I don’t have a lot of time to write. In two hours, I have to leave to go salsa dancing. I’ve never been salsa dancing, but I’ve always wanted to try it and someone invited me, so off I go.
Last night, I tried to ride a mechanical bull. I say “tried” because, while I excelled at mounting and dismounting, I did them pretty much simultaneously, so I don’t think there was much actual riding going on.
If you prefer to see it in motion, you can watch this. I actually fell off one time before IT Guy started filming and one more time after he stopped for a total of falling off 4 times in 1 minute.
Clearly, I’m going to have to shelve that dream to make my fortune in the rodeo.
I can’t say I really learned anything riding that bull, except that I can’t ride that bull, but I think it does exemplify the way I go about life in general. I will try almost anything once. We were having dinner with friends at a restaurant that happened to have a mechanical bull last night. I have never had a burning desire to ride a mechanical bull. I’ve never kept anything like a bucket list; I’m just not that organized. But there it was – a spinning bull – and there I was. I generally won’t pass up an opportunity like that, even if it means I’ll make an ass out of myself. I think all my years of performing at the Renaissance Festival have rendered me immune to making an ass out of myself in front of large groups of people. I don’t know that I’ll ever ride a mechanical bull again, though. I’ve got some beautiful black and blue bruises on my inner thighs from trying to hang on to that thing. (Mechanical bulls are SLIPPERY.) But I don’t regret trying it for a second because maybe I would have discovered that I am good at it. Who knows? Maybe I could have ridden that bull like John Travolta in Rhinestone Cowboy and I would have run off to achieve fame and fortune on the rodeo circuit. What if that was my talent and I never would have known it if I hadn’t gotten up from the bar stool and paid $3 to jump onto a mechanical bull on a random Saturday night?
So many of the things that I love and excel at in my life are things I never would’ve written onto a bucket list. I never would have said “Someday I want to learn to Irish Dance” or ”Someday I want to learn Muay Thai kickboxing” because, for much of my life, I didn’t even know those things existed.
I had never seen or even heard of Irish Dance until I started working at the Renaissance Festival. I befriended a family there – the parents were both musicians and the daughters danced jigs and reels to their parent’s music. That was the first time I had ever seen Irish dance and I decided I wanted to learn, so I could perhaps dance with the girls the next year. I made some phone calls to local schools until I finally found the man who is the director of the school I teach for now. He didn’t even have a school then. He was training for his TCRG (teacher certification) exam. I would meet him and a few others in a church basement on Monday nights and we would dance from 7pm until after 11pm. I fell completely in love with the dancing and the music, and it turned out I was pretty good at it. At 24, I tried something new on a whim and it turned into a cornerstone of my life.
It is a similar story with muay thai. I wasn’t looking to become a martial artist. I had no articulated desire to become a black belt. We had enrolled Ace in the tae kwon do program at the martial arts school, and, as I would sit and watch his classes, I would sometimes look into the room where the adult students were kickboxing. They were always red faced, sweating and gasping for air. It looked like an incredible workout. That’s why I signed up for kickboxing. Not from some thought like, “Someday I want to learn a martial art,” but because it was there and I was there and it looked interesting. Four years later, I’m preparing to test for my provisional black belt and I can’t imagine my life without muay thai.
I don’t know what will be next. Well, I know it won’t be bull riding, but beyond that, who can say?
There is always more to learn, more to experience, more to discover. I don’t really plan for it; I just try to be open to it.
Last night, I was specifically told that I couldn’t grab the bull by the horns,
but maybe if I could have, I would’ve stayed up there. You never can tell.
**This post is an entry in this month’s Living Out Loud project: Volume 25 – Always Learning. Follow the link for more information about this month’s prompt and to see a list of all entries for the month.****