The Doc and I haven’t been to the studio in nearly two weeks. Other than post hip surgeries, this is the longest we’ve gone without dancing since we started competing back in 2015. We’ve been puppy sitting for my son’s puppy, Lina, which has consumed most of our time.
You’re probably thinking lots of folks have puppies and they manage to find time to get in a lesson or two a week and a little practice time…what gives? Well, THIS puppy is a HANDFUL. My son and his fiancé spent two-grand on a one-on-one, sleep-away puppy boot camp to snap this creature into shape and I’m not going to let all their hard-earned cash go to waste. We’re deep in the throws of housebreaking, which means Lina requires not only constant vigilance, but also an outdoor potty break roughly EVERY SINGLE HOUR of the waking day. I also have been mandated to practice “clicker training” (a.k.a obedience training) with her 3-4 times daily and in between those activities she needs to be entertained or she will chew the furniture to shreds and terrorize our dog, Lulu (a.k.a The Best Dog in All the Land).
The first time we puppy sat for Lina, she was tiny enough for us to bring to the studio and leave in a pen during our lessons or while we practiced. Now she cannot be contained. ANYWHERE. She’s a high energy Australian Shepard who can jump very high and escape most barricades. Anyway, we decided it was just going to be easier to take a break from dancing while we sat for her. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did indeed take time off from work too. This puppy-sitting is a full-time job.
Once I was given the okay to dance after my hip replacement surgeries, The Doc and I hit the ground running. We immediately started grinding away on technique and new choreography. We’d been squeezing anywhere from 6-8 lessons per week, plus daily practice on our own. Combine that with my starting a new job and I felt like I had little time for any of he other things that feed my soul. As a result I began to grow less and less enthusiastic about dancing. To be honest, I’ve been needing a break from dancing for a while. I would have preferred 10 days drinking Mai Tais, poolside on some fabulous tropical island, but you get what you get and puppy-sitting provided just the excuse I needed.
The last time I’d experienced something like this was forty years ago. The thoughts and feelings I’ve been having were the same ones that predicated my quitting gymnastics, only this time I recognize it for what it is…burn out. It makes sense that ballroom dancing falls squarely in my wheelhouse. It requires the same level of discipline, focus, and striving for perfection as gymnastics. Unfortunately, the personality traits that lead to success often lead to burn out.
Puppy-sitting has been good for me. Housebreaking Lina requires adherence to a rigid schedule and yet, every once in a while even when we do everything right, she still has an accident. And you know what? That’s okay because nobody’s perfect…and it only took me 59 years to admit it.