Rocks hidden in tree branches, under benches and along the grassy edged trailheads throughout Oliver Nature Park.

I just grabbed this t-shirt on impulse, thinking little of the message behind this well-worn favorite til I started my walk.

“Tough times don’t last…tough people do.”

A training phrase straight from Vestavia Hills High School coaches Buddy Anderson, Sammy Dunn and Peter Braasch, and the daily mantra that accompanied the Rebels’ ’89 summer two-a-days.

It was originally my husband’s, not that he’s getting it back. On the reverse side, it reads in parenthesized all caps, “(No Regrets.)” I freaking love it, and will be wearing the darn thing until I’m well into my seventies and beyond, because it’s a good old made in the U.S.A. Jerzees tee, and if it hasn’t worn out in its first 30 years, I don’t see why it won’t hold up another three decades, at least.

Right now, there are countless ways we can all *show our tough* (cue The Fabulous Thunderbirds) – “Ain’t that tuff enough!”

How am I showing mine?

Reading live updates and national news articles from at least three sources I trust (usually The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR), plus a handful of state and regional outlets with solid reporting, so I can form my own balanced and well-educated opinions (and limiting said news reading to no more than 1 hour daily, usually in the evening).

Practicing (trying to, anyways) how Nick Saban defines toughness, in the context of this question:

“What does it take to break you? What does it take to break your focus? What does it take to make you give in? Because…[insert excuses here, however justified they may be].”

Love or loathe the Tide, the man’s 2-minute speech on this topic resonated widely, and for good, relatable reason. It’s a universal struggle. I quite like his definition of mental toughness.

“Toughness is what helps you be able to maintain the discipline that you need to have to do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, the way it’s supposed to get done, because you minimize the circumstances that can affect your ability to do that.”

So, I am exercising daily (burpees, mountain climbers, planks and push-ups require zero equipment). Our basketball goal has become a fast favorite of mine too, dribbling and shooting with the boy child (who knew that could get your heart rate up so fast? It’s loads of fun, too, even when I miss my shot, which happens like every other time).

I’m also trying to be extra intentional in really giving the kids my best, undistracted self, and to engage them in conversation, whether on topics frivolous or frank. For the girl child, cooking together has taken center stage. After tearing through her American Girl cookbook, she brought out our star-shaped Christmas cookie cutters, and is contributing fabulous takes on family favorites, hence the Turkey Sliders with Aioli and star shaped cheese that we’re having tomorrow night.

I’m only going to the grocery store when I need things, and I’m resisting the very basic human instinct to snatch up more than what my little family requires, while doing my level best to honor the six foot radius between myself, fellow shoppers, and grocery store employees (psst! These articles are well researched and written – none will take you more than 5 minutes to read, and they speak directly to the redundancies of the United States supply chain and why it’s short-sighted to fret and panic purchase. As bonus, it’s sort of fascinating to learn about how toilet paper is made):

Besides that, I’m coming up for air to catch up on the various text threads I’m a part of, letting friends far and near know how we are faring, asking them the same, and making the time to check on those among us who are elderly, live alone, or have, by all outward accounts as strong a support system as those surrounded by big old families, but who may in fact feel very much alone.

That’s a bit about how I’m showing my tough. How are you showing yours?

Love, Rebecca

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