It's never too late to learn
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.
10/28/2018 12:26:56 pm
That video was so inspiring. We all need to recalibrate as the years roll by, but there is rarely a reason to completely give up something you love.
10/28/2018 08:50:41 pm
Thank you Paula. I was sixty when I took my first ballroom dance lesson - actually it was my sixth birthday. I think recalibrate is a great word. I'm going to start using it as a reminder.
10/28/2018 12:40:09 pm
Was just reviewing this lesson learned this morning. Two years post back surgery. Other back issues looming. Happy I can stand for longer periods, play on the floor with puppies and walk around the entire park. Thinking I should get back to my workouts, yoga and wow...what about Pilates. Need to rethink my limits. Or at least move into each slowly. Reality check shows I still don’t have my balance back. Maybe work on that first. Goal: get to England and Italy next year. Don’t want to be 90 and look back on not visiting. I love England and want to see Italy before I die. Bucket list check! Need my balance and walking strength back. That’s doable.
10/28/2018 08:54:16 pm
Yes, yes, and yes. Reasonable goals. However, the first time I developed plantar fasciitis was right after a trip to England, when I walked all over London in sandals. Yikes. I'll remember that lesson too.
10/28/2018 07:45:55 pm
What a beautiful Tango! You looked as though you've been dancing all your life. It's a bummer when years start to erode ability when the mind and ambition are a couple of decades younger than the body. On the bright side, look what you have accomplished. You can be very proud of what you have done. In the future, your dancing will be admired at whatever level you choose, or at whatever level your body allows.
10/28/2018 08:55:23 pm
New goal for both us...to see each other with our partners on the dance floor again! Here's to 2019.
Leave a Reply.