It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since my last blog. Now that we have keys to our new house, we’re slowly moving items in and hiring contractors to update some of the plumbing and wiring. I’m happy that we have the time to take care of these things. The house we’re moving into is older and there are always issues.
Meanwhile, I finished sorting through my office and have now tackled the large cedar chest just outside my office. I’ve had it since my early twenties and don’t even remember where I purchased it. The chest was packed with childhood and college memorabilia and final print versions of my short stories, essays, articles, and novels. Since nearly all the pieces have been published and the published works are on my bookshelves and/or stored digitally, I’m recycling the paper.
Many years ago, my mother gave me a box of mementoes which I’d forgotten about over the years. Needless to say, I found myself surrounded by more nostalgic memories of the past including my eight years of ballet study. To my surprise, she’d kept the old programs from concerts I performed in, competitions I entered, including the adjudicator’s comments, as well as scores and assessments after each year’s examination.
The ballet years, which evolved into an intense, seven-day a week commitment, weren’t the happiest in my life. There was physical pain, lots of stress, strict instructors, and more than a few demoralizing moments, but the experience taught me three important lessons.
One is the importance of keeping fit through activity and exercise. Number two is that discipline and hard work do get results, and three is to face one’s fears. When you’re twelve years old and told to improvise a solo dance in front of an audience and judges, you just get on with it and try your best. Of course, I wasn’t alone in this ordeal. Each competitor had only two minutes to hear a piece of music before performing to it on stage. Misery does love company, as it happens.
All three lessons have served me well over the years, especially as a writer. I taught my kids those values and will do the same for my granddaughters. And I still move well to any type of music thrown at me, a skill I hope to use to great advantage when I reach my 80s.
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