I’m supposed to be at tap class tonight but I’ve opted to stay in. I’m not feeling my best—at work it was all I could do to keep my eyes open—and judging by my intense sugar cravings (I’m about to make some vegan cupcake batter to eat by the spoonful), I’m guessing it’s hormonal. I have at least one day a month where I just want to sleep and eat and feel blah. I keep track on the calendar and it looks like it’s about this time.
I’m also feeling blue about mom. She just got out of the hospital on Monday. She was in for over three weeks. She’s happy to be home, but I worry about her. Especially now that my brother, who has been Superman in this situation, is getting ready to return to his life in Arizona, after extending his stay by a week. He sent me a text today assuring me that mom is becoming mom again, and I hope he’s right. It feels weird to not be there and helping her, but that’s how it’s been through most of her medical problems. I’ve always been there for a chunk of time, but never the entire time.
And I’m a single dog parent for the next week and a half, and that’s pretty exhausting. I feel fortunate that Spence works from home because so much of the dog care/house care falls on him. I don’t mow. I don’t take out the compost (most of the time). I don’t take out the trash. Hell, I don’t even make the coffee. He does so much. (And it’s not that I can’t do these things, thank you very much. He does them so I don’t even have to think about them.) When he’s gone, everything feels a bit chaotic and I’m constantly having to drive back to the house before I do other things in order to let the dogs out. (For example, I had a meeting in Lanesboro yesterday. I had to drive to Bennington to Williamstown (20 minutes), drive to Lanesboro from Bennington (35 minutes) and drive back (35 minutes). Typically, there isn’t that much back and forth because Spence is home. Plus I enjoy his company. But it’s good for him to get a break too.
But on to the old dogs, new tricks headline. Tap dancing is hard. And of course it is. Just because people make it look easy doesn’t mean it is. But what I mean is my 42-year-old body and brain cannot get shit together. I’ve learned one dance move (the Shirley Temple), which I can perform adequately, but I still have a hard time doing it quickly. Last week, I recorded a new step the teacher wanted me to learn. After I felt I had the Shirley Temple down, I decided to move on to the next move. I set the iPad on the counter in the kitchen and watched the instructor’s feet and I’ll tell you what, I could not mimic what she was doing. I could actually feel my brain struggling to understand…I could feel it trying to send the signals to me feet, and I could not get it. It was maddening. I could hear the beats and see the movement and could not replicate it. It includes just a little hop on my left foot and that hop was impossible for me to incorporate, which threw everything off. Then I realized this is what they mean when they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Like, my poor old brain/feet cannot comprehend this act that I’m trying to do that I’ve never before done in my life. Ever. There is no muscle memory, like there is for my classmates who danced when they were younger. We are starting from scratch together, me, my brain and my feet and it is a challenge.
I realize this is also why they say you should do new things as you get older…I can feel the synapses firing , feel new neural pathways forming as I watch the dance video over and over in an effort to do the same dance steps. It is humbling.
It’s also fun. When my brother and I were texting about my running efforts and I made a comment about my time not being as fast as I’d like, he said, the last time I checked, you weren’t making money off of this. It’s a good reminder to not be overly focused on certain outcomes, but to just keep getting out there and moving. I’ll apply it to dance, too. I’m unlikely to be as graceful and skillful as Gregory Hines, but it’s good to keep the body moving in news ways.