Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Posts Tagged ‘change’

Cape Week: In Memorium

The beach was chilly, the water a boiling mass of foam, yet the sand was smooth and calm.  Unaffected. Doubtless, it had seen this before. My eyes began to leak. It must have been the wind. Yes, that’s it. The wind. I stood there in silence, struggling to fix the image in my mind. I knelt down to kiss the sand of my beloved beach. With a shirtsleeve to stem the flow from my eyes I walked away from 25 years of family history and toward the beginning of a new story.

What does it take to bring together an entire family for 7 days under one roof, every year, for 25 consecutive years? Why even start in the first place? Once upon a time families were born, grew, and died in a single town or small group of neighboring towns. Getting together was a given. Holidays presented a challenge born of access: who would host whom for what occasion at what time and for how long? Your Mom or your spouse’s Mom for Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever. A cousin’s graduation might be a life-or-death obligation, attendance mandatory. Proximity rendered this moot, but we moved away.

First borns both, Beth and I married first and had the first grandchildren. We hit every adulting stage before any of our siblings. This meant encountering in-law issues first as well. Where would we go and when? Sticky wicket, that. The solution, at least for the White family was the creation of a separate holiday totally removed from any established American tradition. We would all go to the beach together, just like we did as kids. Thus began “Cape Week”.

How do you get 4 young couples, all of which had multiple children to return time and again to the same place at the same time to do pretty much the same stuff each year for 25 years? It could be having a parent everyone was afraid of, or another no one wanted to disappoint. For sure having BOTH was a key component. Through every milestone each little family plowed through and found a way to make it to Cape Cod each year to spend every waking moment together in our little compound. Only serious illness kept anyone away.

Over the years change did eventually come in the way of summer jobs for the grandchildren, which led as such things do to real, live adult jobs with little vacation time. That and of course, another generation of in-laws for our children to now contend with. Whispers of change were on the winds these last couple of years, but still, almost everyone was there for almost the whole week each summer.

I know what you’re thinking. Somehow it must have been easy for us. There must have been some sort of massive bribe, or something. Nope. What it took was a ton of commitment and hard work by four (now not so) young couples to make Cape Week happen. One family came from California for several years, another from the Midwest. There were summer camps that were never attended, All-Star teams made but All-Star Games missed. The classic teen rebellions against family were quashed, all 10 cousins showing up many more years than not. Invitations to vacation alternatives were graciously turned down, and every “how come always your family” discussion always ended with some version of “we can do that, too, just some other week.”

Cape week itself took hard work and commitment. Four families, 10 kids, and two grandparents together for meals, beach games, TV at night, and forays en masse to the ice cream shop. It could be a little bit cramped, even with the addition of a second cottage in year 4. Those 10 cousins from homes scattered all over America have grown up to be friends who know an amazing amount about each other despite their age differences and lack of proximity. For instance, 10+ summers of having the “college talk” with their aunts and uncles is uniformly one of their WORST memories. Yet there they were as well, every summer in which there was no unavoidable conflict.

Until this year.

Why now? Why this, our 25th year, are we now closing the book on the last chapter of Cape Week? The easy answer is the loss of one of those grandparents, my Dad. It really doesn’t matter whether he was the one we were afraid of or the one we didn’t want to disappoint, I think it’s more a matter of needing both to make something like Cape Week a forgone conclusion. That one singular loss seems to have opened the door for each family to consider the value of Cape Week to their individual families.  To think the heretofore unthinkable: something is more important to our family unit than the annual assembly of the extended family.

Is that it then? Is it over, 25 years and out? It’s been an extraordinary run. Not a one of us knows a soul who’s even heard of a family that pulled off something like this. What is clearly over is Cape Week written in stone, and while that has always been inevitable if any of us ever really gave it any thought, it is quite sad nonetheless. We will continue to rent the main house, installing Gram for a week in the same chair at dinner, on the same spot on the beach. A calendar will say that it’s number 26, but it will be different. A new Cape Week, year number 1, invitations soon. Who will come?

