I told a friend recently, “I didn’t think learning a second language at the age of 42 would be easy peasy” …but maybe I did. Or, more accurately, I didn’t really think about it intently. It was something future Jess would have to deal with, something I said and even believed without contemplating what it actually meant. “I’m going to learn Spanish when we get to Spain.” Kind of like, “I’ll quit smoking by the time I’m 30” and then I turned 30 and was like, “Oh, crap. I’m going to kick this can down the road a little further”(I did quit smoking but I was a smidge older than 30). Regardless I’m doing it. I’m learning Spanish!
Learning is tiring. I don’t remember the last time I used my brain this much. If you don’t use it, you lose it and my brain is definitely burning off some serious flab. The brain is just like building a muscle; when I first started practicing yoga, I remember thinking I would never be able to do full wheel pose. Now, with years of practice, building strength and flexibility, I am able to do many poses. Regardless, the first day I rolled out my mat, I was “doing” yoga. So, I just have to remind myself when I feel frustrated or stupid or disheartened, that I am “speaking Spanish.” I am comprehending Spanish. I am putting in the work and I am doing it. I am forgoing my giant lunches with mas vino (except Friday. I get Friday to enjoy the food and wine that brought me to this land in the first place!) to put in study time.
I love this quote from the movie American Beauty, “It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you’ve forgotten about.” It is way too easy to get sidetracked in life and to spend years in a routine or situation that doesn’t feed your soul. It is such a gift when you remember yourself, get a glimpse of who you really are (or were), could still be, or could be again. It is a bigger gift yet to act on it and to take that step. To feel the cobwebs fall away. What I am trying to sufficiently say, is that I am (still) surprising myself and it feels muy estupendo!
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