– Contributed by Wee C
In June I proudly finished my list of 30 Things. I rode that high for about two months until, like a shadow that grows with a change in light, some old habits began creeping back in. A reticence to try things that made me uncomfortable. The rate with which I was challenging myself and evolving, decreasing rapidly. And, perhaps worst of all, an increasing inclination to say no to things that I would normally say no to…rather than living the 30 Things mantra of saying “yes” to those things.
The shift back to my old ways was subtle. Like putting on a comfortable pair of jeans that you know you’re not supposed to wear out in public, but sneak out of the house in them anyway. But about a month ago, I could feel it settling into my bones, causing me to stiffen up and begin to crack.
After all the change, all the evolution, all the enlightenment I had experienced from 30 Things (and as a result, all the boasting I had been doing), I couldn’t admit that I was sliding back to a place that I thought I had successfully released myself from. I was different now…wasn’t I?
I started to panic, thinking that I had failed. But then it hit me. I haven’t failed at all. In fact, I’ve succeeded in a much bigger way than I could have anticipated. I succeeded because I recognized. I recognized what I was doing, what was coming, the slippery slope I was at the top of and about to descend down. That recognition was something I had previously been unable to do. I would get so far down the road that it felt like too much work to turn back, so I’d either give up or just keep going.
In the midst of all of this, what I have discovered is the need to not become complacent. Being a passive participant in my life is no longer an option. At all. So in October, I entered 30 Things Maintenance Mode. The challenge isn’t as great as it once was (30 Things in a year), but I am committing to do one significant thing each month that I normally wouldn’t do.
This month, my “Thing” is signing up for Zumba and sticking with it. Yawn, you say? Au contraire! See I’m quite certain that my hips and back are fused together, forever preventing me from gyrating, twisting, turning and Shakira-ing it up in any sort of sophisticated or desirable manner. I can assure you that my Meringue is a sight NOT to behold. But what makes this 30 Thing notable is that I’m generally not good at doing what I’m not good at. So the fact that I’m awkward and lacking any ounce of sex appeal when I Zumba would normally be enough to send me and my 80-year-old hips back to the sofa.
Not this month. For the past four weeks, I’ve been learning the moves and embracing my clumsy self, and truthfully finding a good deal of joy in my three-times-a-week class…now that I know the moves (as dreadful as I am at them).
Month one of 30 Things maintenance is nearly complete and I’m so happy to be back in a place that is comfortable, challenging and fulfilling. And wait until you see what Big L and I have up our sleeve for next month. November will be a month that is about conquering our deepest, darkest fears and the painful experiences that have haunted us for far too long, and throwing them into the fire. Keep an eye out for the smoke.