Sometimes I can be “slow on the uptake” as my grandmother used to say. Why? This year I joined the ranks of the “some people never learn” club.
Here’s a quote from a Live Journal post I wrote in 2011. “I’ve signed up for a ridiculous number of ballroom dance lessons… for my first competition in June. If I am going to do this sort of thing, I can’t postpone any more; 2011 has to be the year. … I’m fighting tendonitis in my heel from asking my body to do things it might not have even wanted to do 30 years ago.”
So, I sucked it up, put in the floor time, and danced in the comp—here's one of the heats, a Tango with instructor Bob Blake.
That was seven years ago. I didn’t stop dancing after that comp, but continued taking regular ballroom dance lessons until about six months ago. Why have I been out for six months? Because some people never learn.
My goal for 2018 was to become svelte, (reality check—those years are gone), and dance in at least two events. In January, I strapped on my Fitbit and hit the floor running, literally. I tried to do a minimum of 10-14K steps a day. I ran in place on ceramic-tiled floors, jogged on a trampoline, walked extra aisles when grocery shopping, climbed stairs, and packed in as many dance lessons as my schedule would allow.
By early March my knees ached, and the first twinges of tendinitis throbbed in both Achilles tendons. Did I listen to my body? Of course not. Goal-oriented soul that I am, I pushed through the pain. By the time I made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, went to PT, and had an MRI, my Achilles tendinitis diagnosis changed to tendinosis—a chronic, not acute condition.
To quote my doctor, tendinitis at sixty-nine is not the same as tendinitis at forty, or even at sixty-two. By May I had to stop dancing. I couldn’t even manage a walk around the block. So much for becoming svelte in 2018. Instead I packed on the pounds and packed up all the clothes that no longer fit.
Today I am an enthusiastic member of the “it’s never too late to learn” club. Even after months of PT I’m not 100%, but I am doing much better. My new approach to physical activity is to participate at a level where I can do it again tomorrow. My goals are more realistic, like being able to go for walks with my dogs and my husband, and work in my garden. My life lesson this time is moderation in all things.
Last week I took my first dance lesson in six months (low-key), and my husband and I attended a studio dance party. I do want to dance, but I'll have to do it on a lessor level, which means keeping both my ego and expectations in check. I have vowed to accept the inevitability of physical limitations as I age, and accept them with grace and with as few swear words as possible (don’t hold me to this one). I will ADAPT and modify. Turns out it’s never too late to add to one's list of life lessons.