Monday, June 09, 2008

Extracurricular Activities

I went this morning and signed up for that ballet class, so it looks like I really am going to make myself do it. Then I had to go get a new leotard and tights, as the ones I had I bought something like 19 years ago, and for some strange reason, the elastic and spandex had totally disintegrated. I must say that buying dancewear is bad for the ego. They haven't gone with the vanity sizing that prevails elsewhere in the clothing industry, for one thing. Thanks to vanity sizing, I've dropped two sizes in the past ten years while putting on about five pounds, so I'm used to having to buy the smallest of the small. Meanwhile, dancewear is also designed for the dancer's body. In other words, no curves. With my long torso and curves, and with the more standard sizing instead of vanity sizing, I suddenly found myself having to buy a size large leotard. The mediums kind of worked, but the one that didn't pull up and down to be very low cut in the front and very French-cut in the legs was the large, so I went with that. Back when I was taking ballet as a kid, I hated that we were required to go with the dance "uniform" of black leotard, pink tights and pink slippers, but now that's what I ended up buying, even though the adult students can wear anything. They didn't have much other than black for adults, and it's more slimming. Plus, that "uniform" makes me feel more like I'm taking it seriously. Now I have to see if I can find a way to make my hair stay in a bun without sending hairpins flying with every movement (my hair is too fine for pins to stick well) or if I should just stick with the ponytail.

In searching around for some kind of extracurricular activity to do this summer, I found that there's not a lot out there for adults. The community college has stuff for seniors, but there aren't a lot of the "fun" continuing education classes for people between the ages of 12 and 65. I guess with budget cuts, they're focusing on workforce education. They don't even have the conversational foreign language classes right now, just lots of ESL. Meanwhile, there are huge businesses dedicated to training your child to be some kind of hyper-talented super kid. There's one in the adjacent town, next to the ballet academy, that offers gymnastics (taught by a former world champion), all kinds of dance, drill team, theater, music, acting for film, martial arts, etc., all under one roof, but the only thing they have for adults is a fitness center for parents to use while their kids are being molded into performing machines.

I wonder how many of those parents are making their kids do all these things because it's what they always wanted to do, and now their kids have to live out their dreams for them. Maybe we'd have happier kids and parents if they offered opportunities for adults to explore their own dreams and the kids could be free to do their own thing without being scheduled to death. I know there are some kids who are ambitious in their own right, but I suspect a fair number of them have been forced or brainwashed into all this. Parenting is very competitive in this particular community. I was kind of weird as a kid (no, really?) in that I was fairly ambitious about wanting to do the things I got into, but I also was really resistant to being scheduled, so I was always starting things, then freaking out because of feeling too scheduled and dropping out. I also tended to flit from one interest to another. In a way, that was probably better for my overall development, since no matter how dedicated I was, I didn't have what it takes to be a champion gymnast or professional dancer of any kind (totally wrong body type for both), so it's not as though I limited my potential from being so sporadic, and that way I explored more options plus had free time to let my own creativity develop. I do wish I'd had the chance for more music instruction earlier in life, but back in those days, other than piano lessons, they didn't seem to have stuff like that for kids where we lived. I think finding a place to take serious voice lessons may be my next "live my own dreams" (since I don't have kids to force into them) adventure.

If I'm very, very good today, I will finish this round of revisions on The Book That Would Not Die this evening. Then I'll spend the rest of the week getting caught up on everything else and doing some prep work for the next project.

No comments: