Getting back to something you love is like riding a bike. Tap is nothing like that.
One of my favourite activities growing up was tap. Yes, tap dancing. For as long as I can recall, when I wait in line or am nervous about something, I tap. Over the years my repertoire of steps has dwindled to a handful. Shuffle hop shuffle step flap step.
I was nervous tapping one day, and someone mentioned she had a friend who took a class nearby. An actual adult friend. I began researching and did a summer camp to find my tap level. I tried beginners, but it was clear that my twelve years of tap as a child was still in me somewhere.
Cue my Wednesday night intermediate class. Most people would say Friday or Saturday are their favourite nights of the week. Mine is Wednesday. I come home sore and smiling and flop (not flap) into a hot bath to ward off the swollen tootsies. I am far from getting every step, but when I do, I’m crazy proud of myself. You see, tap has changed in thirty-three years, most things have. It is syncopated rhythms and starting on the downbeats and much closer to the ground than it ever was when I was a kid. There is a lot of learning and practice, but it is always fun even when it is frustrating.
For decades, tap went by the wayside. It started, I guess in university and, it just didn’t come back to me over time. I assumed my tap days were part of my childhood.
After I found my husband, then came our kids. There is no way around them. They wake you, demand from you, inspire you, and tire you out. Unless you are the unicorn parent that can shuffle a thriving social calendar while managing a house and still remembering to wear a bra, your passions become your children. My childrens’ loves became mine. I would find myself watching their favourite shows even when they were at school. You know, for the company.
But in those moments of just me and Dora, I didn’t know how to retrieve my previous passions. They laid dormant in my backpack waiting for someone on the outside to see what I couldn’t.
It seems you have to feed a passion for it to be present. You have to write every day. You have to invest in your relationships. You even have to sit in front of your favourite show and commit to it to say you are a fan. In fact, I think the only thing that passion comes without work is the passion for our kids–that’s a joke because they are a crazy amount of work.
Miriam Webster’s defines passion as, ‘a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.’ Are we enthusiastic all the time about our partners and our kids? I think not. They piss us off sometimes, and that’s okay because it gives us license to be pissy right back without fear of abandonment. But we go back to our passionate relationships because they are extraordinary more than they suck.
So, I went back to tap because it is great more than it is frustrating. I practice at home and invest time so that it sucks less and is great more. Those two hours a week make me a better person because I come home and am thankful for the support of the family in giving me the space to pursue my passions. I am grateful for the hot bath sometimes already poured and realise I need to invest the time in the passions right in front of me.
Getting back to something you love might not be as easy as it sounds. Relationships are complicated, and the rhythms change. You might be on the upbeat and your partner on the downbeat at times. If you are not present when you are with each other, you could end up dancing to different beats. My husband and I celebrate twenty-three years of marriage this year. Over those years, we have found ourselves listening to different stations at times and tapping to different tracks. Most relationships do. It is the ability to come back and embrace each others’ new rhythms that makes the passion present.
I didn’t mean this to be a love letter, but learning new things about myself can sometimes remind me of what I already have.
There is no shinier object I’d rather be with than my husband. I have to remember to listen to his music so we can be beautiful together. Just like in my tap class, I will miss a beat, sometimes more than other times. But, he is with me in line and when I am nervous and sometimes it might take a kick (usually by him) to remind me that we are past the beginner level and need to work hard to stay there. But, I will always return because he is my passion worth pursuing.
My Turning 50 Like a Boss Tip: Don’t forget the things you love because other shiny objects come along. Invest in passions worth pursuing.
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