I was accused this morning at breakfast for not keeping up with the blog.
"But I have nothing to say," I protested, feeling at once morally upright and also dishonest. For many thoughts have come to me, but none warranting an entire post. And now that I've ventured onto Facebook, those thoughts want to go shorthand for immediate consumption and liking.
The epigraph to Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes gives credit to Ortega y Gasset for this:
Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.
Yawning bunnies, Gasset. Cats in boxes, guns, Thomas Kinkaid paintings with religious sayings and also what we had for breakfast. Yummy! You like this.
I regret not having spent the winter months developing a deeper mindfulness, since you have to lay dormant anyway. And here we are in April--never mind this morning's snow--and the outside beckons, or at least the guilt to get the kids moving and out there. As the wind blows leaves and litter through the air today, I will throw a few thoughts around.
Many of you know we're raising money for diabetes research and a bike ride this summer. I've written elsewhere detailing each family member's contribution to the cause, with Simon's being the selling of comics at school--copies of hand-drawn originals, which are quite well done. Some kids have balked at his permission to do such a thing, even for charity, and others are happy to buy; he's made about 6o bucks.
Each afternoon he comes home from school and reports on the cash before dropping it into a jar. Recently, he arrived with a few extra bucks from his friend, who is selling his own wares for our cause.
This friend is making duct tape wallets, selling them to friends, and giving the proceeds to Simon for our ride. A twelve-year-old boy. A wild one, too--I've taken him and his brother to the movies, and these kids can't stop moving or talking. But his heart is right where it needs to be.
Now when Simon comes home, he reports on what he's made and what his buddy made, then drops both into the jar. I can't get over this act of generosity.
First instinct is to say rest cured my elbow of its two-year stint with lateral epicondylitis, but in the end recovery came, I believe, from not hitting stuff. This obvious fact was a good reason to finally end my stint with boxing, because I really do wish to have all parts functioning well into old age.
And this includes my head. There's no getting around the fact that in boxing, you get hit where your hard drive is stored. I have taken just two hard hits to the head, and that was enough to make me question the whole enterprise, at least for myself. Deep down, I regret having not had the time to study boxing properly, to make defense an instinct, because I do love the sport and feel I have the smarts to strategize, as well as the strength and power to do some damage. In the end, I didn't get that far, though I had a few moments of glory.
So I'm back to lifting, and enjoying the pure strength of it. In the final analysis, I am a meathead. I like muscle and I like lifting heavy stuff; there's not much more to it than that. I should be training for that aforementioned bike ride, but doggone it if it doesn't interest me at all, beyond doing something for diabetes. If I'm going to get calluses anywhere, I'd rather they be on my hands and not my butt.
There's a deadlift competition in July, and I've told myself to train slow and steady out of recovery. This was mostly working until last week, when I thought I was adding 5lb plates to either side of the bar but they were really tens. This went on for a couple of sets, while I was "taking it easy," and only when cleaning off the bar did I do the math properly. And patted myself on the back.
As the boys grow into new interests, memories return from my own childhood, and I tell them stories. Lately, many of these stories seem to reinforce exactly the things I don't let them do. Constant video game playing (though I had to collect quarters and get myself to an arcade). Junkfood eating (not my fault, but a fact). TV always on (also not my fault, though I could have diverted my attention).
Then you start to remember those who wronged you, or educated you in ways beyond your age, and though emotions are still part of those memories, you recall that you survived. And you know that your kids will, too, because you turned out mostly okay. With a lot to say, even when you stay quiet.