Today I dust off a text written 12 years ago ... and about 15 kg ago. It is a "photo" taken on the path of my personal development and captures the difficulties and dilemmas I struggled with myself. It also shows how important it is in life to have passion and how, thanks to passion, we can overcome obstacles and limitations. And at the same time, despite hard work, often frustration, and doubts, derive great satisfaction from it.
I really like this quote: Working hard on something you don't like is stress. It's a passion to work hard on something you love.
The lights and shadows of midlife
"I am at a stage in my life where my priorities are being redefined. My children - sorry, almost adult sons - will soon leave the house and start living their own lives. This separation has already had its place. I remember when I first realized that this process was beginning. It was the moment when I offered them to go to the cinema together. There was a silence that was a signal that something was wrong. And then the painful (for me) truth has been revealed that for them going to the cinema with their father was embarrassing.
Then it dawned on me that this was the moment. That the stage of opening the suitcase begins. Because bringing up children is like a suitcase: what you put in it, then you take out 🙂
So I had to start accepting that I was no longer needed. At least not in the way as before. And then I also realized that a second youth was opening up for me. Whether and how I use it depends on me. I realized that the fact of raising children at the age of just over 40 is a great opportunity to use.
My boys were born when my wife and I were in our twenties. The first few years were very difficult. The more that we didn't have any grandparents on the spot and we had to deal with everything ourselves. Today, however, being where I am and looking at people of comparable age who still need many years to bring their children to adulthood, I feel ... free 🙂
Crisis and abandoned nest syndrome
I believe that this moment of life is difficult for many people. There is an emptiness, "the loss" of children, who were the essence of all activities for the last dozen or so years. The question is what to do with the rest of your life. "Too young to sleep, too old to sin."
And youthful dreams and questions about passions return. Often, there is also a feeling of loneliness and, if not in marriage, a longing for "true love" and the feeling of being loved. If we are professionally fulfilled and financially secure, we look for opportunities for further individual development, and over time we start to do more and more for others and for the community.
If the first half of our lives have not worked out, I'm afraid we spend our time watching TV series about the lives of others. And we console ourselves that it is not easy for others.
How passion gives meaning and purpose to our lives
I am lucky to be able to dance. Recently, we have taken part in the next tournaments. And it just so happens that we always stood on the box. The last tournament was held in Nowy Targ. It was a special event because, for the first time in Poland, a tournament was organized only for the senior categories. And for that great thanks to the organizer of this event, Leszek Kusiak from the "Hart" Ballroom Dance Club in Nowy Targ.
It was basically a small Polish championship in our categories. All of Poland came. The tournament ran from 12:00 noon until the results were announced at 10:00 pm. A real marathon. The next day I was unconscious. Everything hurt, including my hair and nails. And although we didn't do the best - in our age category, in standard style, we took second place!
It's really nice to look at the growing collection of medals, cups, and photos. When I am a grandfather, sitting in slippers in a rocking chair, I will be happy to return to these moments. And I will proudly brag about these trophies to my grandchildren.
But the most important thing I want to tell them is that you must have passions in life. They give it meaning. And when we are closer to the end than farther, we don't really regret what we did, but what we did not dare to do.
How passion helps you exceed your limits
Once upon a time, in high school and college, I was engaged in ballroom dancing. Then I got married and there were children. It was necessary to deal with "serious" matters. Take care of your place on earth, family, and future. At the age of 43, I returned to my old passion. Kind of by accident, but I don't think there are any coincidences in life. I met a long-lost friend from college. It turned out that she runs a ballroom dancing club and that there is a free place for a partner in his thirties. So it started (again).
I have been training very intensively for several weeks. And I struggle with myself.
To participate in the tournament (in my age category), you must make eight dances. Four standard ones (English waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, quickstep) and four Latin American (samba, cha-cha, rumba, jive). You have to be fit to withstand 4 dances in a row in any style. Don't laugh. It is not that simple at all. At least for a man in his forties 🙂
Each dance has a different atmosphere. A different character. A different kind of movement. Here the leg is to be straight, and here it is bent. But there is much more. You have to coordinate with each other: feet, knees, hips, diaphragm, shoulder blades, shoulders, elbows, hands, and head. Even the position of the fingers in your hand matters. And you also have to pull in your stomach, pull your buttocks, keep straight, and lead your partner! Not to mention that it would be nice to dance to the music 🙂
Wrestling with your body is an interesting experience. Sometimes I am helpless. Despite the fact that I know that I understand how to properly dance a given figure - the body does not want to listen. And even if the leg listens, it turns out that the hip jumped out where it does not need to be.
It sometimes feels like "plowing the fallow". For example, try rotating your straightened arms so that one spins forward and the other spins backward, and then smoothly change the direction of both arms so that they rotate in opposite directions again. Did you manage?
In addition, young people who dance much better than me train around. On the one hand, it is depressing, and on the other hand, it is a benchmark point.
This dance of mine is such a life in a nutshell. More than once the question comes to my mind: man, you are 40 years old. What are you doing? How many guys your age are dancing? What do you need this for? Wouldn't it be better to spend this time on some "quiet pleasures"? Or, for example, on making money ?!
I experience frustration many times. Because it seemed that I got something on Monday, and on Wednesday it doesn't work again. Struggling with your body is an amazing adventure. And although we are talking about the body, the most important fight is played in the head.
I still have a hard time getting on the dance floor with other, younger, and better dancers. Their presence stiffens. Then I catch myself thinking that it shouldn't matter that they are there and what they think of me. Exactly. It shouldn't. And yet it does. Nevertheless, more and more often, I am starting to feel completely at ease. I immerse myself in this dance and focus 100% on what I do. The presence of other people really doesn't matter. I just do my thing.
It is said that talent in all arts is only a small percentage of success. What distinguishes the masters from the rest is work, work, work. Faith and determination.
This is also the secret of dance. You mustn't give up too quickly. And you have to do your best every time. Because only then can you get to know your true capabilities.
It turns out that each time this “everything” is greater than the previous one. If we limit ourselves, we will not know how much we can really do. The fight takes place in the head.
Sometimes you have to force yourself. Visualization and positive thinking are useless. You just have to work hard.
The question also returns: why am I doing this? After all, having a guy of this age in a ballroom seems to be something… strange, and useless.
But that's my path. It seems I have been given such a gift and it is my calling to make the best of it. Be fulfilled in it. Contrary to others, or no matter what others think (although as you can see, I am not free from doubts about “what others will think”).
I swim away in dance. I am forgetting myself. Sometimes I play with it, against the rules in force (not only the work itself but also a lot of fun). More and more often I am filled with this "dance is me" feeling. Here I feel that I am fully alive. So how could I give up on these beautiful moments? After all, I will only take these memories and experiences with me when the time comes to cross to the other side ...
Exactly ... 12 years after writing this text, its ending appeals to me even more. Because today I am closer than farther (to/from the other side).