Category Archives: aging

How to Go Ziplining (for anxious, whiny babies)

Are you like me?

Have you become a parent, settled down into home life and couch-dom and gained weight accumulated more and more anxieties? While at the same time drinking wine and enviously watching others soar through life on tv, confronting gravity and their fears?

That plus the ease of regretful emails is why my friends and I went ziplining when we recently met up in Utah.

Yes, I sent the email…but I didn’t think any of them would say yes. We’re all 40-mumblemumble-year-old moms with young lives relying on us. But once the ball got rolling, it apparently couldn’t stop. I couldn’t bail when it was my idea, right?

To help us acclimate, we started with a short, lower zipline. Continue reading

Old friendship is less of a plant and more of a chair.

chairThis weekend I’m meeting up with tequila and Mexican food three friends from school for some girl time. We originally met in Austin, Texas but none of us lives there anymore. We scattered, like people do after graduating, and then we scattered again. Some of us mostly me had several times of scattering before stretching roots out and you mostly them were well-advised to write addresses down in pencil (remember those address books with actual pages of paper?).

So it’s been 25 years since we first met and that has me thinking of what form this friendship of four women has taken. Our little circle has grown from four women to now include four husbands (all original, first husbands!), eight children, a fabulous dog *ahem* and perhaps a few cats.

But considering how far we all live from each other and yet how we all are putting our lives on “pause” to get together this weekend, this friendship at first glance reminded me of that bush in the yard.

You know the one. It sits off at the side. You can see it from the window if you lean up near the glass. You watered it a lot when it first came into your life but somewhere along the way you quit giving it the attention it deserves.

But it didn’t care. It managed to keep growing, or at least not die, despite your utter negligence.

But that bush is a distant thing and this weekend doesn’t feel like a distant thing. The fact that this gathering is even happening after several years of absence feels more like that old, comfortable chair.

This chair has four strong wooden legs with sides that rise up for you to lean on when you get tired or when you just need to shift a bit. And it has a cushion that over the years has gotten a bit warped, lumpy and imperfect.

But it still offers a soft place to land and hugs you, maybe even better than it did.

Sure, the upholstery may not be fresh, crisp or even-toned like it was brand new, but its worn spots show where tired hands have rested and where the heaviness of a body has been supported.

And even if we’ve ignored this chair too long, stacked magazines on it or moved it to a little-used corner, we need to remember it’s still a functioning chair waiting for us to uncover it and curl up in or hang a leg over the side.

It’s still a solid chair. Let’s dust it off.

Nothing Gradual in Graduating

Today, the Kid graduated from her elementary school (it goes to 4th grade here, then to middle school). She’d gone to this same school five years, since kindergarten, probably the longest she’ll ever go to the same school God willing, she won’t become a 5th year college grad.

She had the annual tug-o-war…
4th grade tug-o-warand the “moving up” assembly…4th grade moving up assembly
ending with her…officially graduated.

Some may complain that this generation of kids gets way too much acknowledgement, awards for showing up at school, ribbons for participating in your third soccer game. No one applauded the end of my 4th grade or 5th grade or 6th grade.

Even if these moments are the equivalent of a torturous Barbara Walters interview (“that must have been hard, losing your dad at 3…”) and I’ve run through my allotment of Kleenex, I’m glad we’re stopping to notice. I’m glad someone is making us stop and pay attention to this milestone.

How many have we buzzed by in this kid’s 9 years? And how many more will we, accidentally or because we’re tired or busy or preoccupied or stressed out?

No, I say let’s all take a break from our personal, inner world of drama and our busybusybusy and focus our eyeballs on what’s happening right in front of us, in our very homes and neighborhoods: a kid graduated, a dog napped more, a baby napped less, a friend moved, a teen took drivers ed, a grandparent slowed down, a cat didn’t come home, even a tree didn’t sprout leaves like it used to.

Time marches on. You can squeeze your eyes shut, walk your feet faster, fill that calendar as much as you want or you can take long baths, plan big, slow vacations or breath in as deeply as you want. Time? Still marching on.

But if we’re all left feeling like spectators, let’s at least take a moment to do just that – spectate. With eyes and hearts wide open, we can watch and see and soak it up until we’re fully saturated and leaking out our eyes and cannot soak up anymore.

