My sister and I are crazy. Simple as that. We know how to have fun and laugh at ourselves. Michele is five years younger than me (I know we look like twins!), and we both were very active in high school sports. How does this relate to life and changes, you may ask. Allow me to digress and weave a story.
In high school, Michele ran track and played soccer. I played soccer and softball. My older sister, Stephanie, played softball, and my brother played soccer. We are a very athletic and slightly klutzy family. Compared to the skills in soccer nowadays, I may not have been considered a very skilled player, but I was tough and successful. I was the bomb!
Fast forward 15-20 years later. My younger son, Stephen, is an awesome soccer player. My husband, Luke, still plays soccer and yes, Stephen gets some of his skill from his dad, but his toughness from his mom. Over the years, Stephen has asked me to kick the ball with him, and we have played in parent vs. kids soccer games on his travel teams. I’m in good shape and, in my mind, I’m still that vibrant soccer player who plowed through the defense.
Some of the last few times I have played soccer with Stephen have been enlightening and deflating. My legs go wobbly, my balance flies out the door, and the ball goes everywhere, but to my son. What the heck happened? Where was the skilled soccer player who ruled on the playing field? My son asks, “You sure you played soccer?” I had to show him the certificates proving I played sports. Here’s proof in case no one else believes me!
Wait it gets better. Michele’s job at the time had a summer softball league. Michele wanted to play and recruited me since I was so skilled on the field and at bat. She talked me up like I was the answer to their prayers. I was psyched! I couldn’t wait to get up to bat and send that ball to the moon! I played first base in high school, and I knew I could make a difference and be an asset to this team. Plus playing a sport with my little sister was bound to be a hoot and a good time for all involved.
The time had come. I was up to bat. I swung it across my body a couple times to loosen up. My golden rule was never ever swing at the first pitch, so I let the first one go by. Hmm, that one looked pretty good, but it didn’t matter. The next pitch came, and I swung. Oh, my back! Swung a bit too hard and missed the ball. No matter. I could do this. Next pitch I connected, but it felt like someone sent a jolt of electricity up my arms that reverberated through my teeth and into my skull. I ignored the shock. I had hit the ball. No matter that it didn’t make it to the pitcher. I sprinted toward first base. Why was it taking so long to get there, and why did my heart feel like it was going to vomit right out of my chest? Not able to believe it, I was called out before I hit the plate.
Needless to say my ability to eye the ball while catching wasn’t the greatest, although it was better than my hitting. The ground was so uneven, I tripped running to get the ball, fell on my face, and wondered where the 16-year-old sports star had gone.
The one saving grace was that Michele did about the same, and we laughed hysterically over it, much to the dismay of our competitive teammates.
So I wasn’t the jock I used to be. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I can’t sprint across the field and frankly I don’t want to! It’s hard not to live in that past and think that my self worth was based on how I performed in high school. But it’s not. It’s based on who I am as a person now. Sure I gave up soccer and recreational softball, but I took up yoga. I can bend and twist like I don’t think I could have as a teen. I’m stronger inside and out. Even as a martial artist, I can’t do jump kicks and spinning heel kicks as well (actually I never was good at getting any hang time), but I have learned to be efficient and effective as the athlete I am today.
This was a long, but hopefully exciting, story to basically say that change is hard. We can fight it, we can deny it, we can rail against it. We can delay change by staying in shape and trying new exercises. But the fact is our bodies change as we age. Playing soccer and softball made me feel alive, strong, and happy. Now yoga makes me feel that way and more.
What did you use to do as a youth that you no longer do as an adult, or maybe not as well as you would like? It doesn’t have to be sports, it can be anything from knitting to singing to riding a motorcycle. How did you feel when you did that particular activity? What emotions went through you? Write about it, describe it. How does it feel not to be able to do that anymore?
What activity can you do now that would give you that same sense of accomplishment, joy, and emotion? Is there something you’ve been wanting to try? What is stopping you? Make an action plan and do it today.
Change is good. We only need to embrace it.