I finished a book today. Joan Didion's Blue Nights. I had read her book The Year of Magical Thinking a few years back. While that book chronicled the short span of time in which she lost both her husband and her daughter to sudden illnesses, Blue Nights focused on her fears of getting older and the many ways in which she missed her daughter. I love the way she writes because she sometimes she goes off on a seemingly irrelevant tangent about some small detail, but she brings it back and ties it to the main point of her story. The way she notices and remembers these small, minor details - the china they used after her daughter's christening; the type of flower her daughter wore in her hair at her wedding - it makes you think of the small details in your own life that are relevant to you in a way that maybe only you can understand.
For me it is this: in my office at work I have a black and white framed photo of my brother and I. I am 7, wearing the plaid pink and black fleece jacket I owned in 2nd grade (you can't tell the color because it's a B&W photo, but I remember the jacket well). That would mean my brother was about 2. It's in the driveway in front of our house and I had just gotten off the school bus. It's autumn and the leaves are scattered on the ground. My arm is around him and his attention is focused on something in his hands, something the photograph doesn't capture. I'm crouched down to his level, my arm around him, looking like I'm about to say something. My face says it's likely I was on the cusp of a snide big-sister remark. I find myself looking at that picture often. Marveling at how different we are from the people in that photograph taken more than two decades ago. Realizing that I rarely put my arm around my brother, both back then and now, and that's a rather sad fact.
It was a heartbreaking book. Some of the concerns she brings up included a feeling of frailty, a developing fear of doing seemingly ordinary things (crossing the street, etc) because they suddenly seem fraught with previously unknown dangers - dangers known only now because of an imminent fear of dying. I know I am only 30, and it's not really a feeling of frailty I feel, but sometimes I feel afraid of things that I didn't used to fear - like I might die doing them, even though previous experience has shown them to be perfectly safe. Like flying. Or riding my bike in the city. I push these fears aside (because what am I going to do - not fly, not bike outside?) because I am too young to let fears like that get to me. Blue Nights brought these topics to mind as I was reading.
We cancelled cable today. The only downside is that the cable box is shut down and therefore no longer shows the time. I suppose we should invest in a clock for the basement. I discovered YouTube has a bunch of TRX videos, so I'll be perusing those for some workout ideas. And this morning I had my final fitness test to start off the year - the swim (lord help me). Besides the wheels coming off on the last few 100 repeats and my stroke falling apart, it went as well as could be expected. There is nowhere to go but up. Oh, and I was chosen for a lottery spot in the Chesapeake Bay 4.4 mile swim this June. When I signed up for the lottery I couldn't find info on the entry fee. No matter, I thought, I'm sure it can't be more than $100. EHHHH, I was wrong - $250. I hadn't quite budgeted for that this month. Maybe I won't sign up but I'll train this winter/spring as though I signed up and do lots of open water swimming. That will help me get my act together for the Lake Placid swim, right?