We’ve just returned from a long weekend at the track. After helping my husband coordinate an event with nearly 90 drivers, mobilizing three cars, and driving a Spec Miata with no power steering or ABS in 80-degree weather for three days straight, I am sore, dehydrated and tired. But I am also smiling big, energized and madly in love.
For most of us, life is busy and filled to the brim. Days can get repetitive, with weeks and months blending into one another. The weekdays become filled with workdays and kids’ activities, and the weekends are all about mowing the lawn, laundry and cleaning the house. In between, there are brief moments when one is not thinking about budgets, savings and college funds for the kids (not to mention breaking up summer fights). Not only is it easy to take one’s partner for granted within the banality of everyday life, but sometimes we find ourselves growing resentful when we perceive our partner is not partaking in all the not-so-exciting activities of housekeeping and childrearing.
When a trip or activity either one or both of you love to do comes up (in our case, a track weekend), it’s far too easy to say no – there is no time, we could save the money, why go through all the trouble of transporting cars, tires, fuel and various other items to a race track. We could just stay home and watch a movie on Netflix, fold laundry, and fall asleep halfway through.
My husband has never made a secret of how much he loves to race cars. (I am fairly sure that if we were to win the lottery, the first thing that would appear on our driveway would be a Porsche Cup Car, followed by a construction crew to build it the garage it deserves.I’d be ok with that, BTW). So when he mentioned he would be going to the race track from Wednesday through Sunday, I agreed, even though at the moment we had a million things going on.
After much planning and a crazy push to get everything done at home, my husband left to spend the day working with driver coach and author Ross Bentley (of Speed Secrets fame). When we checked in at the end of the day, he sounded transformed and re-energized. We spent a few minutes talking about how much he had learned from Ross and how thoroughly he was enjoying being on track – his mission was to break the Grattan Raceway track record in his Spec Miata, and he was within a few tenths of doing so.
When I arrived at the track on Thursday night, he was in his element. It was as if a day doing what he loved had restored him and his flame was burning very, very bright. It was a wonderful sight to see. Throughout the weekend, I found myself falling in love with him all over again: his talent and commitment to becoming a better driver, his willingness to give his time to other car lovers both as chief instructor and organizer, his calmness when dealing with unforeseen events at the race track, his patience with those who may not be as knowledgeable as him. And as if all of that was not enough to make me adore him, watching him get out for a bit of friendly Spec Miata competition with my brother and enjoying the two of them laughing about their exploits afterward made me even happier. At the end of the day, even though he was probably exhausted, he took the time to take pictures of me practicing yoga by beautiful cars.
This weekend, I realized once again just how important doing what you love and supporting your partner as she/he does what they love is. We all have emotional and financial obligations – to our partners, our homes, and our children. But we also have passions in our life – the things that drive us and energize us. This source of energy and joy is different for each of us. Sometimes the source becomes out of reach because of finances or time constraints. But when we facilitate access to the things which inspire our partners to be happy and glow, and support them in those endeavors, we are essentially contributing to the health of our relationships. Seeing my husband pursuing his passion fills me with admiration and respect for who he is and what he loves, and it makes me fall in love with him even more.
We returned home tired, but definitely energized and ready for what was waiting for us. After a weekend breaking track records, chasing Turbos and sliding into corners, he happily got to work on mowing the lawn while I returned to thinking about what to make for dinner and how to convince our girls to practice their math during summer vacation. And all the while, I’m looking across the room and thinking to myself how lucky I am to have married the gem who is also such a hottie.