1) Explore. 2) Make a new friend. 3) Learn to play bridge. 4) Try golfing. 5) Start swimming regularly. 6) Go to a rock gym with Mr. NBT. 7) Go to a professional football game. 8) Cook a lot. 9) Snuggle on the sofa watching movies. Or television. Or college basketball! 10) Go see live music. 11) Write every day, but maybe not on this weblog. 12) ??
That happened to Valerie a few years ago. She has MS, and she woke up paralyzed in half of her body. She got her movement back and retrained herself: to play the violin again (listen here), to dance the tango, to do things more deft and skillful than anything I've learned how to do without ever having been paralyzed.
What I think is really cool about Valerie (besides her intelligence and talent and temperament and humor) is how this experience has made her aware and grateful of how precious it is to move. Yesterday her arm fell asleep, and it scared her into thinking that it might be her last day with her body, so she went up to the Eastern Prom and swang on the swingset overlooking the ocean, in the setting sun. I've never even been on that swingset, but you can bet I'm going to go now.
I guess I'm really a coach now, because I can't really enjoy these pictures. In each one of the photos I notice and fixate on something that someone is doing wrong. Except for the picture with boat 2 sailing alone, and the sun setting. But even that: it's still light. Why are they heading in already? I see a missed opportunity for a few extra minutes of practice.
My college students are going to blaze new trails, save the world, cure cancer, map the brain, and a dozen other things that impress me daily. Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out the basic logistics of adult life, like: ~ how much pleasure reading is realistic? How can I accept the fact that I will never, ever, get to read all the things I would like to read, not to mention all the books I "should" read? ~ how many friends can I really have, with the kind of richness and depth and playfulness of an authentic friendship? what do I do when I meet someone new, who would probably be a great new friend, to acknowledge that connection and potential without dropping a friend I already have? ~ how do I get a coffee stain out of my shirt? And how do I become a person who doesn't get coffee stains on my clothing in the first place? ~ do these pants make my butt look fat? ~ should I figure out how to fix that drip myself, or just call a plumber and do it? ~ how do I know if I am becoming stubborn and set in my ways, versus being self-aware and clear about what I like and don't like? what's the right balance between comfort and challenge? ~ how can I make enough time to see live music sometimes? how do I keep up with new music I might like but haven't heard of yet? ~ when I'm pressed for time, should I give up cardio, lifting, or yoga, and how much of each do I need to feel strong and flexible and healthy? ~ what things can you overlook or tolerate in your loved ones without having to have a "talk" about them? ~ should I get a flu shot or not?
In a few weeks, when the season is over and the boats put away for the winter, I will be going down to Raleigh, North Carolina, to spend some time with Mr. NBT. I'm interested in meeting some pals of my own when I'm there, and exploring the place. In particular, I'd like to find a workout buddy, to do some running and some lifting and some yoga, or perhaps to train for a beginner's teeny tiny triathalon. Can you help? Do you know cool places to go and see, or a person you think I'd click with? Please email me or leave suggestions in the comments.
On the drive down I'll probably be stopping for the night somewhere near Philly, and it would be neat to meet you if you live in that area, too.
There are some things about adult life that I should have figured out by now, but that still make me feel awkward and silly. One of those things is telling an ex-boyfriend about a new relationship.
I guess it's hard because it means acknowledging feelings that I mostly pretend I don't have. The small feeling of lingering anger I still feel at you, for not being willing to take a risk for me. The feeling of wistfulness, because 'what might have been' might have been pretty good. The stupid feeling of competition: ha! I've moved on before you did, and I'm happier, to boot. The urge to rub your face in it: See, see what you're missing?
So those are there, and to be a grown up and not give in to that stupid stuff I just haven't said anything. And yet there's the part of me that wants to know you, to complete the conversion from romance, which we've left behind, past the ambiguous friendly low-key flirtation between single people who in slightly different timing or circumstances might have been something, to a clear and unambiguous friendship, without that confusing dangling potential. After all, there was so much good between us, so much common ground for a strong friendship. That foundation is more compelling than the small childish urges that come from a relationship that never fully got off the ground.
And this is what I want to tell you: I've found someone who really WILL take a risk for me.
1) Any striped sock goes with any other striped sock, of the approximate same texture. 2) Any cotton athletic sock goes with any other cotton athletic sock, of the approximate same length. 3) Any technical sock (e.g. smartwool, fleece) goes with any other technical sock. 4) No grey socks with brown shoes. 5) No brown socks with black shoes. 6) Pink socks go with anything, as do soft blue socks with little sheep on them. 7) Choose socks for texture and warmth over anything else. 8) The most bang for your clothing buck can come from splurging on socks. You can buy fabulous socks, luxurious and whimsical, at TJ Maxx, for not very much money, and when you pull them on you will feel warm and delighted, and they will make you feel like this every wearing until they have holes in them and you have to throw them out. 9) No socks with holes, no matter how well they have served you in the past.
My biggest problem with socks is how to store them. Does anyone have a good storage solution for socks? My best solution was a drawer with compartments, with striped socks in one, athletic socks in another, brown/black socks in one, and technical socks in one. But the truth is I only had three compartments in the drawer so one category was forever shifting and homeless, and would end up on the top of my bureau. Now most of my socks have migrated there. It's no good.