Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Never Too Late To Learn?

While over a friend's house the other night for a "girl's night out," I was reminded again of how terribly unsophisticated I actually am.

This is nothing against anyone there -- they are a wonderful bunch of ladies, some from church, some from mom's groups or friends of friends, who aren't the types to look down their noses at anyone, but the fact still remains: if you're coming to my house anytime soon, it won't be for wine and cheese. It'll most likely be for pizza and soda, and probably served on paper plates and cups.

As people were sipping various drinks, I was recalling the last time Dan and I attempted to open a wine bottle. We don't really like the taste of wine, I have to say, so we don't have it very often. Let's just say the moment involved a cork disintegrating and wine splashing on the walls.

I've been thinking about this a little more recently, most likely because a certain birthday that includes a "4" in it is approaching more quickly than I'd like (it's nine months away still, but, yikes!). I've been thinking about all of the things I don't know or haven't done (yet)...and sorting out which ones are actually important. It kind of reminds me of an article Dan once read in Esquire magazine that defined the "manly arts" -- all the things every guy should know how to do. None of them come to mind at the moment, except changing a tire.

This is me right now. I step back and look at myself and think, "Darn, you really should know how to do that." Or I ponder what's really on my "bucket list" (like visiting all 50 states -- I'm up to 37!). I don't know; you could call this a mini midlife crisis, but I prefer the word "reflection."

Similar to Dan's upbringing, I've always been rather na├»ve or innocent (or perhaps the word is ignorant, depending on how you look at it). Neither of us were exactly the worldly-wise types, which I supposed isn't really a bad thing.

One example (and Patti, if you happen to somehow be reading this, I'm so sorry!): A summer day just after tenth grade. My best friend Patti and I headed to the local golf course near her house, well-known as a high school hang-out spot. We thought we'd try to find some seniors out there partying, and figured while the chances of them inviting us to join them were close to nil, we could maybe at least spy on them. But in case that didn't work out, we brought some notebooks to write in, because we were, well, nerds (as well as being band geeks). The day went on and while we heard people in the distance we never actually found any of the cool kids, but we did do a lot of writing. Wouldn't luck have it that at the end of the day as we were leaving, we came across two cops out looking to bust up the partying. They demanded we tell them where everyone was. In a moment of sheer panic, I blurted out, "We don't know where anyone is! Look at us! We're rejects!" I held up my notebooks. "We came here to write stories!" At that they believed us, because in their words, that was too crazy to be made up.

Ah, yes. I was the goody-two-shoes who lived at home during college because I didn't like the idea of living with people up at all hours (my brain works best around 6 a.m.), many of whom favored drinking until they puked. I never have quite figured out how to do my hair with any sort of pizazz, apply make-up besides the very basics, or put together a wardrobe that doesn't look like it came off the clearance rack at Kohl's (hey, I like Kohl's).

So here we are, and I wonder how many of these things really matter...and if there's any area where I might be selling myself short. In some ways, I suppose it's never too late to learn. And the last thing I want to do is pass along some of my ignorance to my own kids.

Perhaps my 40th birthday should be more of an "enrichment" day. We'll start at a pool somewhere, where I'll finally learn how to dive. Then I'll invite some of my savvy friends over to give me a makeover. Someone will show my how to be confident enough to wear something other than jeans, sweatpants, and my hair in a bob. We'll end the day in a restaurant, where I'll learn which wine goes with what. And then I'll sign up for piano lessons, because I've always really wanted to play, rather than just picking out little songs by ear.

There's that balance, I think, between loving who you are and being confident enough to admit there's a lot you don't know and could maybe stand to learn. Like how to open a bottle of wine without showering yourself. Dan and I could both benefit from that lesson. I guess we should probably learn to like the taste of the stuff first.

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