As an adult, do you ever find yourself thinking about a favorite thing that you loved to do before love, marriage and offspring? Maybe the one interest that allowed you to be ALONE with no interruptions? That’s a gem right there.
Parenting leaves most of us completely preoccupied and the “I” gradually fades into obscurity as time elapses. Dying to self is an admirable quality in anyone and our families deserve all of us. However, I wonder if bringing back some of the things that gave us enjoyment in our younger days would help make us better moms, dads and contributing members of society in general.
Examples could be lugging your neglected, post parenthood body into the gym for the first time in years, locking oneself in a closet with a flashlight to read a book or even picking up any hobby or talent that used to refuel your spirit.
Sometimes a memory from our former life pops up to remind of us past enjoyments.
Unexpectedly, that moment happened today.
I had just completed the morning grind of Monday mayhem, dropped all three kids off at school and was sitting in the parking lot of my next “to do” on the daily checklist.
Sometimes mama goes nerdy. Nerdy as in dissing modern radio for the classics. Classics as in 1800’s piano music. Remember, nerdy is cool. That’s my philosophy. Free country. To each his own.
My absolute FAVORITE classical piano piece of all time began blaring from the car speakers. “Fantasie Impromptu” by Frederic Chopin. AMAZING. The chill bumps raced from my arms, shoulders and then to the back of my neck and the memory trigger of sound transported me back to my senior year in college.
As much as a campus extrovert and involved student as I was, my time alone was something I coveted. Hardly anyone knew, but I frequently snuck off to a tiny chapel at Troy University where I once played for a sorority sister’s wedding. Upon opening the heavy, double wooden doors, your attention focused immediately onto the organ’s pipes that lit up the center stage wall. Opposite the pipe organ, was a regal baby grande piano that had the most pleasant and precise tone.
It was here that I would unload my arsenal of hymn and classical arrangements, with an audience of zero, and tickle the ivories for hours on end.
“Fantasie Impromtu” was the most difficult piece I ever attempted. It brought out so many emotions and presented such a challenge that I just had to TRY.
Why was it so ridiculously hard? Well, the piece uses many cross-rhythms. The right hand plays sixteenth notes against the left hand playing triplets in cut time. To average musicians like myself, it’s an unnatural sensation and the irregular speed combinations required during the fast portions on the song are quite an impressive feat.
Nevertheless, a very rough version got performed to memory. Although never ready for a public performance the process was one of challenge and enjoyment. Piano was my outlet and I could have played in that chapel for half a day with no break and been perfectly content.
I began working a full-time business career shortly after attempting to master the arrangement. That meant that as the years went on, my time on the keys dwindled to zero.
I was reminded today of something that I got to do before adulthood that I MISS doing now. The most important end result was that of renewing my soul. Do you ever have moments like this?
How often as parents do we take the time to get our heart, mind and soul in sync? I dare say RARELY. Maybe we would be better moms, dads, friends, employees and children ourselves if we were able to bring something back into our current life that rejuvinated us in our past life.
What would a fulfilling activity from your past be?
Realistically, I know finding several hours of uninterrupted quiet with no responsibilities isn’t feasible. However, fifteen to thirty minutes a day is a real possibility and worth it for my mental health and cortisol level reduction.
Best of luck in finding your outlet and using it to be a better parent and adult! I say it’s worth the investment.