I spent fewer than twenty-four hours in my former home, Austin, Texas, this week to take care of some family business. I stayed near the corporate headquarters and “mother ship” store of Whole Foods Market and had dinner there. Dinner consisted almost exclusively of samplings from their Smokehouse – ribs, chicken … delicious. I did throw in some veggies for good measure.

The store is at a corner that only slightly resembles the corner I knew in the late 1990s. Amy’s Ice Cream is still there and Waterloo Records, blessedly. When the kids and I were in Austin this summer, I pointed Waterloo out to M and said, “That’s one of the most famous record stores in the country.” She replied, “What’s a record store?”

11899774_878299908918874_8472724833470184866_nClearly, times have changed.

Despite temps that remained in the nineties even though the sun had set, I desperately wanted to sit outside to eat and enjoy the ambience of a city that I miss a lot.

I felt pretty old amongst the college kids and hipsters. I assume my demographic usually keeps earlier hours at this particular store. But there were two women seated nearby who looked about ten years my senior, give or take a few, so I wasn’t completely out-of-place.

I didn’t eavesdrop on them, but their conversation was very loud, so I heard most everything they were saying.

One of them had just gotten a “treatment,” and, as a result, had obvious marks from it on her body. Her friend inquired about the type of treatment she’d received. It was one I’d never heard of, and I’m pretty deep into complementary and alternative therapies.

I am not exaggerating when I say this woman had no clue what had been done to her or why. Her friend kept asking polite questions and she couldn’t answer a single one beyond the type of practitioner who had performed said therapy.

They continued on with their discussion and talked extensively about their weekly workout schedules. This led into a deep dive into macronutrient ratios, their favorite exercise instructors, how much weight they’d lost, and a variety of other therapies they had tried.

At this point, I will pause and point out that for all I know, these two women were some sort of “accountability partners” for one another and their entire relationship is predicated on these topics. I don’t actually care, because it’s not their lives I’m concerned about. How they lead their lives doesn’t affect me at all.

Rather, I wanted to share the vows that I made to myself after hearing them.

VOW #1 – Kristine, if you are receiving a therapy, whether conventional or “alternative,” make sure you know why you are getting it, what the practitioner is doing, and why you are having it. If your practitioner won’t answer those questions for you, you need a different practitioner.

VOW #2 – Kristine, if you reach a point in your life where your dinner date conversation with a friend consists solely of ways that you are working to improve your health, then you need to take a step back and decide whether your priorities are straight.


VOW #3 – Life is meant to be lived, Kristine. Your health matters only to the extent that it allows you to live a full and complete life. The moment that the quest for wellness (or “fitness” or “a goal weight, etc.) becomes your life, you’ve inverted your values and you need to make adjustments.

The next morning I walked the gorgeous trail at what I will forever refer to as Town Lake although now it’s known as Lady Bird Lake and as I returned to where I was staying, I saw a fantastic bit of (purposeful) graffiti on a concrete wall. It was a terrific counterpoint to the prior evening’s conversation.

Which leads me to my final vow …

VOW #4 – Live a great story.

4 Responses to “Four Vows I Made to Myself At Dinner in Austin”

  1. on 21 Aug 2015 at 2:36 pmSusan smith

    Great article, Kristine!! Sometimes we get so obsessed with “good” things like being healthy we miss out on the great story we are living!

  2. on 21 Aug 2015 at 3:21 pmKristine Rudolph

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. on 03 Sep 2015 at 9:56 pmPeggy

    I love your blog and wouldn’t you know, I am in Austin NOW and I just ate at the mothership Whole Foods! I so agree with this blog, your latest one which I just read, and your entire approach to wellness. I’m completely sick and tired of the work-out/ pseudo wellness mentality that’s become competitive, obsessive, and injury provoking! I’m thinking of an all day training I went to that promoted sit ups and crunches as functional movement! Miss you!

  4. on 11 Sep 2015 at 11:53 amKristine Rudolph

    So, you were at that Whole Foods essentially at the same time I was. I cannot believe that we missed one another, although we would have made a scene, wouldn’t we??

    I love your line “the work-out/ pseudo wellness mentality that’s become competitive, obsessive, and injury provoking” because really, that says it all!

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