Like anyone with a favorite pair of sneakers or some worn-in flannel pajamas, I enjoy being comfortable, but comfort has a way of letting the mind and body get sleepy. One doesn’t want to get complacent…
As an ever-changing hobbiest, I step into new adventures every couple of years, not just because I’m restless, but because there’s something wonderful about turning ignorance into a talent. My past is littered with adventures in beer making, rock climbing, animation, sushi rolling, etc. These were all things that I dove into because of some underlying desire or love. They seemed like they were within reach of my skill sets. Sure, they were new, but they all seemed learnable and they generally came pretty easily to me.
Enter ballroom dancing.
Mind you, this is not a typical choice for me, but a wonderful woman I had just started dating had mentioned being into dancing, so I offered up that we take lessons together. Aside from netting myself 1,000+ “great guy” points, I suddenly found myself spending evenings moving awkwardly across a dance floor with instructions that made my last experience (Virginia Reel, 1974) seem completely irrelevant. Hello Rhumba, Waltz, Eastern Swing, Cha-cha and Foxtrot! For those of you who’ve seen “Dancing with the Stars” (I have not), following a routine like they do is completely different than making it up on the fly and being able to convey the next move to your partner (that’s called “leading” I now know).
And you know what? I’m having a fun time, but I’ve finally found something I’m completely awful at! Now, my girlfriend and dance instructor both assure me that I’m in fact progressing quite well, but as someone who has always considered himself a quick study, I’m just not seeing it! Perhaps I can blame it on age, infrequency of lessons, or two left feet (there’s got to be a reason in there somewhere!), but it doesn’t matter. I’ve always been of the mindset that you learn more from failures than successes, so I’m learning more than I have in years. It’s a good thing!
Resolve in the upcoming year to step out of your comfort zone. Risk being awful. Looking like a fool.
You’ll thank me in 2013! - j