When I was a little girl living in Australia, I learned to play tennis. My dad, who played semi-pro in Australia against some of the big Aussie tennis names, understood the value and fun of the game. He instilled in me a deep rooted love for old school tennis - clay courts, tennis whites, wood rackets… the classics!
My sisters and I loved to play, yet I took that much further. I always had a racquet in my hand, even as we moved from country to country. Tennis was my sanctuary, my “go to place,” and a space of familiarity in the most precarious times. I saw it as a way to bond with new friends in new places and find common grounds to assert my constantly evolving identity.
I played through high school, through college, and always recreationally with friends and family.
And then it stopped…
Just like that, life got in the way, and tennis, my oldest passion, had gotten away from me. It wasn’t until my boys were old enough that I had to get them on the court and get a racquet in their hands too. A life skill, sport, and passion that I was excited to share with them. They went to tennis camp every summer, played with friends, and took on their own love for the sport.
As I started to play here and there with them, it reminded me how much I loved and missed the game. How I vowed every time to keep playing…but didn’t because… life got in the way.
I had “tennis envy” of everyone that played while I wasn’t. I still loved the game but everything else seemed to take precedence – activities like Zumba, Pilates, business responsibilities, mom jobs… but not tennis.
Fast forward – my youngest son is on the high school tennis team and for years has become an excellent player. For the last few years when I asked him to play he refused. Thought he was too good and didn’t want to bother with me!
Well… that got me going. When my husband asked me to sign up with him for a tennis clinic, without thinking I said “yes.” That first week I played five times, enlisted a coach, and since then I have been fully re-engaged in what was my first love and passion – tennis.
I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to be reconnected. My scheduling priorities have shifted from “I can’t exercise because I have a business dinner,” to “I can’t do that business dinner or drinks…because I’m playing tennis!” As a result, I’m also finding lots of new tennis partners – business colleagues and friends – that I can socialize with over a game, rather than the traditional lunch, drinks, or dinner plans. I Love the new opportunities my oldest passion can still introduce to my life.
Although I am battling tennis elbow at the moment, likely from playing a little too much, I can’t wait to get back on the court. Only this time… I plan on never stepping off.
What’s your passion that you’d love to rekindle? What’s that one thing you keep saying you want to do or revisit that you once loved? Was it learning a language? Playing the guitar? Painting? Indulging in some hobby that made you happy?
This form of Reinvention is a tremendous antidote to boredom, a mid-life crisis, a yearning to stir things up in your life, a desire to be happy, and just have fun. So if you have that itch - that need to mix things up a bit and nurture your passions - give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the results and how it affects every avenue of your life.