Ten years, a trip to Japan and a summer bucket list later, I finally did it. I told everyone I was going: I put my money down and committed to a weekend class so I couldn’t use lack-of-time as an excuse and if anyone asked, I would have to have a story to tell them. My stomach was in knots all morning at the thought of trying something new (though familiar) and being vulnerable to (mostly self) criticism - not to mention the physical and mental challenge I was about to endure. I headed out that morning with an open mind and an open heart. Was it possible that I could find the same feeling of connection and peace after all these years?
I’m often surprised that something that was such a big part of your life can slowly disappear over time as new opportunities and responsibilities start to take priority. As I made the transformation from my previous blog to my new one, I spent hours on discovering and establishing my personal brand. It forced me to reach into my past and reflect on the good, bad and ugly, often analyzing how the decisions I made have shaped the person I am and the life I have today. But an obvious gap emerged the more and more I worked on detailing my bio: what happened to all the dancing??
When I first moved to Toronto I tried to teach and take dance classes but sadly, teaching didn’t work with my full-time job and I became discouraged when I couldn’t keep up the way that I had when I was training 20+ hours a week. Building my career became my focus and I started to find other things that made me feel good like running, yoga and spinning. But when you dedicate 20 years of your life to something as disciplined as ballet (or, insert your competitive sport here), there is an essence of order and progression that I found missing in all of those other activities.
But then an opportunity came up last year to travel back to Japan to commemorate my first experience there with The Young Americans seven years prior. Not only did the reunion include teaching music and dance again, it also included being on stage. There I was among the oldest in the group but still kicking it with the energy and soul that had always moved me to, well, move. I sure as hell couldn’t actually kick like I used to but it really didn’t matter and even better, I really didn’t care. This moment reminded me what mattered most about dance: how it made you feel, not how you looked doing it. With this revelation in pocket, I promised myself that when I returned home, I would get back to class and back to why I danced in the first place.
Somehow a year flew by and I was still overwhelmed with dedicating time to my career and having some form of a social life. When I started to rethink my purpose as a blogger and the re-branding ensued, the word dance wouldn’t let up. “Ballet class” quickly made it to the top of my summer bucket list as I started to plan how I would spend the laid back months. I always hear how important it is to write things down. That by putting our goals on paper it’s as though it solidifies our intention and commitment; we subconsciously stay accountable to ourselves because we’ve made a secret (and sacred) promise and the last person in the world we would want to disappoint is ourselves.
At the first plies, I felt at peace as a sense of fulfillment swept over me. Thought it wasn’t easy, and at times pretty ugly, that feeling kept me motivated throughout the class and beyond. It’s an indescribable feeling having your buckets filled by something that you dedicated so much blood, sweat and tears too years ago but have recently reunited with. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry as I left the studio that day knowing I had found something inside of me that had been tucked away long ago.
Is there something you have always wanted to try again or maybe for the first time? What’s stopping you from getting started? By leaving it in the comments below you’ve already taken the most difficult step: putting it out there to keep yourself accountable. Now, go ahead. Carpe diem!