MAKING TIME FOR THE RANDOM

So… here we are in January once again!

Each time a new year begins, I, like most people, find myself filled with lots of energy, optimism and plans. It is bolstered, I think, by the time I spend at the end of each year, declining social invitations, putting my usual work to the side, and hibernating. What comes out of this time of introspection is a plethora of good stuff- a general strategy for the year, a list of goals, a (moderately) cleaner studio, and a motto that I will try to live by for the next 365 days. This year, I have decided to Make Time for the Random.

This is something that used to occur regularly and with ease when I was younger, but now happens less frequently with each new year. I am convinced I am missing out on so many of life’s beautiful, unexpected moments by sticking to my own limited script, hemmed in by the pedestrian: an ever-glowing handheld screen, the daily grind, a mortgage…

To clarify: by being open to experiences, I mean something different than enrolling in a geriatric exercise class as my husband and I did last September. The “Strength Training for Seniors” offered by a local high school was indeed lovely- don’t get me wrong. I was filled with pride that I made it to the end of the first 90 minute class without shrieking in agony “The clock has stopped! Check the clock! We’ve GOT to be done by now!” and that
I didn’t succumb to the impulse in subsequent classes. Taking extended bathroom breaks helped. Each time I hear soft jazz now, I reflexively do my bicep curls, imagining my bright pink 2lb weights clenched in my fists. I would like to think I was not embarrassed by seeing my classmates’ dumbbells morph to 10 and 15lb black and brown weights over the course of our 10 week class, as mine remained resolutely 2lbs and fluorescent.

No, I mean seeking out those experiences that truly have no place in your quotidian life. And so that is why when I spotted a posting by a photographer friend that extras for a law office photo shoot were needed, I thought “This I MUST do!” And that is also why earlier today, ignoring my usual pile of work, I found myself rooting through my closet to find something that was appropriately “california business casual” figuring that the lowercase “C” denoted an even a greater freeness than I am accustomed to.

Clad in neutrals as directed, I crossed the bay, and after a few tries at entering elevators that took me to floors I did not want to go to (if they moved at all), I asked a guard for help, and was whisked to the 56th floor of San Francisco’s tallest building, high above the clouds and drifting fog. There I was able to see my talented friend in action- directing us with the gentleness of a kindergarten teacher and the precision of a drill sergeant to get the shots she required. Awed as usual by anyone who has a vision and crafts a way to obtain it, I reveled in her talents as I fake smiled as the former lawyer described the painful chain of events that led him to helping others through his consulting practice. Marveling how my friend skillfully created a tableaux with office products that turned strangers into new, supportive friends, I feigned laughter over an empty mug with an actor who lent his voice to a Star Wars character.

Score one for randomness!