One night at the end of the summer, I was in tango class being challenged to channel my mood into my dancing. When I tried to “dance my day,” I realized my prevailing emotion was apprehension. I was jumpy and ungrounded, anticipating every lead and rushing through my follow. It took a few songs to try to turn that around and will myself to just wait and listen. At this point, I was in the midst of my busiest work season and my company was about to make a major move from Lower Manhattan to Lowest Manhattan. I was anxious for it to just be over already so I could get back to my productive “normal.”
A few months later, I reached a turning point. At the end of another 6-week tango workshop, my partner asked if we would be registering together for the next one. It was a simple question that a part of me would have loved to say yes to, because tango has been a beautiful enjoyable hobby of mine for (I can’t believe it) eight years now. It is the exact opposite of a stressful experience for me. So why I was so suddenly so hesitant and emotionally withdrawn about a simple innocuous invitation to dance?
I suppose it made me realize that I’d been moving at too fast a pace to endure. Every night that I wasn’t making myself work late, I had something to do or somewhere to be. Even though they were things I loved doing, like going to dance class or watching TV and having dinner at my mom’s or going for margaritas with my coworkers in our new neighborhood, it just suddenly hit me that I missed coming home at the end of the day. Maybe it was all a way to distract myself from melancholy. I was having CSA withdrawals, my best friend and I didn’t work together anymore, my in-laws were selling their house and moving out of the country, and it seemed like I couldn’t hear anything in the news that wasn’t about an environmental disaster, shooting, hate crime, or some rendition of human ugliness.
I decided I needed to eliminate commitments for a while, to just come home and be. In my efforts to unwind, I’ve cooked and been cooked for, I’ve read a ton, I’ve watched great television, I’ve fallen in love with bar trivia, and through it all, I’ve spent quality time with my husband. In the past, my new year’s resolutions and hopes were always centered on achievement and aiming for perfection. Trying to be my very best self, saving the most money, eating the healthiest food, doing the most I can. What I value now is contentment, appreciation for my loved ones, and just being good to myself and good to the world I live in. Because that’s the best I can hope for in the people I share it with.
Now, I want to start off 2016 with an act of goodness, the best one I know, and that’s preparing a meal for my family. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.