Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mothers, Wives, Sisters…Lost in the shuffle

I recently went with some friends to see a stage play. I remember the opening, the first act, and how glued to my seat I was. I remember thinking I have missed this!

I tried to remember the last time I went to a play and it was probably a dozen or more years ago when I was single and on vacation in England and a friend of mine had invited me to see a play he wrote. This new play some eons afterward made me realize how much I missed all that and didn’t even realize it. You see I had acted while I was in high school. I had acted, read the comedy news, made comedy sketches, loved literature and the theatre with a passion and that had carried over to college where I had studied English with a major in literature and made sure I saw almost every play on Campus.

Fast forward to married life and kids - I remember begging my husband to get a babysitter and let’s go see Mama Mia (My dad had bought us an ABBA video when we were young and my sister and I are hooked till today) and I kid you not his response was “Mama Mia?, that’s a girls show” Trouble is, I didn’t have a girlfriend to go watch it with, so I didn’t go.

I also begged him to let us go and see the stage production of Lion king and his response was “But Sola, we’re from Africa why would we pay to go see a show about Africa?” he asked genuinely puzzled.

And 10 years into my marriage, I never saw a play because my husband never wanted to see one, or I was too busy with school or the kids’ schedules or cooking, cleaning, and laundry that the days just seemed to fly by and I realized that like so many other moms, I had simply been lost in the shuffle

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t and never will blame my family or my husband…he never stopped me from going on my own, and always encouraged me. I just didn’t.

But I do realize - plays are not what make him tick. They are what make ME tick. He would wake up at 5am or 2am and never miss a Formula 1 game or his European football league no matter what. I would dutifully keep the kids away and let him enjoy his hobby, but then I never enjoyed mine!! I never went back to what makes me tick.

So back to this play - I was enthralled with the acting as well as the actors. I was enthralled with the idea that these people must really enjoy doing what they do, enjoy rehearsals, and just truly enjoy performing.

And I started to think to myself…I have lost myself…I have lost a lot of what I enjoy doing, a lot of what I consider past time hobbies and activities.
I started to think – hobbies are what you do to refuel to have enough so you can give back. Hobbies are like your batteries that need recharging once in a while. What about me, and the things I love, like cooking for pleasure (not the weekday cooking where I have to get dinner ready – hurry....hurry) and writing (my friends keep saying Sola, you should have had something out by now) and travelling and acting and watching plays?.

And so I acted on those thoughts. First, I emailed a fellow writer – who is established and published and who I don’t know personally but have read a lot of her articles. (I hope she’s reading this). I told her I would love to start writing again but just didn’t know how. She was kind enough to write back with encouraging words and tips.

I also spoke to a friend of mine about the play I saw and the profound effect it had on me and what pleasant memories it brought back…and how I made up my mind that I wanted to start finding myself again and making time for me so I don’t feel burnt out.

We both agreed that we would start creating time to do things for ourselves, for the “me” in us.

So to all mothers and sisters and wives out there ….I love my family, I love being a mom, and would not give anything up for the world, but I could add to it. We’ve got to find time for what makes us tick and do it, so that we then have the energy and the zest to take good care of our families. We’ve got to reach inside and take care of ME!

Whatever it is that you like to do, cook? take a cooking class, learn or try a new recipe. Find the time for that massage - for that dance class - for the writing class, go shopping alone, go for a massage, for that haircut – for that conference or see a play or movie with a girlfriend.

Find yourself again, emerge from the shuffle and do a shuffle for you…enjoy what you love, and you and yours will be better for it. Find what you like- it’s not too hard. What are the things that you enjoy or used to enjoy? - write them down. How can you begin to enjoy them again?
I remember thinking to myself – I know what I’d like to use as a New Year resolution- Follow your passion…find your passion and follow it.

And so for myself this coming year, that would involve God first, then family, then the hobbies - going to cooking classes, taking creative writing classes, exercising, and creating the time to write and someday, travelling again.

That might sound like nothing, but those are the things I enjoy.
I challenge you my sisters – find the time to follow your passion, and tell me all about it.

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