9pm- Life’s been a series of difficult decisions lately… With college approaching in half a year, I sometimes feel as if the future is rushing at me full force. What do I want to devote my life to? Is is latin dance? Is it medicine? How rewarding can either career be for ME? Which career path will allow me to reach my greatest potential? Do I have to choose one or the other, or can I do both over the course of my lifetime?
Talking to my dance teacher today, I received some words of advice that really resonated with me. My teacher started latin dance when she was seventeen, just like me. From the beginning, she knew this was what she wanted to do. She simply loved to dance. So she followed her heart and set her mind to pursuing her dream. Eight hours a day she would train. She sacrificed everything and moved across the world in search of greater dancing opportunities. Most importantly, however, she carried herself with the unwavering belief that SHE COULD ACHIEVE IN SPITE OF THE ODDS. Forget the fact that she had started dancing so late in life- that was an obstacle, but one that could be overcome. My dance teacher’s love, passion, and desire for dance is what drove her to succeed both as a dancer and as a teacher. She was, as she described herself, “A train moving in one direction”- in the direction of dance.
The question is, do I share the same passion my teacher had? Am I completely certain that I want to devote myself wholeheartedly to this beautiful art? Well, if I were certain, I wouldn’t be questioning myself, now would I?
I love dance. I knew from the minute I took my first latin dance class Valentine’s Day of 2015, I had found my niche. In the beginning, I was just like my dance teacher- I LONGED to become a world champion, and I truly believed that my strong foundation as a gymnast, coupled with the discipline I garnered through ten years as a competitive athlete, I COULD SUCCEED.
I look back on the dancer I was six months ago, and I can’t help but think, “Man was I naive.” I didn’t know of the sheer difficulty of reaching the top- finding the right partner, making the right connections, having the resources to pursue the sport. The fact is, there are so many variables and criteria that must be met in order for one to be the best in the latin/ballroom dance world. It’s not as simple as working harder than every other dancer. Hard work (and smart work) is crucial, but there is more to the equation. There is an element of luck involved- finding the right opportunities, and especially finding the right partner.
This is why I am hesitant- and, admittedly, afraid- to give up everything for dance. If I do decide to pursue a dance career, I’d have to completely switch directions, especially given the age I started dancing. That means no more school- at least not until I finish my dance career. All this sacrifice, with no guarantee of success, either.
But, as my dance teacher wisely pointed out, if you love something, pursue it with all your heart, and do not reach the top, you will still be happy, for you will have filled your life with something you love. If I truly love dance, the obstacles are nothing- they are simply there to be overcome. So once again I am faced with the question: Do I love latin dance? And do I love it enough to sacrifice everything to pursue it?
This is a question I ask myself each day. And it is exhausting. Perhaps I’m thinking too much. Maybe I just need to let go of all this tension and anxiety and rumination… Just follow my gut feeling and go with it. Just dance.
I shouldn’t let the anticipation of what could go wrong inhibit me from what could go right! What if I DO SUCCEED? What if I become a dance legend? I will never know unless I give it a good try…
It is nearly 10pm now. I will conclude this post now. My dance shoes, sitting in the corner of my room, beckon for me.