After I renewed my apartment lease the last time, I hit a point when I had to decide to move onto the next chapter or stay stuck in the current one. How much longer could I realistically continue living like this? I was constantly walking this financial tight rope in order to take ballroom lessons and compete while also living in Southern California. It was frustrating to see every raise from work be wiped out by the next rent increase. I felt like I could never get ahead.
So why stay? My job can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. I have family and friends here, but I also have family and friends back East. My dogs would certainly benefit from living somewhere with less noise and asphalt and more trees and grass.
If I’m honest, ballroom is the one thing that’s kept me in SoCal for the last 4 or 5 years. I’m sure you’ll agree that when you find that great dance coach who gets you and you guys work and dance well together, you do what you have to in order to hold onto them. It’s also hard to turn away from an area that is so active in ballroom and provides so many opportunities to work with amazing coaches and compete multiple times a year without having to travel.
When I renewed my lease, I sensed that it would be for the last time. The lease term was two years, so I had some time to figure out what would come next. We were in the peak of the pandemic when I hit the halfway point and the combination of the two left me with one certainty in a world of uncertainty – it was time to move. It was time to get out of the city and get back to nature. It was time to live somewhere that didn’t require so much sacrifice just to pay the bills and dance once a week.
It was not an easy decision, but once I made it, the next steps became clear and I felt that gut feeling that told me I was on the right path, even if that path was leading away from my current life. Maybe you remember me writing about a need to find a greater purpose for my dancing last year? This move to Maine is a part of that, I’m sure, even if there are far fewer ballroom studios there! Won’t it be fun to see how that purpose reveals itself once I arrive?
This past Friday, I went to a practice party at the studio. It was a busy week, so I was ready to dance off some stress. It also gave me a chance to say farewell to a lot of dance friends, some I’ve known for my entire ballroom journey and others I’ve only met in the past few months. Teacher and his wife surprised me with a farewell gift and flowers in the middle of the party.
It’s not really a forever goodbye. I’m still going to join in on group classes and work with Teacher over Zoom. I’m even planning on competing with Teacher (assuming I can afford the travel expenses). It is goodbye to the way things were though, and even if I’m happy and excited for what’s to come, it’s scary to let go of the familiar. It’s hard to give up what you’re comfortable with for the unknown future, even when the familiar circumstances are difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more sure about what I’m meant to do next though, which is another exciting yet a little scary feeling. Between all my personal development work and my dance training, I’m finally trusting myself!
Only two more weeks until I hit the road and head for Maine. I continue to check things off my to-do list, although it seems every time I check off one thing, two or three more items appear. Still, progress continues to be made and I inch ever closer to my new life.