Saturday, November 17, 2012

Muscle Memory

I am in Boston for the weekend.  There is a saying, "move a muscle, change a thought," and I feel like taking it one step further and saying, "move geographically, change a perspective."  My purpose for being here is acting as a chauffeur for some of my children and their friends.  I needed to drive them to the area for both a visit with friends and to attend SPLASH at MIT.  SPLASH is an educational experience for teens enabling them to take classes, negotiate some of the MIT campus, and basically ditch their parents for the weekend as they do these things with throngs of friends and new acquaintances.  If the time is used correctly it also enables parents to get through loads of work and enjoy some much-needed solitude.  I have finished one book, gone through a pile of Inc.Magazines, revised my game (again) and am now adding a new post.  And, being in Boston has made me feel SMART.  I don't know if that is real but it does feel good.

Geographical places, for me, conjure up different emotions and sometimes even physical feelings.  Colorado makes me feel balanced, Ann Arbor makes me feel at home, Washington, DC made me feel curious, Chicago inspired perkiness, Florida is other-worldly, Utah is crisp, Greece on the beach was timeless, as was St. Petersburg, Vilnius was busy.  I like clean beaches and mountains that have hiking trails I can handle.  And I love rock formations and elk!  And, one day I will finally come face-to-face with a moose.  And, New York?  I am just proud to be able to sometimes live there successfully.  It is big, messy, awe-inspiring, loud, disrespectful and both the most cold-hearted and benevolent place I've ever been in.  It has peregrine falcons and homeless people, beautiful sunsets and garbage that stinks.

Today, in Boston, I have been thinking about the enigma of a good fit, and how teens preparing to go to college don't really care about the same thing I do.  My child, the other day, did a very good job of explaining that kids don't really try to prepare for going to college in the same way I am trying to get that to happen.  He was clear and concise and eloquent.  I feel confident that the coming leg of the journey will have lots of challenges but also lots of opportunities.  I don't have the same fears I had when he was much younger, so I guess I have grown and matured (ha, ha...).

But, I have also learned that I really am smart; it's not just being in Boston!  And, no matter what the challenge is, practicing something like it can give a person a little muscle memory.  Oh, I love muscle memory!  I was never an athlete like my father, and I am still not very confident when it comes to physical things but my body does remember a little about riding on a bicycle, hiking and skiing.  I can at least do it on some level.  (I don't know what happened with tennis; and am hoping better outcomes with golf.)  And so, why not play a game and pretend that you are going to figure out what it means to go to college?  Building up a little muscle memory is not setting the entire experience thereafter in stone.

I met a lovely woman at the Starbucks this morning.  We chatted for a few minutes about how when you have more than one child, the children are different individuals (oxymoron?)   And, I told her about one of the exercises I use when asking students to practice sharing a room.  Never underestimate the USE OF THE REFRIGERATOR!  It matters not if a college student is brilliant, rich, poor, not-so-brilliant, perky, or whatever -- the use of the refrigerator must be negotiated.  And, just when one thinks they have conquered it, that they are the best, it will come back to offer another issue.  So, I want to say Thank You for adding another layer to this negotiation:  who buys it?  who gets to store food in how much of it?  who cleans it?  AND,WHAT IF SOMEONE EATS THE FOOD THEY DIDN'T PURCHASE?

I am continuing to read The Naked Roommate.  Mr. Cohen describes college as a place to take risks, because there are so many safety nets.  I like this part:  "And take risk after risk after risk so that you can figure out what you love and what you don't love.  Expect that all the risks you take will not always go as planned." (33)  And, "Most people get to college and want it all...New takes time." (35)
Building up a little muscle memory, imagining what it will be like and then taking some pretend risks can be really smart.

So, I need to take my own advice.  I have revised my game and now I need to get it online and see if anyone will play it, and if it works!  Yipes!!  My muscle memory is quivering.

Speaking of memory...did any of you eat food from the cube refrigerator that you didn't purchase?

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