A month or so ago, I wrote a column about the game of chess. It wasn’t really so much about chess as it was about my surprise at discovering a game I really love, yet one I had ignored for so many (too many) years. I regret all the years that I could have been playing, and regret the many chances missed to challenge friends, one in particular comes to mind. Why, I would have kicked his sorry . . . at any rate, discovering the surprising joys of chess has been a good reminder that we should give everything, or most everything, at least a try, even when the idea is initially unappealing.
I was curious about experiences others have had in this regard, so I asked readers to send in their stories. I’d like to thank everybody who submitted, I enjoyed all your stories, and was particularly delighted by Lee R’s story.
It turns out that Lee, a 43-year-old mother of two, took a notion to try pole dancing, something that looks, to me, hard as hell. Lee says it is not as hard as one might think, though. “It's about pushing the boundaries of what we can do, I like that. I look at that and smile and think, ‘not bad for a 43 year old mom of two’. I'm not a model, I'm not skinny. I'm chunky in spots and saggy in spots and I have wrinkles. But I can do something most people can't . . . because I decided to try it, I liked it and persevered. People give up too easily, or don't even think to try because, ‘I couldn't do that, it looks too hard’. I can do it, because I didn't give up.”
And she sure didn’t give up, as you can see by the photos, she not only kept with it, she has done very well. So without further ado, here is Lee’s story:
I saw your column, and it hit a tone that resonated with me. Comfort zones are funny things, you know? If you don't expand them, they shrink. If you don't keep those walls flexible with movement, they will harden and then you will find yourself trapped; unwilling to and fearful of change. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of change. As a matter of fact, I don't care for it much at all. However I also dislike being trapped, even if it is by myself. Perhaps especially by myself. It helps that I have a best friend who is constantly nudging me in new directions.
After eight years of kickboxing, we decided it was time for a change (and when I say "we" I mean "Kathy and my joints"). So, we looked at the List (things we've been meaning to try and have never gotten around to; with kids, husbands, households and work it is a pretty long list). Aradia Fitness was offering a Groupon. We bought, meaning to try it out but hadn't gotten around to it yet. So we tried it. Pole Dancing (for fitness mind you - as a 43 year old mother of two I can't fathom showing off saggy baby belly or stretch marks . . . Not Happening). As it was, marching my less-than-perfect body into that studio was intimidating all by itself. We tried it. A funny thing happened - we found it was fun! Challenging, interesting, and not so difficult as to dissuade us. This was at the beginning of November. We're headed into March now, and I can tell you I will be starting Level 4. I can do spins, I can do inversions (flip upside down and hang by my legs!) and I am now more "in tune with my sexy side" than I ever have been. Although one side effect they should warn you about is possible development of shoe addiction. I can also walk in heels better than I ever have (I'm something of a klutz, I have fallen off heels while trying them on in a shoe store, in the process ripping apart an end cap - it was an accident!). So try something new, you never know what effects it will have on you. At the very least, it will prevent the comfort zone walls from ossifying. Lee R.
Lee spinning and upside-down
Many thanks for sharing your story, Lee, You’ve got moxie!