Learning to be selfish
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The kid's club team had another soccer game today, against an opponent they play every season. Usually they get blown out - the other team is very deep in talent and very physical. But today, somehow, the kid's team kept it close, and lost by a narrow 3-4. The kid scored the first goal and made the assist for the third, and had a very good game. The team's two goalies also made some heroic saves to keep them in it. I cheered loudly, screamed out some "woo hoo"s, and celebrated the dramatic goalie saves as enthusiastically as the goalies' parents.
We picked up a few groceries afterward and met at the checkout line a soccer mom from our older kid's playing days. The hub asked her: "How is it being an empty nester?" And she replied: "Honestly, it's just awful." She also has 2 kids, college freshman and senior. And honestly, she seemed so less energetic, so less vibrant, than I remember from hanging out with her on the soccer sidelines years ago. And she said to us: "You'll find out soon enough."
Later, in the car, the hub said to me: "I hope that's not us in three years" - which is when the kid will head off to college. I have been thinking about this the last couple of years - what will I do when being Mom no longer requires much of my active effort? The hub has hobbies but I don't. In our pre-kid days, we just worked longer hours. I guess I could go back to doing that.
Or I could develop some hobbies and interests. I could do a better job of exercising. I am a terrible swimmer; maybe I could look for adult swimming lessons and tick that off my bucket list. It would require my putting on a swimming suit, which would in turn require that I have a drink or two to get over my shyness/embarrassment! (Not really serious, no worries!) I have a list of things I'm looking forward to doing in retirement, should I last that long. But now I think I might want to think about starting on that list when our younger gets to college.
I've been raised to prioritize being a good daughter, and have spent the last couple of decades trying hard to be a good Mom. Doing something fun for myself, with no direct benefit to my family and taking time away from family responsibilities, seems a bit selfish. But I think I need to get over this. If doing things that improve my physical and mental health are "selfish" then perhaps "selfish" is not always a bad thing.