Three From the Discard Pile

I’ll admit it: I am a dopamine junkie. If I feel a little bit blue, a tad unsure of myself, a hint of anxiety, my usual response is to try something new, hoping for that rush I get from a novel endeavor.

When my youngest son left the nest and I was feeling lost, I tried running races for the first time. That was 17 years ago and still one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning. Winner!

Today I thought I would write about three activities I tried that were slightly less noteworthy. These are the activities that wound up on the discard pile.

Meditations in Motion

Knitting

When I was a little girl, I used to love to watch my mother and sister knit. They were both accomplished knitters, turning out colorful shawls, blankets, and gorgeous sweaters.

I pestered my mother until she finally agreed to teach me. She gave me some scraps of her yarn and told me we would make a scarf.

I loved the idea. I pictured a long, rainbow-hued rectangle I could proudly wrap around my neck to keep me warm in the winter.

What I produced was a stubby, rainbow-hued rhombus (I must have dropped some stitches) I wouldn’t have worn on a bet.

I did persevere and improved slightly. The height of my knitting career came when I made a pale blue cap and baby sweater for my oldest son before he was born. Unfortunately, it turned out to be very small and he was an eight-pound baby, so he wore it exactly once.

When my youngest son left home many years later, in addition to racing, I thought I might revive my fondness for knitting.

I bought a pattern book and some beautiful yarn. I began working on the front of a sweater.

Knitting was a lot slower than I remembered. If you like immediate gratification, knitting is not the hobby for you.

I knit about six inches of the front of the sweater and placed the knitting in a beautiful wooden bowl my oldest son brought home from his time in the Peace Corps in Zambia.

It gathered dust there for years, a prominent reminder of my lack of dedication.

Meditations in Motion

Scuba Diving

I was bereft after my mother died. Mom suffered a stroke three years before she passed, which resulted in her living in an assisted care facility. I used to visit her every night, helping her shower and getting her into bed. After her death, I felt aimless, lost.

An ad at our local rec center for scuba diving lessons in the deep end of the pool seemed like something exciting to try.

I pictured my husband and me swimming in coral reefs among colorful fish and delicate sea anemones. My oldest and youngest sons have their scuba licenses. I thought maybe we could all dive together.

As it turns out, scuba diving lessons in a pool are not all that much fun.

Instead of viewing colorful fish and sea turtles, you get to see the gross stuff (like balls of hair and Band-aids) that accumulate at the deep end of the pool.

Most of the lessons consist of learning what to do in case something goes wrong (duh!). You also need to be able to calculate how many minutes your air supply will last, not an easy task.

We passed all the checkpoints along the way during our ten-week course and our written test too. The only thing that stood between us and our certification was the open water dive.

Unfortunately, the open water dive was scheduled to take place not in the clear, warm waters of a tropical beach, but in a murky, cold quarry. In March. In Pennsylvania.

We decided to wait until summertime to take our final test.

Never happened.

We took the classes 12 years ago but never got our final certification.

Meditations in Motion

Golf

As far back as I can remember, my husband played golf. Even when we were dating, he went golfing with his buddies from school.

Our youngest two sons caught his enthusiasm for the sport and both played on our high school golf team.

When the kids were younger, the days when Bill took the boys golfing meant at least four hours of uninterrupted alone-time for me. I could go running, get chores done around the house, sit on the deck with a book, or whatever I pleased. Downtime was a valuable commodity in those days.

As a result, I never learned to play. Running was my thing.

As our boys got older, Bill began to run with me. At first, just three or five miles at a time, but eventually, he trained for and ran some full marathons and even a 50K.

I should learn to golf,” I thought. He learned to love my hobby, I should reciprocate.

I took golf lessons.

I loved my golf instructor. She was patient, smart, and knew how to explain the “how-to“s of golf. I signed up for a series of six lessons over six weeks.

After the classes were over, Bill and I went to a local par-three course to play.

After five holes, I was exhausted. I wanted to go home and take a nap.

You run marathons!” Bill protested. “How can five holes of golf make you so tired?

It just did.

The only time I actually played 18 holes on a full-sized course was with my sister and brother-in-law at their club. Both are excellent golfers. After what seemed like 12 hours of golfing, frazzled and limp, I asked my sister which hole we were playing.

Six,” she replied.

Six???

I still play occasionally in scramble tournaments but I would never presume to call myself a golfer.

