Dressage Notes

Last weekend I blew the dust off some old boxes of in storage that my parents had been prodding me to come up and sort through. The memories contained within those boxes carried a faint note of bittersweet, as  most memories do. However, this one memory I had to share, because I feel that ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) has come to fruition, and continues to do so. I had scribbled down these postgrad anxieties on a pad of paper intended for dressage notes. They probably started out that way.

I’m able to hammer out three different beats with my foot and two hands on the steering wheel, all while driving and singing, though some might suggest that neither activity is my forte. There is one caveat, however. I can’t be thinking about it. The minute I start to analyze tempo and rhythm  or try to isolate my hand-thumping from my foot-stomping, I lose my way and am reduced to awkwardly beating out some discordant meter on my steering wheel or swerving wildly through traffic (the last part I made up. Maybe.)

The same phenomenon applies in my riding life too – even in something simple like a lateral movement – if I attempt to move the horse over with my leg, I end up with my heel in their flank and my upper leg like a vice grip. Essentially, I look like one of those monkeys riding around on a border collie at a rodeo. If I position myself, cue lightly and rhythmically, and allow the horse to move where he’s been channeled it goes far more smoothly.  I’ve spent enough time in the saddle for this concept to come to me as easily as the whole Rock-Band-Honda-Civic-Edition deal but still, I catch myself trying too hard and ruining the ride.

I suppose now is the season where we are supposed to be grown up and in control of our destiny, fresh from University (or about to be) and ready to seize the reins of our future. But every day feels a little more out of control than the next. Very few of us grow up with a plan for adulthood that really sticks. I am an English major, and I have come to terms with the fact that my career path is kind of up in the air, but I am still uncomfortable with this carpe diem crap in all the movies. Living life to the fullest is a friggen chore. The last thing I want to be doing is waiting for life to begin, but lifelong dreams do not come cheap. So I am making sacrifices and missing out on things, and it has me in a panic. I budget out my future and work holidays and weekends in hopes of achieving it, or figuring out what ‘it’ even is, but I think I am doing the whole rodeo monkey thing again.

My life is not a movie or a novelty. If I don’t contribute to social justice in some vastly significant way, that’s okay. If I don’t write a best selling novel before 30, that’s okay. If I don’t have a storybook romance, that’s okay. If I don’t make it to the Olympics, that’s also okay. If I don’t get to ‘live life to the fullest’, that’s okay . Maybe trying to live life to the fullest shouldn’t be so stressful.

For now, my idea of living life to the fullest is to find good channels to drift through, and when I see good people drifting along I will latch on and we can drift along together.

Why did I ever worry? Life is wonderful.

Post Script: R.I.P. Honda Civic.

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