Monday, October 19, 2009


How is it that at 41 I'm already starting to develop the mentality that I'm too old to do certain things? Three years ago I was in Hawaii with my family and this wonderful woman, probably in her late sixties, came by our in-law's home to drop something off. In conversation with her I learned that she had recently started learning to surf. SURFING! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There was a twinkle in her eye and she looked so alive.

I saw in her a former me that was now knee deep in motherhood. So busy keeping little people safe that there wasn't time to unearth the part of me that was always looking for an adventure. A longing began to grip me.

Fast forward one year later. It's my 40th birthday celebration and 6 friends have flown to Maui to join me. I've never, in 10 years, left my family for an entire week! One morning we wake up, take in large quantities of Kaanapali coffee, watch the ocean for signs of whale pods, and someone suggests that we go surfing! I feel a swarm of bees, not gentle butterflies, in my stomach. There was an exuberance among these treasured friends that I had never seen, and we all basked in the excitement of taking part in something new, a little dangerous, certainly outside our comfort zone. We screamed and cheered for each other as one by one each woman successfully stood on their board and rode the wave.

If you are a busy wife and mother then probably you are also knee deep in family and community responsibilities. These are all worthy things to spend your energy on, but without time to reconnect to yourself it is easy to feel depleted.

So here is my challenge for you. Think about what makes you feel alive. It doesn't have to be dangerous, but it should give you butterflies to think about it. Maybe it's entering a race, taking a class, starting a business, riding a horse, finding a new hobby, whatever it is...get out there and do it. When you realize how good you feel, you'll be empowered to try the next thing. Each time realizing that with every risk there is an opportunity to explore more of who you are.

One year later my family is back in Maui, and I spend the better part of an afternoon teaching my husband and two of my kids how to surf. It's not just a surf lesson. I'm modeling an appreciation for life, and hopefully the message is getting across to my daughter that no matter what age she is, all of life's adventures are still there waiting for her. A surge of joy courses through my veins, and once again I feel free and alive.

Consider what is holding you back. Is it fear, a lack of belief in yourself, busyness, or something else that is stopping you from remembering who you were before you took on the roles you have now? Then plan a day, or an hour, to dream. Make a list of ideas that intrigue you and take action. Ignore the negative voices in your head because they're stupid and they're lying! Grab a friend to do it with you if you need encouragement. Because whatever it really CAN DO IT! Carpe Diem friends!

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Midday Escapades said...

Bravo!!! Can you see me? I'm standing up and cheering over here. You've got some great friends, family and you've been to Maui more than once. Lucky girl. Thanks for the reminder to Carpe Diem.


Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Wow! I am 42 and was up all night with leg cramps. I have alzheimers and can't see menu's anymore. I am so proud of you and can I live vicariously??

5thsister said...

Here here! I spent too much precious time in my youth worrying about appearing a fool or what would "others" think. I am trying to pass these lessons on to my daughter.

As for butterflies: Never ever did I think I would ever place 3rd in my age division in a running race. I've done this not once, not twice but 3 times in the only 3 5K races I've ever run.

Great post!

Erin M. said...

This is so very true. I have lost a part of myself in all of this motherhood business.

I, however, am not at all atheletically inclined and I started laughing as I imagined myself climbing atop a surfboard. It would be awful.

For now, I think a class is probably right up my alley! hee hee

p.s. we honeymooned in Maui. It was so beautiful. Did you do the road to Hana?

Daffy said...

Kudos to you! That's so awesome! I don't subscribe to the I'm Too Old mantra (hubs does though). And so you can get a kick out it too - when I read "finding a new hobby, whatever it is" I seriously thought it said HUBBY and I was like - wow...okay...way to give some support.... then I re read it and realized it said HOBBY.

Can you tell what kind of weekend I had? LOL

MJ said...

This is why I love this site - you just reminded me the importance of me. I am caught in the motherhood, work, wife rat-race that I forget who I am, what made me feel alive.
It is wonderful that you embraced the challange to learn how to surf, and then to pass that on to your family - I am in awe.
Thank you for such a wonderful post.
MJ of Dirty Little Confessions

PS - I left you a little more love over at my place.

Tiffany said...

for me, a lot of it is lack of belief in myself. which is ridiculous b/c i've proven that if i just give it a try, i can do most things. i'm working on steps.

ps--love your blog! i'm a new follower! feel free and stop by for a visit.

Allyson said...

way cool that you surf. way to go!!! very inspiring.

this year i decided that i wanted to run a half marathon. even though i had to put my training on hold because of school, i am GOING to run one next year sometime. it's my challenge to myself and i'm going to do it because i know i can. :)

happy monday!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

This is an awesome reminder that we shouldn't lose ourselves in motherhood; motherhood enhances our lives and is an important part of our identity, but it isn't our entire identity. Bravo for learning to surf!

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I met a woman about a year ago at Wynton Marsalis concert who told me that she had always wanted to be a drummer but growing up in the 1950s, she'd been told by her high school band director that girls don't play drums. I encouraged her to sign up for lessons first thing the following morning. I hope she did.

My best friend is 10 years older than me and she has been my role model for the past 15 years, constantly tackling new adventures. She's in bermuda as I type this, in fact.

Thanks for the important reminder and valuable message...beautiful post! I'd love to go surfing with you sometime :)

Heather said...

Congrats on the surfing! You rock! I ran in a race for the first time this year (back in March). It was an awesome experience, and one I thought I'd never do. Now I'm coaching my daughter in a running program and teaching her to Never say Never!

Jennifer Juniper said...

I think this is great advice - never underestimate the power of butterflies to make you feel alive!

Oh, and your lending library for toys idea is brilliant!

Ms Bibi said...

