Can you do the splits? Believe it or not, I can actually still do the splits. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve taught dance, but if I warm my muscles up I can still do them.
I had one specific dance teacher who would really push me when it came to flexibility—Ms. Cheri. It hurt. Not the hurt as if I were to get injured, but the pain of pushing farther than I ever had before. It was uncomfortable. She would push down on my back and nudge my legs until FINALLY I was able to do the splits. Every time she would say, “take a deep breath” and the class would inhale. Then she’d say, “release” and as we’d exhale we would relax our muscles and sink a little further down. And again, it was uncomfortable.
We are less than a week away from our departure flight to Mauritius and I can’t help but to think about how we will be stretched in the next year. I am not an expert in moving, but in the few times we have made large international moves there is a transition period. For me it’s usually about 6 months to a year in which I feel like I am drinking from the fire hose. During this time, any pride I may have had goes flying out the window and I gear up for a big helping of humble pie.
Sadly, there is a negative connotation associated with discomfort these days, but within that discomfort lies the growth zone. When I say discomfort, that could look like a lot of different things… it could be as simple as you’re a Charmin person, but now you have to live with 1-ply or it could be a major career and life shift. Growth comes in lots of forms. I never thought I would share a closet with Jason – ever. I never thought I wouldn’t have a dishwasher or that I would need to line dry my clothes. And yet, here we are. I have discovered that I am more adaptable than I realized.
So what are we doing to prepare during our last week? Unpacking and repacking; double checking financials and access to bank accounts; keeping up to date with COVID testing requirements; canceling memberships and phone plans; ordering last minute items from Amazon that we are somehow going to cram into our luggage; studying French; learning Cambridge curriculum and lesson planning; watching Ted Lasso (priorities) and of course soaking up time with friends and family.
When we lived on Kwajalein, our group of friends would have “stretch parties.” (If you add ‘party’ to anything then it automatically makes it cooler than it is- so I’ve been told). We would sit in our house on the carpeted floor (carpet is a big deal on Kwaj) and stretched and decompressed from the day. We were working on our flexibility not only physically, but also mentally.
Living much of the last decade in transitions, I truly enjoy the discomfort and the awkwardness it brings. It’s a time to gain perspective and a great opportunity to laugh at myself. So with that, I’m ready for the next round of stretching! And I’ll be following the guidance of my beloved childhood dance teacher. “Take a deep breath….. and release.”