Monday, June 16, 2008

Shaking Things Up

Last week, as my 32nd birthday approached I was feeling a little down. My annual tradition of gathering friends for a night of dancing was supplanted this year by a visit to the Barnes Museum and brunch at Blush, both lovingly arranged by my husband. And although I looked forward to these activities, as the day approached, I couldn't help but feel sad remembering the days in our early twenties, when staying up until 4 am and dancing into the wee hours was a regular activity, not just reserved for special occasions. I realized the last time I had tried to go dancing was November, and only two other people wanted to go. Something had shifted without me quite noticing. What was it?

Well, for one thing, although I love to dance, I no longer love staying up past midnight. Sad but true. Now my drinking is limited to a glass or two of good wine. My friends and I are older, most of us married, some with kids, many living in the 'burbs, where a night in the city is more than just a walk or a cab ride away. I guess many things have shifted.

Faced with this reality, I needed an alternate, something I could do to scratch my dancing itch. And so, I worked up my courage, and went to the hip-hop dance class at the Koresh Dance Studio that I'd been longing to try for years. Fear of looking or feeling stupid had kept me from going to the class, but last week, my need to do something new involving dancing won out. So on Friday I found myself in a questionable outfit, in the dance studio on Chestnut St., dancing hip-hop, or my version of it, having the most fun I'd had in a long time. As I walked out of the studio I realized that I was now one of those dancers I had envied for so long, and all it took was a little planning, some courage, and a crisis about my birthday.

Also this week I began a program in which I move nine things in my home each day for nine days, to get stagnant energy moving again. I love this idea because it is so manageable, and yet, after three days, has created some lovely changes in my home, including the long long-overdue unpacking of my wedding china. (Maybe it will all be unpacked by our fifth wedding anniversary!)

Trying new things and rearranging old things has brought some great changes in the past few days. In my 33rd year I plan to continue to shake things up, because as scary and uncomfortable as change is for me, so much good comes from it--new friends, new activities, new sources of joy and pleasure.

Now I'm off to unpack more china and practice my dance moves, but not at the same time of course.

11 comments:

sulu-design said...

Happy birthday, Jewel! You know that if I were nearby, I would have been at that hip hop class with you. I can't listen to Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde without thinking of you and our dance party senior year. Keep shakin' it, girl.

Mr. Ackerman said...

I really enjoyed reading this post because it reminds me of the anxiety, apprehension, and self-consciousness I experience whenever I try something new -- I can't think of a specific example right now for myself ... but I remember las summer when you harbored similar reservations about participating in a surf class and renting a board. You were in a class with 12 - 16 year olds, mostly boys. Probably didn't feel comfortable with this new peer group. But you did it anyway and what a pay off! Now we share our own big board, we hang with your brother Greg more, and we just really enjoy going to the Shore, because there is this sense of excitement that comes with the water, the wind, the waves and of course the ride! Keep on chasing that high babe! Thanks! I love you!

Anonymous said...

AYour insight into moving things in your physical is a key to life.Extensions include new routes to familiar destinations; new music listening; new food experiences. All these seemingly trivial changes build our courage that we can survive change.

Anonymous said...

julie- i am so inept,I can't figure out how to reblog you- Ken Ackerman

Nell said...

Jules! I just love your nine things/nine days experiment - what a lovely way to move the energy around! Truly enjoying the blog - keep up the wonderful work.
xoxo Nell

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