I Dare You

I’ve recently started doing something that I used to do 20 years ago and which, at that time, I would never have believed I’d ever stop doing. That’s how important it was in my life. I was certain I’d be doing it all through my college years, all through my adult life, and watching it become part of the lives of my children.

And yet, before I went to college, I quit. I thought it would only be a hiatus, of course. Just until I got settled into life away from home and life as a college student. Sadly, that point never really came for me until now. But I’ve thought about it often and even dreamt about it many times, and so I really shouldn’t be surprised that I’m doing it again, and yet, I am.

What is this mysterious venture that has me grinning like a little kid once again, and brings me such amazing joy? It’s horseback riding! Yep, I was a horse-crazy girl who was lucky enough to take riding lessons starting when I was 8 and who was even more fortunate to have parents who realized their daughter had a mad passion for horses and who supported her dream even though they had no clue where the horse mania came from. They bought me my first horse when I was 10, I think, and when I outgrew her, they bought my second horse, Dior, with whom I had a deep bond.

But, as with many horse lovers, when it came time for college, even though I had sworn just years earlier that I’d be taking Dior with me, I realized how unrealistic that was. I knew that college would be so different from high school and that I’d need time to become accustomed to a new life. A new me. And so I made the difficult decision to sell Dior to someone who’d make the time for her that she needed. I went off to college knowing I’d never be away from horses for very long.

Fast forward 20 years, 2 marriages, and 2 kids later, and here I am, taking riding lessons again. And loving every single minute of it! Maybe even more than I did when I was kid, taking for granted the weekly lessons my parents paid for, the money spent on riding pants, gloves, boots, and a helmet. Oh how I wish my parents were still paying for my obsession! But maybe it means more to me now? I know I appreciate my gorgeous new breeches more than I did when I was 10, and my boots call to me when I pass them in the garage, just begging me to put them on and go ride. Seriously!

And even though I feared that my body wouldn’t be able to handle the requirements of riding again, I’m finding that 20 years has just melted away. My new instructor tells me it’s evidence of excellent instruction when I was younger that I can still do what I was trained to do so long ago . . . . I think it may just be my pure joy at doing what I love to do once again.

This excitement has bled over into other areas in my life as well, including my writing. I was worried that resurrecting an old love would force my muse into hiding, but she seems to have found inspiration in the horses as well. I feel invigorated, sore, exuberant, and just plain HAPPY again, almost to the point that I wonder how I managed to live without horses in my life for so long.

And now my 8-year-old daughter has taken her first two riding lessons. Her teacher tells me she’s a natural. Well, at least she has a mom who totally understands her growing fixation and will encourage her to fulfill her horsey dreams.

My challenge for all of you is to revisit some old dreams you had as a younger you – whether it’s painting, writing, photography, or whatever you gave up for whatever reason and you keep telling yourself you’ll get back to it soon. Well, ‘soon’ is now! I dare you to rediscover a youthful passion and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself!

~Jennifer~

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2 Comments »

  1. […] Check out the full post here. […]

  2. Becca Said:

    The only passions of my youth that I can think of were novels and TV shows. Maybe I need to get *away* from TV to make room for my muse. 😉


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