The decision to take some dance lessons often leads to a better life.
After 45 years of marriage, she saw the first sign that something wasn’t right.
Her husband, Leo, wasn’t puttering around in his garden. It had been his pride and joy ever since he retired at age 65. Now, just 5 years later, he showed no interest…I mean zero. “What’s going on?” she wondered.
Linda and Leo had always been the fun couple. They loved to take cruises, go to dinner, bowl, and dance. They had lots of friends and seemed to have something going on every night. Having enough energy was never a problem for them. They thrived on all the action.
When she noticed him slowing down, Linda took her devoted husband to the doctor. After many exams and tests, they got the news. Leo had Alzheimer’s disease. It was advancing very quickly and he would soon need full-time care.
It broke her heart to hear this, but she had vowed to love him through sickness and in health, and she would be the one to care for him. She asked his doctor for caregiver training and instruction.
Eventually, stress, isolation, and grief overtook her.
She had seen others go through this with their sick spouses. The loss of support is devastating as friends begin to drop by the wayside. With no time to take care of themselves, the caregivers barely had the strength to put a comb through their hair. It didn’t matter much anyway because there was no reason for it. There was no company anymore.
Linda found it harder and harder to deal with his needs while she struggled with her own broken heart and spirit. She thought she was losing her mind. After mentioning this to her doctor, he made a startling suggestion.
“Linda, I recommend that you go and take some dance lessons. A dance studio is a safe place for you to be social while you improve your physical and mental health.” He continued, “I can recommend an agency to get you some help with Leo for a couple of hours a week so you can go. You need to do something for yourself or you will go crazy.”
Making the decision to go to a studio and take some dance lessons was a difficult one.
She put it off until one day she passed a mirror and almost didn’t recognize herself. “I look so old”, she said. Linda thought back to what the doctor had suggested and made the decision. “I’m gonna do it!”
The idea of dancing with other men while her husband was so sick made her uncomfortable. Linda explained to Leo that she was going to take some dance lessons, even though she knew he didn’t understand what she was saying.
She looked forward to the challenge of learning something new, and, frankly, of being touched by someone. Missing the loving touch of her husband was hard.
Read this Dance Safari post if you’re hesitant to make the decision to take some dance lessons, “Want to Dance? 3 Big Reasons to Learn Social Dancing“.
She made an appointment for a trial lesson and arranged for someone to stay with Leo. In a few days, she would go to her dance lesson.
She had decided to try the new studio in town.
It was an independent studio owned and run by a former competitive dancer. The studio was lovely and the owner welcomed Linda with a hug. They sat down to talk a bit before the lesson. “Tell me what’s going on. Why are you here and how can we help you?”
Through tears, Linda explained the situation with her husband.
The physical and emotional stress of watching him deteriorate was becoming unbearable for her. She would be no help to him unless she changed the path she was heading down. Her physician recommended that she take some dance lessons, so here she was.
“I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
The studio owner explained what it’s like to take dance lessons.
“I have the perfect instructor picked out for you. First, he’ll show you around the studio and then you’ll have a sample private lesson.”
She went on, “You’ll get a chance to see what the instruction is like and he’ll get to know you and your abilities. After that, he’s going to recommend the best way to get you started.”
“I know you’ll do fine and you’re gonna love it.”
And, she was right. Linda did love the lesson. To be sure, it made her feel like a kid again. She was so grateful to her doctor and to her new home away from home.
After enrolling right away, Linda asked where to go to get some dance shoes. Her plan was to jump into this 100% and do it right!
She began by taking her private lessons on a regular basis. Group classes were next and after a few weeks, she attended her first dance party at the studio.
The support of the staff and her fellow students made her feel that she fit right in. Soon, Linda began to feel good at home, too. Her decision to take some dance lessons made her stronger and better able to take care of Leo.
As Linda spent time dancing she found that she was getting more fit. In addition to that, she was amazed by how much better her daily life was, despite her husband’s unfortunate situation.
Soon her instructor suggested that she perform in the upcoming studio showcase. A showcase is a recital for ballroom dancers.
Once Linda got a taste of performing she couldn’t get enough. She started doing ballroom dance competitions. First local comps then dance trips with the studio staff and other students to out-of-state competitions.
Here’s a refreshing post about the benefits of performing.
Dancing rejuvenated her once aging face and body.
Ballroom dancing is the best form of age reversal. Indeed, it’s the secret weapon to actually stopping the aging process, making you look and feel young again.
Linda became an advocate for ballroom dancing and made good friends while enjoying many new and exciting experiences. Fast forward 13 years and Linda, now 83, is still dancing, competing and loving life.
She has never regretted a moment or a dollar that she put into it. Without it, her life was meaningless, a burden. With ballroom dancing her life was full of joy.
Please take a moment to share this story with someone you know who is struggling. Tell them to take some dance lessons. You may be saving their life.
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Thank you, Luisa.