I have always been someone who is defined by a more or less singular identity. In high school, I was a Gymnast. I use a capital “G” intentionally – it was who I was. I trained for 20 hours a week. I did homework during study hall (unlike most of my peers) because I went from school to four hours at the gym every day, and that AP work had to get done somehow. I was planning on going to college to be a Gymnast.
In college, though, I decided that I wanted a different identity. The training for a D1 sport consumed too much study time, and I couldn’t take the classes I wanted to take. I wanted to be an English Major, and so I threw myself into that.
I’m an athlete, though, and English Major wasn’t enough. So, some friends convinced me to play rugby, and I became a Rugby Player. For the next 12 years, I traveled the country (and even the world) playing rugby. I worked out every day for that one goal. All my friends were also Rugby Players (nearly all my friends are still either Gymnasts or Rugby Players. I think those two groups make up around 85% of my friends on Facebook).
When we moved to Chicago last June, I finally retired from rugby. In my 30s, it was just getting to be too much on my body, and K and I were both ready for the next stage of our lives. My next identity was going to be Mother. Everything went swimmingly at first; we got pregnant easily, and I sailed through 19 weeks without complications. And then, well, you know the rest. Suddenly, my identity was not Mom, but Babyloss Mom. Grieving Mom. Mom-without-a-child. No Mom at all, really.
Thus began the last several months of floundering. It was hard to motivate; I still wanted to be a Mother, but I needed something to fill the void between now and the elusive “then.” I will always be a Babyloss Mama, but I didn’t want that to be my dominant identity for the next several months or years. I needed – I still need – something else. For now, I’m Making the Most of Being Childless.
I returned to figure skating in March, finding a coach to meet with me for 45 minutes once a week. I was pleased and surprised to discover that I hadn’t lost much, and am now better than I’ve ever been. K and I took a boxing class, and I started taking yoga. We planned a trip to Yosemite (next week!). I won a silent auction for tickets to a local trampoline arena (if you don’t know what that is, check it out via Google. Awesomeness). We have a date on the calendar to go golfing with friends. I have Living Social deals to a waterpark, to several restaurants, to a craft beer festival, to a wine tasting. I emailed a local roller derby team to attend tryouts. We registered for an urban scavenger hunt and several 5Ks (two completed already!). We went hiking, to the Arboretum, to the zoo, to the botanic gardens. We joined my company’s coed, 16″ softball team (and I was selected as pitcher, which made me pretty proud – following in my parents’ footsteps!). We went to a wedding in Austin and paddleboarded on the river. We have tickets to a concert, a comedy show, a dance performance, and Prairie Home Companion. We’re going on a two-day canoeing/camping trip down the Flambeau River in August and to Niagara Falls in July. And that’s not even everything.
I guess I’m now Living Life to the Fullest.