We’ve probably all been establishing new habits in these Covidian times, right? I sure have – but I’ve also noticed one long-standing habit has all but disappeared. I don’t check my calendar each morning anymore.
Because my schedule – is – open.
I do still flip over the wall calendar page every month just to get a new picture to see day in and day out. For August, I have Black-eyed Susan flowers! I also have two melancholy reminders of what my August was supposed to look like…
First, I should have been heading to Northern California for my fifth time spending a week camping at the Lair of the Bear in Pinecrest:
I love new adventures – but one of the pleasures of this getaway has turned out to be knowing exactly what to expect! And when this year started, I marked the week on my calendar – confident I’d later be getting a dose of pristine scenery, rejuvenating hikes, crackling campfires, fine wines, good spirits (pick your definition), and delightful catchings-up with friends!
But as everyone in the wide world knows, life doesn’t always go as planned.
So instead of being off on my annual trip (camp was properly canceled), I’ve ended up with time to do things like clean, dust and practice clutter management here at home. I’m not saying I’ve actually done these things – but, you know, the time has been there.
Although in fairness, I have taken a pretty good run at organizing. And it’s absolutely astonished me that in delving into the nooks and crannies of an apartment that’s not all that big, I’ve discovered an incredible amount of redundancy!
Padlock-wise, for instance:
It appears I have a habit of going out and buying a thing when the need arises instead of checking to see if somewhere I already have it. Unfortunately, this accidental hoarding clearly isn’t driven by practicality. When Covid first hit and store shelves were picked clean of certain items, I saw my toilet paper inventory plummet to a dangerously low count of three rolls – while my supply of off-black pantyhose remained a robust twenty-three pairs!
I’ve since gone ridiculously overboard in paper product restocking, but hey – it’ll all get used! Far less certain is what I’ll do with those twenty-three pairs of off-black hose (don’t even get me started about the beiges and the tans…). I mean, I rarely wear them – plus, I’m only ever gonna have the two legs.
Still, during these financially tricky times, at least I can now rest easily knowing my 2020 Christmas gift list is covered. Yup. It’s padlocks for everyone! Each will arrive complete with the kind of Christmas “stocking” I bet no one’s expecting – and it’ll be decked with cream or gold ribbon from this persistently purchased palate:
Ah, gold. That brings me to the other event that was set in stone on my now “Lost August” calendar: I should have been watching gold medals being awarded at the Tokyo Olympics…
Yes, long before “Fortnight” was a game, the Olympic Games were taking place over a fortnight. And as I’ve shared before (in “The Citius Altius Fortius Bit” and “The Bit About My Favorite Fortnight”), it’s a cherished event I grew up enjoying with family – and still look forward to today!
Over the years, some dear friends have fed my passion for all things Olympic with mementos like these:
One gift even shows this isn’t the first year that the Olympics didn’t go off as planned – or at least not as planned by some:
Greece! Birthplace of the ancient games and first host of the modern era games in 1896! That’s when the “youth of the world” were called upon to assemble in Athens just as Greek citizens had in days of old for athletic competition in the spirit of fellowship and good will! Heading into the centennial of this revival, Greece must have figured it had the hosting gig in the bag – so much so that they put it on a shirt!
Guess the Olympic Committee didn’t see the symmetry there. They awarded the 100th Anniversary Games to Atlanta – not to Athens.
In bringing up how the Tokyo Olympics aren’t going as planned either, I could actually be talking about now or about eighty years ago. The city was also chosen to host the Summer Games of 1940 – but as the event neared, external concern grew over Japan’s war with China at the time, as did internal interest in conserving domestic resources to feed that war. So Tokyo wound up forfeiting.
1940 hosting duties next went to Helsinki, Finland – and Mum tells me her Finnish immigrant grandparents immediately and excitedly made plans to attend! Not only would it be a chance to see the Games in the country they’d left fifty years before, but they’d also be reunited there with a son they hadn’t seen for decades!
It wasn’t to be…
Finland’s large-looming neighbor Russia decided to invade them in 1939 – and then one country after another became caught up in World War II. So the Helsinki Games were canceled along with the 1944 Summer Games which were to have taken place in London. These wartime cities ultimately did take their turns as Olympic hosts: London in 1948; Helsinki in 1952; and Tokyo in 1964. Also, Athens got its shot again in 2004!
Cut to 2020 where the Tokyo Games have been pushed to next year as we wage another war – this time against a virus. The youth of the world are still assembling – not for sport – but to insist that society’s playing field be a level one. In the midst of all this, afraid I can’t feel wholly confident that even a year from now the world will be ready for (or entirely interested in) an Olympic return.
But I’m marking the Games on my next year’s calendar anyway! Because I’ve always believed in their ideals. And despite some tarnishing, the Olympics have managed to endure as a showcase for moments of sportsmanship, excellence and grace that remind us just how amazing people can be.
My heart goes out to all who are struggling right now. It goes out as well to the athletes who trained so long and so hard to be at their best right now. I hope each one will still be able to claim an Olympic moment – and maybe even claim one of these:
This is Mum who got to borrow the Olympic bronze medal won (along with tournament MVP) by the great Teemu Selänne as a member of the Finnish men’s ice hockey team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia! (Where, incidentally, the host hockey team failed to medal – just sayin’.)
Realistically, that’s as close as I’ll ever get to one of these splendid awards. Because the official Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius isn’t Latin for “Older, Slower, Spending More Time on the Internet”.
Nope – it means “faster, higher, stronger”. But especially these days, it’s more the Olympic creed I like to try and live up to anyway:
“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”
I may have stopped checking my calendar for now – but it matters to me that the Olympic Games are still on it. I’m looking forward to seeing that Olympic torch arrive in Tokyo!
In the meantime, I’ll be continuing my at-home journey of “shelf” discovery – where apparently, the important thing is not to have purchased adhesive tape, but only partially to have used it before going out and purchasing more…
Cheers – and stay safe!