Exploring

I’m back! It’s a shock, I know. Shocking to me that I’ve been gone so long. Fortunately nothing terrible happened while I was gone. I was just uninspired in my writing life (or maybe too inspired…. I spent last fall working on a memoir type of writing piece but have lost steam on that for now). Anyway, I thought I’d share a few thoughts that have been rattling around in my head lately.

In my few adult years pre-marriage I had modest aspirations… Get a college education, get to Europe, maybe serve a mission for my church. I tried new (to me) things like attending live theater and concerts (classical and jazz) and taking art classes. I wasn’t particularly adventurous but I was curious about the parts of the world I hadn’t had a lot of experience with.

Then I got married and school finished and I embarked on a whole different kind of adventure… Figuring out the marriage relationship and becoming a mom and learning about parenting. Especially after we adopted Andrew and Haley these things took up all my time and energy.

Fortunately, Tom never lost that curiosity to try new things, so he took me along on real and metaphorical adventures outside of the parenting world. I grew to rely on his random invitations to try a new restaurant or band or take a quick trip to see something interesting.

For a few years after he died, I felt like my life was so colorless. Life with me in the driver’s seat full time looked like an endless straight road with no curves or surprises around the bend. But gradually that person I was at the beginning of my adulthood has come back. I started small … discovering different radio stations, taking some trips. Then I started trying new hobbies….

My first big adventure was a pottery class – I learned how to throw pots (and other things) on a pottery wheel. I’ve been creating stuff from clay for almost six years. I’ve made some wonderful friends and I’ve given away a LOT of bowls (and other stuff). Sometimes I feel like a kindergartener who hands you their little (homely) creation like it is some amazing treasure. Still, I love the process of centering clay and watching a form rise up off the bat and that deep satisfaction that grows when everything stays balanced and beautiful.

A few years back a neighbor started a floor hockey group. It sounded intriguing, so I started playing. We had a few hiccups (covid-19 sent us outside for awhile) and struggled to find enough women who wanted to play. But man, is it fun! I may hate running for exercise, but I love running to get the ball before my opponent does. As a kid and teen, I almost always played defensive positions and rarely did much scoring. But I’ve discovered I can actually play offensive positions and score goals. It is kind of awesome!

A year ago I decided to try my hand at the ukulele. It has been an adventure in learning new skills. I quickly realized that a huge part of playing the instrument is also singing along! I’ve learned to love YouTube and all their tutorials and “play along” videos. I might never become a great ukulele player, but it’s been a great way to stretch myself and do things that aren’t always so comfortable (like sing in front of people!). I even performed at our Christmas Eve family talent show and lived to tell the tale!

My latest adventure is thanks to Spencer & Kayla. I recently flew out to Seattle to spend a few days with them and was persuaded to give bouldering a try (if you are like me, you didn’t know that rock climbing without ropes is called bouldering and climbing with ropes is called free climbing). They took me to their gym and encouraged me to give an easy route a try. Little side note – I’m generally afraid of heights and warned them ahead of time that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything. I will admit that the adrenaline was flowing freely and I struggled as much with shaking limbs as with the height of the climbs. But I did it! And I liked it enough to give free climbing a try a couple of days later. It’s a great workout that doesn’t feel like work – just my style of exercise (see floor hockey above).

I’m happy to say that the road from the driver’s seat is a lot more curvy nowadays. I’m more apt to take a side road, or stop at a beautiful vista, or find a fellow traveler to share a few miles with. It’s a great journey!

1 thought on “Exploring

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      Reading this helped actually helped me. You give me hope for my future. It feels daunting or even impossible to get back to how I felt before cancer. There are many things that I would like to do and maybe I should use your example and try one. Thank you for writing and for so much more.

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