Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Sweet Reminder

Today I attended an intercollegiate horse show (as a spectator) to meet up with some old college friends competing in the show’s Alumni division. It brought back so many good memories, and being around all those horses made me feel so wistful for the sport I no longer have time for. I’d been riding horses since I was 11 years old, and used to compete locally and in the intercollegiate shows as an undergrad and alumnus, and went on to train horses professionally for a few years until I “figured out what I wanted to do with my life.” Since then, I’d taken several breaks from riding, and haven’t been on a horse since before I became pregnant with Nathan (more than two years ago).

It was fun catching up with my old friends and coach and watching the horses and riders do their respective things, but I left feeling sad. Riding is in my blood. I want to get back into competitive horseback riding, and I want to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association again! But I don’t have the time, energy or money to invest in becoming a serious competitor—that is, without shortchanging my son and my family. (For those non-riders out there, it’s a serious time commitment—3-4 hours a day, several days a week to just touch on becoming a contender.) And even if I did have the time, energy and resources, I’d have to put it all on hold when we have our next child. So it’s not even worth starting.

My sweet reminder came in the form of Nathan’s sleepy reflection in my rear-view mirror. I chose this life with children for a reason, and it’s a life that I love and that fulfills me. I would not be happy if I chose not to have children in favor of free time and the ability to do what I want, virtually whenever I want. I longed to start a family for so many years, so I usually feel lame and guilty when I so desperately want things I can no longer have, at least while my family is young. I feel selfish for even wanting to ride right now.

When I “figured out what I wanted to do with my life,” that included raising a family, and it was the #1 thing on the list. Maybe I can get back into horseback riding when our children are in school, even if I should be working every minute they’re not at home. Yes, I’ll be a fair amount older, but competitive horseback riding is a sport that can be done at any age. Some of our nation’s top competitors are in their 50s. So maybe someday I will reach my goal as stated in my eighth grade yearbook, to become an Olympic equestrian. Time will tell!

1 comment:

  1. ride on, love...
    maybe you'll get back one day soon...
    you would be N's greatest teacher!!


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