Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back in the Saddle and Keeping Up Physical Therapy

This is mostly a personal entry…

It’s been an interesting month here and I’m back working on articles. You’ll see a new set over the near term.

It’s been extra insane around my house. Many of you know I have five kids and I’m probably busier than most, even during my “normal” periods. This last month has been off the charts in terms of external projects.

My oldest son graduated from college. I helped him move a few hours away to his first job. One of my daughters turned sixteen (big party… new back lawn and lots of house fix up for the big day) and my mother-in-law broke her hip, giving my wife hospital duties and me some additional driving duties for my four other kids (mother-in-law is recovering slowly).

While I’ve missed some dance classes, taking classes is about the only thing I did outside of work, home repair, and driving kids around. I didn’t go club dancing, but I’ve made some excellent dance progress overall. Sometimes I think taking a short break from club dancing is an excellent perspective builder, but I’ll detail that in another article.

I learned this technique earlier in life, when I started working out. If you need some of my time that overlaps one of my favorite classes, I may not tell you the explicit nature of my conflict. If you have to know why I can’t make your event, I often say I have “physical therapy” and most people respect that conflict. If they press I tell them, “I’m working on my balance and strength related to some previous activities.” I don’t provide any additional details and it works great.

If I say, “I’m going to a dance class”, they act like that can’t be important, but I disagree. I make it a point to keep a few classes as “appointments for myself” and unless someone is dying, I rarely miss them. A couple days a week I avoid business meetings late in the day so I can make a 5:30pm class that really challenges me. I treat it as personal therapy and it makes me stronger and better at almost everything else I do, and I hate to miss it.

I make my living at the computer (I solve business problems all day) and being physically healthy improves my thinking ability. Not only do I love dancing, but I enjoy the challenge of improving my physical and mental abilities, and good dance classes fit that bill.

Being older than many dancers, I know how tough it can be shoehorning a new passion into your already busy life. Sometimes I laugh to myself when someone says they don’t have time to learn something new.

In my case I use the micro-practice concepts I’ve previously discussed, I practice in my car (head and shoulder isolations), do some mental training, and I still go to a set of classes, even when I’m extremely busy. If someone wants my class time, once I mention the physical therapy conflict, we generally find a different time. It’s not perfect, and occasionally I still miss some classes, but overall it helps me keep some control in an extremely hectic schedule.

Let me know what you do to keep your dance education moving, even when things are crazy.

When choosing between two evils, I always like to take the one I've never tried before.
--Mae West


  1. I am blessed with friends who have passions of their own and have figured out that this salsa thing isn't going to go away. But yes, I run into similar time conflicts. I generally solve it by inviting friends over on a night that works for me and my daughter.

    Also, as a single dad with certain nights of the week off, I tend to go club dancing in places with a good lesson at the beginning of the night. That often allows me to have dinner or a drink with a friend earlier in the evening.

    Of course, I don't have the time pressures (or blessings) of five children!

  2. Hey, just couldn't believe you can keep your classes when having 5 only got one kid and should not have any excuse.

    It makes me laugh when you are saying "physical therapy"...hahaha..a white lie..and here in my culture people do think dancing classes are not that important. Same here..

    But I am happy to know that I am not the only crazy one to try every effort to stick with the class schedule. :>


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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero