As you know if you bothered to read my last blog post (don’t know why I’m feeling a little snippy all of a sudden…it’s totally cool if you didn’t read my last post, although you should. I’ve been told it’s my best yet. By my mom), you know that I took the month of July off. Here’s an accounting of what I lost and gained through my smart decision to not work.
What I lost in July:
- One paddleboard oar. (Total approximate cost: $100. Left it in a parking lot somewhere. I think.)
- Two pairs of sunglasses. (Total approximate cost: $300. Both pairs are at the bottom of Horsetooth Lake. Both lost when falling off my paddleboard. You’d think after I lost the first pair, I would have remembered to put the little bungee thing on them so they’d stay around my neck. But, no.)
- Speaking of bungee things: Four little bungee cord thingies. (Total approximate cost: $12. They were all Paul’s. He does not know about this yet. They are also, embarrassingly, at the bottom of the lake.)
- One inner-tube floaty: Total approximate cost: $6. During a storm on the lake, I took refuge in the car. My inner tube was left on a picnic table. It blew into the lake. I ran out to try to catch it but it was already floating far out across the water. I watched it, depressed, until it was out of sight.
- The hope of smooth feet. (Total approximate cost: $110, or two pedicures. The rocks at the lake, and the gravel in the parking lot, did my feet in, over and over. I worked at them with lotion and scrubby things in the shower, but it was impossible.)
- Loads of burn-out.
- My virginity (just wanted to see if you were still with me).
What I found:
- The desire to take the month of August off. LOL!!!!! But true…
- My sanity
- My love of paddleboarding
- A paddleboard (OK, I didn’t find this. I bought it. Total cost: $1,200. But worth every penny. Also, $150 oar to replace the first oar, which I lost. See above.)
- Exuberant enjoyment of life (aka: Joie de vivre). Seriously. I love life again. I have to go back to work. I’m okay with that. I like my job. Don’t adore it. But it lets me do the things I love to do. Like buy paddle boards and paddles. And lose them.
I know I went on about this in my last article, but really, take some time off and rediscover what you love to do, my middleaged friends. There is more to life than driving kids to soccer and making dinner and working and grocery shopping and taking care of aging parents and helping kids with their homework and balancing the checkbook. Well, okay, I don’t actually know anyone anymore who still balances a checkbook, but you know what I mean.
Today I had a conversation with my sis, Angel, about going snowboarding. Sometimes, I invite Lizzie, and she doesn’t want to go. And then Paul says, “Why don’t you make her go? She should get out more.” And I’m like, “I’m going snowboarding with Michael, which is one of my favorite things to do, so why would I bring a reluctant 15-year-old girl who will not enjoy herself and who will bring me down?” Paul’s reasoning would be that, as a mother, one of my responsibilities is to mother my children. And it totally is! Totally! (And,mind you, he doesn’t mean that in a mean way, like, “You’re not mothering my children.” He is thinking, probably, about the opportunity that is there to get Liz out of the house and into the fresh air. Also, about the opportunity to have the house to himself for a weekend…) But, as important as mothering my children is to me – my favorite and best job and my most wonderful and enjoyable thing to do, because the small humans that I share my world with are AMAZING people – I have learned that mothering can’t be my only job. Housekeeping can’t be my only job. Being a wife can’t be my only job, and neither can my actually work/job for which I get paid. I also owe it to myself and to my family to take care of myself, and to fulfill my dreams, and to find and engage in activities that make me feel passionate. Without that, I find that I have very little to give to my other jobs, to my kids and husband and work. So in this way, having fun IS a job. It’s one of the many things I must do. And I love it.
I love snowboarding. I love paddleboarding. I love hanging in my hammock and reading. I love the outdoors and I love taking naps on rainy days.Without these things, I would have very little to talk to Paul about when we’re hanging out in the den at night. (He, by the way, has his own hobbies that he engages in and loves doing, thank goodness.) So Paul and I keep our marriage strong by being fully ourselves when we’re not together. We have more to share with the kids because we’re happy, peaceful and full of, yes, Joie de vivre. And we’re teaching our kids how to take care of themselves emotionally rather than only living for others. (Please don’t yell at me and say living for others is what love and life are all about. I agree with that. But I can’t live for others if I have nothing to give, and I don’t have anything to give if I don’t take care of myself, too.)
Of course, this makes it sound like my life is perfect, I have the perfect balance of work, family, and self, and that we live in peace, happiness, and rainbows. Which is a crock of shit. We’ve got plenty of troubles and stress and arguments and tears and complaints, too. But this summer, I think we’re all a little more balanced, and I am truly and deeply grateful for that.
Get out there and be passionate, friends. Let me know now what makes you joyful, if you have a few minutes.
Until next time, have fun…