I recently found out that Claude (aka Big-C aka C-dizzle aka Dad) used to do martial arts. I was fascinated but not entirely surprised. For all his cool swagger he was kind of a weirdo-nerd. He rode the Sci-fi wave in the 70's and tie-dye tank-topped his way through the 80's. Plus, he's always been one of those guys who carried a book in the back-pocket of his jeans and developed the art of reading while walking. And watching my dad bend and stretch his body into rusty but graceful Asian movements, I started thinking.
When you're a kid you know you're going to grow out of things. Dolls, for example, were always a ticking time bomb. Most people know the feeling of realizing that some thing they love or some game they play or some hobby they have has transformed into a dirty little secret. While you weren't looking it has become an example of you're developmental immaturity and is therefore fodder for public ridicule by your peers. But what about 'mature' hobbies. The old cliche of 'Time to put childish things aside' doesn't apply to everything. Think about your parents. Why did your mom ditch her her tarot cards or mood rings or her astrology books? Why did your dad retire his guitar or squash racket? And what about you, in your early twenties, how many sweaty yoga mats, rusty bicycles, moth-eaten paint brushes or busted SLR camera's lay in the basement of your past?
The Karate-Claude got me thinking about the things I love to do now. I spin more than I really want to admit and I've gotten to the point that my body is so used to the exercise its not really hard anymore. I'm considering changing up my exercise regime so as to avoid both mental and physical stagnation. Maybe interests to the mind are the same as exercise to the body. You reach a point at which you have to look for another outlet. Or is it a matter of re-prioritizing?
I've also thought about Spin as an example of an era. Volleyball and basketball and track (not to mention my participation in the dark room, on the literary magazine and in peer leadership) were emblematic of my do-all, be-all, win-all nature in high school. I would argue participation in all of those things is demonstrative of the person I was. Spin in it's dark competitive intensity is emblematic of the fierce Ivy-league mentality I was surrounded by. Is my body telling me what my mind subconsciously knows? Is it time to move on?
So I've brought up two reasons for why loved activities languish. Stagnation and Re-prioritization. Stagnation gives me a little more comfort as an explanation. It implies that you've simply moved on, that you've grown and have gotten everything you can from that particular interest. But an adjustment of priorities troubles me. Was I, or work or life the reason my dad isn't a black belt? Of course if the higher priority is something that is worth the abandonment of your first love than its not so sad. But in my mind I can't help equating putting hobbies aside as a break-up. There are some (like stagnation) that fade out like an old lover. You both realize, without animosity, that the end has been long in coming. Whereas other relationships explode; ripped to torched fragments by forces out of your control. You are left for another woman or you, guiltily, can't resist the greener pasture of another man. Either way there's hollow ache of nostalgia. And when you think of it are you reminiscing or regretting?
I guess it goes back to my concern about how quickly time passes, my ever-present fear of regrets. And the internal struggle between my unwillingness to put my not-so 'childish things aside' to compromise or conform and my fear of arrested development and stagnation. Anyways, ironically I'm off to spin. Maybe not Mr. Right but definitely Mr. Good-Enough-For-Right-Now.