Total Whine

Jackie, my Zumba instructor, is taking a break. On Thursday, she announced she would continue the class until Thanksgiving and then take off the month of December. We all kind of nodded at this because it is the holidays after all and really busy. Then she said, “In January, I’ll decide if I’m going to continue the class or not.”

20121024-111016.jpgAwww! Really? But I love Zumba! All those Latin moves where I completely lose control of my hips. I mean, there are plenty of other Zumba classes but I like Jackie’s. Awwww.

When we pressed, she confided she’d lost some of her passion for Zumba. “I feel like I’m not giving you my best anymore. And that’s not fair to you.”

Awwww! That’s okay. Be unfair to us. We don’t mind, really!

But Jackie held firm. “We’ll see how I feel after the break.”

Crap. I’m not surprised really. Just two days ago, I said to myself, “Wonder how long this Zumba thing will last. Probably not too much longer because you like it so much.” It’s been that kind of a year.

I know, I know, all things come to an end. The things we despise, never fast enough and the things we love, all too soon. But Jackie’s Zumba class? It makes me sad. For me, yes, because I’ll have to get my Zumba on elsewhere, but more sad for Jackie who’s lost passion for something she’s totally loved.

Jackie is great. She’s near my age unlike every other Zumba instructor I’ve had who’s like ten. She’s short and cute with freckles and a thick chestnut mane that refuses to stay constrained by elastic band. She tries not to laugh when I completely mess up or lose balance but I see that twinkle in her eye as she quickly looks away. She was a cheerleader in high school and there’s a precision to her moves that I wish, wish, wish I had. Our taste in music is similar and she always tries to hunt down the “clean version”. And she doesn’t work us like we’re twenty-something’s, making us jump and squat until our knees freeze up and we hobble out to our cars all crab-legged. Still the routines are challenging and glucosamine has wheedled its way into my daily regimen. I miss her already.

20121024-124532.jpg (This is EXACTLY how I look with Zumba;-) ——————->>

Not to mention the location of her class is about 4 miles from my house, so really convenient. Waaaaaahhhh!

I know a few details of her life and like all of us, Jackie’s got stuff. A college-aged son living at home with no idea what to do with his life. A house that needs updating and repair and no money to do it. A job as a school teacher that’s not making her rich. An ex who still makes her eyes roll on the rare occasion she mentions him. Difficulty sleeping. A knee injury. Extra pounds that she can’t seem to lose.

Sigh. It wears you down sometimes. Life does.

Still to hear Jackie say she’s lost her passion is really sad and a little scary. Because I identify. The same thing is happening to me.

Earlier today I was whining (I know, hard to believe, right?) about my own depleted passion. My coworker said, “it’s just that time of year.” Probably a lot of truth there. The first three quarters wore me plum out. And now it’s dark by 6:30, the leaves are falling, it’s getting down in the 40’s at night. Soon the holidays will be upon us and —don’t hate me—I can barely stand them.

So many things I used to love, I just don’t anymore. And I don’t know why. A twinge of depression? Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The house, which Stan and I built, once brought me great joy. I spent hours pouring over House Beautiful and Southern Living, shopping for furniture and wall decor, selecting paint and fabric. Now it feels like a tremendous burden. I can’t keep up with the maintenance and I can’t stand watching it fall into disrepair. I spend hours googling “downtown loft apartments” and fantasizing about men in brown coveralls who have to fix whatever is broken because they are contractually bound by law.

Antique shopping and rummaging through other people’s junk used to be so much fun. I’d spend entire Saturdays going from store to store, searching for buried treasure. I’ve spent many an hour refinishing pieces on my screened porch. Ugh, the thought now gives me hives. Gardening, sigh, another lost passion. At one time, my backyard might have graced the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Now it’s just a battlefield where I duke it out with the maples and crape myrtles which are totally taking over, replicating at an alarming rate — think Space Invaders who multiply when you shoot them.

If I psychoanalyze this dispassionate state, I can’t ignore the fact that antiquing and gardening are two of Mom’s favorite pastimes. So what part does our estrangement play? Have I lost interest because these activities remind me of her? Is this a form of disassociation? Or did I only once love these activities because she did and I wanted to please her?

