Editor’s note: The following interview briefly discusses topics including suicide, self-harm, and depression. If this is something you find yourself struggling with, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
I want to thank you for your contribution, be it monumental or otherwise, to this metaphorical patchwork quilt. It seems I have become the keeper of the parts of people they have left with me, though we may have parted ways. The collection of these instances has been subtle, and often they are mine without my realizing it.
It’s a peculiar feeling to look ahead and see so many unlived days yet simultaneously believe there isn’t enough time to greet those days wholly.
Despite what the thermometer says and despite the lack of feeling in your toes, tomorrow is the first day of winter. December 21st is the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. So, if you were planning on spending the day sunning, don’t get your hopes up.
Until yesterday, I hadn’t been to yoga in [insert really long amount of time here]. Sometime before January. I kept saying I’d go while I was in Nicaragua, which is all well and good but did I? Nope. Neither did I all summer, when I continued to claim to myself, my mother, my friends, and basically everyone else that I was going to go “on Saturday.” Surprise: that Saturday never came.
I’ve already detailed/complained about my commute in a prior post. Excuse me while I do it again (I spend almost 20 hours a week on the train, okay?). I aim to treat it as a learning experience, this time. Mindfulness. These days, it’s a buzzword. We think mindfulness and envision juice cleanses and yoga teachers in Bali, teaching us how to properly say om and make peace with the world and our surroundings. Easy enough, when we’re on vacation, but everyday mindfulness is a bit trickier.
For the unknowing, our youngest son Patrick, age 13, is a developmentally delayed, non-verbal child with Autism and experiences “sensory overload” pretty frequently.
We are lucky enough to live near Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia and go there often. So yesterday we packed up our gear and headed over, planning to meet up with family members visiting from out of town. As usual, as soon as we clear the entrance area, Patrick is heading for the train. He loves the train and would happily sit on that train for an hour. So that’s our first stop. We let the family know we are in the park and wander around for a little while after our initial train journey. We then make arrangements to head over to the Sesame Street area where there are plenty of fun things to do and see, particularly for the little age-3 cousin with us. I figured Patrick would like this; he likes Sesame Street and watches it on TV at home sometimes.
The most chuckle-worthy activity of adulthood is reflecting on past “when I grow up” statements. Many wanted to be dinosaurs, princesses, wizards, or firemen. The statement universally agreed on as children was “when I grow up, I’ll be happier.” At the time, we didn’t know it’d be a wildly delusional statement. It made perfect sense as kids. Adults could drive, make money (our allowances fell well under the poverty line), and they could drink the strong smelling fruity “grown-up drinks.” They didn’t need someone stronger to open juice boxes or tie sneakers. They were strong, wise, and independent. They were content full-time. Adults had it made.
A book I just finished includes exercises for letting go of the past, as a means of transforming into your best self. A particularly painful one seems to be going through all of your memories, in order, with the idea that reliving them will allow you to release them and, therefore, move on.
People seem to have a lot to say about a girl getting married at 19…the funny thing is, they still seem to have a lot to say about a girl getting married at 24. And 27. And 38.
“You’re so young; you don’t even know yourself yet.”