22:48 pace per minute
Wanted to get that out of the way first...whew - we are working it today! But this didn't come easy and I am finding, this winter in Memphis is harder than I thought it would be too. Talk about your friends in low places and my name is on that list. YUK!
It seems when you take me out of my home of 18 years, separate me by many miles from my family (children, parents, grandchildren) land me in a strange city, that I find myself struggling to keep it together. I had my first child at 19 and I was too young and dumb to really understand all the change I was going through.
Fast forward 30 years and see a woman with an emptying nest but still reaping the benefits of being close enough to the children geographically that someone is always coming and going. Even having endured the drastic changes that come from raising kids, changing jobs, going to school, and trying on different personas, this woman was not mentally prepared for quitting her job, leaving her house, leaving her children and parents and grandchildren. I went from gradually emptying the nest to destroying the nest and rebuilding a new nest far away and my little birds have just now started finding their way to the new nest, one by one. And it is not lost on me that this nest is temporary. Oh My Gosh! This is more change than my aging brain can take! Shoot me now!
So all the "woe-is-me" really kicked my butt last week. We walked a couple of days ago but my blood pressure was sooo high and my mood was sooo low that I dragged my butt around the course we follow in a foul mood and feeling like a newbie that hadn't walked in years. I felt so let down.
But as it turns out in life sometimes the better days are just around the corner. Today was so different. We walked earlier in the day. The weather was pleasant. My blood pressure is back down, thank goodness, and my back wasn't killing me. Then my husband surprised me by suggesting we add on an extra half mile...say what? This surprises me because he was once a reluctant walker. If I really wanted him to and said all the right things, (begged) he might walk for a couple of blocks with me but as soon as he could he was out.
But he full well knows, with very little reminding, that we have to do this. I could go out on my own but since he brought me over here to follow his dream only, he kind of owes me a little consideration and he owes our two innocent dogs the same - as they are cooped up in an apartment all day. "Owes" may be too strong - but seeing as how I'm not asking him to do anything immoral or illegal and I am giving so much - he would be a real jerk if he didn't give this to me. Besides, what good does it do to follow a new dream if you don't live long enough to enjoy it. If we don't exercise and eat well - we will be seeing the end come a lot sooner than later. Or at least we won't feel like enjoying the rewards But today - he doesn't just do the obligatory that I ask, he actually suggests we add on more. He is subjecting himself to an extended walk as a gift to me. Actually his attitude is so good it is not even like he is suffering - he is showing some interest and effort. It is not lost on me.
I cannot write the whole story, it would be unfair to do so. Some things in marriage are private and will stay that way, but his gift is a testimony of his effort to do something nice for me to subtly shift the course of the relationship. One of life's surprises that means so much, when someone you love understands you, and sees themselves and makes a shift, even a small shift it can make so much difference, almost an exponential amount of change can come from a tiny shift in dynamic.
So while I was low, low, low last week, his gifts (there have been a couple of others) have helped to lighten my load. They have set me back on solid ground. I did have to do my part to get here. We as women or anyone in a relationship for that matter must not allow others to run over us. We don't have to be mean, or bitchy or rude but we all have to be our own advocate in our intimate relationships. Most people I know, especially men (sorry guys) will not always, 100% treat you like you deserve to be treated without you standing up for yourself. Women too often are taken for granted while they "keep the peace". Well - I'm not too good at playing that role for long. I don't intend to settle for one speck less than I can squeeze out of life. I want to be happy and have the most wonderful life and relationships I can.
Hubby and I talked last week about life and where we have been and where we are and about the happiest days we ever had. He is living some of his happiest days right now. I'm so glad for him. I remembered the happiest time of my life was when I was home, the kids were in school and I was actively pursuing my pottery business from a home studio. One of the most exciting things about pottery is opening the kiln to see the wares that are cooling from a heat that has gone as high as 2200°. (other people fire even higher) You have to wait for the pieces to cool naturally because to open the kiln at 2200° is to invite disaster - cracking, explosions, weakened pots, they can't handle rapid temperature change...so you wait and wait and wait then you finally get to lift the lid and start to work your way through all the pieces you have lovingly created and placed in the fire. You never know what you will get. Its an unpredictable phase and the balance can be thrown off by something as common as humidity.
But oh the joy of finding a treasure. A pot you threw just right, and a glaze that was the perfect fit for the pot, and suddenly what was ordinary one day before the fire - is now extraordinary. It is so exciting and fulfilling.
Life it seems has put me in the kiln. I feel like I am either off with Moses in the desert for 40 years or in the fiery furnace. I know that what comes out of the fire is tougher, stronger, more durable, more useful and hopefully extraordinary. I want to be one of life's surprises, I want my relationships to be that way too.
And sometimes on the journey you see the darnedest things. Like a handsome young black man, dancing with his beautiful woman at a local pub while singing along with the Wolf River Redneck band to Garth Brooks, I've Got Friends in Low Places. Suddenly in a moment of euphoric dance he flashes the Omega Psi Phi (black male fraternity) hand signal over his head. Whoa. I didn't see that coming. A black couple, singing along to Garth Brooks, with a redneck band in Cordova, Tennessee was surprising and cool enough, but he is a black man of the Omegas? They take great pride in being black. Maybe Dr. King was smiling down and thinking his dream was coming true. We can all live together in peace! And have fun. Life is sooo surprising and if I weren't out here away from my comfort zone I could miss seeing some pretty amazing things.
So while I may get low, one day we will open this kiln and I hope to be transformed by the process. That's the goal. I may sing along with all the folks to I've Got Friends in Low Places, and sometimes I may be the friend in the low place, but there will be a day of celebration when I'm not that friend anymore.
That's All ~ Thanks Y'all!