12 May 2017

Finding Balance Among New Commitments

Sometimes blogging gives me great clarity about issues I'm struggling with. Knowing you guys will read this encourages me to put lots of effort into my words and my thoughts, I think harder, I edit, polish, reread a few times. Then I hit "publish" and give it some space. Then I read your comments, and I reread my post. Sometimes I come away with fresh insights. So I want to talk to you today about something I've only mentioned to a few people in my daily life. It's not a big secret, it's just that sometimes it's better not to tell everyone about something until you've made up your mind, you know?

I'm thinking about becoming a Zumba instructor. Like, next month. I would take a one-day class to earn a certificate. At the end of the class, I get a bunch of resources to learn a full class worth's of songs. I already have an active instructor who's willing to be my mentor. Then I just practice, practice, practice until I know all the routines and am ready to teach.

Me at Zumba. This was this instructors very first solo class.

I've prayed extensively about it and I always get a good feeling about becoming an instructor, sometimes intensely good feelings, sometimes just a fluttering, but always a sense of "yes." I wish God would appear to me in a vision, maybe send an angel or saint: "Yes, Jacqueline, it is My Will that you lead my people in an cardio dance class." Then I could know for sure that this is a good decision and not just exercise endorphins.

The most important thing, definitely, is to do this for God. As a Catholic, everything I do needs to be for God, with God, and through God, otherwise it is a waste of my time and my life. I'm not always good at that, and, but I don't want to make any more major life decisions without considering God, so with that in the forefront, here is my current pro/con list...

-I want to become an instructor because I love Zumba. I love doing it, I love going to class, I love voluntarily practicing songs at home. A few times, I have been called up to lead or co-lead a song with the instructor and I loved it. I felt like such a bad ass. Sometimes God speaks to us through our passions and our strengths are gifts from the Holy Spirit. I love dance and working out. I have no problem pushing myself physically.

-I love the Zumba community in my area and I want to be apart of it. Some of the other instructors I met are so kind and loving and uplifting. I am hungry to get to know them better and to become friends. I love that I would be apart of a community that helps people take care of themselves. (We have to nurture our bodies as well as our souls!)

-I want to foster a community in the classes I would teach. In the class I currently take, my instructor has built up the most living and supporting group. When someone has a difficult pregnancy, she rallies up a meal train. When someone falls into a bad financial situation, she rallies up a food drive. I want to be able to do that for others. I have been brainstorming lots of ideas for ways I could do this. Once I became familiar with my routines, I would love to modify a few, create a few, learn a few routines set to Christian music and have a pure religious/positive music class - I think doing mundane things with a Christian theme is a really powerful way to teach people about God, imbue it in our daily culture. I would also really like to take the class that certifies me to teach seniors (called "Zumba Gold") and teach a few classes at the local senior centers in the area. There are currently none within a 20-30 minute radius of my town, whereas there are a half dozen regular Zumba classes. Old people like me, I'm very traditional. I also would love to teach a class at the local Down syndrome association. Obesity and arthritis are huge problems for adults with Ds and I've already come up with lots of ways of modify moves for things I know Abigail struggles with.

-I want to do something else. I am home all day, every day with the kids while Matt works long hours and sometimes I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. I want something else in my life that I can do that my kids don't have to pay the price for. If I become an instructor, I'm in charge of my own schedule and can plan things around my kids' schedules. This honestly is the biggest reason I am considering becoming certified right now. I want to do something as/for Jacqueline. I need an outlet that isn't shopping or baking or crocheting, because I have done an unhealthy amount of all three of those things at some point since becoming a mother.

My very first 5K, 9 months post-partum after Theodore.

-This is Matt's and my biggest concern: Can I sustain this? It is textbook Jacqueline for me to bite off more than I can chew. I want to dive into something, I come up with a great plan that's probably well-researched, and then I end up running out of time or resources or I lose the vision. Will I still be able to/want to teach a class in six months? What if I get so burnt out getting certified and training while balancing my three kids that I'm fried by this time next year? I can't just bail out on a class full of people who are counting on me.

-We hopefully aren't done having kids yet and I'm not sure how I'll keep my classes going during the last month or two of the pregnancy and the first month or two after birth. I'm also not sure how I'll balance a class with a few-month-old baby. I want to schedule my classes for when Matt is typically home from work, but I'll have a few people in mind to babysit in the event has to stay late or is out of town. Normally I take my newborns everywhere with me, and I'd be really nervous about leaving a two-month-old with a babysitter, even one I completely trust. I know of instructors who have had health issues and needed to take a few months off, and they have found substitutes to cover them. But I know it isn't always easy to motivate your regulars to tolerate your sub and your sub's way of doing things.

-It's expensive. The certification class is $225. To get Gold certified, it'd be another $100-200. The regular certification classes are taught frequently, but there aren't any Gold certifications near me in the near future, so I'd need to drive out-of-state and stay in a hotel to pursue that route. There's a monthly membership fee to be able to use the Zumba marketing materials and have access to new routines, I'd need an iPod and speaker, plus a few more sports bras, and possibly there'd be fees to rent venues if I had to supply my own community center hall. While I certainly hope to be able to make enough money to cover my montly expenses, it could take awhile to recoup the initial investment and - obviously - there is no guarantee I would. Zumba is too expensive to be a hobby, and I really, really, really don't want to make such a large capital investment only to learn that I can't balance Zumba and my kids and quit in six months.

My biggest priority right now needs to be taking care of my kids. Obviously. I want to make the right decisions so I'm not dealing with the consequences of a bad one in a few months. Do you have any insights? You guys can see the bigger picture more clearly. Should I just wait a few more years to get certified? Should I take the plunge now? Ugh, if only God was walking around the Garden of Eden and I could just pull up a log.


Diane said...

I have found external validation to be a fairly reliable factor in making a decision. If people who know me are all, "Absolutely you should do this", or "I think that would be perfect for you," etc. then I feel I am making the right decision. If, on the other hand, they are hesitant to validate the decision or raise concerns that I myself may have, then I have to step back and think about it more carefully.

Just my experience.

Anonymous said...

If I lived in your area, I'd sign up for your class! Your ideas all sound great -Esp the Gold and Down Syndrome ones. I know how you feel about wanting Divine Revelation to occur. But sometimes you just have to jump -trust. As Mother Angelica said, "I have these ideas that seem crazy, but I just jump in and try it -if it's of God, it will succeed, if not, it won't. I don't worry about it." (Paraphrased, of course) I know it's easier said than done, but inclined to say, "try it! If it doesn't work out, you'll learn along the way. If you can afford the risk, then try it!"

By the way, here's a book recommendation: "Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles," by Raymond Arroyo. Talk about a bad @$$...Mother Angelica is totally awesome! TB