I’m happy-dancing my way through a terrific milestone this weekend: It’s been a year since I was certified to teach Jazzercise. Fifty-two weeks of choosing my sets, learning the choreography and bringing lots of terrific women the gift of fitness, one hour at a time.
No one is more surprised than I am.
Not long ago, my only form of exercise was walking around the neighborhood — and none too fast.
And although I took tap and ballet as a kid, I am not athletic. In winter guard, it took me eons to learn how to manipulate my flag — and even longer to figure out how to catch the thing in midair without running out from beneath it.
I sat out of gym or found a reason to do as little as possible (any of my high school chums remember an entire semester of ping-pong?).
Marching band kept me moving … a little, but the only marathons I ever took part in involved long stretches of reading while supine on the couch. My parents had to threaten my life to get me out in the fresh air.
I was hooked immediately. That hour flew by; I had the time of my life and no matter that a chorus of undiscovered muscles sang to me for days afterward.
Class quickly became my refuge and I celebrated each little milestone — graduating weights, being able to touch my toes, not having to fall back on low-impact moves.
In a bit of time, I was shedding oversized T-shirts for form-fitting exercise togs, and going through several pairs of sneakers each year.
Still, it took a long time before I could imagine myself up on stage teaching others. How would I learn all this, how would I overcome my natural tendency to stay in the background and actually inspire others to work hard and get results?
In the end, I decided it was selfish to keep all this good stuff to myself. I was the oldest of our little group that was certified last spring, and will never forget the grueling day of technique training and practice that followed our audition and high-energy team-taught actual class. (Talk about being tossed in the deep end right off the bat!)
I’m still kicking myself for waiting so long. And while I love it, it’s not easy. Some weeks, the choreography flows through me like music itself, and other weeks, well, not so much. (It’s all good as long as we keep moving, though; there’s always another song coming up — a fresh chance to get it perfect.)
And there are numerous benefits beyond the obvious:
- I’m surrounded by terrific, inspiring women
- I’ve made some wonderful new friends and strengthened bonds with other women I’ve danced with all this time
- The customers LIKE me, offering compliments, one time even making me laugh out loud by pulling out wax lips when I taught “Moves Like Jagger“
- For an hour at a time, people listen to me. Mothers of teenagers know what a rare and special thing this is
- A corollary to that: For an hour at a time, people do what I tell them to. See qualifying comment above
- I get to eat almost anything I want (although middle age suddenly seems to have a sense of humor even about that)
- When I catch a glimpse of my 46-year-old silhouette in the mirror, I think, “not too shabby”
The best part, though, is the sense of confidence that resulted from tiptoeing into that first class six years ago. I get to show Catherine: You CAN do anything you set your mind to.
Just have some ice and Tylenol handy — just in case. …