Tag Archives: friendship

Therapy by Bonfire: A 20 Year Reunion

She wore black combat boots and had hair that looked like she cropped it herself with kitchen shears. She asked questions. She had opinions. She was passionate about everything. She was the exotic German in a ho-hum Midwestern school.

THE foreign exchange student.

Though I was probably her polar opposite, we became the best of friends.

After I graduated, I sold my car so I could buy plane tickets to visit her in Germany.

We had our adventures. Drove to Italy. I got drunk for the first time in my life. And we even sang Beatles songs in a little German bar (what IS it with drinking, Germans and the Beatles?).  I cried when I left Germany because I ‘knew’ I would never be back again.

*At this point, the universe laughs.

There’s just some kind of magnetism that draws people together. You can’t explain it, really. It has nothing to do with hair color, height or politics. Sometimes you just know a good friend when you find one.

So, it amazes me that twenty years have gone by without much more than second-hand information, and more recently, minor facebook stalking.

It pains me that after eight years of living in the same country, I had never made the three hour drive to see her.

But timing is everything. Even if I had seen her a year ago, I was a different person, and it might’ve ruined this new friendship. And finally, now, at this time in my life, I could finally see my friend.

It was a little awkward at first, being in her home, watching this new/old friend move about her kitchen, both of us with SO much to say, but not knowing how or where to begin.

Thankfully, she still has opinions, she still has questions, and she is still passionate, though the combat boots are gone.

After a couple of hours, we plunged right into the big issues of life: politics, religion, love, life. All the things you shouldn’t talk about in polite conversation.

It was therapeutic.

Sitting in her magical garden by the bonfire, drinking champagne, sharing hopes and dreams and failures.

We are in our forties now, but laughing and dreaming with girls’ hearts.

Older. Wiser. More beautiful. More passionate. With hands rough from building dreams.

As I go through this process of rediscovering myself, it’s good for me to have friends like this. People who encourage me to be myself and to have opinions. People who value my words and ideas. And especially creative people who feed my own creative passions.

Life is hopeful.

And pursing dreams can and should be done.

Using wisdom.

Working hard.

And connecting with others who are doing the same.


How to Love a Crossfit Newbie


She was so obnoxious, I wondered why Coach Rob didn’t just tell her to shut up. I think she talked the entire session, nodding wisely and trying to add important information to the conversation, which wasn’t really a conversation at all–she just didn’t know that.

I do understand when you have not yet purchased the correct tool, you will dig around in the junk drawer of your brain to find anything you can use to do a new job.

And, like hanging up drapes with paperclips, it’s not pretty.

While I’m sure our coach was intrigued with her knowledge gleaned from years of step aerobics and running, which she mentioned frequently, he didn’t say anything about it other than, “Here, you have to leave your ego at the door.”

She didn’t seem to think anything about that until later, when she realized that pretty much everything she had been doing, while good for her in many ways, had been wrong.

Eventually, she learned to keep her mouth (mostly) shut and listen–really listen, which means applying it to the WOD. 

It still amazes me that the more experienced Crossfitters were not only patient with her, but encouraging as well. They took the time to get to know her, to show her things, to give her pointers and tell her when she was leaning too far forward while squatting the bare bar.

In case you’re wondering, the Newbie in question WAS me.

As I look back over a year of Crossfit, I can see how far I’ve come, not just in physical strength, but in my mindset as well. I’m not the most stellar athlete–I still haven’t RX’d any WOD that includes lifting or pulling the entirety of my body weight, but with one year under my rapidly shrinking belt, I have learned a few things.

  • People might annoy you, but give them a break–they’ll settle in. And besides, they are trying something way out of most people’s comfort zones.
  • Camaraderie is what makes Crossfit the best sport on the planet–do your part to build such an environment.
  • The Newbies who come back routinely might become your new best friends.
  • New Crossfitters are working hard too–if they’re not, they probably won’t stick around long.
  • Be patient and wait to see how Crossfit changes them physically, but also mentally. The proof is in the Paleo pudding.
  • Even if you have to lift the plyo box out for them and put weights away for them and show them where the toilet is; love them, because no matter how buff you think you were before coming to Crossfit; you were a shiny-shoed little school-kid once too.