Now get out there and break something!

“. . .The truth is that our childhoods shape us like clay, and then the years glaze and bake us till there is no way we can change who we are without breaking something.”

~Sybil Smith, Imoegene’s Prayer, The Sun, February 2014

And the thing is, we’re often SO afraid of breaking something that we don’t change, even when we believe/think/hope that we want to.

The best things that ever happened to me happened right after I was willing to break something. It reminds me a little bit of how I play monopoly vs. how I run my life. It’s so easy to be a tycoon when the money is pink and blue and yellow and the property you might earn a fortune on, or might just as easily lose, is a 3″ square with a little red plastic hotel on it.

No great gain without some kind of risk.

easy vs worth it

Now get out there and break something.

But only if you want to.


A shift in priorities

I must be middle aged.

Not a real surprise, you might think; although the more generous of you might have been wondering, “How does she know?”

This is, after all, the year in which I will turn 50.

Not until very close to the end of the year, but still.

And, clearly therefore, well past middle-aged, as it is extremely doubtful that I’m going to live to 100. Possible, I suppose; but doubtful. And not necessarily desirable. Unless I’m one of those hale and hearty oldsters, on Mediterranean cruises, toasting lunar eclipses next to the Parthenon, winning the Booker prize for the novel I wrote when I was 93; that sort of thing.

As if.

In my younger days, I was very ambitious. Always thinking about how/what I did (next) might, hopefully, add to my reputation for being a superior musician/teacher/person/artiste/whatever. Five-year plans, ten-year plans, Living Every Day As If It Might Be My Last. YOU know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing things that I think are professionally important — playing recitals, hiring good musicians so I can play with them, publishing articles on thisthatandtheother, trying to convince my students that learning what a G-flat Major chord is as well as being able to recognize it when it shows up in one of their pieces might actually be a good thing, etc. etc.

But I have found that, since around when our Christmas-holiday break started, my priorities seem to have shifted.

If I had to boil it down, I would say they consist of these:

  • get enough sleep (harder than it might seem, as apparently, “enough” = 8-9 hours per night)
  • work as many vegetables as possible into the evening meal
  • resist checking email or playing Candy Crush after dinner
  • spend a significant time reading and/or knitting every day

Hardly earth-shattering. Can I change the world by eating more vegetables, getting more sleep, finish all those knitting projects I have started? Well, maybe the last one, but one would really have to stretch to decide that was a significant improvement in The World Order.

I have gotten really good at making chocolate ice cream with coffee and soy milk so Only Daughter can have some too.

And here Michelle Obama is, just turning 50, and married to the President of the United States.

As this morning’s guest musician said, (whose father, interestingly, just won a Nobel Prize):

“Well, we can’t all be First Lady.”

True, that.

I should probably think about this more. Try to come up with a few observations that ring true and profound and cause everyone to nod their heads in agreement, “Share” it on Facebook, decide that my blog is The Best Blog Ever and read it every day.

But I think that maybe my only observation is that all of those things might still matter, but they matter less, and that’s okay. I didn’t get enough sleep last night, but I hope to tonight. I made lentil soup for dinner with lots of vegetables in it, including sweet potato and bok choy, which are vegetables I don’t eat every day, so I’m going to feel good about that, too. I didn’t finish any knitting projects today, but I also didn’t start any new ones, either. Still not First Lady, but I listened to some pretty cool Britten songs with Husband on the couch, sat in the hot tub until thoroughly parboiled, and am now going to bed to read The Flamethrowers until I can’t keep my eyes open.

I’m not checking my email. And I’m not playing Candy Crush.

That all has to mean something, don’t’cha think?



Would that I could know
just how many of these
(unnumbered) days there were
yet lent to me.

Then I could know
whether to cast these
odd, strange days
aside, unremarked;

or whether to lie here,
awake, watching these blurred
pencil lines of trees against
this gray winter night sky,

until I can determine
how to write it differently.