I‘ve joined our local YMCA. I’ve joined because my physio is getting frustrated with me and he’s a really nice guy trying to do the right thing and I don’t want to let him or myself down.
I had an operation to repair a torn Achilles tendon last year and whilst the operation was a success, my rehab is proving difficult and that’s because I don’t do the work that I need to. But I do want to fully recover and I do want to be able to wear high heels again and I simply cannot face turning up and bullsh*tting my physio anymore.
So, I joined the YMCA because it has a gym and strengthening classes and I like the welcoming, easygoing vibe there, as well as the great cafe, vast array of activities, and fab value for money – but most of all I like the people who remembered my name from the first day I turned up and make me feel seen and wanted.
And after I joined, I noticed that in addition to all of the sport-based classes, there were also community-based classes and one of those was ballroom dancing.
Now, many years ago, when I was a very young child maybe 7/8 years old, I used to go to ballroom dancing lessons every week with one of my older sisters and I remember really liking them because I got to spend time with my sister and the teacher said we were good. So, I signed up and persuaded my sister to come along with me, so we could re-live those precious times in spite of the passing of years.
And yesterday was our first class.
And we loved it.
We learnt the basic steps to the ‘cha cha cha’ along with a little ‘New York’ move as it’s known in the trade and we got very excited about learning the whole ‘cha cha cha’ routine over the coming weeks. The class was just one hour of our time at a cost of £3, but the return on this investment was simply priceless. In fact, it was one of the most fulfilling and productive hours I think I’ve ever spent – we laughed, we learned something new and we remembered who we were before we succumbed to the narrative that life imposed on us.
And the point of this post is to say that we will always have to face challenges in life, very often unfair, random, and wounding, but that does not mean we need to be defined by them.
We can always choose to return to a more genuine state, to remind ourselves of who we really are, to re-visit what brings us genuine joy and therefore freedom. And it does not matter if we can only do this for a short while, because it is not the duration or even frequency that matters, it is the awareness that we have this ability, this choice, that no matter what life dictates, our minds belong to us and us alone and no matter how rough the storm is, we will always enjoy the calm of the sunshine, as long as we know where to find it.
And that is what ballroom dancing gave to me and my sister yesterday – our very own sunshine.
So, please have a think about your ‘ballroom dancing’ equivalent and do it, just as soon as you can.