Yesterday was kind of a big deal for me.

After attending group fitness classes exactly ZERO times and USING the gym exactly ZERO other times during my recent three-month gym membership, it was a bit of an experiment to register for a SUP (standup paddle board) fitness class at the aquatic center 30 minutes away. But I felt genuinely excited to give it a shot. And those very humbling 45 minutes did not disappoint! At 44 and without having any sort of asana practice over the last few pandemic years or a cardio routine, I’ve definitely lost strength, especially in my core. I’m sore this morning in many places. Good sore, though. The kind of sore that serves as a reminder that I moved my body in meaningful ways yesterday. The kind of sore that comes with gratitude I can do such things at all.

These 45 minutes were also very much destabilizing. While the boards are fastened to the swim lanes, they do move quite a bit. Squats, pushups, and down dog on a wobbly surface, subject to the waves, movement, and potential falls and splashes of my water neighbors. 

When I went to change after the class and a brief soak in the hot pool, I couldn’t find the underwear I was sure I’d packed. Fears of a thong sprawled on the pool deck filled my head as I retraced my steps around the locker room. I never found them. I did find a pair of underwear loosely draped over the laundry basket near our bed when I got home. It’s possible when I assembled my bag that they fell out of the bundle of clothes. I’m not convinced, but I will not be checking the lost and found. 

This all served as the beginning of the theme for the day: being off balance on purpose in order to build strength. Imbalance is usually mentioned in the negative sense, as in work-life, hormones, etc. I have now committed to activities over the next six weeks that will actively throw me off balance, physically, metaphorically, emotionally, and socially. This will allow me to develop structures and strategies to navigate imbalance and fluctuations of life.

After a brief stop at home to shower and grab snacks (and some emergency cold weather gear at Adam‘s suggestion, just in case), I hit the road in the opposite direction to go to my new improv class.

One of my favorite must-stop locations in Denver is a delicious Vietnamese deli called New Saigon Bakery, so I planned to pick up a bánh mì and iced coffee. I don’t often drink coffee, but I LOVE this coffee. This experience mentally gave me a bit of familiar love to help fuel the two and a half hours of brain gymnastics in trying to keep up with the funny. The coffee served as an energetic hug to keep my mostly introvert self going into more social activities. And the bánh mì to replenish my hunger afterwards.

I don’t often drive in the dark. Or go out after dark. So committing to a six-week class that requires a 118-mile drive up the mountains from Denver back home entirely in the dark is a bold move for me. But I’m “Bold Becca,” so it’s all good. (We had to pick an adjective that described us and started with the same letter as our names, as part of our improviductions.)

The class was much more physical than I expected, so my offbalance-ness continued on multiple levels.

The P in imProv is not for perfection. Improvfection? Imperovfection? 

I signed up for a bunch of reasons. For example, I want to be able to quickly think on my feet in a more freeing way in order to build confidence and quiet my second-guessing self.

It’s going to be a fun and difficult ride. Our class culminates in an actual performance. I’m grateful to have started this journey with classmates, “Nerdy N,” “Kicking K,” “Tough T,” “Brave B,” “Terrific T,” “K Karate,” “Messy M,” “Jumping J,” and “Smooth S.” “Bold B” has joined an awesome bunch of humans for Improv 101.

And here we are in the section of the post when I get to the sandwich jeans. I ate part of the bánh mì before class and packed up the remainder in a cooler bag for later. While this is one of my favorite things on earth to eat, I was reminded it’s not great single-handed driving in the dark on curvy mountain roads food. So in honor of a day focused on shedding inhibitions, being openly vulnerable, and purposefully off-balance, and in honor of this blog having a somewhat don’t give a sh-t attitude contrary to my historically too much perfectionistic everything, did I care when jalapeños, or bits of cilantro, tofu, or other sandwich garnishes landed in my lap? Not really. Did I eat them? You bet.

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Photo by Jornada Produtora on Unsplash

Categories: CareerImprov