Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Go Fly A Kite
My birthday was Monday August 13. I am fifty-six. I can remember a time when I thought that fifty-six was really old, like almost dead old. Now I think fifty-six is just about right. My body feels like I’m fifty-six but often my mind and attitudes are more like a six year old; in all the positive and negative manifestations you might imagine.
My wife and daughter asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I have spent a disproportionate amount of my time the last few months thinking about what I can’t do. I try not to but it has been a struggle. There has been so much that my cancer has forced me to give up.
I also have a hard time asking for what I want. I find that I readily agree to do things I do not really want to do, don’t ask for what I really want, and then feel resentful about it; just like a six year old.
When my wife and daughter asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday I thought it might be a perfect opportunity to try something different – think about all the things I can do. It really just took my intention to make this happen. I actually found it much easier than I had expected.
I narrowed the options to two; play Frisbee golf or fly a kite. We decided that we would fly kites, since Frisbee golf is tied to a specific place and kites can be flown in a great variety of places. Of course, we had no kites on hand so it necessitated a kite shopping trip. We decided that we would go kite shopping and celebrate my birthday on the Saturday before the actual date.
On the Friday before my birthday celebration my wife reminded me that the people who are going to house sit for us while we are vacation are coming by on Saturday and perhaps we should go to a baseball game to celebrate my birthday instead. My first reaction was to revert to six year old mode. I was disappointed and a little petulant. My wife seemed a little too ready to abandon my birthday plans; I was resentful and on the verge of becoming unpleasant.
Then I remembered my Buddhist teacher’s instructions for dealing with my anger and frustrations, which have seemed to dominate my emotions for a while. I took a deep inhalation and I exhaled all of my anger and frustration. And it worked. I had another opportunity to do something different. I had an opportunity to problem solve and ask for what I wanted.
I suggested that we go kite shopping on Saturday morning, meet our house sitters in the afternoon, and since it is staying light out so late, fly kites on Saturday evening. Problem solved. I was free from petulant six year old mode and asked for what I wanted.
We went kite shopping on Saturday morning. I had previously notices a sandwich board out on Cascade Ave. advertising that a specialty bike and hobby store sold kites. We decided to go there first. I was a little shocked. The kites they sold were in the $300.00 to $400.00 range. I don’t know who spends $400.00 on a kite but not me.
Then we went to what has become my favorite toy and hobby store, where we probably should have gone first, Hooked On Toys. They had a nice selection of kites ranging from $3.00 to $30.00. At that price we got three kites, one for each of us.
Later that evening we went to a local elementary school with a large open field to fly our kites. Now you need to understand that we typically have breezy evenings. But this evening there wasn’t any wind at all, not a breath. I tried and tried but I couldn’t get my kite to fly. A six year old’s petulant temper tantrum was threatening; but I remembered to breathe.
“Oh well, we will take our kites on our vacation. We are going to be right by the beach and we’re sure to have wind there.”
I can still surprise myself. Even at fifty-six I can learn to do some things differently. I am proud of myself. And I will be flying my kite on my vacation.