Dec 30, 2009

What are you waiting for?

As the new year approaches many people make resolutions. They are going to make improvements to themselves; correct faults – real or perceived; to be better in some way or another. Sounds like a lot of work and not a lot of fun. You put on five pounds last July, and you are waiting till now to do something about it? On that list of resolutions you are making, how many items concern problems that have been on-going but you just somehow put off facing them. And you really think NOW you’re going to get it done? If you didn’t do it six months ago, what makes you think you’re going to do it next week? Hope springs eternal.

What else are you procrastinating about? Is having fun on that list? Is pleasure on that list? Reading all these blog posts about resolutions I was delighted to read an article in the NY Times (link below) about how we put off pleasure – save it for later so to speak and all too often later never comes.

Did you get gift cards for Christmas? Have you spent them yet? Have you been able to say to the gift-giver “I used that card you gave me and got some cd’s I was wanting, Thanks” No? You’re saving the card for later, right? Waiting for a really good sale? Till then I guess you’ll just put it in the drawer and, oops, forget about it? Pleasure deferred for the gift-giver, pleasure deferred for you.

The article talks about people who save their frequent flyer miles for that amazing trip to Europe and before they can put it together the miles expired – pleasure deferred and lost.

And what about all those things tucked away in the closet for “special occasions”, what about them? The spiffy earrings, that oh so lux sweater, the drop dead shoes – are they making the closet happy? Why can’t wearing them, because they make you happy, be special occasion enough?

Carpe Diem, indeed. I’m not talking about big things, I’m talking about the small pleasures we deny ourselves every day – sometimes the big picture is too big for the modest size of our dreams and our real lives. It’s not just that gift card that comes with an expiration date, so does today.

I’m not suggesting you cash in what’s left of the 401K and buy a Porsche. I am saying that any day can be a special occasion. That pleasure comes in small packages, in small ways and I’m betting you have more than a few little packets of pleasure tucked away in your “some day” file or in your closet.

If you can’t bring yourself to seize the day, then at least seize the moment.

Dec 8, 2009

Dreams deferred and then outgrown OR Can you like only jelly donuts?

I think it has been a cruel twist of Fate that one of the things I am passionate about; one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure, has been, for the most part, taken away from me. I love to dance. I love to move. I love to just walk and walk. Because of a degenerative spine condition these things are not exactly on my top ten “can do” list. Yes, I can still walk, but painfully, not quickly and not for long. Can I still dance? Oh, yes but I will pay mightily for those moments of joy.

This morning as I was reading the Arts & entertainment section of the NYT, I was aware that I always skip over the dance reviews. Reading about dance reminds me of the saying “ Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” . Some things cannot be described but only experienced.

That said, when I was a very little girl I saw The Nutcracker ballet on television – whether it was just a small portion or the whole thing, I don’t recall, but it made enough of an impression on me that I remembered it far into adulthood. One of the ballet companies in NYC does the Nutcracker every year. Every year I attempted to get tickets and failed. It seems they were sold out before they were even advertised. This year the Pennsylvania Ballet is doing Balanchine’s Nutcracker. It has gotten rave reviews so I went on-line to see about tickets. Everything was available! $65.00 for very good seats available the first weekend it opened which coincidentally is the weekend my husband will be going to Boston for his family Christmas party. Perfect, I thought. He wouldn’t want to go so I could happily go and enjoy it. I chose my seat and was about to enter my payment information when I realized I am not fond of ballet. After 10 minutes, max, I am bored to tears. I canceled the buying process and realized that a lifetime dream, within easy reach, was not something I really wanted.

I love movement and music and dance, I am passionate about it BUT not all of it. I can easily sit through an entire Michael Flatley show but not the newly configured Riverdance. It gets monotonous. Tap dancing will hold my attention forever. Professional ballroom dancing, as long as they mix up the genres, I’m good for an hour or so there too. The dance reality shows, no patience for that stuff at all. "To live is to dance, to dance is to live" might be my motto but it doesn't include ballet. Does that make me less of a passionista? I don't think so. I can't imagine liking ALL of anything.

Life long dreams? Are they really? Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. If one of these so-called life long dreams is achievable after decades of wishing and hoping, look carefully. Think long and hard. A dream at 20 is a nightmare at 60. Or a ho-hum. Or a “what was I thinking” .

There are places in the past I like to visit. There are places in the future I like to inhabit in my imagination but when all is said and done NOW is what I have at hand. This day, this hour, this moment. And NOW is where I experience all there is – because now IS all there is.

Dec 3, 2009

I'm trying...

to come up with warm, fuzzy or even amusing things to talk about since most of you are in a holly, jolly state of mind. At least those of you who aren't hassled and frazzled by trying to be all holly jolly.

Since I have no warm and fuzzy holiday memories I don't really participate in these annual events for which I have no sympathy, empathy or at this point in my life, understanding.

I'm all for a little fun but please don't put a gun to my head and tell me I have to be all happy-happy. I don't mean to rain on your parade but please stop trying to make me march in it.

Same goes for for New Years - my New Year is the day after the Labor Day holiday. That's when school would start up and that's my annual beginning.

I'm not a scrooge, I'm not a party pooper, I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I will admire all your decorative efforts - to a point - I'll even sing a song or two 'cause let's face it the music rocks - but I will not have a calendar dictate my generosity, my concern for others or my desire to have a little silly fun.