[Image: Ballet dancer Anna Pavlova]
When I was a kid, not only was I overweight, but I was “klutzy” as well. My mom, hoping that ballet lessons would help me, sent me to learn to dance. And I loved it. All through the years, even when I weighed the most, I enjoyed dance . And my all-time favorite music to dance to was Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. And as a child, I often wished that I could see a REAL ballet performance.
The reason I put “Anna Pavlova’s picture here was that as a young girl, I had read about her, and I adored the image of the poor girl who by hard work had pursued her dream and “made it”. To me, she is the image of ballet. Yet I also remember the shock of realizing how correct my mother was when she told me that in reality, Anna had made a wrong decision when she refused needed medical treatment (thus hastening her death). Anna said that her life was not worth living if she could not dance. As my wise mother pointed out: She could have taught. Her life did not need to be devoid of meaning just because of physical limitations.
As our life progresses, eventually we all come to a point where we must face the fact that we cannot physically do all of the things we would like to do…. And when that happens, we need to internalize that our worth is not dependent of our physical body, but on our character.
There are so many things that keep us busy, and often we get caught up as well with things that other people expect us to do. Those “other people”, perhaps not knowing how “stretched” we actually are, may not see the entire picture. But we DO, and if needed, we need to make our limitations known. I see so many women my age struggling to “do it all”, doing everything that they have done in the past. (And often this pressure to do it all is a stress that we put upon ourselves, not even a burden from outside sources.) Sometimes we may need to re-evaluate our situation and make allowances for our lack of youth.
In practical terms, as we plan for the approaching holidays, we may need to question if the elaborate cooking (and more) that we do is truly needed… or if this is simply an unwillingness to be less than “stupendous”. We need to realize that if we overload ourselves, if we make no time to take care of ourselves, the damage can be considerable. An example: this week I have been very busy, so I thought that I could skimp on sleep. The two nights that I didn’t get enough sleep were each followed by a day where I gorged after 8 PM.
And how did I pamper myself this week? I went to see a performance in Tel Aviv of the St. Petersburg ballet company performing “Swan Lake”. I figured that it was about time to actualize that childhood dream.