One of our oft-retold family stories is about something my mother once said. We lived in South Dakota at the time, and found ourselves on vacation in California. We were driving through the state capitol, Sacramento, in 112 degree summer heat. My mother said, “Who in the hell would ever want to live here?” We had no connection to Sacramento. We were just driving through on our way to San Francisco. It was an easy thing to say, what with the air quivering above that frying-pan-of-a-valley.
Of course, a few years later, we moved to Sacramento. No kidding. It was a wild coincidence. And we lived there many years. It was hot in the summer, but it became home. Who’d have thought?
The temptation to say, “I’d never (do this)”or “I’d never (do that)” is strong with me. Maybe because I want to define my limits in an attempt to define myself. Kind of like Oprah’s “what I know for sure…”
But we change.
Our “never” secretly becomes a “maybe”. Next thing you know, you find yourself saying, “I never thought I’d (do x)…” as you do it.
I was raised Baptist, but I married a fallen-away Catholic. I was a Catholiphobe so I have repeatedly said, “I will never become Catholic.” When my husband and I were choosing a church to join with our kids, we chose – unanimously – the Roman Catholic Church. I love my Catholic faith. Who knew? (He knew.)
I said I would never approach a celebrity in public. I think they deserve some measure of privacy and ease in their everyday lives, and I don’t think I have any particular right as a fan to disturb that. But I saw Mia Michaels, acclaimed choreographer, in a restaurant in Las Vegas once, and I went right up to her when she sat down, introduced myself, and told her how much I love her work. (She was so gracious about it.). Since then, I have permitted myself a short list of celebrities I admit I would probably approach if I saw them in public. The list currently includes Tim Gunn and Mark Wahlburg. They’re unique because I’d like to talk to them. Champagne with Tim and a beer with Marky Mark is all I ask. The rest of the famous people I admire are fine from a distance.
I do bend my own rules, but when I set them, it’s because I have strong feelings about it for some reason, and I think it will be easy to adhere to them.
So just for kicks, I’m going to list my current “nevers”, and I promise to let you know if I ever give in…
I will never color my hair (contrary to frequent recommendations…I just know I will not maintain it well, and I couldn’t bear spending all that money on my dumb hair.)
I will never get a tattoo (too many reasons to list and too many good friends I might offend).
I will never pay full price to see a Kevin Costner movie
I will never have my legs waxed. (Needless agony, even if only momentary)
I will never have plastic surgery (Two siblings of mine who are doctors have always said, “Never have surgery that is not required.” and “Stay out of the hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary….too many sick people and things can go wrong.”)
I frequently see movies multiple times, but I will never see the movie “Seven” again. (I wish I never had….don’t be tempted if you haven’t.)
In writing this post, I was mildly surprised to discover that I don’t have as many “nevers” as I first imagined. While I’m not at the Olympic level of never saying “never”, I think I am gradually evolving.
I occasionally say never.