As we get older, we sometimes let the roles we play in life define who we are as a person, forgetting about the girl we once were and the dreams we may have had. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time for those dreams anymore, what with business meetings, gymnastics practices, carpools, dinner at 5:30, and we put the needs of others ahead of our own to satisfy our inner caretaker. If you have a family, you take on the dreams of your children, living vicariously through them because they are still a small part of you.
The RealityI am writing this post not to depress you, but to tell you that you should make the time for yourself again, and I am writing from experience. The paragraph above is about me, the overworked, worn-out woman, who forgot about the “me” in mommy. (Get it? Ok, maybe it is a little corny, but it fit.) My kids are everything to me, and since I am a working mom, my time after work and on the weekends would be dedicated to them, but my 10-year devotion to just them started to take its toll on me both physically and mentally.
The Turning Point(s)Actually there was more than one “Aha” moment when I was faced with the fact that my life was lacking something. The first time was when a co-worker struck up a conversation with me at lunch asking what I did for fun. My answer was a general one-I do things with my family-and this was true and I loved doing this, but I couldn’t think of any activity that I did that involved my interests. And what I did do for personal fun involved escapism (i.e. reading a good book or magazine, surfing the Web, watching a movie).
The second realization came while I was bemoaning the fact that I was so tired even after getting my 8 hours of sleep, my body always wanted more. I also noticed how going up the stairs was starting to feel like a whole body workout. The very smart man I have been married to for 18 years simply said, “Then do something about it.” He reminded me about some of the perks of our family membership at the local YMCA (one of them is meeting with a personal trainer to customize a workout) and told me to take advantage of them.
The ChangesMy physical changes came after I met with that personal trainer and we developed a workout that involved cardio and weight training, and I have to tell you that my energy level is through the roof! I also decided that whoever said “You are what you eat” might have had a point, and I quit coffee (yes, I still miss it) and all caffeine, and instead drink water throughout the day. I also started taking a daily multivitamin and calcium supplement and added salads to almost every evening meal. (My daughter has now followed my lead and enjoys a salad as well.)
I starting out slow thinking about earlier interests, and one former love I had was writing. So now you will have to put up with my posts and comments for a while longer. I also always wanted to try my hand at a short story, and I completed my first yesterday evening. I am so proud of that fact.
My husband and kids have been more than supportive as I pursue new interests, although I have to admit I was a bit surprised, and I still feel a tad bit guilty. I guess this teacher has truly learned her lesson, and I hope it helps you too.