You may have noticed that you haven’t heard from me in a while. That’s because for the past two months I was busy with a new project that consumed a great deal of my time and energy. It left little time for cooking, entertaining, or other “Eclectic Girl” projects. I plan to get back to the usual content of my blog in the coming weeks, but before I do I wanted to share a personal victory.
After over 20 years of being a student of Jazzercise, I decided to train and audition to become an instructor. Jazzercise is a high-energy dance-oriented exercise program that has kept up with current fitness trends for nearly 50 years. I fell in love with the program the first time I tried it and have been a faithful student ever since.
Some have asked why, after so many years of being a student, did I suddenly decide I wanted to teach. Fitness instructors don’t typically earn a lot of money, so financial gain certainly wasn’t my motivation. And it wasn’t because I love being on a stage (I don’t). So why, after all these years, did I decide to pursue this goal?
There have been a few times when I thought life might lead to me to a location where this particular program did not exist. A few years ago, we thought we might move to South America. The country where we would have lived does not have Jazzercise. When we moved to southern California a few years ago, I was surprised that the offerings near me were not as extensive as they were back in Virginia. I came to the realization that becoming an instructor myself would be the only way I could be assured of always having it, wherever I might end up.
I also began to feel that after all my years of being a student, I had learned a few things. I’ve had many inspirational instructors over the years who taught me so many things about fitness, physiology, and movement. I’ve also learned from my injuries, the habits I’ve developed, and from the friends I’ve made at the gym. I had begun to feel that perhaps I now had something to give back.
Given that most of my pursuits in life have been either creative or academic, attempting something physical was fairly intimidating for me. And at the age of 57, I worried that I might be viewed as too old to begin what is often perceived as a young person’s endeavor.
I decided that I would not let age define me! I have been blessed with good health and I feel great. I know my body pretty well by now–what I can do, what I can’t do, how to avoid hurting myself, what I need to eat (or not eat) to perform well. I also have more time at this point in my life than I have in years.
And so I made up my mind that I was going to give it my best shot. One of the benefits of age is perspective. I found it fairly easy to detach myself from the end result. If I made it, that would be amazing and wonderful. But if I didn’t make it, that would be fine too. I’d just continue to enjoy being a student as I have for so many years. As long as I worked hard and gave it my best, I decided I would be proud of my efforts and unashamed if I failed.
While I wished that I could have gone through the process without telling a soul, that proved to be impossible because of the way the training is structured. My instructors participated in my training and brought the class into the process. I am now glad it happened this way because I got to experience such incredible support and encouragement from my fellow classmates and instructors. Furthermore, if all those people hadn’t known what I was up to, I might have given up when things got hard.
And guess what happened? The hard work paid off. I passed my audition and am now a brand new Jazzercise instructor. I guess this old dog can still learn new tricks.
I hope hearing about my small personal victory might inspire you to try something new, or attempt something you’ve been considering but haven’t followed up on. I learned a lot about myself from this process and discovered that I am much stronger than I thought I was. I believe you probably are too.