|Hanging out together|
It made me ponder how much I appreciate and enjoy my friendships, and how important each one becomes over time. I've got another new friend, a woman who moved into the apartment complex a few months back. We went to the movies together yesterday to see Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, where Redmayne plays the part of a transgender person who undergoes sex reassignment surgery in the early twentieth century. It's based on a book by the same name that I've put on hold at the library. Although the novel is fictional, it is loosely based on the lives of two married Danish painters. Lili Elbe wrote an autobiography that was published in 1933, Man Into Woman.
Although the reviews are not overwhelmingly positive, I found the movie to be beautiful in just about every way. Tom Hooper directed it, as he also did with Les Miserables and The King's Speech, two other movies I enjoyed very much. Both Redmayne and his co-star Alicia Vikander have been nominated for numerous honors for their parts in this movie. It's one I would recommend, but then again, there are so many wonderful movies to see right now, as we get ready for the announcement of the Oscar nominations on Friday. I usually try to see all the potential nominees beforehand, but that's not going to be possible this year, it seems. There are too many all at once!
I have finished my online training modules for the End-of-Life Advance Care Directive facilitator training I'm going through. At the end of the month I will attend a full day in-person training session and then I'll be ready to volunteer. I've learned quite a bit of new communication skills and look forward to putting them to use helping other people fill out their own ADCs. One skill I will have to work on is to put my own feelings and preconceptions aside. I look forward to mastering the exceptional skill sets that have been created for this important task. I'm not there yet, but I will get plenty of practice beforehand (I'm hoping). Do you detect a little trepidation? Yes, it's there all right, but I trust the process and will just take it a step at a time.
Ever since I moved here in 2008, I've been looking for just the right place to volunteer my time. Knowing that I can get overextended in no time at all, I've been cautious. It was the process of filling out our own ADC forms and the help I received from our own facilitator that got me interested in this. Little did I realize how much is involved in becoming certified. It is a worthwhile endeavor, though, and I'm glad I've continued to explore it. Isn't it interesting how much of a difference a single event can make in the trajectory of one's life? When I think about how different my life would be if I hadn't starting going for coffee at Avellino's, for example. I wouldn't have met my fisherman friend Gene, my young friend Leo, or my newest coffeeshop friend John.
It was an employee at Starbuck's who got me turned on to Avellino's, when I asked if there were any existing coffeeshops that still used the old-style espresso machines. I was told about a shop just down the street that had one, and I learned that it is an Italian built antique named Stella. I had many an espresso made from that machine. It has now been retired and sits in a place of honor over the doorway. But I still go there for the companionship and the coffee.
This past week, I have also gone to two yoga classes at Yoga Northwest, where I've signed up to attend three months of classes. At the beginning of the year, they have ten days of free classes where people can attend and see how they like them. There are two that interest me at this time, Gentle Yoga and Gentle II, the next step up. I tried them both, and I realize that for now, the first one is probably the most appropriate. I had not been exposed to Iyengar yoga before, and in my usual fashion I am reading the biography of the founder. He died in 2014 at the age of 95, and the pictures of him show that he had the most amazing eyebrows I've ever seen. I have the feeling that embarking on this new chapter in my life will introduce some changes I cannot foresee from here, but I predict that it will be an adventure. I know I walked out of each of those two classes feeling taller and lighter.
Recently I read somewhere that thinking of one's life as a series of chapters makes a great deal of sense. Thinking of the chapter of being an active skydiver just recently closed, makes me think of that time in a very different way. It was time to stop, I knew it was, but I didn't want to let something so central and important to me just fade away. I can always open that chapter and reminisce if I want to, just like I do with the memories I have of my parents, of my son, and of other friends and activities that have moved out of my present-day life. And with the technologies of today, I don't even have to wonder how Lauren, the present owner of my skydiving gear, is doing: it's all there on Facebook. I saw pictures and videos of her in Arizona this past holiday season, skydiving and smiling and doing all the things that I once did, looking extremely happy. It made me happy to see it, and there was only joy where once there would have been sadness not to be there myself.
I'm not sure how many chapters are left in this book of life, but I am happy to have had as many exciting and wonderful ones as I have. I can now enjoy them as I look back at all the people I have known, places I've seen, and adventures I've benefited from. Another chapter that began in 2009 was that of blogging, an activity that takes up much of my life these days. I've got an entire universe of friends and acquaintances that I visit daily. The amount of enjoyment and benefit I get from this activity is still being plumbed. (Is that the right word? I love words and wordplay, but sometimes I get carried away.)
And the interaction with my readers that I enjoy through your comments! That is priceless. I learn new things, and I find new friends every week. Sometimes I'll wonder what happened to so-and-so, and I'll go off to their blog to see if somehow I missed a post. Usually it's just the holidays or a case of the sniffles that keeps us away from our regular activities, but it's always nice to know that my friends are hanging out and handing me flowers from their own perch in the blogosphere.
Until next week, dear friends, be kind to yourself and don't forget to hug somebody, even if it's yourself. I've wrapped my arms around myself just now and am noticing that it feels pretty good. Makes it hard to type, though. It's time for me to start my day, now that I've accomplished another post. After a quick read-through, I'll hit publish. Be well!