Friday, October 30, 2009

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Today was a Halloween Ride at my spin class. The music for the first part of the class was from my early college years--quite energetic to spin to "Thriller" and to the theme from Ghostbusters. I didn't really like Thriller when it was first released. At the time it became so popular, I said I was the only person in America who didn't own that album. I still don't own that album, but I feel some nostalgia for the music. And the song "Thriller" is great for Halloween.

I'm always astonished at the capacity of my brain to retain useless information, like music lyrics that I haven't heard in decades. I can still remember all the lyrics to "The Time Warp," and my feet itched to do the dance, even though I was on a spin bike.

I'm also intrigued by the power of music to take me back to a particular time period. Listening to the theme from Ghostbusters took me back to the summer of 1984, when I was a backpacking counselor at Congaree Girl Scout Camp. I'm still amazed at what we were allowed to do. We packed up our supplies and were dropped off at one point. The vans would meet us at the pick up site (12 or 20 miles away) a week later. We had no cell phones, because it was 1984. The lead counselor was all of 21 years of age. And yet, off we went, with our troop of girls.

And we came back perfectly safe and sound, despite howling rains and bugs and longer miles than we were used to. That summer taught me a valuable lesson about facing my fears and doing the things I wasn't sure we could do.

Actually, to be honest, back then, as a 19 year old, I had no fear. I hadn't yet seen Deliverance. I figured that we could protect each other, and if something freakish happened, like a snake bite, we'd deal with it.

It's only as an adult, looking back, that I shake my head at the horrible things that might have happened. As a grown up, I wonder how much I still let my fears of terrible things happening influence my actions.

I try to just feel my fear and do things anyway. Sometimes I'm successful--like with spin class. Sometimes, not so much. I try not to let those not so successful experiences dampen me.

So, as I posted a few days ago, I'll keep submitting. I'll keep writing. I'll take my box of craft supplies to a school pumpkin decorating festival and delight in the strange creations that we make. I'll try new recipes (and return to old ones). I'll keep trying to create the kind of marriage I want to be part of. I'll take vacations, even though I'd be more mentally comfortable if I just stayed at home. I'll take new vocational risks.

And later, as I approach the end of my 60th decade, hopefully I'll look back and be amazed at my trajectory, a trajectory that wouldn't have been possible without some risk taking.

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