Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Challenges

A mark of age is the accumulation of experiences that make you understand others better.  Some call this empathy. I always considered myself empathetic, but it wasn’t until my brain surgery that I truly became empathetic. I quickly realized we all have challenges (time, financial, health…) and we’re all in a state of recovery (recovering from a medical crisis, getting over heart-break, dealing with addiction…). While challenging, hopefully, we handle our circumstances with energy that keeps us moving forward.

Spring brought hurdles: The short film I was in development on received a note that forced unforeseen rewrites and consequently push back the shooting schedule. In part, the short was my rationale for not putting a race on the books. Time to run and create became further illusive when I booked a big freelance job working on a book trailer. I love freelancing, but with the longer than 8 hour day and unpredictable hours, adds scheduling challenges. Despite the frustration, I love it; this is a lifestyle I’ve built for myself.

I’m excited about living and probably have gone a little overboard at the buffet of life: Day job, freelancing, and I have a love affair with ballroom dancing.  It has given me a mental and physical challenge that I haven’t had since my childhood when I was taking physical therapy in addition to the regular elementary school curriculum. I might not be running 40+ miles a week like I did while marathon training, but I’m getting in 2+ hours of cardio in 3-5 times a week running or dancing. The dancing is building synapses, mending shaky confidence and helping tremendously with PTSD. There are days are that are easier than others. Some days, I’m near tears. One instructor pointed out that I look too safe when I dance. It’s true, but with the recognition of this, it helps me let go and just enjoy the music. Away from the dance floor, I try to visualize (like an Olympic athlete) executing the moves perfectly and then work on the kinks with the pros at the studio.
My first challenge came April 6 with a pro-am performance. I forgot how much I loved performing. The high is similar to the excitement that I got with acting— I couldn’t sleep for days. But, dancing is a whole new way of expressing myself that I never experienced. I loved performing so much, I signed up for the studio’s recital at the end of May. (One of my studio teachers convinced me to do another routine.)

Running another endurance race is gnawing at me. I don’t know if I want to set out to PR, but getting another goal on the books feels like the right thing to do. I’m currently looking at November races when I’ll be past my now-annual MRI and beyond the fall wedding season. In the mean time, the cross-training continues at LA Ballroom Studio.