The past two Wednesday evenings found me stomping around the house, all stressed out. I had a bunch of work to do, but I had to go out. Last week, it was to attend a long table dinner (my first!) hosted by the fabulous folks from Vitala Foods at their Bakerview EcoDairy. As I write this, I realize that complaining about ‘having to’ attend a long table dinner is incredibly whiny, and ranks among the most first world of first world problems. The point remains, however, that I was stretched for time and this exacerbated the issue.
Last night, I was heading to my first-ever tap dancing class. My daughter Hannah is taking tap dancing this year, and I decided to sign myself up for the adult classes they’re running in the evening. I’ve always wanted my own tap shoes, and now I have some. Plus, I’m learning what to do with them. Again, complaining about how hard my life is because I ‘have to’ go to completely optional tap classes demonstrates a complete lack of perspective. I can admit that sometimes I lack perspective.
Something funny (or maybe it was entirely predictable) happened when I decided to leave the stress at home and go out anyway. I had a great time. At the EcoDairy I met new people, got up close and personal with some cows, sipped champagne and ate amazing local food in a beautiful setting. I talked food with farmers and food bloggers, laughed about parenting with other moms and came home with great (mostly edible) swag. What’s not to love about that?
At my tap dancing class I tapped. I was good at some things and not so good at others. I laughed. I sweated. I galloped across the room, and every step I took echoed. I met other people – some of them absolute beginners like me, some who were experienced tappers. I listened to the music and tried to keep the rhythm. At the end of it, I’d had a good workout and I was no longer so caught up inside my head.
Sometimes, when I step away from all those things that are freaking me out they don’t seem so bad. In these moments, I can see that a lot of the stress I feel is stress that I place on myself. Stress to do it all, perfectly, all the time. Stress caused by self-imposed deadlines and unrealistic expectations.
I think maybe it’s important to just say forget it and go out anyway once in a while. The world won’t end if I spend an hour or two enjoying myself instead of agonizing over every little thing. In fact, maybe it will be the better for it. I know my world will, anyway.