If I close my eyes I can still see my beach. See it, as it has been these 25 years. With my eyes closed I see my Mom and Dad, young and vibrant, surrounded by babies and toddlers covered in sand and seaweed. There’s my brother and his wife, my sisters and their husbands, my darling Beth. We’re all together. My eyes have begun to leak again and it’s all a blur. There’s a breeze in my house; there must be a window open. Yes, that must be it, an open window has let in the wind.

The winds of change have finally come for Cape Week.

 

Sunday musings 7/26/15

Sunday musings…

1) Spectator. I am missing my friends in Carson as Mrs. bingo and I must remain home for family reasons.

Reasonably sure Mike and Deanna have the whole med team thing covered without the eye doc, though.

2) Milestones. Are you on Linked-In? Among the automatic notifications one receives is the announcement of work anniversaries. For example, this year my connections were informed that I had a 10 year anniversary at SkyVision Centers (aside: huge upset victory).

This morning my FB feed informed me that The Daigle has been Facebook friends with so-and-so for 5 years. Like it’s significant.

I’m going with FB friend anniversaries as a Sign of the Apocalypse.

3) Size. You know the old saw: size matters. In certain settings saying this will set the audience a-twitter, in others it may make one twitterpated. Here, in CrossFit, but specifically while viewing the CrossFit Games, we are seeing that size does, indeed, matter.

I continually return to the classic treatise “What is Fitness” in CFJ #2, Coach Glassman’s seminal article introducing the principles upon which CrossFit has been built. Early in the article he references the differences in build, in size, between various types of athletes, singling out for particular praise those who run the 400 and 800M at the highest levels. Here, at this size and build, is likely to be found the prototype for the ideal expression of fitness as we define it.

What are you seeing this weekend as you watch the Games? What strikes me is the reinforcement of the concepts so elegantly described in CFJ #2. TheDaveCastro has once again put together a witches brew of tests that are revealing the importance of balance in training and its effect on size. Over-emphasize strength, and by doing so emphasize an increase in size? Gonna be tough to haul that extra muscle mass on both a run and 31 times up on a bar muscle-up. Sub-6:00 miles and flying through 100 pull-ups? The size you’ve shed would surely have helped in Heavy DT.

Some things are simply given and cannot be manipulated. The tallest and shortest competitors have all faired less well at the highest levels through no fault of training, for example. While you watch the final day of Games 2015, especially if you have followed this sport for awhile, pay a bit of attention to the changes in size of both the men and the women over the years. I found myself telling Mrs. bingo that so-and-so had gained too much mass this year, obviously over-weighting strength and with performance on other measures correspondingly suffering.

There’s a sweet spot when it comes to performance, one that changes if you value different outcomes. If we are talking about CrossFit and the CrossFit Games, the theoretic sweet spot was predicted years ago by Coach in CFJ #2. Finding the proper size that balances the emphasis among all of the essential characteristics of fitness is part of what it takes to win the CrossFit Games.

4) Change. While we’re on the topic of sweet spots, there’s probably a timeline over which there are optimal times to effect major life changes. For example, true entrepreneurship is quite rare after the age of 45 or so. Most people who are viewed as entrepreneurs don’t really start anything new, or even have any truly new ideas after that age. There are exceptions of course, but they prove the rule for the most part. If you ask them about their breakthrough most will say they are just now acting on something that came to them years earlier.

Which makes me want to ask those exceptions: “why now?”

Change is hard. Even evolutionary change (a catcher is turned into a 3rd baseman in the minors) can be gut-wrenching. The longer you wait to make that change the harder it can be to pull the trigger. Especially if change means leaving something that is OK, or good, or even great. Change is not any easier if you are leaving something less than OK or good, it’s just a bit more…I dunno…inevitable I guess.

