Do you know what I did last week?
Despite nearing 30, I decided to go back to living like I was a college student on summer break.
I stayed up at all hours of the night and slept half of the day away; I played video games; I stayed in my pajamas all day. (I did shower daily though - apparently that's something that people skip when they're on break??) Am I going to regret this come Thursday when I need to get ready for summer school? Most likely. But do you know what my favorite part of last week was? Binge reading.
I finished a book that I'd been trying to finish for months. Then a book from one of my new favorite authors - that I'd been waiting for since January - was released, and I read the entire 500 page novel in two days. I honestly haven't read that hard in years! The closest I've come was reading the Harry Potter Series, one book at a time, on the bus to and fro visiting my best friend in NYC, and even that has been some years past.
This return to a childhood love got me thinking about other things that I did when I was younger that I let fall by the wayside, things that I enjoyed but didn't really follow through on when I moved away from home. Some things I still do during my summers and breaks; video games, puzzles, museums (pre-pandemic - still haven't gone back yet). Writing, of course, because I want that to be my career one day. But there are other things that I think I'm going to get back into once things get closer to normal.
I'd always loved watching ballroom dancing; I thought it was one of the most graceful, beautiful things that I'd ever seen. I LIVED for Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights. So when I had the chance to join the ballroom dance club in college, I leapt at the opportunity and rarely missed a day. There was a wide range of skill levels, ages, and types of people, and I enjoyed every minute of it! I learned traditional ballroom styles like the waltz and the tango; more free styles like east/west coast swing; latin dances like salsa and bachata. I felt so amazing going to that club, gliding across the floor with a skilled partner or helping a newcomer learn the basic steps.
I tried visiting a ballroom dance studio once since I've been in Maryland, and the experience made me feel...off? Everyone there was at least ten years my senior, with years of experience and training. I haven't been back since.
But my in-person students reminded me how much I loved ballroom. I would often dance around the room during stretch breaks, leading some of my students to ask me to teach them the steps. Dancing with air was okay, but I miss dancing with a partner who only needed me to follow. I want to get back to ballroom.
The other major thing that I did during college was theatre. Being home schooled, I didn't have the opportunity or access to theatre to enjoy it more than the occasional field trip to a college show or the annual Tony awards. College was my first chance to really be involved in theatre, and I leapt in with both feet. I was in shows both on campus and off, learning the ins and outs of theatre through my classes and through practical experience. I was in musicals and plays; I worked the sound booth, helped to set the lights, was a stage hand to help change scenery and sometimes actors, and even worked as a costumer.
Once again, moving away from home, from my well-established theatre community, took me out of theatre. I had one theatre experience here, working as the assistant director to my best friend as he directed an elementary school musical production. I realized then how much I really missed theatre, all of it, and missed being on the stage. But I was scared. Back at home, everyone knew me. They knew that, even if I was extremely shy and nervous, I could perform - even if it were just in a chorus role - and would cast me. But here, in a new town? Especially a bigger town? I didn't know if my talents were up to snuff. Honestly I'm still not sure. But you'll never know if you don't try, right?
As the world is somewhat getting back to normal, I'm excited to really push myself out of my comfort zone by going back to the things that I loved when I was younger. I know that one of the best ways to become a better writer is to gain life experiences. Only way to do that is to actually get out and experience something. And as a bonus? Theatre and ballroom dancing will likely be cheaper than my book habit has a potential to be. Maybe turning 30 will be a turning point, not just for the fact of getting older, but for going back to the things that really made my life fun and exciting. Time will only tell.