It’s Dancing

For some reason, it’s easy to be hard on yourself when you start something new. Others can paint, draw, speak French, play guitar, dance, etc… so obviously I should be able to do that task (all of those tasks?) with ease too, right?

Anyone with some common sense and life experience knows that line of thought is faulty. Famous artists educated themselves for years before they finally developed their style. Those fluent in foreign languages have years of experience in practicing and speaking the language. Those who play instruments well or who dance professionally have devoted countless hours to perfect their craft. Why should I be able to immediately do it with ease when others have put a lot of work into it? An excellent question, indeed…

Yet, whenever I learn something new, I have this expectancy that I should be better than I am. No matter that I have just begun my new hobby: whatever level I’m at, I should be better. Tango is an excellent example. I continue to warn nearly every partner who will have me that I’m a newbie. But in the world of Argentine tango, it is as much on my partner to lead me as it is on me to follow. A lead who tries to take me through complicated, advanced steps without ever having danced with me is just as culpable that things are going badly as my inexperience, since they are trying to lead me in techniques past my experience-level.

With  tango, as with life, it’s all just dancing. If we are moving with the music, we are doing it right. It doesn’t matter what is right or wrong. It doesn’t matter WHO is right or wrong. It is a dialogue: a back-and-forth. As long as we are moving and having a good time, we are doing it properly. All other expectations are off… If we are moving with the music, we are dancing…

Like with tango, if we are living and happy, we are doing it right. All other expectations are off! Sure, we might miss the beat every now and again. Sure, our family/friends/partners might do the same. We might even step on each others’ toes from time-to-time. This missed beat might result in immediate confusion and a bit of reorientation. When we step on toes, or our toes are stepped on, we might feel angry for a bit. But if we keep moving with the music, we know we are doing it right…

We just need to keep dancing…

As I continue my lessons in tango, I will try to be patient with myself. I’ll also try to keep this in mind for life in general. 

P.S.
I haven’t been to a milonga in awhile… For some reason “too busy” and “too tired” kept me away on Friday nights. Tonight, while I was thoroughly challenged, I was also rejuvenated. Every time I dance, I learn something new: each tanda, each song, each partner, and each conversation in between dancing. Absolutely refreshing… How could I have stayed away so long?

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