That’s the problem with growing up as I did. Mom had a picture in her head of who she wanted her girls to be. She worked to fit us to that mold, punishing resistance and rewarding compliance. In the process, I lost myself. It’s hard to explain really. I want to be me—because everyone else is taken—but I’m not sure at times exactly who me is. Sometimes I look to Jerri to provide a clue. But when I see similarities between us, I still question whether its embedded in our DNA or its the way we were molded. Interestingly, Jerri has her own version of antiquing and gardening. Good Will and other thrift shops are her treasure trove and she is forever taking cuttings of plants, often without permission, and rooting them in pots in her apartment.

My biggest fear (ok, maybe not my biggest but it’s definitely in the top ten) is that I’ll wake up one morning to find I’ve lost interest in writing which on planet TrophyDaughter is equivalent to Jackie’s Zumba. It’s one of the few things that feels authentic, like its mine and mine alone, because no one else in my family does it or is even mildly interested.

So what are your thoughts on lost passion? Is it normal? Is it just that time of year? Have you experienced it? Have you figured out why


4 Comments on “Total Whine”

  1. Anonymous says:

    First, some practical advice about the maples and crape myrtles taking over – Prune them! Cut them down! None will do well if they are too thick! You can do this now during the short winter weekend days or even wait until late winter when the days are lengthening. Take some of your frustration out as you cut the inner branches and leaves or even whole trees where they are too close together.. Maple “wings” (seeds) self sow readily if you don’t mow them. If you mulch them (about 3″ thick except less next to the bark of the tree – so the mice don’t nest there), fewer seedlings might emerge, or if they do, they will be easier to pull (yank them!) as the soil improves and softens.
    No, I have not lost my zeal for gardening, even though it is a struggle against the deer, and the excessive rainwater that overflows from the parking lot of the elementary school behind my house and saturates my clay soil, sometimes for months, or at least until it becomes hot and dry long enough for it to turn to “brick”.Each season renews my interest as gardening tasks await me throughout the year. I dream of how my yard could look if I had the time, energy, and money to landscape my own design. I look at each tall tree that blocks my view of the sun (stunts the growth of sun-loving plants) and paint a mental picture of the sky. Oh, the beautiful sunsets I would see if my neighbor’s tall pines did not stand in the way (and fill my soil with their long wandering roots).
    I was 30 when I realized I had SAD and later learned that St. John’s Wort and a little sunshine every day worked wonders! Now I also take heavy doses of Vitamin D to chase away any depression that might creep into these long winter days. When I was in my 20’s and had more enough time and energy to start from seed my flowers, vegetables, and herbs, I filled evenings after work planting and transplanting seeds for my many gardens. I would envision a vibrant and beautiful expanse of flowers throughout my large yard (and I have the pictures too prove it!).
    Starting in the fall, I usually fall asleep too early in the evening to even clean up the kitchen.

    I think one of the reasons for “lost passion” is loss of energy, or in my case, just working too many hours to have time for exercise and other activities that give me energy. Also, life is just difficult for many of us. (I was RIF’d earlier this year and now make less money.)

    Sometimes I find that continuing an activity even if I don’t feel like starting it encourages me to keep going. With plants there is always the promise of renewal and new life.

    I am glad Jerri like plants. When one is doing something productive, one is not doing something wasteful or destructive. Plus it is a great stress reliever. Maybe she could get a job that lets her work with plants more. (TROSA, the NPO that employees persons with SA, et. al., provides landscaping services for businesses.)


    • Yes, i can tell you haven’t lost your zeal for gardening. Good for you, Linda! I’ve thought for some time that I also have a touch of SAD and I’m all over the vitamin D. I buy the gummy ones – it’s like giving myself a treat every night.

  2. lionwatch says:

    For myself, I wonder if those feelings are somewhat part of the aging process and my depleted estrogen hormones! Getting old sucks. guess it is better than the alternative.

    I’ve seen a bit of your writing throughout the years and can say that you better NOT quit! Seriously though, I do enjoy your writing. Sometimes we forget that it’s good to say that kind of thing out loud instead of just thinking it!

    That’s my two cents! Renee

    • You got that right. Aging is certainly not for sissies. And it probably is part of the equation. I mean, I grew out of Barbies so why not gardening?

      I really can’t express how much it means to a writer (and me in particular) to hear you say you enjoy my work. Honestly, sometimes I agonize over every word. I read it out loud and think, God, this sucks. I read it over and over until I’m literally quite sick of it. It’s very hard for me to be objective. So thanks for that, Renee.

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