Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Equinox

Growing up, every equinox and solstice I would go with my mom and some of her girlfriends and their children to the nearby mountain. We'd sing songs about Mother Earth, drink hot cider when a cold season was upon us and something cold when the warm seasons arrived.

As a child, this was my normal. As an adult, the most similar invitation I received was one from a local yoga studio to welcome spring in with Vinyasa at 7:00 a.m. - distinct from the other Happy Spring emails in my inbox (welcome spring with 40% off pastels and so forth).

I stuck with lunch-break yoga, but on the way back, I could hear inside my head:

The Earth is our mother
We must take care of her
The Earth is our mother
We must take care of her


I grabbed a latte, but I'd really like to grab a pair of tennis shoes and head to Sugarloaf Mountain.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Fresh Start

The "fresh start" speech was a formative part of my youth. Every year, from 6th grade through 12th grade, at one our first chapels of the year, our assistant headmaster would address the entire student body. He'd encourage us to let our friends grow and change- let them have "a fresh start". And it's not at all uncommon that people would change in the quest to find themselves, but I think to some degree it's easier when you're younger.

First, while questing for your true self is always a noble pursuit, I think when you're younger its characterized less as act of nobility and more as just something you are meant to do - you're meant to grow up, so you're allowed, expected, and encouraged to grow and to go through the phases to get there: there is less pressure.

It can also be easier on your friends. While surely your true friends are there for all of your iterations of self, it's frankly less surprising when you change in adolescence. You can grow a foot taller - heck you can grow breasts - over the course of a semester, so why shouldn't you also be growing in your personhood?

I think the introspective person may have many quests they face as adult - journeys to truth, spirituality, meaning, purpose and so forth. But I think these quests often happen inside oneself. What are you to do when your friend is on a journey that manifests itself throughout her life, and moreover, it's not one you'd take yourself, and it's not one you even understand?

The initial reaction - and the right one, I believe - is to give your friend a fresh start. To avoid judging them. To remember how you felt on the other end and how you no longer speak with the best friend who said she was expressing her love by (in your mind) trying to make your decisions for you. When you were the subject of judgement, didn't it work out okay? Isn't it patronizing and offensive to say, 'I deserve to make my own decisions but I worry for you'?
  
The hurdle I face is that I'm the jeans-shopping friend. (I'd like to set aside for a moment that the comparison of a life's journey to shopping for a pair of jeans is ludicrous, and just go with the analogy.) As women know well, the jeans-shopping friend is the one who, rather than spare your feelings, will tell you that while you are quite lovely, those jeans do nothing for you (before you blow $100 on them only for them to permanently reside in the back of your closet). So bringing it back the comparison, isn't it now ludicrous that my thoughts would be solicited for something as inconsequential as a pair of jeans, but for a major life decision it's shape up or ship out?

What do you do when love is synonymous with unreserved support and reservations are synonymous with judgement? What if becomes an 'if you're not with me, you're against me' situation?

I'm still ruminating, but here's something I know: You love who you love; and you will remember vividly those who regarded your love with kindness versus those who treated it with judgement.

I think my friend and I must give each other fresh start. I have to let her be who she is, and hopefully she'll give me a fresh start and forgive my judgement. I hope we get to grab a latte sometime soon and move forward.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Lost Post

Remember the Sex & The City when Carrie's computer dies and she loses everything? Suddenly, everyone is asking her if she's backed up her work, but she's certain no one had mentioned backing up before. Is that one of those things - like what will and will not catch fire in a microwave- that everyone supposedly knows, so it's not worth discussing?

Our water heater broke last month and ruined our bedroom carpets. I am still grateful that our brush with excess water was more of a smelly inconvenience than a heart-wrenching tale of the importance of flood insurance. As I combed through my mental rolodex for a reference in which to ground the experience, I first came up with the bookstore scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen as Alvie Singer discusses the difference between the horrible and the miserable.  

I proceeded to write an entire blog about the horrible water-heater moment from my childhood, and by comparison, the thankfully only miserable water-heater moment of my present. I included my husband's references to Hoarders each night as we entered a living room with all of our furniture in it ("So this is what it would be like to live on Hoarders"); I listed the items that could have been on the floor but thankfully weren't; and concluded with the cathartic moment when the carpets were in fact replaced and we proceeded to live as normal people.

All I needed to do was one more read-through and then it was ready to post. I'd even tentatively titled it Annie Hall Wisdom. However, when I went to my documents, there were no recent documents at all. I checked my blog posts: no drafts. Certain I emailed it to myself, I checked my Gmail - no dice. All I had was my email entitled 'blog' where I jot down ideas: "Annie Hall quote. basement childhood v. now". The post was gone and apparently I hadn't backed it up.

There's a sort of resentment that comes when something you wrote is no longer there. Didn't we all have a dreaded "I lost the paper" moment in college which inspires either tears or books to be thrown across the room or both?

The thing is - I don't want to rewrite that whole piece. I know I'll be constantly comparing it to what I think I had written. And I'm grateful that as it was only for my personal blog, I can write an entry instead about losing it. It's not like it was a critical work document - that would be horrible. So as Alvie says, I'm very lucky to be in the miserable column.

Time to back this post up and grab a latte.