|Where is Waldo/Evan? A good man's hard to find.|
The night before Valentine's I went to the pool with my fifth grade boyfriend, Evan, whom I never really define that way, but for some reason seems like a scandalous detail of interest (and using the word scandalous feels like a scandalous way to exaggerate something that isn't at all scandalous.) Evan and I only "dated" for a few weeks at the age of 12 and we're pretty sure we talked to each other during our brief romance, but neither of us remember the conversations, only a few handwritten notes. Anyhow, on Valentine's Eve we swam 25 laps and talked about bikes and homework and other things between each set of five.
During one of the breaks at the edge of pool, we talked about right and left-brained-ness and how differently the two kinds of people function. Evan is a fairly left-brained and I am mostly right and I was telling Evan that I would like to get really good at something athletically like he is at biking, but that I'm just kind of average at most things and don't really feel like I've got what it takes to be really good. Evan is always beating his best times, tweaking his game, and talking with others in the sport about equipment or new approaches. It's a kind of focus that I've not had for such a long time. In fact, even as Evan was saying that in order to really excel at a sport I might have to adopt a slightly more left-brained, disciplined approach, there I was, treading water and untangling my long hair from my earrings around which it had been spun in knots by my crawl stroke. I'd unfortunately forgotten to bring a hair tie to the pool, and also forgotten to take out my earrings....right-brained kind of stuff.
I think I used to be much more of a perfectionist in high school and college--more competitive and driven in sports and other things, but it just got to be too much pressure. A person's body fluctuates and there are months where you won't run a fast mile. Sometimes you feel like you've got school in the bag and sometimes your turning in stuff that you don't feel even a bit proud of. And so somewhere in the process of giving up being a perfectionist, I feel like I gave up perfecting the game, which I think is something a lot different and quite a bit healthier.
"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time."
Now, this next part doesn't relate at all (except that it has to do with Valentine's Day), but I just have to tell you this other thing that happened to me!
On Valentines Day, in preparation for a visit from my grandparents, I cut two red hearts out of construction paper to place on their pillows. When I was cutting the second heart, I somehow clipped a fold of skin right at the crease in my pinkie finger. When I stretched my hand open to take a look, a heart-shaped wound unfolded and began bleeding down the side of my finger! There was no one home but I couldn't help laughing out loud at the strangeness of life and this bleeding, fleshy heart.