2019 Reflections

Only a couple days left in 2019! This past year had plenty of challenges, transitions and triumphs that spanned across the different areas of my life. My business coaches challenged my entrepreneur group to make a list of 20 wins for the year. It was hard to come up with more than a few obvious ones at first (competing at the Open level, publishing the two journals), but the more I looked back, the more I realized how much I did! It’s motivating in a way – if I was able to do so much in 2019, how much potential is there to do even more in 2020?!

Dance-wise, the year feels a little disappointing because I only competed once. At the same time, I have to recognize how much I had to overcome to compete at that one event. The double knee injuries at the beginning of the year threw a major wrench into my training schedule and drew funds away from dance. It wasn’t until early November in fact that my physical therapist said I was healed enough to continue on my own and just come back to see her as needed.

Dealing with the knee injuries took a toll mentally as well. I felt almost betrayed by my own body that wouldn’t allow me to do what I love. I grappled with the thought that I was now more physically limited and therefore would be limited as a dancer.

Refusing to accept that idea, I started paying more attention to my physical health, including my nutrition. I completed a 90-day transformation program that aimed to get both my nutrition and fitness back on track after getting derailed by my injuries. I lost more weight and gained more strength than expected! I also got savvy about knee-friendly exercises that still provided a great cardio workout.

Despite the physical and mental challenges, I managed to continue dancing to some extent (even if I could only wear dance sneakers and walk through my routines). At the end of August, I made my debut in the Open Smooth level at Embassy Ball. My results were nothing to write home about, but it felt like I was back where I belonged when I walked out on that dance floor again.

On the business side of things, I was grateful to be able to spend more in-person time with the people in my entrepreneur group. Travel expenses typically limited how many live events I could attend, but in 2019, I made it to all three of our group’s gatherings! Just like with ballroom dance, being around like-minded people who understand what you’re going through is incredibly comforting and encouraging. You don’t have to explain yourself because everyone already understands.

I also launched two new products on the Practice Ballroom Dance website! A Journal for the Whole Dance Journey and The Choreography Journal were actually born out of another product idea I had started working on but dropped because it just didn’t feel right. I felt excited about these journals though. I want to help dancers truly thrive as themselves on their dance journeys through tools that enable them to take more ownership of that journey. The journals were the next step after The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing.

I’ve found the Whole Dance Journey journal to be particularly helpful in keeping track of what I’m working on. The indexing feature makes it so easy for me to flip back and find the notes on my last private lesson or see what questions I had on my last solo practice even if I had a few practices with my amateur partner or lessons in between. My last lesson was almost two weeks ago, but I quickly found the notes on the tweak we made to our Tango routine so I could review it in solo practice today.

Aside of all of these happenings, I went through a major transition in the day job as the company I worked for was sold to a much larger corporation. I still feel secure in my position, thankfully, and the transition has actually given me the opportunity to stretch my creative writing muscles at work. It’s also given me a lot more work in general, which means I’ll be breaking out the work laptop after I finish this blog post.

I almost forgot! As if aaalll of that weren’t enough, I also started working for Rx Ballroom Dance. The nonprofit officially formed in the beginning of 2019, and in less than a year, it has already done some amazing work in the local community by providing free ballroom dance classes to people with neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s. We all know how healing dance can be for the mind and body, so it’s no surprise that these classes are making a difference in relieving people’s symptoms like tremors and freezing and making them smile more! If you’re looking to make any charitable contributions before the end of the year, please consider supporting Rx Ballroom.

There is a lot more, but I think I’ll stop there. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and overcome in 2019. I’m also proud of the fact that I did it all and still managed to take care of my boys, keep the apartment more or less clean, and buy groceries and do laundry before I completely ran out of food and clean clothes. Sometimes you have to give yourself credit for doing the basics!

I’ll save my goals and intentions for 2020 for another post. I spent an hour and a half practicing on my own this morning and I kept thinking about the dance goals I’ve already set for myself for next year. I’m feeling good about 2020. I’m definitely shooting for the moon next year, but I feel like if I stay focused and in momentum, I can make it happen.

Ok, your turn! What are some of your wins from 2019?

Happy New Year, everyone!

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