It’s 7am and a beautiful spring day. The sun streams in from the tall, arched windows and hits the cool, cement floor. All around me people are smiling. The music increases in tempo, and suddenly the dance floor swells. Simultaneously we raise our hands in the air.
I’M TAKEN BY SURPRISE BY THE SUDDEN DESIRE TO CRY. I CAME TO DANCE AND HAVE FUN. I CERTAINLY WASN’T EXPECTING TO BE FIGHTING BACK TEARS.
You see, I’m at a rave, although this is not a hardcore scene, carrying on from the night before. It’s an 800-strong crowd of city professionals, up early on a weekday morning to dance around, and then continue on to work.
I love to dance. I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been happy to groove around. I was raised listening to Beethoven and taking piano lessons and whilst I still love classical music, somewhere along the way, house beats entered my consciousness, and they never really left. An uplifting tune just makes me want to move.
However my clubbing nights are long gone, and my gorgeous husband—who supports me in absolutely everything I do—is neither a fan of dancing or house music. So somewhere along the way, that part of me got pushed aside, locked away like a fading photograph.
Thinking about this has made me question how much of ourselves we inadvertently hide away due to our relationships, roles in life, and this strange notion that just because we’re a particular age, we also need to fade away from certain interests or passions. As women we frequently take on multiple roles, which often means little time remains for the things we love that form part of our identity. When we do finally stop to catch our breath, it’s hard to know who we even are anymore. Even basic questions about how we like to spend our personal time seem impossible to answer.
Since becoming aware that I’ve been hiding an important part of myself away, I’ve taken steps to reconnect with the things I love doing. Whether it’s reading a particular genre of books, or creating a weekly ritual to enjoy a fancy lunch in a restaurant on my own. I’ve found listing things that bring me joy and incorporating at least one into each day brings me happiness. Even if it’s just something small, like buying myself fresh flowers every Monday for my home office.
Creating a vision board has helped too. Images transcend words and logic. They remind me of things I used to love doing like dancing and attending live gigs that go late into the night, and it prompts me to consider new things to try. And now I tend to steer conversations away from the usual topics of family, home improvements and the stresses of work. I’m quizzing people on things they love to do, in order to understand who they really are and to form a deeper connection.
It’s always a question worth asking.