Last weekend, I flew out to the US for my best friend’s wedding. It was a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I was able to make it. However, it was also incredibly busy.
I flew out Thursday afternoon and arrived around 11 PM after a flight delay. My friend picked me up from the airport and we drove to her place. We talked for a bit but headed to bed around midnight since she had work the next morning. I puttered around for the morning and then met up with her for lunch. After eating, we drove a few boxes over to their new house and I got to see the place. Then we spent the evening with her family.
Saturday was a flurry of activity. Family brunch, social events, family dinner, and wedding set up filled the day. Once tables were set and decorated, sound systems tested, and lights hung, it was time to head home.
Sunday dawned bright and early. I made a quick breakfast for the two of us. Then we dashed out the door around 8 AM, quickly grabbing dresses and accessories on the way out. We started working on wedding hair until 9 AM, then headed down for rehearsal. We ran through things a few times so everyone knew what they were doing. At 10 AM we headed back to finish up hair, steam dresses, and get the bride into hers. We took group photos for about an hour. The ceremony began at noon, with a reception to follow while the bride, groom, and family took photos. The rest of the wedding party grabbed food and something for the toasts.
The bride and groom made their entrance and enjoyed their first dance. The father-daughter and mother-son dances followed. Then they sat down for the toasts. More dancing ensued while people offered their congratulations to the happy couple. Then they left for their honeymoon and those who remained helped with the cleanup. After a couple of hours, things were back to normal. I headed out to catch up with friends. But was back early to pack up my suitcase and prepare for an early flight the next morning.
It was an incredible weekend. I was so honoured to be there for my friend’s wedding. It was wonderful getting to watch her marry her best friend. But by the end of it, my introvert self was extremely burned out. These past few days have included going to bed early, getting lots of quiet time, and taking care of myself. Fortunately, my roommate has been working evenings, so I’ve had the place to myself for the most part.
How was your weekend?
It’s been about a year since I first stepped into the dance studio. I was an awkward beginner with little dance experience. Since then I’ve developed into a slightly less awkward dancer with slightly more experience. It’s been a journey full of sweat, hard work, and sore muscles. But there have been so many positive things too. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned from taking ballroom and latin dance classes.
1. Embrace the process
Learning anything new is hard. You’re put through situations that aren’t mentally or physically comfortable. But don’t fight it. When you accept the discomfort it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. But you can see how each step contributes to making you better. It’s all leading to self-improvement.
2. Making mistakes is okay (and normal)
With dance, you’re learning to move your body in completely foreign ways. You will eventually mess up your footwork or step on some toes. Mistakes are a normal part of any learning process. So try not to get too frustrated. The only difference between you now, and what you can become, is time and experience.
3. The value of discipline
It’s not easy to show up each week and put in the work. It takes sacrifice and dedication. You might not feel like going. I usually don’t, even though I love to dance. This creates positive habits and contributes to building the discipline needed to achieve your goals.
4. Increased social skills
Partner dance provides an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Firstly, dancing is a great icebreaker. Secondly, both of you are interested in dance, so you can skip the small talk and jump straight into an animated conversation about your favourite dance style. This is especially great for an introvert who loathes small talk.
5. More confidence
I used to walk with a slouch, trying to take up as little space as possible. But over the past year, I’ve noticed that I’ve straightened up, and not just when I dance. I feel surer of myself and am more likely to contribute to group conversations. And I’m excited for the continued growth.
6. How to push out of the comfort zone
Taking my first step into the dance studio was nerve-wracking. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know if I’d have a partner. I was afraid that I’d mess up and look dumb. But we’re capable of so much more than we think. Taking that first step, regardless of how hard it was, was totally worth it. I’ve made new friends and learned a lot. The positive feedback has encouraged me to push myself even more.
7. The importance of self-care
Dancing uses a lot of muscles you don’t normally use. As a result, you end up with tight and sore muscles after most sessions. To avoid injury, you need to take care of yourself through foam rolling, gentle stretching, hot baths, massage, etc. It’s equally important to make sure you’re well-rested and have quiet time before and after dance class to prep and unwind.
8. How to be vulnerable
Dance encourages you to express yourself through movements and styling. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to “let go”. As a reserved person, it took a long time before I felt comfortable enough to try latin dance. And even longer before I felt comfortable using arm styling and hip action. Embracing discomfort and expressing yourself honestly helps build connections and confidence.
What are some things you’ve learned through a hobby or sport?
Things have been fairly busy lately. With sickness running rampant at the office, tasks have been piling up. I’ve been getting ready for my best friend’s wedding later this month. Add workouts and dance classes and catching up with old friends and you have a very busy mix.
I wanted to share a few things I do to stay organized. If you have any suggestions on being more efficient I’d love to hear them too!
1. Make all the lists
Every time you think of something that needs to be done, write it down. This can be done on an actual piece of paper or on your phone/computer. I like to make a giant to-do list, then create separate lists for grocery trips, trip planning, packing lists, etc.
2. Prioritize your tasks
Break down your to-do lists into two parts. Time-sensitive, must-do tasks. And everything else. That way you can focus on the urgent tasks and do the rest when you have the time. It also ensures you don’t forget about something that needs to be done ASAP.
3. Break it down
When approaching a huge task (like planning a vacation), it can easily get overwhelming, especially for an introvert. Write down all the small steps (figuring out accommodations, find flights, car rental, money exchange, etc) that lead to finishing the big task. Then start working on them one at a time. It’s way less stressful.
4. Use a day planner or organizer
Set aside time during the week to fill out a weekly planner. Start by writing down all your daily tasks first (work, food prep, laundry, workouts, etc). Then add all your urgent tasks (like work or personal projects). Extra spaces can be filled with hobbies, social time, or recharge time. My personal favourite is the Passion Planner, but there are tons out there.
5. Stick to it
Follow the schedule you’ve made up. The first few weeks will be full of trial and error. You may need to make adjustments here and there. But stick with it, it’s worth the effort.
6. Reward yourself
Treat yourself when you’ve been successful in staying on track. Then keep up the good work!
Do you have any other tips or tricks?