July 19, 2011

Carpe Diem – Seize The Day

I am always excited when I watch my kids master a new challenge. When they started to walk, my mind automatically fast-forwarded to the day they would run, then the day they would ride a bike or ski or skate. These are skills that come out of desire, opportunity and privilege. When I think back to my own childhood, I had great and wonderful desires: to be a ballet dancer, an astronaut; to own a pocket sized fire breathing dragon that would share my room. These dreams and desires of an elementary-aged Char ranged from the fantastical to the mundane. But without opportunity, many of these desires were not to be. As a child of a strict immigrant parent, I experienced a different childhood than most middle-class North American kids my age. When my girlfriends were going to dance classes, swimming lessons or were just out riding their bikes, I was picking up my little sister from daycare or school and going home to do chores, babysit, and work on my homework. The one exception to this was piano lessons, which my mom would have gotten an extra job to pay for, and would have carried me there on her back if it would have convinced me to return to those dreaded torture sessions. I have since wished that I had stuck with it.
There were not many opportunities to acquire the skills that my contemporaries took for granted. We could not afford a bike so I didn’t learn to ride, I was rarely allowed to go ‘hang out’ so I didn’t learn to swim down at the local pool or at the lake with my friends, and we could not afford a car when I was a teenager so I didn’t bother trying to get my license. Over the years, the list of things I couldn’t do started to add up and to me, {Char the over achiever, maker of lists, organizer extraordinaire, ‘let’s whip this into shape’ whiz kid and only ‘A’s’ are allowed alumni}, the unshakable feeling that I had failed myself absolutely sucked. So I jumped feet first into activities like going to camp, learning to canoe properly and pitching a tent. But I’ve been resting on my laurels with those achievements for a while now, and I’m at the point where I’m ready to tackle all the practical things on my list.
I cringe to share these things with you because I have overcompensated for them for so long. So here is my confession. Although, I have been very candid with my good friends about the missing gaps in my skill set, there are however, some extended friends and acquaintances who are convinced that I don’t swim because– (before kids) I needed to lounge on the pool deck for everyone to see just how cute I looked in my swim suit and – (after kids) that I didn’t want to get my hair wet [a total black girl excuse that I shamelessly threw out there]. I also told them that I don’t ride a bike because…well, why would you? …at which point I would give an adorably quizzical look and change the subject…“was that a bunny that just hopped past?” As for driving, “well transit’s way better for our environment…” The list goes on and on. So enough with excuses, this is my time to shine! I have chosen to discard the shame that I’m a thirty six year old woman who doesn’t have the skills that some ten year olds have mastered. So, drum roll please…here is my ‘Super Awesome, Totally Tubular Bucket List for the summer!-)

1. Learn to drive
2. Learn to ride a bike
3. Learn to swim
4. Learn to play the guitar

I have two months to master this new set of challenges and I’ve already started several of my classes. My motivator is my kids, who I cannot expect to stick with a new challenge long enough to become adept, if I don’t set that example. I want to be a positive role model for them. I want them to realize that we have the privilege and the opportunity, so if we desire to learn something new, we should never squander that chance. I don’t ever want my kids to say they’re too young or too old to learn something new. My favourite Latin phrase is ‘Carpe Diem’ and I hope my kids will choose to adopt it as their own. I refuse to let fear, anxiety and embarrassment stand in my way any longer. Instead, I will master these skills, cross them off my list and keep on adding more. There is a time and season for all things and this is my season to seize the day and learn something new!


  1. Freckles says:

    Hi There,
    I’m your newest follower from New Friends Weekend Blog Hop. Hope you can come a follow me back

  2. Thank you for your post-that’s what I love about blogging! You can be totally and completely honest with yourself, and those reading it can help support you! Good luck with your list-you will do it! My husband is a guitar teacher and has many students just like you!

  3. Hi! How awesome that you are doing this! Best of luck this summer! New follower from the friday hop! I would love for you to stop by http://aboutamom.com to say hi & return follow! 🙂

    • Hey Angela, thanks for the support. I’m your newest follower and don’t you worry about what that kid said behind you in church, you look great girlfriend!

  4. I’m thirty something too and can’t swim so I’m taking lessons this summer and doing surprisingly well, so I know you can do it too. Good Luck on your quest!

    • Oh that’s great! You’re going to be awesome at swimming. What have you learned so far? How well do you think it’s going?

      • Well we started out learning to breathe properly and be able to go underwater. So now I can go under without taking water in my nose and/or mouth. I can now do a free style stroke and tread water. I can’t keep it up for a long time but pretty much have the basics. It takes a practice to become fluid but I’m getting there. I have to admit I was a total spaz the first day and couldn’t even go underwater. I’ve had 3 lessons so far and i get better each time.

        • Wow, it must feel amazing to master each step. It sounds like you are doing amazing even though you’ve only had 3 lessons so far. You are my swimming inspiration Clueless Mom, keep me posted on your progress ver the next while!-)

  5. You have a beautiful family. New follower…would love for you to follow back 🙂


    • Thanks hon, your son J is super cute! I’m now following you and as for your post, “I Will NEVER: Kid Edition”, all I have to say is: Hear, Hear!!!-)

  6. Way to go! It takes guts to face all these challenges. I’m proud of you!

  7. Just hopped over. I really like your blog.Your babies are precious! Blessings, Melissa

  8. Mommy Masters says:

    Great post! You go girl! Never be ashamed of who you are and what you can and can’t do. That’s so great you are going to learn all of those things this summer. Good luck although I bet you don’t need it!

  9. Hello Darling Char, I will be cheering you on from my vanity while putting on a new shade of lipstick in your honor… xoxo

  10. I love how TAO you are in this post. Go you! Never too late to learn something new – and that’s fantastic role modeling, in my opinion.
    My 12yo started tennis – so I started tennis too so I can play with her. I’ll be sure to follow up on your progress.

    • Thanks for the support Kanesha. Even hubby was shocked yet pleased at how candid I was in this post. Anyway, let me know how tennis is going for you!

  11. First off Calvin and Hobbes means you rock!!!!
    My oldest doesn’t have her license because we can’t afford the insurance. Though she says she’ll pay…hmm

    I admire your honesty and frankness and determination.
    Great bucket list!

    • Hey Bren, it’s awesome that you are a Calvin and Hobbs fan! I can practically feel your pat on the back, thank you so much for your support!

  12. You go girl! I’m looking forward to hearing about your process and progress. You can do it!

    • I will definitely keep you posted Kimmie. I feel so pumped that I’m doing this and I can’t wait to cross these skills off my list and add more!

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