adventure

Brave Enough

“What are you doing tonight?”

“Um….. why?”

I was walking out of work.

“Tennis clinic. You should come.”

Pause….

Then the textual parade of excuses… It’s my only night at home this week. It’s my laundry day. I don’t want to wait around for two hours. I’ve never played before. I don’t have the right shoes.

(Inside, the mental parade of excuses…I don’t like looking stupid. I’m uncoordinated and awkward. I don’t like not knowing what I am doing. Shit, I’m just scared to be bad at something.)

The the opposing thoughts chime in…I’m always grouchy when I’m not invited to things. (I call it a case of the “pouty-pout left-outs.”) But how can I be mad if I don’t take people up on it when they include me?

I took the long drive home, started my laundry, got my stuff together for the next day, then changed my clothes and headed back out to go to tennis. I’m not gonna lie, my mental soundtrack was a long grouchy list of complaints. I was not fun to be around, so it was good I drove by myself. “Will there be other beginners?” I asked in text. “Yes” my friend said. Ok. Now to just jump into something completely new. Deep breath and go.

I felt kinda thrown in the deep end. Drills started without the “this is the racquet, this is how you hold it, this is what the parts of the court are called” ‘Tennis for Dummies’ I expected and needed.

But, I just hopped in line, asked some women their names, cheered for them when they made a good shot, laughed at myself when I made (many) bad shots, felt sort of accomplished when I made the occasional good one…and just kept going. I laughed. I moved. I listened. I tried. I did something entirely new. And then, miracle of miracles, I did it again the next week.

It does take bravery to take on new things. For some reason, it feels especially brave to do it when you can just be old and set in your ways. But learning continues at all ages, or at least the opportunity to learn does. Keep those bravery muscles fresh and limber. Keep friends around you who push you to keep trying things. Be adventurous. Be willing to suck at something new. It’s the only way to eventually get better.

perspective

The Middle Seat

I was on a flight squished in the middle of two strangers. Like sardine in a can. It was an evening flight making the cabin dark. The exception to the darkness was the glow of phones instead of reading lights. This kind of made me a giggle a bit.

I closed my eyes briefly and reflected on my day. My week. My past few months. It’s been a whirlwind but I didn’t expect anything less as I’m on the road to the big 5-0! Today I woke up to the chilly fall air. I had a tennis match with a new partner: I had no expectation other than don’t freeze to death. 

I layered up my clothes before heading out into the tundra. I mean it was 40 degrees which is cold for me. My new partner was nervous. I was cold. It took us a few volleys to get in unison. The gelling is what I like to master. I’ve been told I need to lead on the court but normally I don’t. For me tennis has been about relaxing. Changing up my routine. Meeting new people. Having fun. What I didn’t realize is others were expecting me to lead. Somehow I missed all the cues.

I scratched my head until my team coach chimed in with, you are strong and lead in every other aspect of your life and the partners you are paired with expect nothing else than the same on the court. I scratch my head again. Can I still do all the things I mentioned above and lead? Why yes I can. Once I modified my attitude we began to play better. Communicate more clearly. Win or in some cases or battle to deuce, deuce, deuce and so on. We hung in there for hours. Ultimately losing in the end but that’s okay because we get mimosas at the end. It’s always a happy ending if you look at it that way!

This little tennis match got me thinking when I sat in the middle seat. How much have I led this week? This month. This year. What is still left for me to conquer before 12/31. I love when I get a chance to shake things up and sit in a middle seat. A chance to be idle and drift into that creative space of thought.

I opted to take out my phone and glow. I figured I already had a night light to my left from a laptop and decided a little glow from my iPhone would be a fine accent. Off I went to type away on my teeny tiny keyboard.

It’s a million dollar year for me. It’s been a bunch of firsts. It’s many many new adventures and beginnings. It’s milestones. It’s new friends mixed with old. It’s another year winding down. Just like that. In the blink of eye, 2021 rolled in and began to fade. 
as I pause my writing in my middle seat, I closed my eyes and focused on some deep breathing. Something I enjoy at the gym but find ways to mix it into my days as well. During those calm moments a weightlessness feeling appears. It allows my mind to relax.

Signing off from my middle seat. The squishy uncomfortable spot that nobody wants to pick. The fear of who you are stuck with as neighbors. Today I had the courage to greet others. A new perspective of flying that you may never experience. Eew! Yuck! Nasty! Who in the world thought that was okay?

I am also thankful for my mask on this flight as it’s somewhat masking the stink of the putrid lingering fart. A nearby passenger just fully unloaded something and they might have left a skid mark in their pants. I am so very thankful I was finishing this note instead of doing deep breathing when he/she chose to glow or blow in their own special way way up high in the sky where fresh air space is so limited. No manners!

adventure

Tennis Flop

I had a match to play on a Friday night after a long weekend with my partner. It was a little cooler outside than normal and it was late. I wasn’t really sure if I needed pants or a skirt. Long sleeve or short sleeve. The evening seemed so wishy washy.

I started dressed in layers. I slowly peeled them off. One cheerleader arrived. Then two. Then three. Then four or five. It was overwhelming in a way but good in another. So many folks came to cheer us on. The unfortunate part was we were doing awful. A comedy of errors was leading to poor performance. 

Down by one. By two. By three. Four. Five. And then it was 6-0. Just like that we lost the round. We were stomping our feet. There were some chuckles. Some apologies. Some cursing. Some blaming. Some frustration. Some smack talking. It was still a game so onto round two we go.

It was a bit closer but we just couldn’t seal the deal. Deuce. Add out. Deuce. Add in. Deuce. Down by one. Down by two. Get it together ladies was the theme of the evening. More uh oh moments. More you should have hit that. More why didn’t you move fast enough. Is this really happening? Four to zero. Five to zero. Let’s get this one.

