August 15, 2005

life lessons

Take a risk every day, even if it’s small.  Get home a different way, take a new path; you’ll see new things. Sometimes when my friends and I go out, we make a dare for the night. I’m not revealing what we’ve dared one another, so don’t ask.  I’ve begun to dare myself lately.  Be bolder.  Do what scares you.  Do what’s hard. 

I went to the ocean last weekend, and I was cranky.  What’s wrong with me?  I should be happy.  I was restless.  I don’t play enough.  I need to change that.  When is the last time you really played?  So I got up, walked to the ocean, got wet, then decided to build a drippy droopy sand castle.  I dug a moat and built a bridge.  I’d forgotten that when you dig in the sand, deep enough, you hit a layer of shells before you hit water.  I loved relearning that.  I was building a sand castle by myself, for no reason at all.  For play.   Who does that?  I did. 

A fifth grade girl named Margaret joined me to help.  "Wow, fifth grade.  When I was in fifth, we were learning cursive." 
"God, I learned that in like second grade."  She was chewing grape gum and offered me a piece.  "Well, don’t feel bad, times are different now."  We talked about her school and how she just got her ears pierced.  "Not at Claire’s.  Their biggest selling accessory is infection."  I began to blink.  Was I hearing things?  "That’s what my mom says."  She then told me her mother’s cancer was in remission and how her friend Debbie is getting a second hole in her ear.  "But she’s allowed because she is handicapped." 

Our conversation reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for.  I was also glad, for the first time in my life, that I had short
weakass nails… all the better to play in the sand with.  A moat is a good time.  Go play.

Get On It (Keep On It)

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17 Responses to “play”

  1. michelle Says:

    Thank you for that … I often think that I don't take enough risks, even the small ones … and I know I am not grateful enough for what life has given me, just bitter at what it's taken away. Thanks for making me think a little on this rainy Monday.


  2. StephanieKlein Says:

    Thank you, yeah. I cannot spell; never could. Thankfully, I have an editor and helpful readers.


  3. anna Says:

    good post.
    no whining or wishing.
    just thankful.
    good post.


  4. Alan from Harrisburg Says:

    I like the attention to poignant details. This is some of your best writing.


  5. Laura Says:

    I like the dare for the night thing. Maybe I should do a little dare for everyday. I've been so bored lately…

    It's good to always play. I forgot about it for a while, but when my children were smaller I learned to play all over again: sandboxes and swings, those dangerous metal merry-go-rounds, all of it.

    My children are young teenagers now and they don't play anymore. But I still do.


  6. emma Says:

    great post


  7. katherine Says:

    I definitely know what you mean, glad you had fun :)


  8. rg Says:

    thanks, really liked that one. wishing I had sand to play in right now.


  9. Fielding Melish Says:

    This one made me think — think about how regular my life has been of late and how I had slipped into a routine and not even realized it. So, I decided to shake things up a little. OK, well, shake things up as much as a guy in a suit can on the way home from work. In any event, I did something different on the way home from work simply for the sake of change. And, wouldn't you know it? I ran into a woman I had dated last year — the timing had been off back then. (She looked great.) And, while I know I might well get shot down if I decide to ask her out again, I also know that that opportunity would not have presented itself but for the self-examination caused by this post. So, from someone who is sometimes critical of posts here, kudos to you for this one.


  10. Bostonrh Says:

    Were you building this sand castle on the Jersey shore this past weekend? Could have sworn I saw you walk by me on the beach in Bayhead. Coincidentally, you passed just as I was in the midst of playing with a gaggle of my nieces and nephews. Playing is good for the soul indeed.


  11. Frances Says:

    playing with kids sometimes brings out the best of us :)


  12. Jules Says:

    These thoughts of you feel so familiar. Last week I took a different path home just to broaden my horizon I guess. I love the song "Everybody's free(to wear sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann. It says "do one thing everyday that scares you."


  13. dc Says:

    This reminded me of a few weekends ago when I was at the beach where I unexpectedly saw my brother and one-year-old neice playing along the water. After approaching them to say hello, I had the pleasure of walking her along the shore and playing in the sand with her. I can't wait for her to be old enough to build sandcastles with. Yet I don't want her to grow up too quickly. It means she'll be hitting me up for money, candy and expensive pocketbooks.


  14. Kathy Says:

    You've inspired me. Soon, perhaps tonight, I'll take my kids to the beach and build a sand castle. The beach is so close to where we live…it's not the ocean, but it's a beautiful lakeside beach. We don't go there enough.


  15. cindy Says:

    i just did the exact same thing Sunday morning at Daytona Beach with my soon-to-be niece. I babysat while my brother and his fiancee went to the flea market. Me and 9-year-old Isabel had a great time. And I noticed the same thing, about the layer of shells before the water.

    did you also sit in about 1 foot of water and let the waves crash over you and send you rolling backward further up the beach as you giggled, and struggled to regain your balance. we did. a good time was had by all!


  16. Aliana Says:

    Did she bring the extra piece of gum with her? Did she have a little fifth grade fanny pack full of fifth grade 21st centurey necessities like grape gum, sparkly barrettes and some prescription painkillers?

    This posts smells false.


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