real talk

Pickleball & Marriage: Real Talk

Pickleball Wife Life

The last few years took a turn that I didn’t see coming. Did I think when I married my husband that I would eventually spend all of my vacation days and most of my free time devoted to a sport called Pickleball? Not exactly. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was, and even after I learned about it I actually thought it was a game my husband and his friend made up themselves. I was more then a little confused the first time he told me he was going to a tournament, “a tournament? for that game you and Bobby made up?” turns out I had some of the details wrong.

If you don’t know what Pickleball is, join the club. I’m often met with confused faces when I talk about it to friends. It’s sort of like badminton, sort of like giant pingpong, sort of like the loudest version of tennis you can imagine. The smacking sound of a small wiffle ball against paddles sometimes haunts my sleep. If you want to see it played out here’s a video!

Most of my summer weekends are dedicated to watching my husband compete in tournaments. Most people you find at the events are there to play, so I have the somewhat unique experience of looking from the outside in. I don’t play, except on the rare occasion my husband helps me get a workout in and runs me around the court playing singles (my highest score against him is 4-11 in case you’re curious, although I have a sneaking suspicion he gave me most of those points). A lot of my time at tournaments is spent screaming from the sidelines (sorry, not sorry, other pickleballers), refilling water bottles, offering him food thirty times a day until he’s completely annoyed, and occasionally cat napping if I come across a good sun spot and we’re in a lull between matches.

I wasn’t always involved with tournaments, or Pickleball at all, when he started. When he first caught the bug I wasn’t only working full time, I had a hefty commute and I was really trying to build a career for myself, so even my limited free time was spent working. By the time things finally slowed down a little for me, Frank was already deeply entrenched in the Pickleball world. He was already going to tournaments on his own, and Pickleball felt like it was very clearly his thing (at least to me). Most weekends and a lot of week nights he was spending playing, so to say I wasn’t initially the biggest fan of Pickleball may be an understatement.

In long term relationships it’s easy to let life sweep you along and not realize where you’re headed before you end up right in the middle of it. At one point we looked up and realized we were barely spending any time together, and we needed to change something if anything was going to work. Pickleball was definitely not the reason we had issues, but it had become such a huge part of Frank’s life without being a part of mine at all that it became a clear disconnect between us. So we decided I’d start coming to tournaments and be more involved with Pickleball.

It was an awkward transition, to put it nicely. I knew no one, and Pickleball is one of those esoteric worlds that can make you feel like an extraterrestrial that was just dropped into the middle of a square dance. I’m sure it was more than a little frustrating on Frank’s end too. Do you want the truth? It sucked for a while. We’re coming up on eight years of marriage this week and that time period sticks out in my mind as one of the hardest to get through. Even at the time it felt like a make or break situation for our relationship. It took time and a hell of a lot of perseverance. We fought, we struggled, and eventually it started to suck less. I made friends, I found a rhythm for myself at tournaments, and slowly but surely I found myself truly loving watching my boy run around the court, unable to restrain my cheering.

So here I am, making spread sheets of tournament schedules and counting down the days until the next one. Despite the negative feelings it brought initially it’s become a huge positive in our relationship. It’s easy to let changes eat your relationship from the inside out, but if Pickleball has taught me anything, it’s that getting through those changes can be painful and frustrating, but they can also be the absolute best thing to happen.

Positivity and How I Almost Flipped out in a Library

Positivity and How I Almost Flipped out in a Library - Josie Feather Blog

I’ve talked regularly about how this year one of my biggest goals is to be more positive. I’ve been trying to learn to look for the good, be more grateful, and let go of the negative a little easier. The thing is though, I want to be honest. I want to be truthful with you and not pretend that I woke up one day and decided to be more positive and *poof* I now walk around with a smile on my face all day constantly thinking to myself how amazing my life is and humming to a wild bluebird on my shoulder that I befriended. That’s not real life, that’s a Disney movie.

So let’s be real. Like really really really real. I mentioned last week that I’ve been in a bit of a funk. It’s been something I’ve had a real hard time shaking. Sometimes I even start to feel it lift, only to be smacked over the head again with a frying pan full of funk. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

So there I was, enjoying an afternoon with my husband who was finally home for a few days after being awayf for what had felt like many eons, and we decided to go into the city and get me a library card. Me, being the perfectionist over-planner that I am, had made sure to call ahead and check what I needed to bring. We found parking, walked through the cold, and waited for the library to open. Of course, once we got inside and found the main desk, the incredibly apathetic gentleman decided that I needed more proof I worked in the city. Once we provided more proof, him and his manager decided I needed more proof, which I was unable to magically produce while standing there. It was clearly one of those situations where someone with the teeniest bit of power decides they don’t want to be helpful, and will exercise that wee bit of power over you to avoid the smallest bit of work.

It was incredibly frustrating. My blood pressure hit new heights and I fought back a few tears as we walked away. Most people may think it’s being over dramatic to get upset about being denied a library card, and I would whole-heartedly agree. Sitting in my home looking back on it now I can easily see that it’s not something worth getting upset over. I can agree how I should have shrugged it off, and taken it as a nice afternoon with my husband even if we didn’t get what we drove into the city for. But at the time I couldn’t. I couldn’t see the good, even in such a comically silly situation.

That’s the thing, it’s not always easy, even at times when it seems like it should. It’s actually incredibly hard some days. It’s hard to see the good when you feel like your brain has been fighting back gremlins for weeks. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

So here I am. Happy to admit that I have failed, and it’s certainly not the first time that I have since I started this goal, and heavens knows it won’t be the last. When you struggle with depression and anxiety especially, positivity feels like a mountain. Specifically a mountain that’s incredibly prone to avalanches, earth quakes, and massive land slides. But you won’t get anywhere if you don’t dig yourself out of the snow and keep trying. So I will keep digging, and if you’re out there feeling like you’re digging yourself out for the millionth time this week, just know that you are not alone.