Today’s episode is all about living life on the court even though we forgot to get skinny, be financially successful, and amazingly interesting.
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Today’s episode is all about living life on the court.
Today, I want to talk about many of us who are getting to be middle age or older, and how if we have kids, our kids don’t need us as much as they used to. We don’t have our hands as full running our kids around to activities.
For me, when I look at my family and my family environment, I know that I have let the excuse of “I’m working so hard” and “I’m tired” and I come home from work sometimes and it’s so easy to plug in to Netflix, and so easy to plug in to Facebook and stare at my Facebook feed rather than connecting with my now teenager, spouse, or other friends or people that I live with.
The thing that we already know, is that even though we are more digitally connected than we’ve ever been, what we also know is that loneliness is also on the rise. So I’ve had time to look at my life, and I go “Oh my gosh”, “Uh-Oh” I got so consumed in my work (even though for a lawyer I have really good work-life balance. I don’t work evenings, I don’t work weekends). But what I do know is I come home from work a lot of times and my brain feels so full and fried that I don’t have a lot of juice left for my family.
I realized that I’ve let that narrative, that story impact my home life. Now I’m going “Uh oh, wait a second, now what have I done?”. I’ve got a family and a teenager, a spouse, and I’m looking at them and they have their heads hunched over their screens. I wonder how I’m going to pull it together and do most important thing – connecting with the people we love.
What we know that as human beings, we are social creatures. The whole nuclear family idea is a bit of a dumb idea, because our ancestors really thrived by living with other people. By living in groups, by living in tribes. We both know that neither of us is about to go live in a commune, but at the same time, what I do know is that human connection is super important.
My mum was the matriarch of the family
So if I go back to my mom and how she was, she was a stay at home mum which most of us don’t have nowadays, and she was in charge. She was the matriarch of our family. In charge of making sure Thanksgiving happened, Christmas dinner happened, Easter happened. She was the gatherer of everyone all the time – and my aunties did the same thing. Now of course men can do this as well if they like to, but I know in my nuclear family I’m certainly the matriarch. And it’s up to me (and us) to a certain extent to ensure that those connections happen, that those gatherings happen that hanging out with other happens.
The thing is, is that I’ve always felt that “Yeah, I’ll get to that”. But I’ve gotten to the point in my life now where I’m over 50 years old and there’s so much I have not gotten around to doing. As an example, I’m not financially organized in the way I hoped or thought I would be. I didn’t get skinny. I didn’t become super buff (of course as it turns out you need to eat in a certain way and make it a priority to become buff). I didn’t become as interesting as I wanted to become. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to travel. Now here I am, I’m 51 years old and I’m thinking “Has my life passed me by?” It hasn’t.
Years ago I did Landmark. They have this expression: “Living on the court”. Landmark Forum is a weekend long, 3 day type, really intensive way of life transformation. People who have done this are like “Oh my gosh it’s amazing”. It’s about living your life authentically, it’s about conversations, about calling yourself out for your own bogus stories. It’s really powerful. People who haven’t attended Landmark can be quite critical of Landmark because when people come out of it, they’re all “Landmark did this, Landmark did that”. That being said, it is really worth looking into!
I haven’t lived my life on the court
The one thing that I really grabbed from Landmark is that I haven’t lived my life on the court in certain ways. Sure, on the outside I look pretty successful, I have a small thriving law practice, I’m a lawyer, I have a beautiful home, I have a completely abundant life. There’s no question about that. But what I’ve also done, is I’ve also lived on the sidelines in so many ways.
So I live on the water. Although it’s darn cold, my family goes swimming it it almost every day in the summer. I (because I have body issues) have barely gone in the water at all in the 18 years that I’ve lived in this house. What kind of tragedy is that? What kind of waste is that? So I’ve stood on the sidelines watching my family have this really great time in the water while I’m too shy or insecure or critical of my body to get into the water along with everyone else. We know what that teaches my daughter about living life on the court, now don’t we?
Now I have some friends who live in my neighborhood. They have 3 kids and I’ve lived a few doors down from them for more than 18 years. Their kids were wee and now they’re growing up. This family lives on the court (literally, they’re very sporty). The husband and wife they go out to art events all the time. The kids travel with their parents all the time. Their dad’s a performing artist and they’ve gone traveling with him tons of times. From the time they were small. Mom and Dad swim every day in their water, and they just live their lives on the court.
We’re having fish tacos
I think about how I’m too tired to make dinner, or I’m too tired to focus on having conversations cause it’s so easy to dive into Netflix. Yet I look at this family; the other night, it was a Wednesday and they were like, “Hey! We’re having fish tacos come over!” Next thing you know, we’re sitting around the table telling stories. 2 of the 3 kids (one is volunteering abroad in New Zealand for Habitat for Humanity). it was this vibrant energy around the table of these young people talking and their parents telling stories.
I remember thinking how “living life on the court” or how living life in action, doing life anyway even if we’re not rich enough, or rich enough, or skinny enough, or whatever excuse we tell ourselves for living on the sidelines. Thinking about the cost of that, and thinking about how living on the court could be so much better.
While people who know me might say that I’m totally in action all the time, I think I could do better. So now at 51 years old I’m really jumping into matriarch of the family and wearing that with a badge of honour while focusing on my relationships – not allowing that story of being tired or overwhelmed or exhausted from work to burden me so I don’t connect to people who are most important in my life.
So I’m offering that to you. What kind of thing would you like to do to connect with the people you live with? If you don’t live with people, who are you going to connect with? We’re social creatures and our bodies biochemically change when we hang out with other people. SO even going into Starbucks and talking to the barista for just a moment. That actually has a biological effect on us and makes us happier. So all of our social interactions count.
From my home to yours,