Can you answer this question?
My youngest son plays football in what can only be described as the longest season of the year. I know many of you might disagree with me and tell me that other sports are longer and more involved and I will believe you, but for me, football takes the cake. It probably has to do with the fact that I am the sole method of transportation and so I attend every one of the 5x a week practices and all of the weekend games. This is our second year in the program so I don’t know too many of the families and to be honest, there aren’t a lot of moms hanging around the sidelines, it’s mostly a man thing. Practice can either be a wonderful time for me to wind down from a busy day and enjoy the solitude or more frequently be a lonely 2 hours when my extroverted self needs to be conversing with someone. So, when I do scope another female on the sidelines, I’m a bit of a creeper. I don’t mean to be but I hate not knowing people and I really do like making small talk, it’s a gift and a curse. Small talk can be frustrating though because if you never get beyond, “Hi, my name is, who is your kid and isn’t the weather nice/horrible/hot/freezing/windy/etc” you don’t really know anything about the person you are talking to. Getting beyond small talk is a hard and arduous task, it’s often bulky, it’s awkward and I’m simply not that good at it.
I had met a mom at a game who I seemed to hit it off with pretty well. We had the same age kids, she laughed at my jokes and talking together helped pass the time. As we talked on the sidelines and we were getting to know each other I asked her, “What do you like to do?” And suddenly the conversation halted, “what do I like to do? Wow, no one has asked me that since like high school.” she told me. She had to think for quite a while before she finally came up with the answer, “I guess I like to read.”
Do you know what you like to do? I think that somewhere between high school and adulthood we stop thinking about this and it’s a shame really. I used to think it was only a Stay At Home Mom problem or a female issue, but honestly I think that it’s an adult issue. Between diaper changes and car pool, job demands and getting the laundry done we stop paying attention to what we like to do and start just doing whatever needs to be done. It’s so easy to walk on the treadmill of life’s demands and just exist from sun up to sun down and not ever think about joy, pleasure, what interests us or ignites our passions.
As a mother, I like watching my boy play football or listening to my daughter sing but honestly those are things I like for other people. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly me either. What do I like to do? This is a much more difficult question. The truth is I haven’t expended much energy on this lately. And if I truly look at myself in the mirror there are days that I don’t recognize the woman staring back at me. Who is she? What is she interested in? What is she passionate about? Do I think I’m important enough to invest the time needed to discover these things?
I have a girlfriend who recently started going back to school to get her degree and it has required a tremendous sacrifice from her and her family because she no longer has the time to attend the the countless needs that her family has. They have had to pitch in and roll up their sleeves, do without or make do with what they have. I have seen her give up things like sleep, exercise, peace of mind and control. But I have also witnessed an almost “rebirth” of her mind, her thoughts, her confidence and her interests. She has found something that she is passionate about and she has something to talk about now. She stands taller and more proud because she knows she is working hard to accomplish something important to her. It’s a beautiful thing. She would have no problem answering my question. Does she like what she is doing all of the time, no, but she has tapped into a part of herself that was sleeping and now she is awake.
Answering the question doesn’t have to require drastic efforts or tons of time or lots of money…but it does require investment. It requires that you look at yourself in the mirror and see someone worth getting to know, someone who deserves more than small talk. Look into the mirror today and ask yourself, “What do you like to do?”
Then, take the time to do it.
It’s your turn:
Write what you like to do in the comment section and share with us a little of who you are. If you don’t know, just say that. If you do know, tell us what it is and how you discovered it.
I’ll go first, I like to write and cook. I like to listen to people and encourage them. I like to spend time with friends and I like to learn new things.