Perfection. Are You Willing To Sacrifice Your Whole Life For Irish Dance?

06.11.12

I love Irish dance, but there are times when I get so caught up in trying to be a perfect dancer that class isn't very fun. Now and then it feels like practice is just an endless stream of everything I'm doing wrong. Lately when I go to class I feel like I'm fighting a constant battle in my head. I'm working hard not to compare myself to the other dancers and constantly trying to convince myself I'm getting better, not worse.

Since I don't really desire to become the World champion someday, the fact that I'm constantly trying to be perfect is actually sort of silly. I suppose it's just something I do with everything. I'm a perfectionist, so when I want to accomplish something, I want to do it perfectly. That isn't really a bad thing most of the time, but when you start to feel that putting your absolute best into a dance still isn't enough, it can be really hard not to feel like a failure.

The fact is, no can be perfect, but there are those who dedicate their whole life to becoming perfect. Perhaps if I put three times as much practice in, changed my diet, practice schedule and rearranged my whole life around becoming a perfect Irish dancer, I might begin to feel satisfied with the way I dance.

I could do that, but do I really want to? Many people dream about becoming the best in the world at what they do; so much so that they decide to spend every spare moment of their entire life working toward their goal. If someone is better, they find that unacceptable, so they add more to their work load. Soon their hobbie becomes their career, their career becomes their life, and even if they succeed at becoming the best, what they sacrificed to achieve perfection soon becomes apparent.

How many people have you heard talk about all the things they regret they never did with their life? Many of them are people who decided to simply have one focus, and one focus alone. Nothing else mattered but success. Not just a small success; absolute success, absolute perfection. They needed to be the best, the absolute best, and they wanted recognition for it, so they decided to sacrifice everything else to obtain it.

Do we really need to be perfect? Yes, i dissapoint myself when I go to dance class, more than a few times, but I never wanted to be the type of person who sacrifices her entire life to become perfect at only one thing. I've recieved lots of advice on what I can do to improve as an Irish dancer. For example I've been told to avoid carbonation all together, eat only salads for meals, avoid carbohydrates, practice an hour to three hours a day, stretch out every single morning.

It all sounds like a good idea, but before I follow that advice I need to ask myself what sort of things I'll be sacrificing in order to fit it all into my daily routine. I absolutely refuse to ever stop drinking carbonation. It's one of my favorite things to consume! The bubbles make me smile and I'm willing to live with the fact that drinking it makes me a little more tired when I dance.

Salad for meals? Ummm... no the FREAK way! Salad does not give me any energy. Most of my meals include lots of bread, pasta or cereal. I need my carbs for energy throughout the day! I'm sorry, but I'll accept not being able to jump as high, as opposed to fainting in class from not eating enough.

When it comes to extra practice and stretching in the morning, I need to put into consideration the life I have outside of Irish dance. I have a husband who I want to spend my free time with, a small business I'm trying to manage, as well as a full time graphic design job. I'm lucky if I can fit in one night of practice on my own per week.

Irish dance is fun, but it's not the only thing that I enjoy in my life. I'm not willing to sacrifice all the other things I love just so I can be a perfect Irish dancer. I may beat myself up a little in class for not improving as fast as I like, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make so I can enjoy the rest of my life as well.

I may never be a perfect Irish dancer, but I'll do my best to accomplish all I can and enjoy the rest of my life at the same time. Life is precious; not because I enjoy one part of it, but because I allow myself to enjoy all of it. So if you're anything like me, don't let your desire to become a perfect Irish dancer allow you to sacrifice the rest of your life. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to sacrifice everything just to become a better dancer than everyone else.

Life is too short.

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photos by Shelly Allen Photography.

TAGS: irish, dance, blog, perfection, perfect, goal, class, practice, carbonation, health, energy, food, salad, diet, extra, worlds, championship, win, winner, best, beat, trophy, shelly, allen, blog, sports, motivation, life, family, small, business, miss, regrets, advice, carbs, carbohydrates, bread, stretching, stretch, celtic, Ireland, Shelley, school, competition, cultural

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