January 6, 2015.
I wrote the date this morning by hand and had that weird frisson that happens every year with the uptick of a new number. The year 2015, however, seems even weirder than usual: so futuristic, so strange. Where’s my jet pack?
I don’t need a jet pack to feel like I am living in the future. Matt and I spent the holidays in Canada with his family, including his grandma, who is 95 years old. We sat around one afternoon and I tried to get her to talk about all the things in the house that she would not have had as a child — instead we ended up talking about the outhouse the family had when Matt’s mom was growing up, and the sun-warmed outdoor shower on their property. She pointed out that they were “eco” before it was cool. Welcome to the future/past!
We don’t have to go get water from the pump. Our refrigerators and stand-alone freezers are full, the electricity reliable, and our toilets send our waste to be treated to near-drinkability (Matt says: ew). And we have many many devices that keep us entertained, and hopefully well-informed (though that’s to be debated), into which we are plugged pretty much all the time.
I was pretty happy to be relatively unplugged over the holidays (even though I missed some key news on Facebook, from new puppies to engagements). And after the new year, Matt and I went to Wyoming and unplugged for a few minutes here and there, though not necessarily intentionally: we were off the grid while skiing in the beautiful forests around Laramie with our friends.
After a particularly wind-blown and snowy excursion, I felt a twinge of surprise to realize that I had attempted something that I usually find so challenging. Somehow, I had set myself to try new physical feats — from an incredibly painful and very funny attempt at snowboarding (I suspect my first “clinic” was also my last, after all of those falls I took, landing on my head, bum, tailbone, and wrist), to cross-country skiing. I actually improved my skiing skills with my friends’ coaching, and the experience was made even more pleasant by the beautiful Wyoming powder (and by the excellent gear — what were the first skis made of? And what would those first skiers have thought of my warm plastic costume and fancy skis made of composite materials and edged with metal? Hurrah for metal edges!).
Somehow, I embraced doing these new things without thinking about it too much. I’m hoping to continue to do the same as the new year unfolds (without the bruises): to try new things (without worrying), to be present, to appreciate what and who I have in my life.
Here’s to the new year and to the new, and to continuing to enjoy and appreciate the old!