Prioritizing having fun - can I do it without feeling selfish?

My cousin said to me Sunday about my midlife sabbatical from working: “If I were you, I’d just have fun and do stuff you haven’t been able to do all these past years.” It hit a chord. I’d been prioritizing volunteering for charities as my next step. I’ve been feeling a need to “do good” for a long time. But I’d also been depriving myself of pursuing having fun for myself.

Why? Do a lot of moms do this? All I know is I’ve been putting my daughter, family, and job’s needs above my own for a long time. But I immediately I heard conflict in my head. It felt self-centered. Irresponsible to just have fun. My strong goal-oriented drive conflicted with this.

However, something immediately took over me. I found myself scheduling a tennis lesson to kick-start my rusty skills, and signed up for a tennis clinic to start in June. Immediately, I felt an increased sense of contentment.

Simultaneously, I also felt more content about taking care of my family and household responsibilities. Hmmm. Then I got a call to sub in a 35+ women’s softball league game for the next night. I’d been trying to get to play in this town league for the past year; believe it or not, I couldn’t find a spot it was so popular. Now here was a chance to play, albeit on a cold night and a conflict with one of my daughter’s activities.

I charged forward. Found someone to pick up my daughter, babysit her, and put her to bed for the night. I’d been watching my daughter play in her girl’s softball league for the past few years with envy. When I grew up, there was no girl’s softball league so my mom actually put me on my brother’s boy’s team. I’d been the worst on the team, but my mom had at least tried to satisfy my love of playing. Now was my chance to actually play! I am more excited than I’ve been for a long time. I think this is the right path for me this week.

To play analyst, allowing myself to make myself happy first seems like I’ll be happier overall, and happier to take care of all my other responsibilities. Wish me luck; maybe a hit in the softball game tonight? Even if I strike out, I think I’ll feel pretty good.


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