This past week, I had my first game in an intramural soccer league that I joined. I haven’t done this during vet school, but this year I really felt like I needed to take out my old boots and resurrect the soccer player in me. I did it, and it has been great. Here are some thoughts on revisiting old hobbies and how things that we enjoy can change over time while still bringing us joy.
My life used to revolve around the game of soccer. Every moment of my life was spent furthering my soccer skills, understanding strategies, and improving my love of the game. I planned on playing in college and trying my hardest to go as far as I could in terms of professional play. Then, as fate would have it, I conveniently found veterinary medicine at the same time I received a very involved injury that required many months of rehabilitation following surgery.
I played soccer with my friends in Vermont in a pickup league for a couple seasons. We would come and go as we pleased and have fun. Some of the other players actually brought a really high level of competition, since many students simply don’t have time for a club team but are still very skilled at soccer. I loved the pickup league, even though on paper it seemed like the least competitive league to choose from. While the competition was beneficial to keep me on my toes, the best part of the league was enjoying time with friends while being active. It really helped me get through those cold Vermont winters when the weather was too brutal to venture outside.
Many of my classmates frequently refer to the fact that we are getting older. I laugh at this and remind them that most of us are only in our twenties or early thirties, which is really not old at all! Regardless, one of the things that can get systemic in a group of people as they progress through life is becoming complacent with a routine and limiting yourself to certain activities. This is not the way to live life! Sure, our muscles and joints may change, and we may not be able to run as fast as we used to. We might be sore for 4 days after doing an activity that we used to do all the time. This is the natural progression of life, and it does not mean that you should stray away from things that interest you or things that may be good for your health. As we progress through life, we do not need to think of losing many of the things that we enjoy due to changing times or changing physical health. Thinking of life as a constant flow of change that presents new opportunities for us as old opportunities pass on is much more sustainable and confers a healthier mindset.