Tap Your Troubles Away

When I was a little girl, there was nothing I didn’t want to do. Well, anything that didn’t relate to sports, that is. I loved the stage and anything and everything associated with it. I started taking ballet lessons when I was two and studied all the way up into and past college. I loved to sing, so took up singing lessons in elementary school. I also stuck with that. And, I loved to act – so I did as many musicals and plays as I was able to tryout for. I had many hobbies.

As an adult, I have far less time for carefree pastimes. A demanding and thriving business, a book tour (and a second one launching in the spring), keynote speaking and my day-to-day job “number one” – mom to two busy kids with their own responsibilities, friends and hobbies – leaves very little time anything else.

But when I was at the thick of my dilemma of whether to seek a divorce, my therapist at the time suggested I take up a hobby. She told me to revisit something I like which brings me pure joy. Dancing was my first love, so I decided to go back where it all began. I unzipped my old dance bag, sorted through old leotards, leg warmers and tights and signed up for a tap class – a dance art I never truly mastered in my youth – and because many of the adult dance classes are mixed levels of experience, I thought it would be challenging enough for me to maintain my interest. I was spot on.

The hour and a half I spent in the studio each week flew by like lightening. I was smiling, fully focused on maneuvering the steps and my troubles literally evaporated. When I emerged back home, 90-some minutes later, my heart was lighter, and I was happier. The hobby didn’t make my troubles vanish, but the time spent was thoroughly enjoyable and it allowed me a little escape once a week. There, one could contact me. For the short time, I could be selfish and immerse myself into myself. It was pure heaven.

Research shows just moving is not only good for your health – it’s vital for your brain. In a study published in Aging Neuroscience, it shares learning and remembering dance steps stimulates a key area of the brain and slows down aging. Dancing also enhances areas of the brain which are responsible for improving balance. Dance is celebrated for reducing the chance of developing dementia too – more so than swimming, biking or even reading does!

I stuck with my dance classes for a few years and then let them go to make time for other hobbies I wanted to tackle. I still jump on any sort of pick-up dance class I can squeeze into and I’ve become so passionate about the importance of movement and dance arts – I’m in the process of obtaining certification to become a Barre instructor.

In the meantime, I’ve also picked up running, golf and most recently signed up for a weekly tennis lessons, I take with kids. It’s a fun hour of laughs, hard work and most of all memories. I’m polishing up my skills on the court so I can play my friends in the near future. Many are chomping at the bit to strike up a match with me – so watch out. I’ve got my racquet and my many (many) tennis dresses pressed and ready to go!