Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Today I cried because I couldn't find my cellphone. That bears repeating: I CRIED because I could not find my cellphone. It's real tempting to try to qualify that (so I will) by saying that it wasn't an audible wail with big tear fall; that it wasn't really a full cry at all - more a tearing-up, if you will. But - what the crap? I'm typically not a weepy type, and over a misplaced cellphone???
This overreaction to what has become a too-familiar practice of putting something (glasses, PHONE, keys) down and forgetting where I placed it is also a stark reminder of my dependency on my phone (no shame that I depend upon my glasses and my keys). I am not a social-media user, but I constantly GOOGLE. I'm a Google Addict. There, I've said it. I am by trade an educator, so I love to learn...obsessively. I am also a Text Addict. I've known this for a while now, but can't seem to break free.
After a futile and frustrating search, I left my phone in its unknown hiding place, huffed out of the door of my home, and needing a target for my frustration, mentally chose my absent husband. After all, had he been home, he could have called my cell and solved the mystery. I marched down the slope of my front yard toward the lake. We have lived in our tiny home on a tiny private lake outside of our tiny hometown now for nearly three years, and I have yet to actually get on the lake.
Having chosen my frustration target, I walked underneath our deck where we keep our kayaks. I have used my kayak a total of 2 times. The first time was the day my husband purchased the 2 of them 5 years ago. That day he got into his kayak, I got in mine, and after a few minutes' overview of the basics of kayaking via my husband, we took off. I made it approximately thirty yards, got into a current, panicked, and flipped. This sad inaugural had me upside-down like a spider monkey wrapped around an overhanging branch of a riverbank tree and my husband a good sixty yards down the river (still securely in his kayak) having a true moral crisis of choosing between rescuing me or rescuing the brand new now-empty kayak passing him by.
All-in-all, this episode ended pretty well, the only casualty being my cell phone, which ended up at the bottom of the Colorado River or perhaps in the Gulf of Mexico, and me discovering that when faced with drowning, I could still shimmy a branch upside-down to safety. The next day, we took the kayaks to a lake - much more "kayak-user-friendly" than a current-riddled river, and I really enjoyed it. It was easy-going and there was no flipping involved. In between that day and now, a lot of unexpected life happened. That brings me to today.
Still using my "I'll show him" attitude (as in, I'll show my husband I don't need his help launching this kayak), I dragged out my kayak, donned a life jacket, and began a not-very-pretty launch onto our lake, my befuddled Labrador Hoss looking on (somehow, I could not convince him to join me in the kayak). As I paddled out to the center of the lake, the breeze brushed my face lightly and my focus began to change from my self-created angst toward my husband and his "inexcusable" absence, to the peaceful calm I had secretly known would come all along if I actually made it. I did something I was not comfortable with - I was in the kayak out on the lake - alone and under my own steam. Just as I knew I would, I enjoyed my little adventure all the more because of that autonomy detail, which was sealed with my successful exit from the kayak onto the muddy bank.
Growing up, I was a tree-climbing, bicycle-riding "tomboy." I am now sixty-one years old, a good fifty pounds overweight, and wondering what happened to that outdoors girl. I have taught school for 24 years and as much as I have loved it overall, I no longer feel as though I can bring something of value to my students. I know many would say it's just the way of getting older. I choose to reject that. I recognize that I have come to the end of not just my teaching career, but of accepting a way of existence that says I can no longer be the same girl who climbed trees, rode my bike (turning corners with no hands on handlebars), and who spent a lot of my best moments outdoors.
When it's time to change, you know it, and in my experience, it's never just one sign, but an accumulation of signals, circumstances, and moments that, when taken as a whole, scream, "Get out!" "Change!" "Save yourself!" Like being reduced to tears over a misplaced cellphone, for instance. I am stubborn, so it usually takes this kind of over-the-top prodding to get me to actually move.
Time for change. And, I'm pretty sure it wasn't my husband I wanted to "show."