The Year of Me.

by Risa Green


I’ve been eager to write this post for a while, because it’s not every day that I actually have something new and exciting in my life on which to report. I was all set to write it about six weeks ago, but then the Horrible Tragedy of My Father occurred, which had the effect of halting my life, as if someone had pressed the pause button on me. Well, not pause exactly, because my life continued to run at warp speed despite my wanting to do nothing but cry under the covers all day, so maybe more like a targeted pause, where all of the regular things that had to happen – like driving carpool and making dinner and going to the market – kept happening, but everything else got put on hold until I was ready to deal again.


But anyway, here I am, ready to press the play button on my life again, and I’m picking up precisely where I left off six weeks ago, which is where I declare that this year is going to be the Year of Me. Meaning that, the last seven years have been dedicated to my children and doing everything that I can to teach them and better them and improve their lives. But now that my children are a little bit older (read: gone for six hours every day), I’ve been thinking a lot about how there are all kinds of things that I would like to learn, and be better at, and improve upon. So, instead of just lamenting this fact, I am actually going to do something about it. Which is why, right before the HToMF, I started taking piano lessons. And why, now that I am in play mode again, I’m going to continue.


The thing about piano is that I played for a few years when I was a kid, but I hated practicing and I didn’t really care, and so I quit when I was ten. But as I got older, I always wished that I had stuck with it, because I love music, and it makes me sad that I can’t sit down at a piano and play anything except for that song you play with your knuckles. So, I found this guy who teaches some of the kids at my daughter’s school, and five lessons later, I can play almost all of Lady Madonna at a speed that is somewhere between excruciatingly slow and Paul McCartney, if Paul McCartney were on quaaludes and had one hand tied behind his back. But still, I’m playing music. And I love it.

Hi Risa,

in many ways i've been feeling like you.. This year i want to take guitar lessons and do many other things I found this website called getbuttoned up...its pretty interesting it gives yor tools for the goals you have in life..

Caroline SG

Brilliant, Risa! When I turned 40, I had The Year of Me. I also wanted to revisit things that had made me happy in younger years, when I seemed to have so much time to do Stuff, and decided on three things: (re-) learning Russian, getting music back into my life (voting for singing lessons), and starting a dance class again (when I was 23 I was going to Merce Cunningham all the time). Of course when I was 23 I did not have a full-time executive job, but hey. Then I suddenly turned up pregnant. My miracle boy just turned 3, I have a different (and better) full-time executive job than I had at 40, and my Russian teacher comes to my office to make sure my brain is still working. Not bad at all-- and you give me hope that I might get around to the other two Me projects on my list before I'm 50!


You'll be glad you took Spanish first - even if old and rusty and in the dark recesses of your brain, it will help you to learn French more easily. In a highly unscientific study (the subjects being my mom and me), we concluded that it was easier to learn French if one had taken Spanish first. For's Italian that I want to learn. I switched careers two years ago and am out of the corporate world and into academia. When the learning curve into academia levels off, I plan to take advantage of the free tuition and take Italian at my school


I have always wanted to learn to play tennis too. We just moved to a neighborhood that has a tennis club as part of the homeowner's dues, so maybe now I will actually get around to taking lessons.


Kudos to you on the piano lessons! When I finally finished the grind of grad school, I took tango lessons with absolutely no dance background. What I found remarkable was that BECAUSE - not despite - how hard it was to learn, and how much I needed to concentrate, it proved to be the most liberating hour of my week. My brain simply couldn't think of anything else at the same time.

I look forward to my kids being old enough to revisit this mental zone once more! So proud of you for doing it!