Not long ago, as I was coming out of the grocery store, I bumped into my neighbor. He was driving a minivan, one that I’d never seen before. Usually he drives an antique white Buick sedan. We talked a bit about friends and family, the usual. Marveling at the blue shiny spotless minivan, I asked him, “Is it new? Are you planning to take a trip?” “No,” he said. “My wife and I use to go camping in it but we don’t anymore.” He said he stopped a while ago, put it into his garage and hadn’t driven it in years. I asked him why? He shrugged, “Hadn’t thought about it until now. My other car is in the shop. I haven’t been camping in years either. Just can’t find the time.” I understood his response. But it got me thinking. There are a lot of things I use to do that have fallen by the wayside like partying all night, riding a rollercoaster, playing handball, and smoking. Some things I outgrew, some things I realized were bad for my health, but some things that I really enjoyed fell by the wayside as well. As we grow up and older, it’s natural that we evolve. If we don’t, life has a way of reminding us that we can’t do what we use to do. However, there are things I enjoyed doing that have disappeared without me noticing until something or someone reminded me. I decided to make a list – Things I use to do and things I’d like to do.
I use to love to dance; I use to lap swim, go to the beach in winter, hike, go to poetry readings, plays, and visit museums. I use to go to the movies, play handball, sing and play the guitar. I use to go to nightclubs and listen to jazz musicians do their thing. I use to draw, paint, and write poetry.
Remember the satisfying things I use to do but don’t do anymore, I tried to figure out why? Family, time, money, physical limitations, and fear certainly are all factors. I disregarded the things I can no longer do because of physical limitations. My mother use to say, “Do the things you can do, and don’t worry about the rest.” I decided it was up to me to revive the things I use to do that enriched my life.
Things I’ve returned to:
I have returned to the guitar after years of neglect.
I’ve begun to swim again.
The other day I went to the beach on a chilly fall day with my book, writing pad and ipod, sat down and watched the brave surfers in their wet suits await the big one.
On my list of things I plan to do:
Visit a museum
Take a ride on the Metro and explore L.A.
See a play
Go to a jazz club
Attend a poetry reading
Visit friends. Lately I’ve been too busy, but I must make time.
The more I think about it, the longer my list grows. Rediscovering the joy I got from doing some of the things I use to do has ignited a spark in me that makes each day something to look forward to.