On Cliches, Skiing, and Drunken Aardvarks

So it's insanely cheesy, but this quote hit me hard in the ole cranium this evening. Sometimes we avoid the truth simply because we're annoyed by the cliched-ness of it all. But that's what cliches are. Truth masquerading as annoying phraseology.

When I was a teen my Great-Uncle Harold took turns taking me and my siblings skiing. Being completely neurotic I was, of course, terrified. My little sister went first, and when Uncle Harold brought her home he kept praising her to the skies, telling everyone what a great faller she was. And I was all . . . seriously? You're calling biffing it in the snow a skill?

My fears were somewhat eased because I figured, hey, if Jenny falling down impresses the guy, then I'm pretty much golden. Turned out . . . not so much. See, what I didn't realize is that it wasn't the falling down that was so amazing, it was the getting back up. Jenny rocked at that. No matter how hard or how often she fell down, she got up again easily. Me? The first time I slammed into a snow bank, skis splayed out around me, I simply could NOT get back up again. At all. Uncle Harold had to haul me up every single time and it was humiliating, often painful, and more than once he ended up slamming down next to me because back then I was less coordinated than a drunken aardvark.

Still am. I think I named one of my daughter's Grace because deep down I desperately hope the clumsy gene will skip a generation or two. If not . . . yeah, sorry girls. You get it from me. Your Dad's a freakin' ballerina compared to your mum.

Anyway, the whole falling down and staying down thing has kind of been a theme for the last couple decades of my life. I'm a quitter by nature. If it's hard, I quit. If things don't go as planned? I quit. And this is the part where I'm supposed to say something really inspiring about how I learned that it's always worth the effort to get back up again, and that quitting is the only real failure, blah blah blah.

But I'm not going to say that. Because it's true and everyone KNOWS that it's true, so I don't have to.

Instead, I'm going to say something else that you already know. It's not enough to know. It's fun to know. It's self-satisfying to know. There's a certain smugness you can wrap yourself up in when you know stuff (especially if others DON'T). But it's useless. Absolutely useless. Until you ACT.

And that's the theme of my life right now. Action. Doing. Living. Trying. And those are hard, hard things for a gal like me who creates worlds inside her head. Because it's possible to use your imagination to trick yourself into thinking you're living your life. And I'm done with that (until I forget all this and then have this epiphany all over again). Just because I'm a writer doesn't mean my life has to be make believe.

So I'm leaving the house more. I'm writing more. I ate goat cheese the other day, and asparagus, and all kinds of other foods I've spent my life assuming I dislike (they were all yummy, every single one).

VanderVision Tip of the Day: Get up! Live! Try! Fail! Get up again and fail some more! Because that is what life IS. Trial and error, and mostly error. If you're not making mistakes, then you're living inside your head too much, and however powerful your imagination, that is a small, small place, and don't fool yourself into thinking differently.

And try the goat cheese. Seriously. It's good.


  1. I usually prefer life in my own little hobbit hole. It sure does get lonely in here sometimes though!

  2. I don't believe you. There is no way goat cheese is yummy, not if it is made of the same thing as goat milk (ugh!). :) I do love that you tried asparagus, because it IS delicious. I love that you are trying to do more but cut yourself some slack--two babies in three years is a lot of doing right there. It was sooooooooo great to see you last week (or the one before, whatever it was). Hugs!

  3. Have you tried feta cheese? That is what I really love :) !!

    P.S. You might think in your mind that you quit, but I don't think you really do. You might pause and regroup, but the way I see it is you keep getting up and trying again - just like all of us!

  4. I think the same as Ordinary Mom. We just keep trying and trying and trying. Life for me is a constant trial of making the decision to do something!

  5. I don't know how I ended up on your "mindful peons" list twice... but you're there too (or your alter ego is) so I figure if you can halve multiple personalities, so can I. Anyway, loved this post. I'm not a quitter, I'm just a setter-asider. I have big plans, and sometimes I even spend money on said plans,but then I get overwhelmed or discouraged and they end up just sitting there until I'm ready to conquer the world again. Right now, I can barely conquer the dishes, but it will pass and eventually I'll do something grand.

  6. Will ponder. Greatly. As I'm so tempted to quit so many things right now.