There’s a curious saying in Alanon (the 12 Step Program that’s about being obsessed – or “addicted” to taking care of others) that when you “recover” and stop focusing on fixing other people, you actually have the time for a hobby. I don’t know that I’ve ever really had a “hobby” — there are things I like to do: bike ride, read, go hiking, take long walks, travel, try new restaurants. I don’t know if any of them would qualify as hobbies – but recently, after many years of talking about it – I decided to sign up for dance lessons.
First I thought of tango, because I had a date with a tango instructor and he told me I was good, that I could pick up the steps quickly. I decided to go for swing dancing first, because that seens a bit easier and I had already studied it a few years ago.
Now that I’m no longer a caregiver for my mother, or a full-time parent, or wife, I have found this outlet for myself that is really challenging and fun. I’ve been taking classes now for almost two and a half months. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned — and after going to a big swing dance the other night with two live bands and watching so many really GREAT dancers, I realize I have so much more to learn. I loved that the people there were 18-80. They were all sizes and shapes and danced in so many different variations of Lindy, Swing, etc, I don’t even know all the different styles.
I met one of my dance partners there, Rob, he was in the first class I took and we danced together for awhile, practicing what we’d learned. After he left, I danced with some other men I’ve met who are from the more advanced classes. They taught me moves and I taught them a few things I’ve learned. I am so grateful for this new “hobby” – it’s frustrating sometimes, and when I see the really great dancers I know that I can never be that good, but I just enjoy dancing, and practicing, and I guess it’s really too soon to call it a real hobby, but it’s a good start.
Considering it’s January, and it’s an election year, and the world remains a mess, to have something that actually gives me pleasure each time I step out on the dance floor feels like such a blessing. I can forget, for at least that hour or so, that the problems in the world are too overwhelming and focus on learning how to do a dip, a yoyo, or a barrel step.