The Long Road to Starting Up.

Starting over is another one of those “chop wood, carry water” jobs. The good news is you can start over at any age–fall in love again, go back to school, learn a new skill–if you want to badly enough. The bad news, is you have to do the work of starting over to start over.

So I showed up at Zumba class tonight. Now that it’s too hot to walk in the early morning, I have to keep getting my exercise somehow–and I tried Zumba. There were about 50 people in the class, everything from young, lithe girls in neon and black outfits with Zumba boots (a cross between Cuban-heeled boots and sneakers) to lithe girls in leggings and sneakers. I did not blend in. The music was loud with a strong beat, and the regulars fell into the patterns easily.

Zumba is a cross between line dancing, jumping jacks, belly dancing, rhythmic moves, hand motions and a lot of booty-shaking dances. I lived through the hour, just barely. But I reached my goal: I dripped sweat and I made it through the hour. I felt awkward and out of place, but I kept going.

The secret to most successes in life is to keep going. Some women looked at me and then looked away. But most of them were working hard. I can honor that, that frankly, I don’t care what they are thinking. I stayed for the hour and although Zumba may well mean “let’s kill the newbie,” I saw potential. Nope,  I will never be a graceful dancer. But I may become more flexible, lose some weight, and get those troublesome arms toned. And that’s the goal–flexible, toned arms, exercise.

Oh, and I served as a mentor. The younger, slimmer woman behind me said, “If YOU can do it, I can do it.” And she was right. (Even if she did leave 15 minutes early.)

Starting over almost always feels awkward and often makes you feel dumb, different and deluded. If you let that stop you, you will have to start over again, and the next time, it will be harder. Know your goal, and keep moving toward it.

Who knows? By the time it cools down, I may continue to Zumba. That is, if I can manage to walk tomorrow.

-Quinn McDonald is happy she made it through Zumba tonight. She thinks she’ll make it through a few more times. She’s a creativity coach and has to give good example.