The year I turned twenty-six, I decided to change my life. I was stuck in a dead-end helpdesk role, working shifts. I had nothing outside work that was really inspiring me – no hobbies, and the shift work meant that I couldn’t pick anything new up easily.
So I started job hunting.
At the same time, Tobermory and I were planning our wedding. 2010 was a year of big changes. We got married. I got a new job. Any of those things could be perceived as life-changing. And, sure, the new job changed a lot about my life. Being married didn’t really change my life, although having a partner-now-husband creates changes in my life every day.
As he said to me the other day – he makes compromises for our marriage every day. But he didn’t compromise in choosing me to marry. That sums it up, really. Respect, change, compromise – because I chose someone worth compromising with to spend my life with.
But the really big change for me took place just after my twenty-seventh birthday. I had my first salsa lesson.
Three years later, I have changed so many things. I am more confident. I am fitter, stronger, happier, healthier. I get up every day cheerful, I go out five nights a week where in the past I wouldn’t have left my hobbit hole after dark. I dance with strangers, I approach guys and ask them for dances, where it took me a year to step out of my comfort zone and go dancing socially at all.
I am happy now. Three years ago.. I wasn’t unhappy. I’ve never been unhappy in my marriage, and I enjoy my job. OK, neither of those statements are entirely true – Tobermory drives me mad on a regular basis and some days I just want to punch my monitor. But those are in the realms of normal grumble – at a fundamental level, I love my husband and enjoy my work. But I needed something that actively MADE me happy, not something I had to pour work into. Dance makes me happy on a fundamental level nothing else ever has.
I am glad that I stepped outside my comfort zone, and stepped into the studio. Every time I go there, it’s like coming home.
It took me awhile to acknowledge and adopt the title of dancer. I don’t look like a traditional dancer – I’m far from thin, I’m thirty in five days. But you know what? I AM a dancer. I spend five or more days a week dancing for two hours. I listen to the music I dance to, I teach, I live and breathe for dancing. It’s not a hobby, it’s a passion, something I am passionate about, something I love. Dance is no longer something I do, it’s something I am.