I was a ballerina for much of my youth. My mother enrolled me in lessons when I was in kindergarten and, with help from grandparents, scholarships and work-trade, I was able to follow that amateur passion all the way to college. Once in college, I transitioned slowly toward modern dance and eventually settled on hiking, yoga and barre classes to satisfy my fitness goals.
Recently, however, I found myself curious to go back to ballet. After some trepidation, I found a studio with an adult beginner class, bought myself a new pair of ballet slippers and nervously took my place at the barre.
The experience was humbling, to be sure. It was also refreshing, inspiring and liberating to return to an art form that still lives within me. I was able to reconnect with the unique challenge and joy that comes with the expression of dance. After a few classes, I began to reflect on what all those years of dancing might have given me, beyond the technical skill of being able to stand and spin on my toes. I realized that some true life lessons were learned that have served me in my roles as wife, mother and financial planner.
Humility - There is always something more to learn.
Flexibility - The ability to stretch and adapt is invaluable in life.
Patterns - Dance steps require a mental discipline that combines strength, timing, rhythm, memorization and the appearance of effortless presentation. These skills have served me well in parenting and in my profession.
Patience - Practice makes perfect, so they say. Ballet requires so much patience and practice. I did not really notice it at the time because I loved it so much, but going back as an adult, I see how all that time in lessons, rehearsals and back stage trained me to be patient and diligent in my practice.
Passion - Dancing as a ballerina for so many years , I was deeply passionate about the art, training and practice of the form. Somehow, that passion transferred into how I approached school, parenting, marriage and my career as a financial planner and business owner.
I am not sure if my body will tolerate more than a dabble back in the world of ballet, but I am glad I was brave enough to step back into the studio to find my balance and recognize the gifts that were bestowed on me all those years ago.
Jennipher Lommen is a Certified Financial Planner TM and Enrolled Agent who offers comprehensive financial planning and tax advice to clients in Santa Cruz, CA and beyond.