Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Is it a sign of maturity or immaturity when in the middle of making a mistake or acting in a way you know you will regret, you recognize it - immediately?

It doesn't happen later... it happens exactly as the words are coming out of your mouth. Precisely when you're standing there quietly, and failing to ask for what you want and is completely reasonable.

This little, tiny, tinny, scratchy voice inside whispers, "It's OK to stop talking about this and abruptly change the subject. Couldn't be more awkward than it already is!" Or, "It's OK to ask for one of those to yourself - it wasn't assumed you would even share in the first place, so don't be forced to. Just ask."

Maybe someday, when I'm all growed up like a big kid, I'll recognize these mistakes the split-second before they happen? Instead of during? Or after?

But, ah, perhaps that right there is the height of immaturity.

Before? So you can be what, Emily; perfect? Serene all the time, and never ever unprepared, never stepping into muck or talking faster than your mind can think?

So the same quiet voice may in fact be saying to me right now, as I try to let the last week or so go and fall asleep, "Be grateful to recognize the mistake at all, much less in the bungling middle of it. That's an improvement! And don't cling to the notion you'll stop making mistakes. You only do that when you're dead. These mistakes are going to keep coming. The grace is in refusing to let them clobber you. And in going to sleep without feeding them."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

But I'm NOT Sorry!

In the last month, I've noticed an uptick in saying sorry. Someone bumps into me; I say sorry. Someone emails me incorrect information; I reply, "Sorry, can I clarify, you meant the 19th not the 18th, since that is Friday, right?" Someone paid to provide a service arrives with a smile; I begin the interaction by apologizing for needing their service at all.

I don't think, typically, I'm a very apologetic woman. (Ask my husband.)

Whence does this uptick come?

Perhaps it is that as I embrace the start of middle age, I find everything greying out... not in emotion; far from it. Rather, I see things are more complicated - I am less sure of the black and white in life - I can understand another point of view even if I don't, or won't ever, share it. With this grey, is this apologizing some sort of uncertainty in my own authority creeping in, too?

Or perhaps it is sheer laziness. Plain ol' backsliding into the fierce cultural habits we're raised with as girls, all sugar and spice and everything nice. I'm certainly more tired than I've ever been - because it's true! It takes longer to recover from injuries, illnesses, nights out partying in middle age - and so maybe I'm putting my energy elsewhere and just forgetting to Stop Saying Sorry.

When was the last time you apologized? Were you really sorry? Was the error one of your making?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another silver lining

Today I took a hip-hop class and watch out world! I am terrible!

Well, that's not exactly true, but I was pretty anxious - it has been 18 years since I took a formal dance class - and I was pretty intimidated by the "beginner" class participants. What if I taken the beginner-intermediate class!? I may have had to dismiss myself!

But while the choreography was challenging, and my memory for eight-counts could use a little work, the one place I was totally successful was in general fitness. I was sweating. I was panting a little. But I could have gone another hour - and I made it through all of the sanctioned warm-up push-ups and crunches, plus the drop-it-like-it's-hot squats that were part of our routine, over and over again.

So, first, I've checked off the "try something new" box for the month - 'cause hey, if it's been 18 years since I did this, we can all agree this is "new" to me as an adult.

And second, the silver lining to spending one's youth off the court, outside the track, sidelining at the game and passing on weight room is that at age 31, I can genuinely say I'm in the best shape of my life, and I don't have to lament that what was possible in my energetic youth is now gone (Big Macs and marathons!). Heck, I can save that certain lamentation for my next decade! Ha!