Afraid of The Ball

I have been sitting at my desk for an hour now. I sat down to write. I even repeated the mantra in my head this morning….”writing first, writing first, writing first.” Unfortunately, catching up on text messages and rearranging my calendar for everyone came first. I do not know how to be selfish, but I am willing to learn.

I have so much going on in my little corner of the world, I am often left wondering what needs to go. I would like to say I sit for hours and ponder this thought, carefully making lists of the pros and cons of each event/duty in my life, but alas, I haven’t time to ponder what to wear each morning, let alone how to drastically change my life. So it just keeps going. This nonstop hamster wheel which is leaving me feeling unfulfilled as I try to find fulfillment in too many things.

I believe in God. If you don’t, that is ok. I still love and respect you, and hopefully you feel the same for me. Because I do believe, I can’t help but often visualize Him knocking softly, then eventually pounding on the door to this huge heart and cluttered brain….Melissa, I have given you health scares to open your eyes, I have opened doors for you and closed others for your benefit, you have seen miracles happen….wake up child! Pay attention to what I am trying to show you. Take the risks and trust me! Of course this all happens in the voice of Morgan Freeman.

I like to think I am a risk taker, because that is just way more cool than, “playing it safe Sally”But I don’t know. I guess sometimes I am and sometimes I am not. Depends on how great the risk and my stage in life. As we get older, the risks often become riskier. Finding love at age 20, not so bad. You can always break up and try again. Finding love at midlife, harder to come by and frustrating if you find out you’ve wasted your time, since time is no longer on your side. Starting a new career, leaving a relationship, moving to a new town, making new friends….just when we realize who we really are and what we were meant to do, we become frozen by fear of the time, or lack there of.

But shouldn’t we stick it to midlife? Who is this mysterious force who shows up around age 45 to tell us we are almost done, might as well stop dreaming? I say we flip him off and do as we please. Too old to start dating again? You have become wise and love yourself more than you did 20 years ago. Perfect time to choose someone for all the right reasons rather than all the wrong ones. No time for a new career? You are now smarter and more confident than the younger you. Seems that is the perfect time for a career change. Time to stop doing cartwheels in the grass? Ok, yes. Yes this one is true. You’ll hurt your wrist.

There is no getting around it though…time, not the fleeting kind, but the literal only 24 hours in a day kind, is an issue. At midlife, from what I am experiencing and also others I  know, there are not enough hours in the day to do all we have or want to do. Sometimes something has got to give. What to let go of, that becomes a tough decision. We struggle with what is a good selfish and what is a bad selfish?

I can currently, very easily think of half a dozen friends who are caring for people, outside of their own home. If we are fortunate to still have them, our parents are aging. They need us and it is one of life’s greatest blessings to be there for the ones who put up with our nonsense as teenagers. I have friends who practically live at the hospital as they are there for everyone who needs them. Careers are changing…either slowing down or running full speed as we see retirement as a reality that is coming at us like a locomotive.  Teenage and college age children, grandkids, single parenting…midlife can be intense. Thank goodness, right? I am certainly not ready to feel life slow down. I am, however, ready to prioritize.

Remember dodge ball? I hated that game. I am the girl who is afraid of the ball. I used to not admit that, trying to impress guys who like sports I suppose. Now I own it. That’s me. I don’t want to be hit with a ball thrown by some angry little 10 year old, letting off steam during P.E., no matter how bouncy the thing is. Call me crazy if you will. Unfortunately, tiny little me was quick on her feet which allowed me to always be the last one left. Yep – I was the little bugger who could keep running and missing that ball. Finally, a good friend and I would make eye contact, and she would gently roll the ball and I would let it touch me so we could end the damn, torturous game. There is a point to my sad dodge ball story. No, I don’t blame it for any issues in my life, but I do see it in my mind when I think about this stage in life. Each ball flying at us as we dodge or dare to catch it and throw it back, even though it may hurt. And sometimes, it just hits us. Nothing we can do. We are knocked out of the game, humiliated, hurt, upset, and a little tougher. No worries though…there is always another round. So we get up, get some rest, and dodge a new ball tomorrow.

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Me…about 9 years old, and a dodgeball champ.