Every now and then I go on a binge.. a reading binge. I love to read, but let's be honest.. I stay pretty busy so I can't always curl up with a good book. That isn't totally true. I seem to always find time to curl up with Goodnight, Moon or the latest from Rick Riordan, but a book of my choosing... well, that comes in spurts. But quite recently a book came across my desk at work that caught my eye. The book was Ada's Rules by Alice Randall. Now, let me be totally transparent - I wasn't going to read the book. But when I saw that it was endorsed by one of my favorite authors (Pearl Cleage), I thought "if it is good enough for Pearl, then it is good enough for me." Let me say, I am so glad that I trust Pearl's judgement.
Ada's Rules is a novel, weight-loss book, semi-autobiography. Yep, it's a lot. In a nutshell, it's a story about a woman that takes control of her life and her weight by creating rules for her life. But it is so much more than that. The main character, Ada, is an overworked, overweight woman who's to do list is crammed with everyone else's stuff but who has no time for herself. Does that sound familiar? I thought so.
The book had me at rule #1 - "Don't keep doing what you've always been doing." I love it! If you've read this blog for a moment you know I love personally responsibility. And this rule places the ball firmly in my court. This rule also allows some flexibility. If something doesn't work, remix it. Try something new. Don't be afraid to wipe the slate clean. If your old stuff isn't working, BAM! Try something different. What do you have to lose? Nothing.
Later I grew to love Ada because as she made time for herself, her responsibilities didn't lessen. She still met the needs of her family, job, and community while pursing her own happiness. That is an awesome feat! Most self-help books tell you to remove stuff from your to do list and replace it with something you love doing. But who's going to feed your kids? Or wash your drawers? Unless you are independently wealthy, chances are there are things that you have to do? In the book, Ada finds a way to do those things but she does them in a different way which brought us back to rule #1.
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Alice Randall briefly. She is a warm, open woman who took the lessens she learned and even started a movement - Ada's Army. This is a place where you can go to see the rules, check in with other soldiers in the army, and try to correct/redirect/transform your own life. There is another story here about Mrs. Randall's fight against obesity in African-American women, but for me that was a side note. The fight against blutter (Mrs. Randall's word for black clutter that consumes our lives) is the reason that I signed up to be a soldier in Ada's Army. I love the charge to make your life truly YOURS! The weight loss is just an added benefit,