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  • Life really fascinates me. Just the way it all works, how the different pieces of it come together, then how they sometimes fall apart, reordering themselves into new patterns as they come back together again. It constantly changes, does life, an ever-shifting landscape. As each new experience impacts our perspective, we are forever changed by it. We will never see life quite the same as we did before the experience. I love that about life. Although, I will admit, sometimes I have hated that about life.

    I hated it back when many of the experiences I was having that were impacting my perspective were pretty shitty experiences, changing me and life in ways I didn’t want them to be changed. Back when I didn’t realize that I had the power to set the stage for what kinds of experiences I would have. Back then, life just seemed rather random, and I reacted to it in the best ways I knew how, which usually involved “swinging for the fences”, as they say in the game, more often than not striking out. The occasional homerun would be spectacular - for an inning or so - then I’d be back to reacting to all of the crazy shit with my wild-assed swings, trying to reproduce that homerun. Yeah, there would be a lot more strikeouts than homeruns, for sure.

  • But age, experience, world weariness, surrender, teach you that it doesn’t always have to be that way. I don’t have to spend my life reacting to every curveball life throws my way. I can exercise a certain level of control over what I will or will not swing at. I can be more prepared for those occasional curveballs, and I can even take a few for balls, or even for called strikes. Why not? You get three strikes each time you bat up, and you get four or five trips to the plate in a game. Why not take a few pitches, and patiently wait for that right pitch? When it comes, you drive the hell out of it, run the bases with a wild abandon, and discover that doubles and triples are infinitely more exciting than that brief rush of a homerun. You raise your level of play, you become more of a team player, and you’re more “in the game”, more of the time. This philosophy has served me well on the softball field, and it serves me well in life.

  • I apologize for that prolonged diversion into softball metaphor. That’s what happens when you don’t play for a month, then finally get to play again. Talk about a shift in perspective! A week ago, I honestly didn’t know if I would ever play softball again. Then last night I found myself out there, playing right field in the first game and manning the hot corner in the nightcap, chasing down flyballs and foul balls with a childlike abandon, missing groundballs at third base that I knew I should have had, but was understandably shaking off the rust so didn’t beat myself up too badly for missing them. Sucking at the plate for the same reasons, but all the while loving every minute of it. My whole team sucked, so I fit right in! Yeah, a whole new perspective, for sure.

  • My initial point, before that diversion, was about how each experience changes us forever. Now that I’ve seen what I’ve seen, on my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, my perspective of the world has changed – forever. Just as it did after experiencing Hawaii last year, and all the Baltic countries three years ago, and Iceland on that same trip. Same thing with people – each person that I allow myself to experience, that I open myself up to, that I let in, changes me forever.

    I guess I used to be afraid of that. I didn’t want to be changed. I wanted to stay the way I was. I wanted to know who I was. I didn’t realize that the whole time you change, there’s also that part of you that will always be you, no matter what happens or changes. So, there’s really nothing to fear. If you don’t like the way an experience or that a person you let in changes you, you make an adjustment and move on to the next experience, to other people, and let them change you in more positive ways.

    One thing is for certain – you can never remain completely unchanged. Life don’t work that way. Life is change. Best to embrace it, get in the game, take your pitches, take your swings, make your errors, make your adjustments, and play on. Just like in softball or baseball, it is never over until the fat lady sings. And once she does – there’s always the next game. When the season is over, there’s always “wait ‘til next year!” When your career is over – there’s always golf!

    That’s my morning cup of softball philosophy. Have a great day – remember to take a few pitches, wait for the right one, then give it a ride! Do be mindful of those line drives, though – the best way to avoid them is to keep on dancing!

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