On the way to Tai Chi this morning my friend and I talked about the Chronicles of Narnia. There is so much to learn in those books. One blogger put it well: When a child in the stories asks about another character, Aslan the Lion often says, “I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.” The blogger related it to the recent Women’s Marches. My friend and I talked about how it is tempting to be competitive at Tai Chi and judge ourselves less than skilled, or better, compared to others. But perhaps it would be better to just figure that each student has his/her own story and we should just let that be. We should just worry about our own story, nobody else’s. I couldn’t help but apply this to parenting. Now that my kids are grown, I need to just let them create and live their own stories. It’s their business, not mine. I’m just so glad that I am a part of their stories. This reminds me of a song by Lex DeAzevedo: “I’m the one who writes my own story. I decide the person I’ll be. What goes into the plot and what will not is pretty much up to me.” Writing my own story is enough. I don’t need to write other people’s stories. I can release judgment and enjoy.
Last night at Tai Chi class our instructor talked about “the desert of boredom.” Boredom occurs when we have learned a lot of tai chi steps and want more. It’s part of the learning process. We practice what we know then we get bored and want to learn more steps. We get in a hurry and want to learn more, even though we haven’t mastered or deeply worked with what we already learned. From what he said I gathered that if I am bored, I should look to see what I can work on to improve my Tai Chi practice. I can use boredom as a clue that I’m not looking close enough at areas I can practice and improve. As usual, Tai Chi lessons are applicable to life. Since my husband died, I get bored a LOT. So I usually watch TV and eat. So now I’ve gained weight a LOT. From what I learned at Tai Chi, when I get bored I should look around in the present moment and notice what things I can work on, or practice, or become. Perhaps I can look at the boredom itself and find a message in it. So basically, there is a lot to lean in the desert of boredom. I just need to wake up and live in the present and no matter what is happening (or in the case of boredom, what is not happening), take each opportunity to learn. How will that look tonight when I’m done with grading papers and housework and have nothing more to do? Can’t wait to find out. A trip to the desert has its own beauty and simplicity.
Well, I tried another singles dance on Friday night. Very fun. I sat and talked to a very nice man for awhile in the refreshment room. After sharing our basic stories, he asked me, “What are you looking for?” He said he asked because he knows a lot of people and likes to set them up with each other. So he meant, “What are you looking for in a man or a relationship?” I very honestly answered, “I don’t know.” Then he asked if perhaps I wasn’t looking at all. That seemed to ring true. I’ve given it a lot of thought since then, and yeah, I’m not looking for a man or a relationship right now. I just want to dance.
As my children entered their teens and began going out unsupervised and on dates, as they left the house I would lightheartedly say to them, “Remember who you are and what you stand for.” I wish I had words of wisdom for them to take along on their dates, but that’s what I came up with. Now that I have begun reaching out socially, I would love somebody to drop some advice in my ear as I leave the house. Am I doing the right thing? What are the social norms now? Why do I feel so weird about it? Do I look OK?Lots of questions. A man I met at the singles dance last week gave me some good advice: “Take it slow.” I like that.
I was talking to my oldest son last night and told him about my plans to go to more social events and he was delighted that I am getting out. After talking and laughing about it, and encouraging me, he finally said he had some advice for me. And it was, “Remember who you are and what you stand for.” Honestly, now that I am on the receiving end, that’s pretty good advice.
It’s been a year now since my husband passed. A year of being single. So last night I went to a singles dance. It was for single people who are over 45 years old, and who are generally LDS (Mormon). So no alcohol, skimpy clothing, sketchy language, etc. That seemed like a safe bet, but I was scared about it. I didn’t want to play the Pets on Parade game and stand around watching other people dance, waiting for someone to ask me to dance. I met a girlfriend there and she assured me that we could dance without male partners.The bottom line – I just wanted to dance. The evening was very nice. I only stood through one dance, so that was great. I danced with several men at first, and finally stuck with the same partner for the rest of the night. He was very nice. Funny, a great dancer, intelligent, and interesting. Fun! He walked me to my car like a gentleman. It was great. However, it also felt foreign to me. After being married 39 years it was a bit awkward relating to a man who is not my spouse. There was another dance tonight but no, I think I need to start out slowly. Not sure I’ll go to another dance. But sometimes I just want to dance. We’ll see. Tomorrow night there is a “fireside chat” at a church where older singles go. I’ve invited some girlfriends so we will go together. I think I will like that better, but we’ll see. So why am I reaching out like this? To tell the truth, I’m not sure. I guess I’ll just see what happens. A few weeks ago someone asked me what I would have been if I hadn’t been a nurse. I told them, “An adventurer.” So let the adventure begin…