12 October 2009

The Person I Used to Be

When I'm perusing all the amazing MS-related blogs out there, I find I always want to start with the posts that tell me who this person is, and how they came to be the way they are.

Well, fair enough.

But before I go through the whole MS thing, let's start with where I was before. Not who I was, so much, because I think I'm still pretty much the same person. But what I used to do, when I could do stuff.

The thing I had to give up most recently was work. I did that in June. Even though I enjoyed my day job and was good at it, giving it up didn't leave me wondering who I was the way I did when I stopped being a zoologist and left academia 25 years ago. I worked as a tech writer, but that didn't define who I was.

I used to breed and show English and Gordon setters.

Giving that up was hard, but keeping long-coated dogs meant spending several hours every weekend grooming, and I got to where I couldn't stand up long enough to get it done. An ungroomed setter starts out looking something like an unmade bed, and they go downhill from there.

Too bad. Maggie was a great editor.

Rachel was my canine alter-ego.

I used to dance -- contra, southern squares, Morris, clogging. It's how I met Scarecrow, and I miss not being able to do it anymore.

I used to play music. I'm not a musician by any means. To borrow a phrase from a character in a book I just read, "If I can do it, it's not art." Music was more of a social activity; a bunch of people would get together and play old-timey music. It's something Scarecrow and I used to do together, he being the far more ept musician than I, and I miss it.

I used to sew, and quilt.

I used to do calligraphy. Not art (see above), but fun.

Those are all things I used to do. They're part of the person I used to be, in a way that my day job never was. In addition to being a way to spend my time, each of those activities came with a circle of friends who did the same thing. They are friends that I've drifted away from, and I miss them more than anything.

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