So many times I hear adults my age say they feel like they've disappeared and a piece of them has died. Before we know it, time has marched on and we wonder, “Where the heck did I go?”
Granted, a piece of us has to die or at least go on the back burner to find success as adults since we can't typically succeed by sleeping in until 10:00 and eating Fruit Loops in our jammies (a girl can dream, eh?), but if you have a feeling you've been disappearing, it might be because you've forgotten to give yourself permission to tap into the things you once loved and made you who you were back then and remain to be today under a few added layers of stagnation.
We drift away from hobbies we once enjoyed to make room for adulthood and keeping it all together because it's hard to squeeze in fun and joy between bills and Spam.
This isn’t necessarily only in marriages or parenthood—it’s just the nature of putting on your big-girl panties and facing adulthood. We get so focused on being responsible and mature that the fun free-spirited kids in us sit down, cross their arms and pout in sadness that there’s no room for them to come out anymore.
I once had a co-worker who said he used to play guitar. His face lit up when he talked about it. I asked him if he plays anymore, and he sighed, “Oh, no. It’s dusty and buried in the closet somewhere. Maybe I’ll take it out one day when my kids leave."
That hurt my heart to hear because why wait for “one day” to come to bring back the little joys in your life that connect you to who you are and what lights you up? Today's the perfect day for that, right?
Maybe tapping into the people we’ve long left behind would make us better parents, friends, partners and lovers. Who’s to say we have to button up and put our guitars—or whatever else that once brought us joy—on the shelf? Why not bring those things into the light and feed our souls?
Music has always been my thing that gets into my heart and thumps energy through me like nothing else. My roommates in college knew if I was fading fast in bed, all they had to do was turn on a certain song and I’d be up and moving in no time.
I make sure I tap into that resource that I know will bring the best version of myself to me. I keep music a big part of my life to keep me sane and full of energy. It has remained my motivation to stay focused on being the best I can be for anyone I come in contact with even if it’s a mundane day at the office. Cranking up music at home with my kids and dancing and singing is something I will always find time for and will never let fade.
What’s your thing that you’ve put up on the shelf to get dusty and neglected? What piece of yourself can you bring back to stop your disappearing act?
Nature and time outdoors is my other passion that I refuse to stop finding time for. I didn't learn to ride my bike until I was 11 due to hip dysplasia. I’ll never forget the first time I finally got the hang of it. I was instantly hooked and there was no turning back as I felt the wind whip through my hair and I felt like I was flying.
I don’t put my bike on a shelf and say one day I’ll get back to it when my kids are gone. I’d rather my kids see their mama riding around and having fun to show them adulthood doesn’t have to be an ugly beast of self-neglect and suffocation of joy.
Sure, tonight I need to pay bills and get dinner prepared for after work tomorrow and put laundry away, but somehow those adult drudgeries become more tolerable when we say howdy to the kids that still live within us instead of obsessing only over the kids we’re raising.
We owe that to them and ourselves.