Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I am writing from an addled, tired place, having spent the last five (or is it six?) days in an alternate universe, otherwise known as Lindy Focus. Five days and nights of swing dancing, right in my hometown, attended by over 1,000 passionate dancers from across the U.S. and around the world.
Background information: I am 44 years old. I have been swing dancing for almost two years. Lots of newer dancers past their twenties will sigh wistfully as they say they wish they had started much sooner. Not me. I am just happy to have found something I love to do, something that so far I am physically able to do and something that I hope to do long into the future.
Loving this form of dance requires me to hold two opposing thoughts in my head at the same time: first, that the process of learning and developing through this art form has no timetable. It is not a race to the finish, a competition to be better than anyone else, a way to prove my value. On the other hand, every time I dance could be my last. Life and health are never guaranteed. I cannot take the ability to do this for granted, and I hope to continue to feel profoundly grateful for the physical and mental capacity to dance.
I went into this week with a stress fracture in my right foot. It happened around the beginning of December. A podiatrist confirmed the fracture, but said it was stable and that I would not cause additional damage by dancing on it as long as the pain was no more than moderate. The foot had better and worse times through the week and it certainly limited how much I could do, but I am amazed that I was able to participate through the end of the camp and that I saw in the new year from the dance floor last night.
So this is my resolution for 2014, and I'm writing about it here to remember how right this feels just now: I resolve to live as fully as possible in my body, and to appreciate the wonderful opportunities for happiness and connection that it contains.
I learned this week that all kinds, genders, shapes and ages of bodies can bring themselves and others joy. Absolutely I want my body to become stronger and more graceful and leaner and, well, better, but I see now that it can be a wonderful source of happiness just as it is today.
That sewing can do much to help us love and present our best selves to our selves and to the world is something that I believe, very strongly. And goodness knows I am looking forward to a new year of sewing almost as much as a new year of dancing and moving and living. But today my mind is full of the potential and pleasure of being a physical creature in a physical world.
Happy New Year and all my best wishes as you are thinking and dreaming and hoping for a wonderful new year today!