12 July 2008

That Was Then, This Is Now

Every year, I make at least one New Year's resolution, and the only rule is that it has to be fun. No "lose 10 pounds" or "save the baby whales" or "become a better boss/spouse/friend" - if I'm going to do any of that stuff, I'll just go ahead and do it. No, New Year's is for thinking of cool stuff you've always wanted to try that will make your life more interesting. Past resolutions have included learning to drive a motorcycle, learning how to mix proper cocktails, taking trapeze lessons, and getting to all of the Washingtonian's 100 Best (DC) Restaurants I'd not yet visited.

This year, for the past 6+ months, I've been in the process of trying out for the
DC Rollergirls. The tryout process is multi-stage, and I haven't even managed to clear the first hurdle - the basic safety assessment - yet. While I've had a little trouble mastering T-stops on skates, the thing that's actually been killing me is that there's little warning of when the next assessment is going to take place (so I've been unable to attend four so far) and practice dates, times, and locations seem to be in constant flux. I'm slowly coming to the realization that my life just can't accommodate that level of uncertainty, and I've been wondering why I seem to be the only one who has a problem with it.

Then I remember that the majority of the DCRG are 10+ years younger than I am. That's not so much a problem from the athletic side - I'm in decent shape from 12+ years of running and 10+ years of yoga, so I can at least keep up - but it explains the scheduling problems. And I remember that when I was in my 20s, I was passionately devoted to something, too, to the exclusion of most other activities - swing dancing. (Yes, that photo at the top of this post is of me, and yes, that sign behind me is for the
Montreal Jazz Fest 1999, where I danced on stage at the Blues Tent about 1/2 the nights during the 10-day event.)

In my current reality of career-rather-than-job, professional and personal volunteer commitments, a cranky nearly 100-year-old house to maintain, chronic DC overscheduling, and all the other trappings of "maturity" that come with being on the up side of 35, I find myself nostalgic for the days when I didn't know what I was doing this evening - forget tomorrow or next weekend or next month - and that was just fine. I often danced 6 nights a week and wouldn't know from one night to the next where and when that would be taking place, and that was just fine with me, too.

Does being a "responsible adult" remove the possibility of spontaneity? As I contemplate the difficulties I've had commiting to the DCRG practice schedule (something I very much want to do and am enjoying when I can get there) because it's not set months in advance, I start to wonder. How does one make space for abandon in a busy professional life? How do you protect a place in your life to be carefree (at least sometimes)?

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