Tag Archives: present

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Special

My grandfather lived into his early 90’s.  He was a lifelong learner with incredible curiosity and passion for life.  After he passed we were going through the items in my grandparents apartment and we came across this piece of paper:

asanas

An asana, at least in the west, is typically defined as a body position, often within the practice of yoga.   Based upon the location and placement with other papers, it was clear that this was a recent project.  Not once had my grandfather spoken of a yoga practice, and yet, here is a man in his late 80’s or early 90’s taking the time to develop a practice.

I’ll never know if his intent was to improve physically, spiritually, or both, but I take from this piece of paper the lesson that we’re never too old to learn something new.  We’re never too old to begin a new practice or skill.  As long as we remain curious, passionate, and engaged, we continue to grow.

That’s why this piece of paper is my answer to Across the Bored’s question, “What is special for you?”

The Great Outdoors

Child on Bike

The smell of grass and leaves. The warmth of the sun.  The steam that each breath produces when warm air meets cold with each breath.  The burning of lungs and the soreness of muscles.  All of these sensations remind me of my childhood.

There was a ravine in our neighborhood that we loved to explore.  Sometime there was no water, and sometimes it was a running fast.  We’d ride our bikes, mine was a Murray BMX, to the ravine.  On the other side was a field.  We’d play football or baseball, whatever the season dictated.

No matter the season we’d walk our dog.  I remember one walk that was especially cold – below zero – and bundled up and made a real adventure out of the experience.  We’d survived the extreme cold!

Metro parks and state parks were special spots.  Once we went to beach, but it’s always been the forest and hiking trails that draw me in.  A summer cabin in northern Michigan provided row-boat adventures and fishing stories.

There is a peace that comes with sitting quietly, listening to the wind in the leaves and songs of the birds.  Hiking a trail creates a similar peace.  It’s when I disconnect from the human-made world and integrate with the natural world that I feel most at home.

Yes, being outside, in all the mid-western variations, can trigger a memory from the past.  These memories often produce a smile, sometimes laughter, rarely a tear.  Perhaps that’s why I enjoy being outside so much as an adult.

The faces of two females, one old and one young cheek to cheek

Becoming Grown Up

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 6, 2013.

Prompt:  When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

Where do we draw the line between youth and grown-up?  For me, there have been several moments when I realized that I was getting older:  marriage, gray hair, the first college intern I worked with and discovered that I was old enough to be her father…the list goes on. But am I a grown-up?  I still feel an awful lot like a kid!

I think that my original understanding of what being grown-up means was flawed.  It implied a fixed period where I’d cross a line into a new reality, but nothing is that clean.  Our lives evolve based upon a series of activities.

As we grow, we learn several things from family, friends, and our cultural.  My childhood taught me that the grown-up always knows the answer, and that there is a right answer. I learned that the grown-ups get to make the rules, and that when they say something you listen and obey.  The grown-ups in my life portrayed a sense of knowledge and control, and so I had the idea that at some point life would make sense and I’d understand it.  I just needed to be patient, follow the rules, and it would all become clear.

Well, I’m guessing you know how things are turning out.  It’s rare that anyone knows the answer, and the idea of only one right answer is laughable.  I still don’t get to make the rules, and most of the time I need to do what I’m told. And that’s okay, because I now know that being grown-up really isn’t any different from being young.  There is only one difference: being a grown-up is realizing that no one gets it and that we’re all making it up as we live our lives. Some are just better actors than others.

I now have a different understanding of what it means to be a grown-up than I did when I was younger.  And, I don’t get it, and I am making it up as I live my life.  So by my current working definition, today is the day that I realized I’m a grown-up!

Photo taken from www.healthfiend.com

Learning From The Past

In response to The Daily Post writing prompt on February 9, 2013.

Prompt: So, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

My childhood was pretty good. Though my parents were divorced, both were around. I didn’t want for much beyond the normal kid stuff. I played sports, had a paper route, and got to go on vacation. All in all, I enjoyed my childhood.

And yet, I’ve spent a lot of time in my life living in the past and not being in the present. It’s little things, daily interactions, bad decisions that weren’t catastrophic to my life but have left me with the sense that I screwed up that I tend to dwell upon. The irony is that for all the time that I’ve spent in the past reliving these moments, the present is the only opportunity I have to act. It’s the only time I can actively determine who I am.

It’s taken me a long time, but I’m starting to learn how to view the past in a way that allows me to learn from it without dwelling on the things that I wish were different. When I find something in my past that I wish were different, I try to uncover what led to the result that I wish could be changed. If there is something that I could have done differently, then I try to keep that in mind as I interact today and make that change in behavior a habit. If it’s something that I couldn’t have changed – like my parents divorce – I try to think about how I can react in a way that facilitates growth instead of getting stuck in that place.

I don’t think that there are many people that can’t find something that, if given the chance, they would change about their past. And though there are many people that have had things happen in their past that are terrible, the impact of the event doesn’t change the fact that we cannot alter the past. What we can do is learn from these events – large or small – and change how we act today.

Do you have any good strategies or techniques for moving from the past into the present?