Part of my 2016 resolutions are to do more things that scare me. In fact, a reminder, that that is actually my definition of traveling – and this is a travel blog, after all: traveling outside of your comfort zone and experiencing life in the now in all of its glory.
And what did I do? I’ve signed up for two semester-long dance classes at a local community college – Ballet I and Modern Dance I. This means that for 16 weeks, I’ll take more than seven hours of dance classes a week. If you know me at all, you know I love to dance. I love trying out any kind of dance class – partner or solo – and even if I never try that dance style again, I can’t remember a time I’ve ever regretted a dance class.
So why is this scary?
While I took ballet as a kid, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve taken a weekly class – and I have never, ever taken a modern dance class. I’m not as concerned about my skill (I mean, that’s what level I is for, right?) as I am about the number of hot minutes that have passed. Let’s face it: I’m taking class at a community college where it’s likely I’ll be, like, legit old enough to be the mother of some of my classmates. Legit. In the past few years, in these kinds of physical endeavors (capoeira class, working out, other dance classes, um, trying on clothes at a store), a question that I never had to deal with in my 20s comes up: Do I try and perform like the 19 year old next to me? Or like someone twice her age? What does that even mean?!
You see, I’ve never been very good at acting my age. No one’s ever told me how mature I seem or called me wise beyond my years. I like being silly with my nieces and nephews, I sort of hate getting up too early, I cry when people are mean to me, and if you knock on my door looking even remotely like a political campaigner or a Jehovah’s Witness, I’ll just sit quiet until you go away because as if.
Assuming you’re not wildly irresponsible, not acting your age isn’t really an issue when you’re 25. But as I try and define who I want to be when I’m older – which seems to be hurtling toward me with ever-increasing speed, I wonder: How do I “act my age” without being an old fuddy-duddy? Where’s the line between savoring life and clinging to youth? How can I sit comfortably in my age, no matter what it is, and yet still squeeze every drop out of life?
How do you act your age without acting your age?
So back to the dance classes.
No, I won’t be playing the part of the young teenage ingenue – but I will spend time being present in my body, learning to move it in new and challenging ways, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll start to explore what it means to act my age without, like, legit acting my age.