Thursday, the container holds....diet and exercise but am having an arthritic flare-up in my problematic right knee that I injured once, that has bothered me ever since. It does this complaining thing a few times a year and always takes me by surprise because I have no inkling as to what sets it off. So I limp for a couple of days and then am fine until the next time - weird. And what I've discovered is that, at times like this, when there is a temptation to just put the knee up and take a pass on activity, that's exactly the wrong thing to do. Got on the elliptical this morning even though every step was painful - determined to get my 10,000 steps in despite the infirmity. Lo and behold, halfway through the workout, I was almost pain-free. It's the movement that heals and lubricates.
Tonight eldest daughter, Catherine, and I are going to the theater to see a Belgian troop that's in town for just one week - The History of Everything. It's at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. I snatched a pair of tickets when I got the e-mail about it - sounds like just what the doctor ordered - I'm game for some perspective these days. Here are a few review clips:
"A profound, transcendent work of theater, movement, music and light - a 95 minute piece that gets to the very heart of what it means to be alive" - Chicago Sun-Times
"An entertaining romp that engenders awe at the vastness of the universe and our own insignificance within it." - The GuardianGiving a lot of thought to what the director had to say about the piece. He talks about how he wanted to tell the story backwards "so that humanity wouldn't seem the purpose of everything that happened before it." Because it's told backwards, the final scene is the big bang of creation. He toyed with phrases that would capture the human contribution to the history of everything. "And if we fuck up, we weren't that important." True, but he realized it was just too depressing a message to impart. Next he sought inspiration from the Richard Dawkin's book, Unweaving the Rainbow. "We are granted the opportunity to understand why our eyes are open, and why they see what they do, in the short time before they close forever." True again, but still too somber. I'm looking forward to what he finally settled on - what he chose to capture and convey in the piece. In the interview, he assures us the message is neither a dire warning nor depressing. Guessing I'll walk away from tonight with an appreciation for the vastness of the universe, how much of a blip humanity is in that spectrum, and how ludicrous it is to sweat the small stuff or take yourself too seriously. Kaveh is so right when he says, "It's a ride - just put the windows down, breath the fresh air and enjoy the journey."
And speaking of windows - a door may have recently closed but windows are opening. There are three prospective partners who all, coincidentally, live in Evanston which is bizarre and unlikely. Met all three on the dating site and I haven't met any of them yet but the courtship has begun. One is a professor at NU - I know the least about him, another is a PhD candidate in Economics setting up home here, and the third is moving here in a few weeks from Logan Square - he is a writer like me, loves jazz and is also an entrepeneur with a successful business (builds specialty buildings for the federal government). Decided to be friends with all three of them regardless of whether or not there is a romantic match - they are all so interesting and they're in my hood! This is a much better approach than taking three lovers for the wrong reason. Shaping up to be be a fun summer!
This morning, worked out to Girlyman, one of my favorite musical groups. I don't listen to a lot of current music - an exception for them - they're that good. Amazing lyrics, tunes, harmonies and when you see them live, great humor. One phrase jumped at me this morning - "We are breathing, we are seething. We are hardly underway." Isn't that great? Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend who has been a source of comfort and inspiration during tough times. But, every now and again, he says the absolutely wrong thing. I remember his words of "wisdom" when I was discouraged about my singing - so much so that I took all my music books and threw them in the dumpster with slimy garbage heaped on top - vowed I'd never sing again. His "comforting" words were, "I understand your frustration..you might never be a great singer...your voice is thin in spots...I understand why you want to give it up rather than be just an OK singer." That day, his words, anything BUT comforting! If I didn't throw the phone at the wall when the conversation was over, I certainly wanted to. More recently, a few days ago, he commiserated with me again and said something like, "I get why you're filled with angst. You're not getting any younger, you might never find someone to spend the rest of your days with and frankly there aren't that many great eligible guys out there." Arg.....!! Just what I DIDN'T need to hear! He means well.
Because the truth is, I am breathing, I am seething, I am hardly underway. Spent a lifetime making progress, getting smart, learning to be softer, learning to embrace the day. Not that long ago I made the huge list which included "small projects" like losing 200 pounds, getting psychoanalysis, improving my relationships, finding love, learning intimacy, getting divorced, singing again, honing my writing skills, eating clean, making a commitment to exercise. All these goals - well underway. So, be fearful about the future when I've come so far? Worry there won't be more juicy chapters? Nah.
Not so much a challenge today - just a suggestion to give thought about breathing and seething and being a speck in history. It's so easy to get myopic - self important and lose sight of the fact that there has to be a balance between living a worthy and interesting life and understanding one's place in the larger scheme. Humans are unique in that we are given the opportunity to "understand why our eyes are open". But it's also painful, trying to make sense of it all, questioning whether our lives really matter, knowing we're just droplets in a stream that rushes us along whether we like it or not.