We ended the day with another 6-0 finish. The goose egg. The other team skunked us 6-0 and 6-0.  I am sure it’s a first for me not to have earned a point but as you can see above I still laughed hard. A deep belly laugh. No matter how down in the dumps you are performance wise, you can still laugh it off and be light hearted.
We had so much fun sucking today. We let our friends see us at our worst. We will hit the repeat button again tomorrow as we saddle up for a new match on the same court. Will history repeat itself? I hope not. If it does, I guess I’ll have to take another walk of shame.

Losing is part of competing. Losing gives you a taste of humble pie. Losing gives you opportunity to grow. Learning lessons about loss is important. Every true athlete knows this. In the moment and after the sting subsides. The work starts again. Train harder. Think smarter. Challenge yourself. 

It’s even funnier to lose when you realized you signed up a level higher than you should have. I guess one will see if we can get better playing at a higher level even if a lot prematurely. I have grown to love tennis. It’s an easy way to get some exercise. It has the competition element. It’s fun with friends. It’s cool shoes and cute skirts some days too. 

Speaking of days…enjoy yours!

fitness and nutrition

Leather or Lace

What a title, right? Leather or lace what? Are we talking panties or tennis? Could it ever be both? 

Let’s start with tennis. I picked up a racquet a couple of times as a kid. Maybe at a summer recreation spot to try a new sport. It was meh at best as I never pursued it at that point.

I picked up a racquet again around the age of 20. Played a little. Learned a little but moved on after a very short stint for whatever reason. I maybe picked up a racquet with a friend 8-10 years ago and played a couple of rounds of tennis. Fun. Exercise. Time with a few pals. Nothing fancy but I might have learned to keep score.

Fast forward to sometime this year. I was invited to play pickup tennis on a weeknight. I dusted off the racquet and headed to the court with low expectations. I’m old. I’m rusty. To my surprise I had fun. I was into it. How could that be? I opted to play a short season of tennis with one of my gym competition partners. We weren’t great but we won more than 50% of our games. In the process we got some cute skirts. I bought some new tennis shoes so the fancy tennis ladies were not bugging me about my CrossFit shoes on the court. I was set to play again.

This time it was a team. A whole new element. More to learn. New partners to adjust to. Outfit matching, it is a thing?  More games to fit in the schedule. A new fitness routine that makes me take a day off regular training for tennis. A big mindset shift for me. New racquet this season to be all fancy and a friend got me an accessory for it. The butt sticker! Oh boy did I love the butt sticker gift.

Of course it couldn’t be an ordinary butt sticker. It had to have flair. She found the best one for me. Leather or lace. Now as match begins and the racquet is spun for court decisions, I ask leather or lace. What an ice breaker. A personally intrusive question for the ladies on the other side of the court. Giggles. Eye rolls. Game on ladies. So much fun to set the tone early for the crazy of the matches ahead. Now I haven’t had to spin the racquet for a guy yet but I can’t wait for that response as well. 

Each response is unscripted and so fun to watch. Just like tennis. Unpredictable. Unscripted. Maybe this is what I like most about tennis right now. It’s just a go with the flow game. Sure there is a format and scoring but the court play is dynamic. It’s ever changing. It’s unpredictable. You have to be thinking on your toes. I win. I lose. I sometimes play a tie breaker or go into overtime. It’s all a fun experience for now.

Competition is good for me. Trying new partners is good for me. Making room for tennis in my schedule is good for me now. The real question is am I leather or am I lace? Or maybe nothing as the last lady responded. Absolutely nothing. I’ll let the mic drop there and just say I can’t wait to get the guys responses on my butt sticker.

Just a tennis tidbit for you today.

adventure

My Firsts

This week I did some new things or firsts for me. I decided I should log them and put a little entry in here. Then I decided I’d keep doing it here and there to make sure I’m staying fresh or continuing to try new things.

I hung out in a vintage camper. Don’t know the exact year but I got to think about what kind of life this old trailer had. The memories. The miles traveled. The people who shared the journey. A fun little first for me.  Did I mention the camper sat idle while I wondered how it fared on the road in its heyday?

I babysat a Great Dane. More of a horse than a dog. Large in size but more like a mini Dachshund when it comes to measuring its fierceness. Lots of slobber. Some interesting feeding sessions to say the least.

I played tennis with a new partner. Such an experience. We both had to display patience, foster hope, and develop teamwork almost immediately. We struggled in some ways but conquered in others. I’d highly recommend trying something new like this that requires teaming.

I stopped to help an injured animal on the side of the road. It didn’t seem like much but I was comforting the injured animal in his last hours. Not something I’d recommend but I am glad I was able to experience such a moving moment. I certainly hugged my dogs upon my return home. I just knew that puppy’s family was hurting with their recent loss.

I took a group lesson this week. I didn’t have an expectation. I went with the flow and I had so much fun. Getting coached in a weak area is great when you are coachable and I am happy to report that I am coachable. 

I cleaned up poop in record quantity. From smears in the carpet to full blown shit stream down the long hallway. You named a spot and there was most likely a shit gift waiting for you. Oh the smell. Oh the consistency made cleaning a real nightmare. As I scrubbed, wiped, sprayed and cleaned I thought to myself I’m lucky to have a dog so I’ll just clean away. Good thing this doesn’t happen everyday! From now on I will not get the dog flu shot.

I went on a hike with my two dogs. First time for not only me but my puppy. At three months old she did amazing and I surprised myself too. The picture below shows my sassy girls Teddie and Bear. This dynamic duo was great on the hike. They were so tired when we were done. Such a great first with them.

These are just a few of my firsts but I’m sure I’ll have future first posts.