No, it doesn’t feel gradual at all. It may have slowly crept up on us, predictably coming along, but then BLAMMO, we’re hit right in our sweet spot. Ready or drunk not.

Leaving us happy and sad and proud and fully and completely saturated.
final bus ride
Congratulations, all you graduates out there! You are loved!

Han or Luke? Pick a Stars Wars Man.

star warsI watched the original Star Wars movie this weekend with the Kid, who had forgotten she’d seen a special showing of it at the theater (so, is this how it is? are kids just going to continually forget all the cool things their parents do for them??).

I personally saw it 3 times when it first came out and I cut in a super long line like a total tweener weasel, too, and probably half a dozen times since then.

[I know, there are guys folks who’ve seen it 1000s of times and know the backstory of every stormtrooper killed and live alone over someone’s garage. They can go write their own geeky analysis and have.]

Just like rereading a favorite book, when you revisit a movie after a few decades years you can be embarrassed learn about yourself.

The best example of this is which Stars Wars man do I prefer – the streetwise, rugged pilot Han Solo or the younger, naive farmer Luke Skywalker?
luke skywalker
When I saw these movies as a kid, it was Luke all the way. He was sweet and had that sort of Shaun Cassidy thing going on while Han was mysterious but possibly dangerous.

Then a few years later, Luke seemed ridiculously innocent, and it was the slick and cool Han, baby. He was dangerous (yay, bad boys!) and surprised them all by having a heart and swooping in for the big finish. Duh, no brainer.
han solo
And now?

I’d say Han would win for a fun roll in the hay, but as I write that, I’m not 100% sure on that one. He may not be the most *ahem* selfless… Plus, I doubt he’d be open to any heartfelt conversation about his feelings, assuming he knew them in the first place.

So, it must be Luke, right? Well, actually, he still has a very Gomer Pyle Goll-leeeeeee thing going on that he loses points on. Would you want a relationship with someone constantly whining Hey, but that’s not fair!

Where does this leave us? Well, I must be getting ancient older because the more intriguing man in Star Wars for me now is…..
obi wan
Obi Wan

No, I don’t have a grandpa thing. Maybe it’s his intuitive powers, his understanding of others, his knowing of himself and the Universe, his calm (or maybe we can jump ahead to the prequels and this really means Ewan McGregor who I’ve had a crush on since I watched his motorcyling around the world doc’s…).

Okay, maybe it’s just his accent. I’m a sucker for an accent.

Who would you take home?

Squirming in Uncertainty

Through the doors of perception Down the corridors of uncertainty Into the room of self doubt Opens the window of opportunity.
– Unknown

Corridors of uncertainty” – I just discovered this quote, which ironically is a sports reference to that area near the goalkeeper where players have the “Are you gonna get this?” “I said I got this” “I thought you had it!” moments.

[After 20+ years in Texas, I’m pretty done with sports, but I won’t begrudge them excellent imagery.]

See, I’ve been saying “yes” and “why not and tough shit, I’m doing it ” to things lately.

And that has led me down this corridor of uncertainty, where it’s dimly lit and there’s stuff in the corners you can’t tell if it’s alive, half-dead or just wrappers and old popsicle sticks and dustbunnies oh, not piranhas after all!.

And where mostly you don’t know how things are going to go.

And you might possibly have an audience, also wondering what the hell is this? how things are going to go.

It all flies in the face of my longstanding get-your-ducks-in-a-row philosophy. A philosophy I have found reliable and yet ultimately, after many years, boring as hell.

It has led me to post this graphic again, which I can’t seem to get enough of:

I’m feeling like I’m on the far, far, far right edge of that circle on someone else’s computer screen.

Even though I might tremble inside hearing bells and whistles warn me like I’m about to get impaled by a rhino, there’s a tiny voice whispering, these things will not kill you.

Humiliate me, embarrass me, make me hibernate in my room for a couple of decades, possibly.

On the flip side, I’m not bored!

And maybe that “window of opportunity” will eventually let in a fresh breeze. Although I find it currently painted shut and unavailable for my scared ass to squirm out of at the moment…

Let’s hope Zig was right —

Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you. ~Zig Ziglar

Have you ventured outside your comfort zone lately?