?Well, put on some skates. Be your own hero.? ?Whip It
I was chatting with a high school friend recently and during the course of our conversation she told me her new hobby is roller derby.
My first response was mentally and literally, ?What?!? If you knew her, knew us, back then, my reaction would make perfect sense. We were the two who kicked back on the bleachers while our classmates played dodge ball in the gym. We mostly laid around on the grass at junior high track meets. While the majority of our classmates ran toward the competition, we simply stood idly on the sidelines, not even bothering to run the other way.
Of course we?re not exactly who we were back then. Ideally, no one should be so many years down the road. But this bit of news from her is exactly why I love both catching up with my longtime friends and this current decade of life we find ourselves in.
If this friend would have told me 20 years ago that she was taking up roller derby, I probably would have been surprised, but after nothing more than a quick chuckle, jumped back on the Frisbee golf course, continuing on without a second thought. We were in our early 20s after all?it was the time of trying whatever came our way.
But hearing this from her now, which she casually prefaced with ?call it a midlife crisis,? made me smile and be thankful for just how unpredictable and fun this time of life can and should be.
Writer Ayesha Pervez said about this phase of life, ?She now knows herself better than before…her inhibitions are negligible; and no longer feels the need to prove herself…. The result: serotonin flowing through her blood stream. And the happy hormone comes from doing things she loves.?
I?m fairly sure life wants us to plateau?raising kids and maintaining a job and house are necessary and time-consuming choices and responsibilities. They may be incredibly rewarding things, too, but what about all that other stuff out there?
What about roller derby?
Competitive alternatives like boredom, idleness and complacency are hovering not-so-patiently just out of sight.
?There?s no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there?s no excuse for boredom, ever.? ?Vigo Mortensen
?Idleness is to the human mind like rust in to iron.? ?Ezra Cornell
?I try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.? ?Trent Reznor
I would venture to say a ?midlife? mom with three kids hauling herself to practices and workouts to try out for a roller derby team at 40-something is anything but complacent. Or idle. Or bored.
I haven?t personally tried roller derby. And just for clarification, I won?t be. She can have that one all to herself. But that?s beside the point?the reminder is what matters the most. The reminder that plateaus aren?t dead-ends, but spring boards onto something just slightly out of our sights. They?re opportunities to remind our bodies of their capabilities. And our minds of their capacities.
And something else I find important?especially helpful to ward off any guilty feelings for taking serious time for ourselves?what better gift to a family than an adventurous, fear-facing, independent female leader?
After all, as writer Pervez also said, ?A happier woman is a better boss, daughter, wife and mother. But above all, she is just happier.?
Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.