In my last days at college I was gathered with a few friends reflecting on the previous four years. As we went around telling our favorite memories, one friend said that he was most happy that he had taken the initiative to learn how to dance. Ever since, that very same thing has been one of my few regrets.
Years later, I offhandedly mention this regret to someone who knows someone who dances with a group on a regular basis. A few days later, BAM, I’m tearing up the dance floor. Well, maybe not quite. But I do now have a handful of friends who coerce me to the dance every week, and I am getting better. The best thing is that it’s actually fun. Well, eventually.
I find a very strange pattern in my attitude toward going dancing. In the days leading up to the dance, I am looking forward to it. Maybe it’s because I can see the hypothetical benefits without being forced to confront the unavoidable nuisances inherent in reaching the end of my striving. The few hours before, however, I am indeed forced; the opportunity costs associated with dancing for three hours is on my mind (Don’t I just want to go home after a hard day at work? What about that fun solitary thing you wanted to do by your lonesome, introverted self?). If I had not friends to whom I promised I’d go, I would have given up very often.
At the dance I go through another set of ups and downs. The first dance is a lot of fun. The second is not so fun; perhaps my perfectionism makes me frustrated that I still make too many mistakes (there’s no reasoning with perfectionism). By the third dance I’m fantasizing about running out the back door. After that, inexplicably but without fault, I feel better for the rest of the night. If someone can come up with a decent psychological reason for why my mood swings that way, please let me know.
I’m by no means an expert now, but I am learning. Actually, there’s no such thing as “expert at contra” in my mind; it’s a dance for partaking in and having fun, not for spectating. I’m looking forward to becoming better at moving my meaty appendages and maybe picking up a more exciting kind of dance in the future. Maybe swing?