Paradiddles and Cincinnatis

Yesterday I tap danced.

That sentence deserves a whole paragraph, all to itself, at the beginning of my blog, because for me, this was a really big deal.  Tapping dance is, was, always has been a huge passion of mine. At 5-years-old, when I enrolled in my first tap class, I was presented with the perfect platform to express my itch to dance, my ability to keep a beat, and my love for dressing up in tights and sequins.

I’m not sure exactly how long it had been. I think it was something like 12 years.  I pulled out my old tap shoes from the closet, dusted them off, and brought them to a dance studio where they offer adult drop-in classes.  I tied up the frail old laces. The laces were so familiar.  As I tied a pretty bunny-ear, they slipped through my fingers, and I remembered the aglets were long gone. The tips still frayed. The left insole still unattached to its base, still needing a shift back into place. My toes slid into the impressions I had created years ago. Like a mold.  Only my feet belong.

And I danced. I did paradiddles, Cincinnatis, and time steps like I had never stopped. I zoned in on my instructor’s feet, absorbed, learned, remembered. We swayed across the floor to a Justin Timberlake ballad.  We counted in, “5-6-7-8.” Then we learned a combination. We broke it down, practiced, and repeated and repeated and repeated.

Before I knew it, the class was over, and I realized that an entire hour had gone by and I had thought about nothing but where I was at that moment.  I was 100% engrossed in my Now. For an entire hour, I didn’t think about the emails I had to reply to. I didn’t think about what Mason was having for dinner. I didn’t think about the laundry that needed doing, or the bills that needed paying, or the endless to-do list that needed checking off.  My mind was in one place, at one time, focused on one thing. I had not felt this kind of an escape in… well… probably in 12 years.

So why did I ever stop?  Somewhere along the way we are told we need to grow up. We gain responsibilities that no longer allow us the freedom of time to pursue passions. For me, this happened at the end of high school and through college.  I loved tap dancing, but I had no future in it. I clearly wasn’t going to be the next Gregory Hines, so I had no choice but to put it aside and focus on getting an “A” in Psych Stats.

I encourage you to think about something you had a true passion for when you were young.  Do you still practice this passion?  If not, why did you stop? Was it because others were better than you at it? Was it because life’s responsibilities got in the way? But what if I told you it doesn’t matter if others are better?  What if I told you your life responsibilities are still going to be there whether you fulfill your passion or not? What if, instead of letting others decide what is good for you, you took control of your precious time here on this earth and carved out 1 hour every week for it? What if you felt what it was like to be young again? To have no fear or agenda or worries? To fully loose yourself in something? Wouldn’t that be worth it?

No matter what that passion was (is), I guarantee there is probably a way for you to pick it back up again. One of the huge perks of the internet is that we can hunt down like-minded people with similar interests. I bet you there’s an adult soccer league in your area, or a cooking class, or a book club, or a paint night, or a surf camp. Whatever it is, find a way. Make it happen.  One small chunk of your time will re-spark an overall passion for living your life to its fullest and it will contribute to your purpose as a well-rounded individual.

So what are you going to schedule into your calendar this week?