I always imagine my aged feet will feel cramped, strapped in, painful when I slip them into my skates. But, they never do, the worn, twenty year old leather feels snug, like home. Even the ragged edges and the worn down lambs wool don’t scratch or tug. I am Cinderella, the slipper always fits.
The ice slips under my feet, I am not unsure. I am not nervous. I am home. No matter the fact that it has been 2 and a half decades since I could lift this body off of the ice and my muscles are a shadow of what they used to be, my steps feel strong. I don’t jump. I don’t spin. Too many miles on these joints to do that, but I do get lost in the movement. I feel like a young girl, a young woman, a young mother. All the me’s that I no longer am, all the me’s that wore these boots. Somehow in someway in this space, I am all of those women, all of those souls are dancing out of my blades, through my finger tips and I smile. I smile so much I start to weep, and I am pretty sure that the few people I am sharing the ice with think I am off my rocker, but actually, I am right on.
Life is dangerous and messy and sloppy and beautiful and perfect and awful. It’s painful and it’s brilliant and it stretches us and pulls us and molds us in so many ways that I sometimes feel unrecognizable to myself in the mirror. My boys often ask me what’s wrong? Why are you upset? What’s bothering you? True, there has been a lot to be upset about, to worry about, to be concerned and fret about, and I am not even talking about the 2016 Presidential Election. Do I have to wear it on my sleeve? Does my heart have to shine through my eyes, do they have to be clouded with worry?
Most days I have no desire to change who I am. Most days I am comfortable in my skin. Then there are days that I am clueless, I don’t know, I don’t understand, I don’t get it … I don’t know what to do. I wish for greater wisdom, for peacefulness. I pray and I can’t hear the answers, I can’t find myself. Worry takes me over.
This past weekend was difficult, for reasons to be left untold. I have been actively working at keeping worrying at bay – for several years actually – and I have done a good job! I have changed the way I think, changed what I allow to hijack my brain and I try to only truly worry when a worry is warranted. Turns out when you are parenting three teenage boys there are a lot of concrete, real worries. A lot of obstacles and things to consider, ponder, think and … well, worry about.
When I feel the overwhelming sense of dread, the sleeplessness I know will hit me, I resort to my go to: I have come up with a list! 1) Is what I am worried about life threatening? Yes? Worry about it. 2) Is what I am worried about life changing? Yes? Maybe you should worry about it, but maybe not. 3) Is the outcome of the situation not something that affects my life? No? Stop worrying about it. 4) Can I control any of the outcome? No? Stop effing worrying about it. Think about it, ponder it, mull it around in my thoughts – but worry? Let the worry go. Or that’s the idea anyway.
In my efforts to lessen my worry burden, I have been thinking about the phrase,
“I’m worried about … ” because it often doesn’t apply, yet I use the word anyway. A lot. Like really a lot.
“I’m worried it’s going to be rainy.”
“I’m worried this dress won’t fit.”
“I’m worried we will be late.”
“I’m worried.” The words feel like an old, heavy, wet, wool coat, one that makes it hard to lift up my arms and feel the sun on my face. I want to change the phrase. I play around with, “I am concerned about … ” instead? My mom offered the thought this weekend (a treasure she learned from a dear friend), “I wonder …”. I wonder?
“I wonder if i it’s going to rain.”
“I wonder if this dress will fit.”
“I wonder if we will be late.”
Changing worry to wonder!
As I edge my way across the ice, I see eyes glancing my way. They are wondering. Wondering who I am? An old woman, in old skates, skating like she used to know what she was doing. Hmm … I wonder. Will it be as easy as changing one word? No, of course not. But today, today I am filled with wonder, wonder for the future, wonder for the worries I usually carry. Maybe it’s the connection to my past in these boots, or the dormant confidence I found on the ice, maybe it’s just the cold air and the smell of the rink but I am not filled with worry. The heavy coat is gone, I can’t feel it and even though I am inside a giant building, a small person in a big world, I feel the sunshine on my face. I wonder …