Fortune smiled on me this past week and my dance lesson was not cancelled as I predicted. Because last Monday’s state order pertained to indoor activities only and Teacher’s new studio has a patio space, we only had to move our dancing outside!
The space was a bit small for my Waltz routine, so we switched it up and worked on American Rumba. It was still aligned with the work we had done the two previous weeks in that the focus was still on diving deeper into my body movement, especially when it came to using my core.
I spent most of the 45 minutes doing a basic box. A very slow, very deliberate basic box. Teacher was showing me a different way of approaching the movement that kept my body better aligned and grounded, but of course, since it was unfamiliar, my brain was resisting it. Probably best that we were outside so the smoke coming out of my ears didn’t set off the fire alarm.
The weekend started with a very “regular” Saturday. In the morning, I took the boys to the vet for a routine visit. In the afternoon, I met up with a dear friend and we went for a lovely two-hour walk together. In the evening, I did some laundry and made a deliciously simple dinner of tortellini and wine.
Of course, a regular Saturday now looks very different from a regular Saturday 4-5 months ago.
This Saturday, I called the vet’s office after I arrived so a masked vet tech could come outside to meet me and take the dogs. I paid for their visit over the phone. My friend and I also wore masks the entire time we were walking together and “air hugged” our goodbyes. As I was making dinner (ok, opening the wine while the pasta cooked), I made a list of the groceries I wanted to get delivered this week. I washed my hands, I washed my hands, and then I washed my hands.
Four to five months ago, a Saturday like this one would have looked different. My dance lesson would have been different too. But that doesn’t mean this Saturday wasn’t a good day or that I didn’t have a productive lesson.
All of the anxiety and stress in the world has people wishing for things to go back to the way they were before the pandemic. They pine to “get back to normal.” The problem is we can’t go back. We can only stay where we are or go forward.
As the virus continues to wreak havoc, layers of my “old normal” self are falling away and I’m left with this stripped down, simplified version. What’s really important to me is taking center stage and the opinions of others are fading back into the wings.
As I began to write this post, the title of the series struck me as not quite accurate anymore. Originally, I thought I would be sharing thoughts and experiences as I emerged from my quarantine cocoon and rejoined the rest of society. I also anticipated society reopening to a greater extent than it has, but that’s beside the point.
I don’t want to rejoin society in the way I was in it before. I don’t have a desire to go back to my old life. I don’t miss running from the day job to the store to home for maybe an hour to the studio to back home to collapse into bed while my dogs wonder when we get to play. I don’t miss the stress of figuring out how I was going to pay for my next dance competition or my next set of lessons.
The main thing I don’t miss is the urgency that was attached to matters that weren’t all that important. There was such a rush to daily life pre-COVID and now it’s quieter. I can spend an entire lesson doing a basic Rumba box, not quite get it, and still leave feeling great about it. No attached stress over an upcoming event or even over comparing myself to another dancer, because it’s just me and Teacher on the patio.
In our current reality, I get to work from home and be with my dogs all day. I have everything delivered and don’t have to deal with grocery store parking lots. I’ve enjoyed my few recent dance lessons where the main goal has been to see what more I can discover about my movement. I’ve also had the time and energy to learn a lot more about issues besides the pandemic that are still plaguing our country and the small yet impactful ways I can make a difference. I’ve even taken action in those ways!
I want to keep developing this version of my life. Why do I need to go back to driving to the store or the office? Why do I need to go back to such a packed schedule that I don’t have time or energy to educate myself more on the bigger picture issues like systemic racism and climate change?
Short answer: I don’t.
So if I am “dancing back into society,” it’s definitely not into the same routine that I was dancing before.
I want to hear from you!
Has the pandemic life made you more introspective and reflective on how you live your life? Are you looking at dance in a different way? Or are you just sick of it all and can’t wait to get back to some semblance of what you were doing before?
Let me know in the comments.