Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Compared to 20 years ago (or so), I am definitely better at:
1. Hitting a baseball. One Spring back in middle school, Dad took me to a softball field and we spent the day working on my softball skills. He patiently tried to teach me to bat, throw, and pitch (you must admit, pitching is different that throwing). I'm sad to say I failed to learn how to successfully perform any of them; all I could do was catch and run and could do neither very well.

This past weekend, my family celebrated the Spring-like weather by playing outside a lot. Sunday afternoon, we went to the park and hit baseballs. Nothing formal; one batter, one pitcher, and everyone else fielded balls 'til it was time for them to either pitch or bat. Mostly my oldest brother pitched, but we spelled him every so often. Turns out, I'm still horrible at throwing a ball - no aim or distance. I can hit that darn ball, though! Finally! Almost every pitch - even some bad ones - my bat made contact with the ball enough to propel it forward (in other words, decent hits, not foul balls). Some of those hits had quite a bit of mustard on them and went a ways out. Why couldn't I have caught on in middle school when I was unbelievably asked to join the softball team. I struck out every time at bat - yeah, I ended up warming the bench a lot. Why now? Why can I hit a ball now? Weird.

Compared to 20 years ago (or so), I am definitely worse at:
1. Articulate Speech. Part of the problem could be attributed to the slight lisp created by my new teeth, but I'm afraid that isn't the main problem. I'm talking about using words and/or phrases incorrectly and often messing up well-known, albeit sometimes trite, sayings. More than a decade of fairly voracious reading has increased my vocabulary, introduced me to a variety of pithy phrases, and pretty much hampered my ability to speak coherently. You see, I have a slow brain. The more options it has from which to choose, the longer it takes to decide which option would sound best for that situation/sentence/sentiment/etc. While Ms. Brain sorts through the racks of Synonyms, Pithy Statements, and Really Big, Intelligent-Sounding Words & Phrases, my mouth (who is quicker than my brain) sees something shiny and interesting and spits it out even though it's totally inane and incorrect. Like when I would like to say a word meaning aware of one's surroundings or situation, the word that escapes my mouth is "succinct" instead of a better word like "conscientious". It's not Ms. Brain's fault, she would never have chosen that word! Mouth is to blame. Now, you'll hopefully understand when I mix metaphors, misquote famous sayings, and basically manhandle the English language in general.

2. Dream Impractical Dreams. Ah, the dreams of my youth! Nothing was off-limits or undo-able. The man of my dreams awaited for the perfect time to enter my life, sweep me off my feet, and treat me like a queen for the rest of my days. 'Til that time, I'd travel all over the world - explore the pyramids, eat bread and cheese in Paris, climb the Great Wall of China - really experience what the world had to offer. I'd live in big cities in tiny, but ultra-cool apartments. I could do and be anything. Now, the dream closest to my heart is to be mostly out of debt. A sensible, uber-practical dream that will be very nice when it happens. And, uber-boring! Not bad, just kind of sad. I enjoy being an adult and am okay accepting the accompanying (the first word I wanted to write was "recumbent" - see what I mean?) responsibilities. I wish I had the courage to still Dream Big.

At some point, I discovered that unfulfilled dreams => disappointment => heart pain => no fun at all! Hope slowly took a seat against the gymnasium wall, silently praying that someday I'd have the courage to walk across the room and ask it for a dance. Not that Practical Dreams don't deserve their space on the dance floor; in fact, some of them should never leave it. They are important. It's just that I'm finally in a position to make some Big Dreams come to pass, and, baby, it's time to make room for the wild girls! Especially when Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" comes on! Especially then!

So, Big Dream #1: I'm going to France. Come hell or high water. Alone or with anyone that wants to go with me. I'm going no matter what. Next year! Mark it on your calendar.


Melissa said...

How exciting and fun! I am sorry though, I don't think that I could get away, much less afford it. Boo Hoo.:( It would be so much fun though! Maybe I could visit thru you, ie. pictures, blog post etc.:)

Anonymous said...

Hmm... France, eh? I do have some skymiles I need to use up before they expire. Let me know more details about France when you know them. (I don't think I'll have the vacation time or the extra spending money once I get there... but I have skymiles...)

Booklogged said...

Your #2 describes me to a tee! I tried to tell you I had a hearing problem and not brain loss!

I don't know why I don't have a stronger desire to travel abroad, but I don't. Wonder if it's because I'm getting older and thoughts of those long, long plane flights are gruesome. I used to love the idea of flying, but now the thought of an airport makes me tired. So fly while you're still young.

Framed said...

I'll go with you to France. You'll need a chaperone.

Please learn to use "succinct" correctly, it's one of my favorite words.

Mellissa said...

I was going to write "good luck" in French, but I couldn't remember the spelling, so just imagine me saying it, OK.

That seems like a good dream for you to achieve. I can so picture you in Paris eating cheese and bread. Have a bite for me, would you?

KieraAnne said...

Bon Chance! (I think that's right anyway). I would totally go to France with you if I had money...and no kids and we were closer friends rather than just being your friends younger sister. But I think it's totally awesome you're going, don't let anything stop you!

Madman said...

Yes! Do it! Go to France!

You better believe I'm going to be pushing you to fulfill this one, and if you don't, I'm gonna kick your butt!

I can't go, I already have a trip planned and a cross country move planned for next year, but I'm going to be pushing you on this one.

And I want to see pictures!

Cardine said...

Hmmm... really good post. I should probably contemplate the difference between me now and 20 years ago, as well.

I am glad that you're going to France next year. I may join you, of course. :)

julie said...

Melissa, I'm bummed that you won't be going with me - I bet we'd have a lot of fun. Maybe someday? :)

Sarah, sky miles, eh? That's a great idea. I should probably get a credit card with sky miles to help reduce expenses for my trip. Thank you!

Book, I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles sometimes. Yeah, the long flight doesn't really thrill to me, either, but I'm hoping it's worth it when I get to France. I also want to drive around the country as much as you have. Maybe someday we can get a small group together and take a car trip!

Framed, you would totally be welcome to come! And, I bet I wouldn't be the only one needing a chaperone! I hear guys in Europe can be pretty forward. Woohoo!

julie said...

Missy, maybe I'll bring back some bread and cheese from Paris so we can eat some together! That would be fun. Let's do it!

Kiera, merci beaucoup! You would totally be welcome to come! You aren't just my friend's younger sister, you're a fellow blogger and french-speaker. That's important! And besides, I even attended your wedding reception. That makes us friends.

Madman, you make me laugh. Thanks for your support. And I totally believe that you WILL kick my butt if I don't, so it'll help motivate me. :) Too bad you can't come - I'd get to hear you speak French with a Spanish accent again. It really does sound cool, whether you accept it or not. :)

Cardine, thanks! I'm actually going to post some more differences when I get the time. And I really hope you come with me! I enjoy traveling with you.

Cassie said...

I'm totally planning on joining you. Maybe I should get a skymiles credit card too although it totally goes against my budget conscience self that I'm trying to create, but hmmm. I'm hoping with my new budgets that I will have plenty of money to enjoy a good trip with you.

Booklogged said...

I've lost your email address so I thought I'd contact you here. Do you know the website for Alyson's Spanish Rice recipe? I thought I printed a copy but now I can't find it. Hope you can help.

booklogged AT gmail DOT com

tearese said...

You go girl!
I loved your final metaphore in the last paragraph, very moving.
I can't speak-or sometimes write-well because of having babies, or so I'm told. Seriously, I can't remember half the stuff I used to know, and I always seem like a moron when playing trivia games.
You must be far better than me...I can't do ANYthing related to a ball. Ever.