It was another activity that wound up on the discard pile.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

Meditations in Motion

 

 

 

 

 

 

57 comments

  1. Scuba is in my discard pile too. Just out of college, my friends Brian and Lisa (a couple) got really into diving. They encouraged me to get certified so we could go on epic trips. I did the pool thing too, but actually got certified on a dive trip to florida where they lived. Brian and Lisa quickly got divorced and none of us ever dove again. In my discard pile was a prescription scuba mask. Wow that ticked me off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think if I could have taken my certification test in Florida, I would have my license now too. Of course, my dives would have been so few and far between, I would have had to take a refresher course every time I dove. Too bad about the prescription mask. That must have been expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Why would you waste several hours of perfectly good alone time? I remember a post by a blogger I follow that was titled something like “I Love Golf.” Then she went on to describe how her husband’s weekend golfing allowed her to have precious time alone. My husband doesn’t golf, but I would encourage that activity if he ever decides to take it up. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never thought about my discards like that, but I’ve got a nice pile. I always wanted to learn to play the piano and so when I was 25 I did…it took a lot of time and effort to get to mediocre level, I still play occasionally. I don’t have good hand-eye coordination so that pretty much puts any sport with a ball out of my league, but I did enjoy my attempt to learn to play tennis. And I’ve made several attempts to learn another language and have forgotten more words than I will ever know. But running, yep, that’s here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had the same experience with the guitar. And the other languages. I do Duolingo on my phone to learn just enough to get by when we travel. Thank goodness we both found running! πŸ™‚

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  4. I enjoyed your honesty about endeavors that didn’t click. I can think of one of mine — knitting. John’s mother taught me, and I made an afghan and parts of a baby sweater. Knitting was ok, but I hated sewing pieces together. I’ve not been tempted to knit since then.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Golf! Exactly my feelings!
    I once decided I wanted to learn golf. We took a three-day course in Thailand. These were the longest, most boring three days ever. I never touched a golf club again. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha! I laughed out loud reading β€œa stubby, rainbow-hued rhombus.” It’s a great metaphor for a life that’s unsure of itself, a life still learning about life. I might take β€˜stubby rhombus’ for my new nickname!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like to play golf, I really do. But I think about all the other things I could do in that amount of time, and so my clubs and shoes sit idle for another summer. I keep thinking that I may take it up again when I get older. At 62, I’m beginning to wonder how much older I’ll have to get for golf to work its way back into my schedule. Knitting, probably never. But I do have a strange fascination with quilting. I may just keep running.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand what you’re saying about golf. It does take a long time (or at least it seems long) to play a round. I think I will keep running too!

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  8. There are many things we will try in life only to find out that they don’t suit us whatsoever. I know I’ve been down some rabbit holes, Laurie, but when dissatisfaction set in, I promptly abandoned what I was doing. God has definitely called you to be a runner and a writer! Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. bwaaahahahahaha!
    you learned what you DON”T like at least! So funny, reminder of lack of dedication! Hole six! Don’t try cross stitch if you don’t like slow projects!
    On to the next thing, learning Italian! Making crepes suzette! writing a memoir!
    So much to try!
    I tried running. I was dating and living with a marathon man, and after dedicating a year to practice, I was able to run a 5K without walking, and came in second to last just before a wheel chair runner. I do walk a LOT and prefer that but I tried it! (how can I walk 5 miles and can’t run one? )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right! It’s just like the scientific method. We learn from our mistakes. I used to cross stitch, but haven’t for a while. You are so right – there is so much to try. So little time!

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  10. HA! I love this! I could say this about a few things too–one of them is religion. Raised Catholic, both my husband and I baptized our boys. Disgusted with the priest scandal, we tried other denominations but none of them felt right. The boys made their first communions as Catholics and then we stopped going. No judgment please, just a story about something that didn’t work for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My grandmother used to knit and crochet. Any time she sat down, she worked on a yarn project. I think I made an attempt at both but got frustrated with them. I did enjoy cross stitch and embroidery, and she did some embroidery, so I felt I had that connection with her. These days I have trouble seeing well enough to do stitching, even with glasses.

    My only experience with golf is mini golf and I am SO terrible at it. I’ve never had any desire to try the real thing. Fortunately, my husband has little interest in it, either. One son played a couple of years in high school, but that’s it.

    I think it’s fine to discard some things. We can’t do everything, and finding what benefits us or others and what doesn’t helps us make decisions. Some of my discards: I did ceramics for a while as a teenager, but didn’t like it well enough to continue. I was in a little band with two other friends around the same time–I laugh to think about that now! I took a class in tatting once. It was so pretty, but so time-consuming. Plus I always worried about getting oily fingerprints on the lace. I don’t think I ever completed a tatting project. I always wanted to quilt. I think quilts are beautiful and I love the connection with history. I made a pillow but didn’t get any farther. I’m not the best seamstress, though I have sewn a lot. I just felt that I’d get frustrated trying to get piecing to come out just right, and I didn’t need any more frustration. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to do cross-stitch and embroidery too. I kind of miss it. Maybe that’s another thing I could give a try. Wow! You were in a band? That is so cool!

