Mar 18, 2016

the in-between

Obviously this is a place for me to primarily talk about dance, but lately there has been a lot happening in my life's other facets. I'm entering a time of transition, a time of discovery. As you may know, I'll be graduation soon (May 14th, to be exact), and that brings with it the inevitable arrival of what I keep hearing is called "the real world" (check out an old friend of mine who offered her interesting take on what exactly the "real world" might be).

It's time to get a "real job" and start making "real money" so I can join all the other adults on the planet in the "real world." Now, I'm not going to start contemplating the meaning of all this realness or criticize society for making it this way. I want all those things. I want to make a decent living, I want to have a full-time job that challenges me and fulfills my desire to contribute to something larger than myself, and I want to feel successful. I'm beginning to realize that getting there will be the hard part.

Especially, when trying to balance a dance career.

I'm part of a small company and none of us expect to get paid for dancing. We're just happy to have the opportunities to perform that we do and a place that facilitates and nourishes our passion for movement. But let's do the math here, people. If I plunged into the 9am-5pm of "regular" work hours, there's no way I could make the Monday/Friday 4:30pm technique class, and I would be late for the Tuesday/Thursday 5:15pm class. I couldn't sustain it all and expect to keep my abilities where they are or be able to work at a competitive level with my fellow dancers. It just couldn't happen.

So, yeah, I'm kind of at that crossroads. The in-between phase where the next direction to take is just an obscure mark on a tree to me in the forest that is my life. The hike grows tiresome. 

I was taking a survey about insurance coverage last night and one of the questions was (I'm paraphrasing): On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best possible quality of life for you and 1 being the worst, how do you feel about your life?

I was on the phone with my fiance at the time and at first, I wasn't sure what to answer. I have a roof over my head, good food to eat, nice clothes, a wonderful family that helps me and supports me -- and that was just it. Because I'm not making my own money and covering all my expenses and living on my own, I've started to think that reality is a form of failure for me. I don't have any idea where my life is headed and not knowing where I'll be or what I'll be doing in six months is terrifying. To this, my level-headed and far-more-rational other half responded, 

"Just because you have a few unknowns and are unsure of where things are going, that doesn't make you a failure or your life any worse. You've just got to hang on for the ride."


  1. I know how you feel. The year I graduated high school I had no idea where I was going to end up. I didn't even know what I wanted to do with my life. Thankfully I found out now rather than later, but it was definitely a journey. Recently I have decided to get a better paying job as a personal trainer and unfortunately that means giving up dance. I still hope to be a dance teacher, however and look forward to the many new adventures to come as an adult. Best of luck to you on your journey!

  2. I think just about everyone goes through this, no matter their major or ambitions. For me, I went to school for a creative major (mass communication) and was lucky enough to find a job in TV...but I found out pretty quickly that I hated it. I had always thought that having a creative career that was fun for me was more important than any salary, but I found out right away that it's not that easy in the real world. Creative careers are hard too because you're usually fulfilling someone else's vision and have no control over what you're doing. I switched to working in business, and that was hard, but I decided that some things should stay hobbies and not careers.

    Even if you ultimately decide or are not able to pursue a career dancing with a company this doesn't mean dancing has to disappear from your life! I can't imagine how stressful it must be, actually, to take something you love so much and turn it into a full-time career that's so unbelievably competitive. On the bright side, I guess you can consider that if dancing stays a hobby you're passionate about you can just have fun with it. You can take the classes you want to take and maybe even teach.

    But you've come so far, you've worked so hard, and you're ready for this! Don't be afraid of how hard it will be, take every opportunity that comes your way. Like I said everyone goes through this fear, and we all start from scratch after school.

    I always say there are no mistakes. There are no failures. Some things in life won't work out the way you hoped or planned; you might not like certain jobs you thought you would love. But life's a long, fantastic, journey. You're not meant to figure it out all right away upon graduation :) Enjoy the last of your school days. Have confidence! You've got this! And no matter what, dancing will always be a huge part of your life.