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Today was a day of firsts. My aunt Barb and I are in Sedona, AZ on a couple day vacation close to her hometown of Phoenix. Last night, we stopped at Takashi, a Japanese restaurant in town because in her 65 years of life she had never tried sushi. As I taught her how to use chopsticks, I was impressed at her excitement and determination to master a new skill- and let's be honest, learning to use chopsticks can be one of the simplest frustrating tasks humans can ever try to learn. The waitress helped us out with the little plastic clips to help newbies use chopsticks, and it gave me great pleasure when, at the end of the meal, Barb excitedly asked if she could keep the clips to continue practicing on her own. It struck me that so many of us (myself included) get into our habits and never push beyond what we are comfortable with. Here is my aunt who until now has dedicated her life to others- first raising her son as a single mom, then to my grandmother in her final years- pushing herself in small but memorable ways. After watching the food slip through the chopsticks for the millionth time (and her chuckle each time about how bad she was at this attempted skill), I saw the glint of accomplished determination when at the end of the meal she pointed out that she never did use the fork that she had requested. Small but memorable, and worth every ounce of effort.

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