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  12. Laurie – My mom was a knitter as well and I watched her knit effortlessly while watching TV. The needles would slide in and out, wool slipping through her fingers, seldom looking down at her work. Like your mom, she churned out beautiful sweaters – growing up, the sweaters and hat/mitt/scarf sets and matching sweaters for my baby doll and Barbie doll made me want to learn too. However, I lacked patience and constantly dropped stitches. My mom said β€œmaybe when you’re older ….” Back in the day, before VCRs and DVDs recording TV programs, if there was a nice movie or drama series at 10:00 p.m., you had to stay up and watch it. I would sit down and relax for the first time all day and promptly nod off on the first commercial. Hmm. I would never recover after I shut my eyes the first time … I told my mom that maybe having something to do with my hands would keep me awake. So we tried again – abysmal once again and my mom refused to repair my dropped stitches hoping to get me to be more responsible – nope. I bought the sketching books and several books in the Fall hoping to enjoy both sketching and reading over the predicted bitter cold and snowy Winter. We had a beautiful Winter and they sit in my drawer … another project for retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A teacher I used to work with used to knit every spare minute. We have a group of retired teachers that used to meet regularly for lunch before the Coronavirus crisis. She even used to bring her knitting to lunch to work on while we waited for our food! You and I have plenty of other talents but knitting is not one of them! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mom liked knitting but was not infatuated with it to that extent. She knit for years … lots of baby outfits for friends’ kids and those kids’ babies, then made two afghans for my grandmother, then one for herself and me and then had carpal tunnel syndrome from all that knitting so that was the end of knitting. I still have sweaters, vests and a few glove and scarf sets she made for me. You’re right about our deficiencies in knitting Laurie!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Knitting genes like baking/cooking genes passed me up unfortunately. Yes, I do have those items to remember her by. I don’t get dressed up in the house, so I’ll likely have them a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I admire your courage in starting new things. Some catch on, others don’t. This is the fun part of retirement, trying new things I had no time when I was working full time and raising 3 kids. As you may recall, I’m a golfer, but now I’m an ukulele player and playing some pickleball too. I’d like to draw or paint more. A friend of mine has been doing one drawing a day during quarantine just for kicks and giggles. It brings out the creative side, to be sure.

    Enjoyed hearing about your misadventures with golf, knitting and scuba diving (the last being something I’ve had interest in for a long time, but it’s put on the back burner because I get to swim everyday in my little backyard pool, right now at least).

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I did try some new activities when I retired too. some I kept and some (like volunteering to help prepare taxes for low-income people) went on the discard pile! I had little extra time when I was working full time and raising 3 kids either! πŸ™‚

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  14. I used to knit too, but it’s been a LONG while. My 7th grade science teacher taught us lots of fun crafts during our study hall; I learned to knit, to crochet, to macrame. It was all great fun at the time, but I didn’t carry it over into adulthood, for better or worse.

    Scuba diving and golf are not things I’ve even attempted. Or likely ever will. πŸ™‚ It’s just as smart to know what to discard as what to pick up. I love this post, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Laurie, I just love your posts. They make me laugh and shift my heart just sentences apart. I find so much relief in saying….Tried it–not for me! There are so many things I’ve seen other people do that I thought *I* should be doing. The good ‘ol should. (Golf & scuba, both, actually! We took two classes then found out I was pg with our first baby. Never went back. But we love to snorkel, and that’s good enough for me!) Nothing feels better than picking up that unfinished knitting project and corresponding wads of yarn, tucking it in a Ziploc, and donating it to the craft section of the thrift store Someone will cut out the started project and make better use of that yarn–and you can close the chapter! Love it. Enjoy those races, I say. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carolyn. I think the same thing about your posts. Thanks for the suggestion about the unfinished knitting. Donating it is so much more satisfying than throwing it all away!

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  16. Hello,

    I enjoyed your post, I have quite a few things I have started and never completed. Knitting seems to hurt my hands, I am not a water person even though i have had swimming lessons. I think enjoying the outdoors, walking, birding and reading are some of my favorite things to do. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. I would rather be outdoors, walking, running, or birding than almost anything else. This is a wonderful time of year to be out in the woods! You have a good weekend too!

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  17. Nearly every woman I have known in the last 4 decades has at least one knit or crochet start stuck somehwere in a bag. There are fabulous knitters like my sister-in-law and then there are the rest of us. We had a dream but alas it never really appeared.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. There are lots of activities we can try and keep the ones we enjoy. Life is too short to continue with what don’t serve us well. Thanks, Laurie, for linking up with me on this Wellness Weekend. The next link up is on June 17. Optional prompt Mind exercise. Have a great week! #WW2020

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