If there is one thing I miss the most from my younger self (wow! One turns 40 and starts saying things like that?!), is how much I used to dance. Like, really sweaty, humid, non-stop all night dancing. It was salsa, merengue, hip-hop, pop, dance pretty much all styles, except house techno. Dancing just brought out everything in me. The girl who was always conscious of the “qué dirán,” or “what will others say,” didn’t give a bleep about who was watching or judging from the dance floor sidelines.
My hips would let loose, my arms would flail, my drenched hair would go wild, my cheeks would get fiery from the intensity. I was me.
Where did that go? Well, I guess it started when I married a wonderful and caring man who thinks fist-pumping and knee-bouncing is enough to get you rocking. Dancing salsa with him means he pulls his arm out and grabs my hand while I twirl around him. Yeah, not that enticing. At least he doesn’t care if I go my merry way onto the dance floor while he enjoys watching from afar as I bust my moves. But it only occurs on special occasions now that we’re parents; it’s weddings or a very rare night out to a friend’s birthday party. Sadly, I might be able to count on one hand the times I truly danced this year and that, to me, is beyond pathetic.
What happened to me?
Enter Zumba. Yes, you’ve heard about the crazy cardio-burning, exhilarating, Latin-infused workout and you’ve probably been told more than once “You must try it!” If you love dancing and just feeling free, you really must.
The first time I went to a class was over a year ago, and I felt robbed because I waited so long to try it and missed out on feeling that feeling I had been craving so much all over again. It was right there, and I could take it whenever I wanted. Why had I waited so darn long?!
There, in one Pitbull- and merengue-drenched class, I recovered my spirit. I forgave myself for neglecting that which I love and which makes me who I am. I promised myself I would always find time to dance, or Zumba, as it may. I felt my hips come to life again, my libido recover its appetite, my feet recognize familiar, yet neglected patterns, my being smile in nostalgic relief.
What is that one thing you miss with all your being and you’ve been neglecting? Go, embrace it, be that younger you again, and tell me all about it below.
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Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
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