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No long blog from me today, as I’m going out dancing. Twice in a week. I know - I’m practically uncontrollable…
I’ve suddenly rediscovered my dance mojo – which had gone missing for several years.
Although dancing was a life-changing element, and I was addicted to it for a time, the urgency gradually tailed off. Oddly enough, as the children grew older and it wasn’t so difficult for me to go out now and then, the need to escape the 4 walls of my house diminished. When a free evening popped up, even though Hubby was at home, I had no particular obligations and I knew there was a dance event on within 30 minutes drive, I just didn’t have the motivation to get off the couch.
Even when I managed to go dancing – maybe two or three times a YEAR – I felt uninspired, and a little lacklustre. This is by no means a commentary on the clubs I went to or the men I danced with. I just didn’t feel that bubbly joy to the same degree.
After my activity last week, I now have a theory as to why I lost my dance mojo for such a long time.
Last Wednesday found me sitting in my car outside a Kizomba club at 8.09pm, examining my feelings about the impending lesson. I’d never danced Kizomba before (a tango-like dance with Angolan roots) and I didn’t know anyone who would be there. I realised I was excited – a thread of anticipation which I used to feel every time I went dancing. I was, yet again, leaving my comfort zone behind me and trying something totally different.
Long story short – I had the best time, and I came away feeling totally energised. I wanted to do it all again. I realised that ONCE UPON A TIME, salsa had been outside my comfort zone, and it had been challenging, terrifying, inspiring and motivating. However, now that I had reached a certain standard and knew most of other dancers, salsa dancing had actually become my comfort zone. And it’s difficult to do anything amazing when you’re slopping around in the zone.
Although it sounds lovely and cosy, The Comfort Zone is everyone’s enemy. How can we be successful or innovative or brave if we’re oozing around in the developmental equivalent of a soft, familiar, unwashed duvet? When we justify to ourselves that we’ve done enough, what exactly is the rationale for existing, from that point on? When we sit on that seductive Comfort Zone Couch, progress simply stops. We tread water. We coast. And when progress stops, all areas of our lives tend to stagnate.
My inner slob (or is that ‘outer’?) may be happy to watch several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy back to back, or read books in bed with a calorific snack to hand, but my soul gets hungry and restless at such passivity and dearth of stimulation.
It boils down to this. I LOVE learning new things. I thrive on it. Every time I learn something new, I feel previously inert areas of my brain lighting up and pinging with energy. And now I’ve realised how powerfully life-affirming it is to try new skills, I’m determined to keep doing it.
With any luck, I still have half of my life left to me, and I am actually quicker at learning things now than I was when I was younger. I’m just getting started.
I have no intention of fading gracefully away from middle-age, gently deteriorating from year to year until I hobble into the sunset.
My peak is way off.
I’m going to learn to play the guitar and the saxophone, race cars, teach myself to juggle, become a black belt in karate, take up woodturning and then – at the age of 124 – at my dazzling peak, burn out in a blaze of glory.
Just so you know.