Regardless of how much you might suck.
2014 was one of those “rebuilding years” for me. I had come through a particular annoying 2013 and made it out the other end with optimism and a determination to do new things [Side note- you know you’re getting older when you start to talk about touchpoints in years]. Sure, my hopefulness was unfounded in hindsight, but at the time I made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish in that particular 12 months. A bulleted list of efforts that will eventually lead to a better me. Naturally, I’ve forgotten most of them, but the two that bubble to the surface are; See at least 12 concerts and take dance lessons. Why dance lessons? Well… why not.
I’ve always loved going dancing, but too often I would associate it with (or use the excuse of) alcohol. Still do, actually. I'd go to a club or a wedding, I'd get enough evil drink in me and let go to the music. I did well enough, falling back on a solid sense of rhythm, but always relied on the crutch of looser inhibitions. I thought that maybe it’d be more fun if I actually learned how to do it right.
The first round of lessons in which I partook were salsa lessons. Hey… sometimes a Groupon determines your destiny.
Few things are more nerve wracking than walking into a dance class for the first time- alone. The staff did little to ease my nerves and just let me meander a bit. If I were in that position, I’d probably take pleasure in newbies walking in looking lost as well. I’m only human.
One hour a week for eight weeks and I got decent-ish. It was fun, I met some nice people, and learned a few moves. I decided to take a break from the next course due to timing at work and almost immediately, I forgot everything I learned. Just like that, it was gone…and I let it pass by.
For the last two months, I’ve been taking swing lessons. A year after my first foray into instructional dance, I find myself being more involved this time. I was brought to swing after a year’s worth of invites from friends, who are fully immersed and really good. I couldn’t tell you why I’ve been so resistant, but now that I’ve got some time on my hands, adding a structured weekly lesson just seemed like a good idea.
It was just as difficult walking in that first week, but the atmosphere was ultimately much more welcome. Each week, we line up, smile, and laugh. I don’t think I'm getting any better, but I’ve got new friends and a deeper appreciation (jealousy) for the mastery involved in connecting with a partner and really doing something amazing on the dance floor. I mainly watch it happen, but I get that spark in my belly to do it one day. That little fire is something I need these days, even if it’s as simple as remembering how to throw a turn or initiate a jay hook.
What have I learned?
Just do stuff. Fear and insecurity have kept me complacent in my goals for far too long. Do I have things figured out? Fuck no. However, saying yes has given me a good deal of stories and experiences, and I really don’t want to slow down the momentum now. It’s too easy to back off something foreign, but it takes the perfect mix of ignorance and determination to walk into a classroom and admit to knowing nothing. So… be dumber and drive faster towards it. No, that doesn’t sound right. You know what I mean.
P.S. I did not accomplish my concert goal, but I’ve reapplied it to 2015 and doing pretty good so far. I’ll let you know when I get there.