I just recently started ballet. I have never danced ballet before, and I am 44. Why on earth would I do such a crazy thing at my age?
When I was younger I dreamt of being a dancer, but growing up in a small community there wasn't any opportunity to. The closest I got was gymnastics, which I wasn't really interested in. The urge to learn to dance never really went away though, I just never acted on it.
And since I have struggled with stress and depression lately I knew I needed to excercise again, plus I wanted to challenge myself. Ballet sounded like fun, and like a decent workout.
Just do it!
So I signed up almost on a whim. I got an email from my daughter's ballet school informing me that classes would resume mid August, and by the way we also have classes for adults. "Sign up now!" Before I had a chance to think twice about it I had signed up. It just felt like the right thing to do there and then. As the start date approached tho, I could feel I was needing some moral support, so I asked a friend if she would like to join me. She thought about it for a nanosecond, said "are you crazy", and then "yes, of course I'll join you!".
Don't be a fool?
The point I am trying to make with this isn't so much about exercise, we all know we should do it, but more about listening to yourself. I had been thinking for ages about starting some kind of dance class, but I was self conscious and worried I would make a fool of myself. What if I couldn't keep up, or stumbled, or fell!? Disaster! But as we all know, nobody cares. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves and to avoid falling over, to even notice what you are doing. And so what if you fall? You just get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.
What's your six year old self telling you?
What I have learned above all from starting ballet is to listen to myself, and do what makes me happy. I love the classes, I love using my body, the classical music, the giggles with my friend when I trip up (I really struggle with the difference between left and right!), the way it makes me feel after class: my head is lighter and happier, my body is tired in a good way, and I sleep much better. The sense of accomplishment is fantastic, I show up every week, and every week I am getting bendier and stronger. And the best part is, there is no pressure. I will never become a prima ballerina at some prestigious ballet company, I don't have to worry about impressing anyone or prepare for tryouts. I just need to enjoy myself and have fun. The added bonus is a healthier body and a happier head.
So look within yourself, ask your six year old self what you really dream of doing, and then go do that!