The things we let get away from us

November 23rd, 2011

I’ve been spending a lot of time in and around ice rinks lately: on the ice twice a week as a trainer, on the ice on weekends skating around with the boys, in the stands twice a week (or more) as a hockey-mom, and in the stands as a fan when the Big Boys play, and I’ve been thinking about the things we allow to get away from us. When we “grow up.” When we get busy. When we put other people’s needs – often our kids’ – first.

I grew up around hockey, we were a hockey family. My brother and I played (though I quit after a season and a half – back in the day being the only girl my age in the entire suburban league wasn’t so fun – my brother played on until he left for college); my dad was a coach and the president of the local hockey association; my mother was secretary or treasurer and sometimes both. When I was old enough, I worked as a time-keeper and kept statistics on goals for and against, minutes played, penalty minutes served. I grew up skating. Winter afternoons were spent at the local rink skating laps and giggling with my girlfriends under the lights. Hot chocolate in the warming house, watching the boys play pick-up hockey, skate-a-thons to raise money for the hockey club and threading a season pass through the laces of my skates. Always a season pass – growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the 70s, if you didn’t skate in the winters you didn’t see much of your friends, because for sure they all skated.

Slowly, in high school I guess, I started leaving it all behind. My brother went to college, so I didn’t tag along to his games anymore and I was busy trying to find my thing in high school – it couldn’t be hockey, high-school girls didn’t play hockey back then and anyway although I still skated I had given up on hockey. I went to college and found cycling and after I graduated – I don’t know, I just sort of forgot about hockey and skating. I forgot about it for a long time, until a few years ago when we put SB in the hockey school and slowly, slowly, I started skating again.

But it’s been this year, between SB practicing or playing matches three times a week and my getting on the ice as a trainer in the hockey school, that’s put me right back in the middle of Hockey World – I’m at rinks three or four times a week and I’m having a blast. Oh, I’ll grumble about the logistics of it all because really it’s quite something some weeks – I’ve already decided that we need to be one of those families with the family calendar with a column for each family member – and my carbon footprint is GINORMOUS, but I’m having a blast. I’m having a blast on the ice and I find I’m happier off it – I’ve got a Thing. A hobby (though technically it’s also a job), a place to be. A whole other life. It’s chaos sometimes, and I’m not a big fan of chaos and time-pressure, but I’m having a great time.

And I’m wondering why I let skating slip away from me for so many years, wondering why we allow ourselves to drop our little hobbies and interests along the way. All the years I was in Switzerland before the boys were born, I never went skating – why did it take the boys getting into hockey for me to get back on the ice? Every winter of my childhood was spent in and around ice-rinks and then, somehow, I stopped. Now I find myself in them again and I’m realizing how much I missed it.

Is there something you loved to do when you were younger that’s fallen by the wayside? I challenge you to remember it, and try it out again.