Monday, July 22, 2013

Understanding Your Limitations

Knowing and understanding your limitations has been on my mind, lately. While stretching at the barre at the end of class the other day one of the students (we've been in class together since the very start) was talking to our teacher about taking more classes. Two days per week just isn't enough! Etcetera. And the jealous little demon whispered to me "I love dancing. I want to take class more, too! I am just as dedicated! I want to advance like she is!" but really...
The fact is that I enjoy spending some of my evenings at home with my husband, going out to see shows, or visiting friends. Class every day would be too much like a job. No one wants that. I have a job I actually love, which is more than most people can say, but you know what? Sometimes (a LOT of the time) I don't want to do THAT, either. I don't want to feel that way about dancing. I want to look forward to it. Because seriously? Sometimes? I get a little worn out and have to drag myself in to class. I am always glad I went, after the fact, but getting there can be a real struggle against my lazier and more fatalistic tendencies.
And then there is the physical stuff. I want to push myself. I want to get better as quickly as possible. But my body is old and broken and requires a certain amount of TLC just to get out of bed on some mornings. It gets exhausted really easily (really really easily). Things get pulled or thrown out of whack at the least provocation. That toe joint on my left foot is prone to flare ups. My knees, my hips, my shins. I have so many parts that don't work properly anymore.
So, while it's hard (or annoying, take your pick) to watch people that I started class with lapping me at the barre, it's also not really anything I can fix. I can't push too hard physically, or I might mess myself up or speed the degeneration of my condition to the point that I can't dance at all. I don't have to prove that I am dedicated by giving up my myriad other hobbies and interpersonal relationships. My BFF isn't in to ballet. I'd like to go see shitty movies with her once in a while. My cats need petting. My husband needs snuggling. There are rose bushes to prune, blogs to write (hello, yes, this is one of my hobbies), corsets to sew. I have a whole art project that I have barely started on, moving boxes that have yet to be unpacked.
Know your limitations.
Understand them.
Accept them.
Keep dancing. Keep writing. Keep working. Keep going.


  1. I love this post. It's all about perspective and where ballet fits in for you, which may be different than the person next to you at the barre. My old bones can't handle daily class but man, I'd love to do it sometimes!

  2. This is something I really struggle with. While I LOVE taking 3 classes a week, that is 3 nights I'm not spending with my son, well just with him... He does take class with me sometimes... He's really good at fouett├ęs and he's 4. He likes the barre. But sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't cut back. But then I go to class and I know I need that time for me too... Me and my husband are on opposite schedules so our time together is definitely not on a dance day :) ill figure it out one day...

  3. I am exactly in tune with your thoughts. At 61, with my husband even older, just maintaining our own home (gardening, cats, improvement projects, etc. etc. etc.) takes a big chunk of time.

    Most people my age wouldn't find themselves alternately thinking about dressage riding and ballet all the time.

    Then there is the sewing, crocheting, get the picture.

    I had the same feelings you did in ice skating. One of the reasons I finally stopped, and went back to ballet and riding, is that to get where I wanted to go required more money and physical resources than I had. Skating was like a "job" for me. And it became not fun anymore, despite my "achievements".

    So while I do not consider ballet, or riding, "just for fun" -- I do have a certain perspective. LOVED your entry. Hugs.