And why 45? What’s significant about that mid-40′s thing? Probably the multiplying effect of 25 years of adult connections and the fact that every change you might make now imposes change on someone else I guess. You’re 20 and you walk away from a D1 track scholarship to pursue the CrossFit Games–pretty much just you in that equation. You don’t want to wake up at mid-life and wonder if you could have made a pro team, run with that invention, performed on Broadway, or earned a living as a writer. At 25 you’ll have years to bounce back if it doesn’t turn out. 45, family, comfortable job with a pretty clear and secure 15 years ahead? What a daunting proposition, to consider departing from good for only the chance of great.

Who’s to say which is the harder choice with the greatest personal consequences, to make the change or to walk away, forever unsure of what might have been.

I’ll see you next week…

Sunday musings 7/20/14: The Risk of Unshakeable Belief

Sunday musings…

1) Fonzie. Henry Winkler is 68 years old. Ayyyyy…

2) Open. Oldest golf tournament in the world coming to a close as I type. Sergio comes up jusssst a bit short. Again.

Dude’ consistent. Gotta give him that.

3) Aviary. Mrs. bingo is the “Bird Whisperer.” Who knew there were so many types of birds in suburbia?

I remember when a robin was an exotic creature.

4) Change. The only thing that is constant is change. This applies everywhere to everything. Next weekend will bring the latest edition of the CrossFit Games. There will be change. Count on it. I have absolutely no inside information whatsoever, but you can make bank on this. There will be change.

How could I possibly know this? Well, a part of it is just a basic fact of life. Stuff changes. The other part is simply history. If you’ve been paying the least bit of attention the last, oh, 10 years or so, you’ve notice that the folks who run things in our little CrossFit world are ever and always changing things up. I’m not really sure if the Black Box is outwardly (or inwardly) any different, but the leadership team is constantly changing up the left side input to see what comes out of the right side. From where I sit each change has brought a net improvement. The only thing we know for sure is that there will be change next week at The CrossFit Games.

Now in reality, unless you make your living from The Games of from CrossFit, this particular change is more interesting than integral in your life. It’s the fact of change, the constancy of change, and more so how you handle it both tactically and emotionally, that determines your destiny. Prepare for change and plan for change, because change is what you’re gonna get.

5) Unshakeable. This week I spent some time talking to a couple of folks who, unbeknownst to them, were talking about each other. Well, talking to them is not really accurate–they were having a discussion and I was having a listen. Both were talking about the effects of a particular happening on a particular person, effects that both could surely see if only they cared to remove their blinders and look. They told wildly different stories. Their belief sets were so unshakeable, so impervious to penetration by petty inconveniences like facts and reality, it was as if they wore not lenses to clarify but masks to obscure.

The blind running from the blind, if you will.

I’m fascinated when I see this, and I do see this almost every day when I am plying my trade. So much of what is “known” about medicine isn’t really known at all but “felt”. I constantly run up against an unshakeable belief that is often expressed in a statement that begins “well, I would think that [you] would…” Indeed, I heard this from both folks telling me what was transpiring. I’m fascinated and exasperated in equal parts when I am on the listening end of this equation because of how completely this unshakeable belief nullifies the otherwise logical power of observable, measurable fact.

If I step back and think a little more deeply about this phenomenon I am also terrified that I, too, may harbor similarly unshakeable beliefs that blind me to the truths of a fact-based reality. This weekend brought a gathering of true experts in a particular field of my day job, one I was quite flattered to attend. There were a couple of points that I’m just convinced my colleagues got wrong, points of view it looks like I shared only with myself. Am I right? Is my insight so keen, my ability to analyze the data presented so much better, my advice so advanced that I am just a full step ahead of the rest of the group? Or is it rather that I am clinging to a point of view supported only by the virtual facts created by beliefs I am unable or unwilling to walk away from? The simple awareness that this may, indeed, be the case does place me in a better position than either of my conversational partners as far as ultimately being right, but is that enough?

Blinders of not, I guess we’ll see, eh?

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at July 20, 2014 11:06 AM