Today Was a Good Day

I felt good today. I got in nearly three awesome hours of practice, both solo stuff and group bata work. I feel like I accomplished a lot.

But I actually felt good, physically. Strong, energetic, optimistic, happy. I was pretty sick the first half of January and the last couple of weeks had been stressful for other reasons. A month into 2012 and I’m finally my old self again. Maybe even better.

Although I ate birthday cake — lots of birthday cake — every day last week, I truly have been eating better. I haven’t been much in the mood for greasy things, and I’m suddenly repulsed by diet sodas, even. I’ve also made a commitment to see a chiropractor and massage therapist regularly to keep my back issues and headaches in check. I’m already feeling 10 times better than I was a month ago.

All this makes a huge difference with the dance, obviously. The more whole I feel, the more I can give to it. And the more I give it, the more it gives me. I love that feeling.

I can’t control everything in my life, but I can take charge of my health and wellbeing. I now realize how empowering that is. I need to worry about myself before anything else; put the trivial stuff aside and stop putting energy into things I can’t will to be my way. If I just take care of me, I think everything else will fall into place.

On 38

Isn't this the cutest cake ever?

I’m not sure when birthdays became these mildly melancholic occasions that find me quietly reflecting instead of dancing my ass off at a nightclub with my best girlfriends. But, here I am.

Don’t get the wrong idea: I’m not sad or crying or anything like that. I’m not the depressed type, and if anything, I think I have a more positive outlook on life than I did in my 20s. I guess it’s maturity that comes after finally realizing that the things that bum me out sometimes really aren’t such a big deal.

Still, that doesn’t mean a girl can’t wish for more. I’d say for the last five years or so, my birthday has served as a sort of inventory day when I look back on the year and consider what I have, what I don’t, as well as what I need now and what I need no longer.

Sometimes when I’m frustrated with how I look in the mirror when I’m practicing flamenco, I’ll videotape myself for awhile. Then I will watch it over and over again and try to pinpoint the little things I’m doing wrong, and then try to correct them. It’s not easy; it takes time to make certain improvements because I’m still learning technique. But it’s still helpful to be aware of my weaknesses, know how I look to an audience, and think about what I can change to be a better dancer.

So it goes for life. What areas of my life need the most attention? What shouldn’t I worry about as much? Am I being true to myself? Am I satisfied with how I look to the world? Am I a better person than I was last year?

Yep, that’s where I am today. More cake, please.

On 37

Teacher, Doña Guajira, La Toastmaster, SeñoRita, Homegirl & Me
Today, January 30, is/was my birthday. I can’t say I was expecting much, as 37 is an odd and relatively insignificant number. But sometimes the best birthdays are those for which you have few expectations.

I honestly wasn’t thinking much about my big day this year. My SBBFF celebrated her 40th on Friday — which is a huge deal (right?!), so I was thinking much more about her special day than my own.  It also got me thinking about seeing myself turn 40 in three years, what that means to me, and what things I want to have accomplished by that time. Yes, I’ve been doing some heavy thinking lately about just about everything and those thoughts have taken me up, down and sideways. The only thing I haven’t been thinking about is celebrating 37.

But I’m blessed to have friends and family who somehow always make me feel like a princess on my special day, even when I’m feeling more like an old toad. Cakes, cards, gifts, meals, phone calls, Facebook posts, hugs, kisses. I really am spoiled.

And then there  are the little things that catch you completely off guard — like having your compañeras surprise you with bomb cream puffs and a chorus of Happy Birthday after a siguiriyas workout.

Happy Birthday to me, indeed.