On Sunday, while my son took his tennis lesson on the court next to me, I played tennis for the first time in ages. Thankfully, the boy who shares lessons with my son has a father who is a good, consistent player. So after a few years of talking about playing tennis with him (we've been frequenting the same club since Kabir was 4.5 yrs), we took the opportunity to play tennis while our sons took their lesson. Playing tennis felt amazing. I was rusty, my shots were not as crisp as they once were, my backhand certainly needed some help and I was not able to chase down the balls like I used to. But it never ceases to amaze me what the mind and body remember- strokes, moves, reflexes that took years to develop came back effortlessly. I was having fun. As I hit a forehand down the line, I had a flashback to freshmen year in college where my forehand winner cinched the match for my doubles partner and me. I smiled as I hit the next ball. We continued playing until our sons' lesson came to an end. I left the court on Cloud 9, beaming and happy.
On Monday, a few girlfriends and I met to run the Tufts 10K for Women. I didn't plan to run this race but decided to join my friends last minute. And I am so grateful that I did. While I didn't train for this specific race, running has become my default form of exercise mostly because it is efficient, doesn't require too much planning and coordination and can be done in the early morning. As we started to run the race, my goal was to run the entire time and to cross the finish line with a decent time. Running with thousands of women felt great and empowering. With my music blaring, I hit my stride and had a flashback to when I was training for the Boston Marathon eight years ago. In 2009, I had been training all winter to run the marathon on what was to be my 30th birthday. Devastatingly, three weeks before the marathon, I had to pull out because I injured my left leg with a stress fracture. Running yesterday reminded me of why I had begun the journey of wanting to complete a marathon. It reminded me that what I love about running is that it is all personal- why one runs, who one runs for, and what motivates you during the hardest parts of training for a race. Holding my arms up in a sign of victory, I crossed the finish line with a smile.
Both of these experiences this past weekend reminded me of who I was BC (before children) and even before marriage. I used to love playing tennis, opening new tennis balls, anticipating the next shot and talking "shop" about the game. I loved pouring my energy and thought into training for the marathon, running with a purpose and challenging myself. In both of these experiences, I was reminded of what I used to enjoy doing and who I used to be. These parts of myself I had forgotten amid the chaos that is life right now.
Even though we have made tennis a priority for the children, I had stopped playing because I was scared I had forgotten how to play and that I had lost my skills. I had stopped training for running races because I didn't want to get injured again and have to go through the heartbreak of training for something and not completing it. I let fear get the best of me, denying me parts of myself that were buried for so long. No longer. In the coming months, I want to incorporate my past hobbies into my future life and bring back parts of my forgotten self.
Have you forgotten parts of yourself or let parts of yourself get buried by life?