Admissions (No, not that kind)
The news has reported breathlessly about wealthy parents breaking all sorts of rules to try to get their children into elite colleges. Many are surprised by this. As a long time educator, I am not. The overwhelming majority of parents I've worked with play by the rules and understand that although it is painful to see your child upset, building character and resilience is extremely important. But some parents think their role is to protect at all costs and bubble wrap the world.
The hoopla got me to thinking about the other kind of admissions. What do we admit to others and perhaps, even more importantly, to ourselves? Self-awareness leads to personal growth. Self-awareness can be a bitch.
A recent example. Last year, I became a member of my local Y, primarily to use the pool. I can't really swim but boring physical ailments challenge my ability to engage in many weight-bearing activities that depend on balance. The water is perfect solution for this challenge. However, I don't like the water. I don't like putting on a swim suit, not just because I look awful in a swimsuit but also because getting off a wet swimsuit while holding on to a grab bar can be challenging. I had joined the Y to take aquatics classes, thinking I might also pick up some friends which would mitigate my dislike of everything else. No likely friends emerged. At the start of my very first class, the teacher yelled out "Good morning, Arthritis!!" Was this a spoof of 'Good morning, Vietnam!!"?' I looked around for someone who seemed to think this greeting as funny as I did. Nope. I stopped going to the pool when, during a game of water volleyball (!!), I plunged awkwardly for a ball and wrenched my back. It was just the excuse I needed.
I keep seeing the monthly charges on my credit card. I refuse to cancel my membership because I know that being in the pool is good for me and I don't have many alternatives. I have found many exquisite rationalizations not to go. Last week, I did go back because I had run out of reasons not to. I went one time and identified a day when I could easily go again. When that day came, I awoke with additional rationalizations dancing in my brain. I partnered with each for awhile and then a loud message entered my brain and exited my mouth: JODY, YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO GO TO THE GYM.
At 65, you would think that this admission wouldn't be such a revelation. But it was. I said it aloud again, this time adding BUT YOU SAID YOU WOULD GO AND SO YOU ARE GOING. I went, hating the water, struggling with the clammy, wet suit, walking through the shallow end using proper gait, smiling at folks but not expecting BFFs.
How to admit something and not let it defeat you? How to acknowledge a truth and not let it define you? How to look your own bullshit in the face and still think you are pretty cool? How to admit and move on?
Going to the pool next Wednesday. Shit.