Last December, a colleague asked what was the most fun thing I had done lately. He’s always asking questions like this instead of the “How are you doing?” and so the question wasn’t really intended to offer an intense reflection on my part….but it did anyway.
I was still working my way out of a fog of grief after a difficult year that included losing my grandfather. I felt like a lot of days I was just trying to keep it together out in public; not wind up a weepy pool in the grocery store. Manage grief and stress to give it space but still be a functioning adult. But when I tried to think of the last really fun thing I did, I couldn’t think of anything……I’d been so busy with my work, with my life, that I hadn’t really taken time to have any kind of sustained fun. I wasn’t doing anything creative on a regular basis. I was stretching myself and exploring.
So, in January, I decided to take tap dance lessons. It was something I’d always wanted to do as a kid but never did. However, as a child, if I had a pair of hard soled shoes on, I was going to be “tapping.” I remember once as a third grader dancing up a storm in our upstairs tiled bathroom and finally my mother telling me to stop because it was disturbing the whole house.
It was an exhilarating moment that first rehearsal when I tied up my shoes and did my first steps. “Look at me, I’m actually tap dancing” I felt my insides screaming. Sometimes I got the steps right, was in the zone and smiling and other times I would kick myself in the shin or twist an ankle but here is what I learned from the experience….
- We all have those things we’ve always wanted to try, always wanted to do…What are you waiting for? It will only happen if you make the time for it, carve out the budget for it. You may have to be quiet for a little while to be able to listen to that inner child, that inner teenager or younger adult, in order to let them guide you.
- We all need to keep trying new things even as adults. It keeps our minds fresh as we work to try new things. It makes us use new parts of our bodies, new ways of thinking. It also gives us space for new triumphs and new discoveries about ourselves while offering new opportunities to be humbled.
- It doesn’t have to perfect, just do it and just own it. I tend towards perfectionism. If I won’t succeed in it, why give it a try. If I can’t be perfect, why bother. And in much of my life others have high expectations of me as well because I have a good reputation that I’ve worked hard for. Having space to begin something new in my life was exhilarating, space to just show up and give it my best, space where I did not have to be perfect or have it figured out. So many of us are hiding in places of comfort – jobs, relationships, marriages, church – because it is hard to step into places we are not known, to begin again, which is exactly why you need to do it!
- What is the most fun thing you are doing these days? What have you always wanted to learn more about? What have you always wanted to try? What are you waiting for? Make it happen now…..
Me after my recital this weekend, which is serendipitously fell on the tenth anniversary of my ordination in ministry.