Life, the Universe, and Curling

"Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas." -- Paula Poundstone

As this year began, I was almost literally working four full-time jobs.  I have absolutely no regrets, and would change very little.  Mom needed me, and I needed to be there for her.

I am grateful for my cousins, Carolyn and Janet, for giving me one evening off -- a small break each week to Curl, and to let go of what I had to do every single day, if only for a few hours.

Debbie told me her story of tough times last year.  I'm living that story this year.

It took about five months to deal with all of the things that had to be dealt with: settlling her estate, selling what I once thought would be my home, finding a new place.

I didn't really have a plan for this time -- still don't.  It has been a time of improvisation.  Never thought about a time without shop-space or power tools, never thought about living in an apartment in Westminster (close to the OCCC), never thought about a flatmate.

Then as the turmoil began to wind down, I began to realize just how much things have changed. 

My counselors all tell me this is normal -- that caretakers are often so consumed with the one they're caring for that they don't give a seconds' thought to themselves.

My old life is almost completely gone.  The constants in my life (home, family, life goals, purpose) have yet to be replaced.  My new life has yet to start.  As the quote suggests, I'm tempted to talk to little kids.

For the first time in decades, my time is almost completely my own, and I'm trying to decide what I want to do with it.  I can even be incredibly selfish if I want, I've earned the right.

For now, I'm just trying to put together a string of good days.  The bad days are unspeakably bad.  Counseling and my support group should help.

If you've read this far, you're probably hoping that there is something about curling in this post.

I'm proud to report that my O.C. team is 2-0 in the new league. 

I don't really remember that first game.  I was reminded of my loss, and I'm not the only OCC member who struggles.  It completely ruined my concentration.  I think I threw some good shots, but I really couldn't tell you for sure.  It was an almost perfect example of one of the truly bad days.

To add insult to injury, by 3:30 am, it seems my entire team had the flu.

I did not curl in Hollywood last Sunday.

The intervening week was largely ups and downs.  Friday dawned full of questions.  I went to a support group meeting for the first time.  Then went shopping for Friday night's party -- "purpose" if only short term, and the party was a definite "up."  That set up for Saturday.

We started our game with one, then three, then two, then five(!).  Aside from the usual ice struggles (arena ice is "playable" but not ideal), Brenna was on, Misha did well with strategy, Brian called some brilliant shots, we all executed well.

I threw one very memorable double-takeout, and two shots that might have ended up better than they did, but they both felt just plain "right" -- good alignment, balanced, and for once, proper draw weight.  It's been rare for a shot to both look and feel great.

I reminded our back-end that the true heart of a curling team is the exceptional players in the front-end.

I'm reading Break Through Beginner Curling and it just might be working.

I'm very much looking forward to tonight and Hollywood, where I'm a Natural Born Curler.

Can "Curling" be "purpose" -- and where do I need to go to pursue that purpose?

There are a few very good things in my life right now -- not the least of which is the best Curling team in the O.C. -- but other than that, there is very little to keep me here.

I feel the call of dedicated ice -- to Portland, or Wisconsin, or maybe Canada, but those voices are silent in the summer.

Maybe re-create the 1966 classic surf-movie "The Endless Summer" but instead of following summer and the perfect wave, follow winter and perfect ice?

It will take some time, though.  Before I can follow my dream, I need to find a new one.

For now, I need to remember the happiness I have right here -- the joy of friendship, and the beauty of a well delivered stone.

Posted November 18, 2012, Updated April 1, 2013