Sunday, March 27, 2016

Moving Your Feet!

Sometimes, there's so much to do that, if you're not paying attention, you wind up just running around pointlessly. However, with just a few conscious changes, you can turn that fruitless motion into something different. And add a little rhythm and you find that you're dancing.

Case in point - I'm getting into an intense 3-month period where multiple threads all converge. Responsibilities for my classes, responsibilities for the new book (oh, you'll be hearing about that), responsibilities for my academic work - all of these are about to crash into each other for about 12 weeks. (Of course, I also have a house, marriage, friendships, and other relationships and commitments to attend to. It's going to be a hoot!)

Then, just over a week ago, I got a stark reminder that you must always be careful to check whether the things that are driving you are actually important or if they just look that way at first glance. My dad suffered a mild-ish stroke and everything needed to be dropped or postponed in order to deal with immediate, important issues. My dad's condition is stable and his prognosis is excellent, although it's going to take some time and patience is not a strong suit amongst my people. (Some would argue it's not even a card in our deck, but that can be disputed.) So FryDaddy held down the fort here and I spent most of the last eight days up at my parents', lifting that barge and toting that bale, and I'll return there in a couple of days.

I can do this because (a) it's spring break at my college, so I didn't have to cancel much; (b) all of my classes have an online component, so I simply explained to my students that they're grown-ups and here's what they need to do, so go to it; (c) I have a marvelously supportive husband who understands the importance of family; and (c) I've been working on "being French" for a while now, so I can prioritize better than I used to.

One thing that fell by the wayside, though, was my commitment to self-care. I've been eating bad food, relying heavily on coffee, sugar, and processed food-esque substances, sleeping poorly, and exercise was hurled to the wayside like a golden apple flung by a desperate Paris. (Oooh, Greek mythology reference!) But last night I had a chance to change that and I'm proud to say I took it.

One of my "annual intentions" for this year was to learn a dance called the "shag." It's a dance born on the Carolina coast and its modern form is a type of smooth swing dancing. Like all dance, it looks deceptively easy and the basic step isn't that hard, but the beauty of shag lies in the unspoken communication of the dancers as they improvise - and that IS hard! FryDaddy and I signed up for lessons - these are easy to find in our neck of the woods and they're not expensive - and started to learn the basic steps and turns. Around here, every little town has a shag group and we'd been invited to several get-togethers, but we always refused. Finally, we tried our steps out in public last night.

Now, the shag is a male-led dance and I kept anticipating the turns and not letting him lead, which results in a shambles. But we had fun, both dancing and socializing. We hope to keep it up and actually become members of the group. As I said, the groups are easy to find - just look here!

See how the pros do it . . .

I'm also keeping up with my "trying to learn French" goal. Turns out there's an informal group in town that meets once a month (the third Wednesday) at a local wine bar to chit-chat in a melange of French and English. They were VERY kind to the newbie and I could understand a word or two. (According to Memrise, the app I'm using, I've mastered 349 words. Not too shabby, since it turns out that with a vocabulary of about 600, you can stumble around. Fluency, of course, requires many, many more.)

I'm also working on a cross-stitch project - my first in decades - and I really am finding that doing these things keeps me better able to help my mom and the rest of my family during this difficult time. So honestly - don't overlook the importance of taking care of yourself! Wearing yourself down to a nub may make you a martyr, but that's all it's gonna get you.

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