I miss ballroom dancing.
I haven’t completely stopped, but I am doing a lot less. So far in December, I’ve had two private lessons. In mid-November, I had to cut down from two to one per week due to finances. Then Teacher was gone for a week for the Holiday Dance Classic. This past week, we were supposed to return to the normal two, but Teacher cancelled the second one.
Two lessons. Normally, it would have been six by now! Or at least four, if you account for the week Teacher was gone for the competition. And with the holidays coming up, I might have two more lessons before the end of the year.
I miss dancing.
Two is better than none though, right? Am I just being ungrateful?
I considered the possibility that I’m just feeling sorry for myself. Or I’m too emotionally attached to my dance time, and I need to detach. I am still getting to dance after all, at least a little.
But it has been different. With my normal standing lessons on Wednesdays and Fridays, I had a lovely midweek break and a great start to every weekend. Whatever dance topic I didn’t get on Wednesday, I only needed to wait two days before I could give it another go or ask follow-up questions. Friday’s homework assignments kept me occupied until the following Wednesday. Having only one lesson, if that, per week over the last month has made new topics difficult to grasp. Less time with Teacher means slower progress. I fear I have lost a lot of momentum.
I also, funny enough, miss the pressure of an upcoming competition. I think it added an extra energy to the lessons from both me and Teacher. Maybe it is just me, but with nothing on my comp calendar, I feel like the energy has changed. I can’t quite describe how. There is definitely less urgency, which should be a good thing and allow me to just relax and enjoy the process of learning ballroom dancing. But I think that urgency also gave me a sense of purpose. Again, highlighting the importance of goal-setting.
My demons whisper that I’m less important, that I don’t matter as much as the actively competing students or the ones who can afford multiple lessons per week without pause. A lesson gets cancelled and not rescheduled, and I hear “it doesn’t matter, it’s not like you’re preparing for anything.”
I miss being on a path toward a greater specific goal with my dance partner. The only goal we seem to be working toward now is become a better dancer. An obvious and great thing to aim for, but that goal is always just out of reach. I’ll be working toward that goal for the rest of my life, or as long as my wallet and body will allow. However, fewer lessons make me feel like my progress toward that ultimate goal has actually backtracked a little. I can’t enjoy the process of learning and improving if I don’t have the lessons with which the process occurs. Ok, maybe I am feeling a little sorry for myself.
The main message I want to convey today is it’s ok to miss something even when it isn’t gone, just altered. Even if it’s only temporary! There will be a competition on my calendar some day. I just don’t know when exactly. At some point, we’ll get back to our normal lesson schedule. It’s almost harder to not miss dancing when I still have those vague reminders. Change is inevitable though, and you are allowed to miss what once was. Or what will be again, but you just don’t know when!
So even though I am still dancing, it has changed enough that I miss how it was before. And hopefully will return to soon. Then again, will I?
Funny thing about change – even if you go back, you don’t really go back to exactly how it was before. Losing my chance to go to USDC and Ohio Star Ball changed my entire view on competitions and my ballroom journey. If/when I do have another competition in my future, I won’t plan for it in the same way I did before. My attitude toward my lessons needs to shift so my demons are dealt with and I feel like I am still getting what I need from dance, just out of a smaller amount. This shift won’t disappear once we get back to the normal lesson schedule.
So while it’s ok to miss what once was, you also have to acknowledge what is. Recognize that what you’re dealing with in the present is also temporary. Change will happen again. You can affect that change though. Use that missing feeling as motivation, not to get back to how it was before, but to get to a better version of how it was. Some things are outside your control. If Teacher tells me he’s cancelling our lesson, I can’t tell him no and expect him to still show up. But I can tell him I’d like a makeup lesson, instead of waiting until our next regular one. So then if he has another opening, he’ll know I’m interested. If I don’t say anything, I will get no makeup lesson and be missing dance. But if I do say something, then I’ve taken action toward getting back some of what I’m missing. I may still end up with no lesson and missing dance, but it’s better to put energy toward a desired change than wallow in the undesirable present.
Thankfully, I am going to the Sunday social today. I’ve missed out on social dancing too due to a bad cold. But that’s changing now that I’m feeling better. One step at a time, I’ll make it through all the changes and challenges. I miss how it was before, but I have high hopes for an even better future.
4 thoughts on “Missing Something That Isn’t Really Gone”
You are echoing a lot of what I am feeling right now. I still have 4 more weeks to go before I will be given permission to return to dance. At this point, it is hard to imagine ever being able to dance as much as I was before my illness. I am missing social dances, practices and lessons now, but I worry that 8 weeks off will negatively affect my motivation overall.
I was thinking of you as I was writing this! I’m feeling the effects on my motivation too. It’s odd. I think it’s related to the lack of momentum forward. It’s hard to feel motivated about something you’re not sure is going to happen. Or something like that? Hang in there, girl! We’ll both be back on top of our games soon!
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Just a though here but it seems like there might be ways to construct specific goals even if there isn’t a comp in sight. If your goal is ultimately to get a comp, then are there parts of the silver routines right now that are giving you fits? Are there parts about a particular dance you want to improve? You might even be able to give yourself a deadline and, even though there is no comp, it might accomplish the same thing. The overall goal is to get better but I think you could carve out specific things to focus on which might help.
But I get what you say about change and missing what it was like before. All of that resonates with me. Somewhere out there is a comp with your name on it!!