Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Life I Want

It seems to be the irony of my life that the only way to get me to stop moving was to put me in a neck brace for 4 weeks. On day 2 after my spinal surgery I was already ready to blow my brains out. I knew it would be bad, but just how much awful can television get if the only thing I can find on a Friday night is a rerun of the 1972 version of the Heartbreak Kid. I’m not good at this laying low thing, but through the magic of organization, it can be a time to review the past and become hopeful for a great future.

It started on day 3. Beginning small, I sorted out and clipped together the business cards of restaurants I have been to into the states of the union, their neighborhoods and those that I have not been to but want to try. I next attacked the larger, challenging, travel file drawer, which is divided into travels past, travel in the near future and travel done and gone.

The travels past drawer includes the local information and restaurants we went to on our vacations (Italy, California, Southwest and Greece, et al). This collection of ticket stubs, town maps and event schedules that dates back too long to be relevant makes me think of whether I should continue to keep them. Until I have no room, I’ll keep them for the sake of good memories. Travel of the near future holds newspaper clippings and magazine articles on places yet to see (Austin, Berlin, New Orleans. Machu Picchu, et al). There is a sub-folder in the works for areas in upstate New York that my husband and I may consider retiring to. That folder also includes St. Augustine, Florida. All of these represent things to come but the retirement one is just so hard to commit to at this time. Then there is the folder of places I visited doing things I will never do again. After having spinal surgery for the second time, I probably have to give up skiing. I love it, skiing is great but if I fall, it could be a real end to do alot more. It saddens me to do so, but I look at my brochures from Banff and Whistler and know I skied in some of the best places ever. I wish I skied Aspen or Vail, but I didn’t and won’t. But I will surely live, literally. The travel collection just represents what I want to live for but it is my health that I want the most. My restaurant visits and travel days rely on my being able to eat anything I want, go anywhere I can and to keep my money (and make more of it) so I can afford it all. Aside from relieving me of my pain, I had this operation in the hopes that I could go on to lead the life I want. Last night, I booked a flight to Belize in October; something different and maybe a new door. I learned to ski at 50. I might learn to swim at 60, or I might not. It just matters that I have my health and I can try.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Inside Anthony

There are things that people do in life that makes sense to them but that others do not understand . These are individuals who put themselves out of their comfort zone, take chances and work to achieve their goals with all the mental and physical strength they have. Prepared, they go to battle to conquer their chosen task, worried about the outcome yet willing to take the risk. That is my son, Anthony.

Those who know Anthony, would describe him as a kind soul who puts the feelings of others ahead of his own. Much like the superheroes of movies and books that come to the rescue of those in trouble, Anthony is the one his friends and family call when they need help, advise or a good ear. He supports them and is there for them. But there is another side of him, the competitive side that pushes him beyond that self imposed Maginot Line. When he sets out to do something, watch out. He is in it to win and nothing or no one will divert him from his focus.

He got interested in boxing. First reading about it, to the point of becoming almost authoritative. He then went on to training at boxing gyms and not those glossy ones in the city for $200 a month. The ones in Paterson for five bucks at a time with experienced boxing trainers. Religiously, he trained every week and then on to sparing. And then, much to my concern, competing in the Golden Gloves.

I should not have been surprised when he told me he was going after the Golden Gloves. It was the natural path of action for Anthony. Many times, people talk about today’s young adults, called either the 20-Somethings or Generation Next, as slackers whose sense of accomplishment is in the thrill of the battle against the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) of World of Warcraft. It is not in Anthony's character to watch from afar. He needed to be in the game and do it himself.

Watching Anthony put himself out on the front line is thrilling to follow. From the moment he is in the game, he is focused on the techniques of boxing and how to apply them. His study of he game is analytical, viewing others before him, learning from their technique and then using the knowledge in the ring. It is almost better to watch the progression rather than the fight, which, given my peace, love and understanding background, I find difficult.

On the surface, the sport of boxing seems so uncharacteristic of Anthony. He goes out of his way not to harm those he loves or cares about. If you show him respect, he will pay you back with the same and more. If it is a choice between sacrificing his own comfort or enjoyment at the sake of his friend or family member, he will take the hit. Having said that, however I have known him to come home after a bar fight that always seemed to end in his favor. It is not in his nature to hurt anyone, yet he will stand up for what is right. Maybe he should have been born in an earlier time – during WWII perhaps.

Anthony fought two Golden Glove matches. He won the first one easily with a unanimous decision. Last night, he lost the second bout and his hope of attaining the title has eluded him. As the old saying goes, “he might have lost the battle, but he won the war”. I know, the battle he fought was not in the ring. It was his inward battle to overcome his fears. He put himself on the line, away from the comfort zone, in front of others. He is recognized, respected and loved by friends and family for all that. As is his nature, he will go on to find another challenge, leaving behind those fears. There might have been a more easier, less painful route, but that is not who he is. He takes the hard road, learning as he goes. It is more interesting and more rewarding. Because he is Anthony.