The number of times I have danced in my life could be counted on one hand. Besides a basic salsa class two summers ago, and some square-dancing when I was a kid, I have never danced. But being able to dance is one of my life goals–it is something, I think, a well-rounded person should be able to do–so I signed up to learn hula and Tahitian dance routines with the university’s Hawaiian Club. The Tahitian dance is especially fun and fast and exhilarating–Tahitian dancers wear awesome costumes that complement the incredible things they do with their hips.
It’s surprising what you learn about yourself when you try new things. For instance, I knew that my sense of rhythm and physical coordination are shit. But I didn’t know I had a deep psychological barrier against extending my limbs past a certain distance from my body. I literally start feeling shy and uncomfortable if I fully extend my arms or raise them in the air. It’s like a physical manifestation of introversion–but luckily one that I can overcome now that I know about it and will have to overcome to perform our dances.
Another new thing I’ve tried recently: grant-writing. So far I’ve enjoyed the process of composing a grant proposal–over time I’d become disengaged from writing and researching because writing and researching for academic or even journalistic purposes never felt sufficiently meaningful for me. But putting together a grant for an organization whose mission I believe in lets me put those skills toward a meaningful end. Most importantly, I’ve learned that after I graduate I definitely want–need–to be involved in work that has a strong social purpose.
Have you tried anything new lately that has taught you something new about yourself?