Five lessons I learned while upside down

Quick show of hands: Who’s interested in reading the five life lessons I learned in aerial dance class? How about if I told you there were pictures?

Now we’re talking!

aerial red

#1 It’s never too late to try something new. Over the weekend, I went to see a friend perform. I’ve trained with her for the past year so I know her talent well – but I was still impressed when I saw her full routine. Not many people can climb, flip and drop for three straight minutes – but she could and she did and she looked great doing it. Oh and did I mention that she’s 60? Because she is.

Listen. If this woman can take up aerial dance in her late 50s and perform a flawless act in front of a hundred friends and family just a few years later, then it’s probably not too late for all of us to try something new. So learn Spanish, or train for a marathon, or travel to all seven continents, or do whatever it is you’ve been meaning to do. Life is long.

#2 Anyone can learn. I really enjoyed my friend’s party because, for once, I wasn’t the most eccentric person in the room. There were plenty of people with odd hobbies and bizarre interests – and they were refreshingly unapologetic about all of them.

Take my friend’s husband, for example. He holds the world record for being the oldest person to joggle a marathon. (Look it up).  That’s awesome. And he, of course, invited some juggler friends – two of whom very patiently tried to teach me and didn’t laugh at all when I repeatedly hit myself in the face with the training bean bags.

“You’ll get it,” one of them said. “You’ll get it if you want to. Anyone can learn.”

I suppose that’s true of most things: Anyone can learn. The real problem is deciding what it is you want to learn.

#3 “Comparison is the death of joy.” That line is courtesy of Mark Twain, of course. But I’m using it because it’s the perfect way to correct myself when I’m frustrated by how slowly I learn in comparison to the rest of the class – which, by the way, is all the time.

My instructor put it in her own words:  the only person you can compare yourself to is you from last week. That’s good news, especially since Last Week Me was a real mess. But seriously. This Week Me is going to master the end of this trick.

#4 Patience is good, but practice is better. A few weeks ago, after a particularly disastrous attempt at a difficult trick, an advanced student helpfully pointed out that I really needed to hold my abs. I thought it was pretty generous of her of to boil it down to a single issue since there was no part of the sequence that I actually did well.

“I’m trying!” I chirped.

Try harder,” she said and walked away. She was harsh – but correct.

Sometimes I like to tell myself that things will magically fall into place. That one day it will “click.” Perhaps. But it would probably click faster if I just practiced harder.

aerial blue

#5 Encouragement is appreciated. That’s what the emcee told the audience before my friend’s performance. And I’m glad she did because we all deserve a round of applause every now and then.

So with that in mind, here’s my shameless pitch: if you like this blog, please nominate me for The Indie Chick’s Annual Badass Blog Awards. It takes just a few clicks and I’d really appreciate it if you did.

Do you know why? Because when I turn 60, I’d rather throw a party as a professional writer than an accomplished aerialist – though I’m sure that would make for a much less compelling performance hour for all of you. But then again, it’s not like you can compare the two anyway.




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