Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
Been hanging around youngsters the last week from infants to teenagers. Makes me want to say one thing, THANK YOU MOM!! Raising kids is no easy task. But neither is growing up. We all have the privilege of looking on at teenage 'angst' with at least some sense of peace and comfort and self knowledge. However, when I really broke it down...when I really thought about the pieces of toddlers that I connect with, the bits of kiddos, and the moments with 15 year olds and college student I was struck by something. I have a feeling all the 'searching' for ourselves is really a series of trying on different masks. Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.
Babies are nothing if not themselves. They can barely contain their emotions for even a second.
Slowly but surely they begin to imitate the people around them. They begin to gage responses and try to fit in---in whatever small ways they can.
And yet I think for the most part, and most certainly for me, I had a very strong sense of self and identity until around middle school. Suddenly I was exposed to being "cool." I realized there were groups that you could chose to fit into. Thus began a long string of what I would now call masks but at the time I thought was just me discovering myself. From skater to preppie to hippie to punk I changed my hair and clothes and friends and musical interest. All in the name of being me. But when I look back, those were the times I was exploring pieces of me...but I was no where near the true self I'd been hiding since discovering I was a person.
I always say that I would never want to go back even a year because with each year I am more and more comfortable in my own skin. Although even now I realize that there WILL be setbacks. This life is a journey and not a line. The more I sat and thought about it, it dawned on me that perhaps, in searching for our life partner we are looking for someone to love us and teach us with the unconditional love that our mothers did. So we can finally go back to being the mask-less versions of ourselves. And for most of us, create more perfect little people to start the cycle over again.
After a semi-dramatic and angsty teenage weekend with my current life partner and his 14 year old daughter, we headed out to see Wreck it Ralph.
Yes, it is a kids movie. It was probably the best time we had all week. It was a moment when we all let our collective masks down and let it feel good to have a pure heart again. For two hours we laughed at silly jokes, rooted for the good guy, booed the villain and stopped trying to be cool! We reverted back to the original selves we are all trying to run from.
Another year has come and gone. I am only one year away from what many would call "the Dirty Thirty." I think I thought I would feel older by now. With each passing year I realize just how much this world has to offer. I hope in the next 5 years I can fit in more and more experience I never thought I would have, and some that I knew I would. I welcome age like I welcome every single day as an opportunity to enjoy more, love more, listen more and laugh more.
It is fair to say that I spend most birthdays at some level of intoxication. This birthday I went a different and it was amazing! I signed up for a tactical combat course so I could be more proficient with my hand gun. I woke up at 5am and drove to Pahrump for the two day course. I thought for sure I would be super exhausted by the middle of the day. But let me tell you, handling a deadly weapon does something for the adrenaline. I was going all day no problem! I was so excited and practiced every drill on day one to the absolute best of my ability. I was slow and cautious and meticulous.
At the end of Day one we did a drill and although I was accurate, I was the slowest in the class. That didn't stop me. I was determined to work slowly and steadily until I had the whole procedure 100% down pat. Heath and I decided to grab a hotel and have a nice dinner for my birthday. It was perfect. We found a winery. And you know I would normally go crazy! We kept it simple and shared a bottle of wine. I ate my heart out and fell asleep early.
Day two we woke up early again. And I felt so excited for another day of training. We did drill with people coming at us, hostage drill where you have to avoid a large target and two smaller target with perfect precision. As the day wore on I could tell my shooting was getting better and better. My confidence increased. During the drills at the end I was hitting with total accuracy every time. During the last hour of class we set up to take our test. Most people do not pass, but some do. As each bit wore on I realized that I hadn't missed a single shot. The teacher came over and told me that in the entire history of this test only one person had ever scored perfect and it was the second time he took the class. No one had ever scored perfect on the first time.
Ultimately there was one shot at 25 yards where I shot in the forehead instead of between the eyes. This cost me 3 points. So, unfortunately I was unable to make the perfect score. I did however finish first in the class and was invited to move up to a more difficult class next time. It felt incredible. 6 months ago I was petrified of guns. Now I can handle it easily and effectively with near perfect accuracy. I am so grateful for the chance to exercise my rights as an American and more importantly for the knowledge.
Who knows where I'll be next year on my birthday. But, one thing I know for sure, I'm gonna keep eating up this life with fervor. Every year is such a blessing. I look forward to the person I will be when I've had 60 of them and the tools I will have in my arsenal by then.