Since I was 19 I had to be the responsible one, the one everybody counts on. First, my parents and my sister when we arrived to a new country and I was the only one speaking English. Then I added my husband to it and slowly my boys.

I just turned 40 and for last 21 years I didn't seize one moment because I was too busy making sure everybody else is seizing their moments...OMG I just realized how sad that is

I don't even know what gives me butterflies anymore...I guess it's time to find out

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

Wow! Love this! Congratulations! What an inspireing story.

Two Normal Moms said...

Good for you! You rock!
Maui is our second "home". My husband and I used to live there long ago before marriage and kids. We go back about every other year and plan to move back once my son is out of school. But it was just a year and a half ago, at the age of 40 that I learned to surf! My husband and son were going to take a lesson and I was going to take pictures, but then decided to do the surfing! It was fantastic and I couldn't believe I hadn't done it sooner. And happily spent the $60 to buy the CD of pics the surf company took instead! Love it! ***Ally

Charisse and Holly said...

Hi Friends,
Wanted to do a midday shout out to any of you that might check back in. Thanks for your kind comments on our post today.
*Bibi - My friend...the redhead in the picture...felt like you do. One day I told her to come over. I took her kids and said, "for the rest of the day do something that will make you feel happy." She sat there for 30 minutes just staring at me as I rushed about doing chores and playing with kids. With tears in her eyes she said, "I just can't remember Holly." My heart was so broken for her and for me too. I had been there many times. Everytime I see my mom she says, "Don't forget that YOU are my baby! Take care of yourself like I took care of you all of those years. Don't forget!" Praying that you remember Bibi. Praying that a few butterflies bite you on the butt and remind you to look for them!

*Heather - Love that. Way to get in there!

*Cynthia - Gosh, if we are not here to encourage and believe in each other...what are we here for.

*Erin - Love Hana. Only have done it a couple of times. Loved the bamboo forest, black sand beaches, all the roadside stands, playing in the natural pools, thousands of mosquito bites because I forgot repellant! John's parents have a house in Maui, and graciously let us use in whenever we can get there.

Lee - I also suffer from the same ailments. See that...I don't even think I spelled it right! LOL I'd love to take you surfing. Can you imagine what we could write after that?!

Daffy - Yes...Hobby...NOT HUBBY! tee hee

Tiffany - We do lose confidence as moms. We challenge ourselves in a million diff ways as we care for our homes and kids, and yet somehow that can translate into less confidence. Don't understand why! Take courage that what you do everyday is the most important job in the universe!! If you can do can do anything.

Love you all...HOlly:)

Sissi said...

I live in the moment at least once a month when I gather with my writing group. It's a rush to get the motivation back that seems to fade half way through the month as I busy myself with life and forget I have a book to write. It's also nice when hubs and I can get away to SCUBA or even just enjoy a night out with friends. Ahhhh, this Saturday is a double dose: writing retreat as well as adult costume party =) SCUBA will come in the months will come.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Does jumping into blog writing count? I actually was never all that brave with things where I might get hurt. So, now that I bruise so easily, I won't start rock climbing anytime soon. But, I did go back to school when my kids were still at home and I started my own business while they were home too. Trying to figure out how to challenge myself now that they are gone has been a bit of an issue for me. What I am finding is that my husband and I are having a great time doing some different kinds of traveling. We go to botanical gardens and climb sand dunes now. We shop in little boutiques and eat at 3 in the afternoon if we want to and I write, something I would never have expected.


ScoMan said...

I need to get out and enjoy life . Hopefully soon I feel inspired to do so.

Eva Gallant said...

Wow that was inspiring! Gotta go find my butterflies!

Holly said...

Beautiful post..inspiring. I know I need to do this, but sometimes it takes someone else saying "It's OK" or to give you a little reminder for you to realize it is OK to replenish yourself. Thanks.

Willoughby said...

Great reminder! Sometimes I feel like the world is zipping by and I'm standing still because I'm not doing anything new and exciting.

Rook No. 17 said...

What a wonderful, inspiring post! I hope to embody that same joyful spirit when I'm 40, 50, 60... and model that behavior for my children.

Jenn @

Rook No. 17 said...

What a beautiful and compelling article! I hope to embody that same joie de vivre when I'm 40...50...60... and model that positive behavoir for my children and their children.

P.S. Thanks for the award! Love it! Here's the post:

Project Survive said...

I'm glad I found this blog!!

Thanks for the awesome post!

Theta Mom said...

Holy inspiring post! Thank you for the reminder that before we became mothers, we also had dreams AND still have them, goals we want to accomplish in this lifetime. Thanks for reminding us to get out there!

kys said...

A week in Hawaii? How awesome is that! Have a wonderful time and Happy Birthday!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I have yet another award for you to throw on the pile :)

Stephanie Faris said...

What's that Morgan Freeman quote from Shawshank Redemption? "Get busy living or get busy dying." That pretty much sums it up!

Controlling My Chaos said...

Thanks for the reminder. You are so right.

Kristin said...

Awesome!! Good for you!

I decided to start a new business (photography) not too long ago and it was (and still is) a bit of a scary ride. Most of those I know who are also starting in this business are way the heck younger than I am but it's great.

I'm loving my life more and more and for me, that's what it's all about!

My name is PJ. said...

Good for you! Way to go! Mark my words, the older you get, the braver you get and the less you care about what other people think about what you do and how you do it.

Purple Flowers said...

An excellent post. It provoked me to think about what exciting adventure I would love to take. I think it's white water rafting. I think of the thrill and excitement, and it makes me smile. Now if my roto cuff injury (in shoulder) could repair itself, I think I'd have a chance. In the meantime, I'm going to think of something else that is exciting and a first time for me. Thank you for sharing!

!!The Obnoxious SAHM!! said...

GREAT Post! :)

Faith Imagined said...

This was a great post! Thank you for the nudge!