The man asked me if I was excited about Fall and I spent two minutes explaining summer is my favorite time of year.
“Listen to you, that speech you gave, it is kind of a love letter to June.”
I smiled and said I have been writing/speaking those kinds of love letters for a long time now. Sometimes you get an answer and sometimes you get nothing.
“It is a feeling that you know something deep inside that comes from a place you can’t explain nor describe. It is just right. That sense of peace you get when the sun warms your back just right or you feel the sand under your feet and the sound of the waves let’s you know you are in your happy place.”
He looked at me and said I ought to consider writing and I smiled and said it back, “I ought to.”
We shook hands and I walked down the stairs that connected a bunch of burned out apartments and wandered back to my car.
Had phone calls and emails to return and an hour before my daughter would finish class and I might get a chance to pick her up and spend a little time with her.
We sat at the table and she told me about her Chemistry and Biology classes and the labs that were tied to them.
We walked through the parking lot, me right behind her, eyes scanning right and left to make sure there were no cars or miscreants to be concerned about.
I almost grabbed her hand and snorted to myself and pulled my hand back, old habits die hard and this one fell out of favor more at least a decade ago.
Today I worry about her walking through dark parking lots late at night. There is still some concern during the day, but it is mitigated by light and the occasional reminder to not read her phone as she walks.
So I saw across from her and listened to her update me on five classes and told her she is carrying a course load that is 10 times harder than what I did my freshman year.
But there were a couple of moments when the old man was pleased to offer advice and help on coursework and strategy. I haven’t forgotten everything so there are things I can offer but neuroscience is a world away from what I did.
At one point I told her to remember that intelligence isn’t everything, grit is of paramount importance too.
“The ability to get up and keep going when life punches you in the mouth is as important as anything you learn in a classroom.”
Mostly I just listened to her stories and told her to remember to take some time out for fun too.
In between the burnt out apartments and daughter time I headed over to a deli I used to frequent when I lived on the far side of town.
Hadn’t been there since before the pandemic and picked up a sandwich called the Rachel and a half pound of corned beef to take home.
Sat outside and inhaled the comfort food under what felt like endless blue skies and a sense that I am two steps closer to opening the castle doors of the kingdom again.
I joined a local gym yesterday and for the first time since March of ’20 walked back in and started working with weights the way I used to.
Or rather started slowly calling on old muscle memory to come back out of hiding and push its way into the daylight.
Went back late this afternoon for a follow up session and will go again tomorrow.
It was good to be back but it accentuated the ache that I had been feeling and reminded me of the pieces I haven’t catered to in far too long.
Remembered what once was and started to dig in to rebuild, restore and renew. Not trying to go back in time, but am calling upon that as a foundation as I build a new future.
I feel tired and the beginning of a familiar pain that I am going to have allow to be intimate if I want to get to the place I visualize inside my head.
Some of it feels harder than before but in some ways it feels easier.
Grit goes a long way now doesn’t it.