Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zumba Dancing and Slip n Sliding

I have come to a harsh realization over the past few weeks:  I am not as young and as agile as I used to be.  I have known this for a while, but have managed to keep it compressed deep in my mind recesses.  Sometimes it hits me hard, like when I do the math and realize how long it has been since I have graduated high school.  (How could it be that long ago when it seems like just...?)  You get the point.  Then, unfortunately for everyone around me, I joined a Zumba class.

Zumba is a Latin dance exercise class that they have at our local YMCA.  They recently began it and it has been a huge hit this summer.  I decided that this was right up my alley and I attended my first class a few weeks ago. Now to preface this rash decision, I was a cheerleader.  Mind you, not the greatest one to ever grace the sidelines of the gridiron, but I LOVED it.  Loved everything about it.  Loved the uniforms, loved the dancing, loved the grueling practices for hours in south Alabama heat, loved the excuse to be annoyingly cheerful, loved the camaraderie with my best friends, LOVED IT!!!  Now, something I despise, is the treadmill.  Now that I am of an age where I need to take care of myself more(why does this topic keep popping up?), I feel that I must go to gym and grind out 30 minutes(and not a millisecond more!!) on the treadmill or elliptical, or on some other mind numbing machine.  I trudge along, sweating like a pig, counting down the seconds until I am finished. (only 8 minutes and 37 seconds to go!)  That is how I found zumba, I decided that I didn't hate exercise, just BORING exercise.  So here I go.

For those of us that came up dancing in the college era of Dave Matthews Band, we, make that I, was not equipped with the skill set needed to perform the Latino gyrations of my class.  In the first five minutes, I was rolling hips all over the place like Shakira.  (well, not like Shakira at all, but that is the goal!)  Remember the scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby has been invited out on the staff dance floor by Johnny Castle after she carries the watermelon?  Here is Patrick Swayze: sexily beckoning her onto the dance floor and he is attempting to teach her to roll her hips and shoulders at the same time.  Remember her initial attempt?  The awkward pelvic thrusting that just comes off as embarrassing?  Well, you got it.  That is me in Zumba!!!  There are several Beyonce' followers in our class that can just shake their moneymakers like no body's business.  And there are some who just shake.  I believe that I fall somewhere in the middle, and it is the most fun that I have had in a while!!  My friends who stand beside me are having just as much fun.  We laugh at ourselves(also great exercise) and just have a ball being silly!!  It is as much a social gathering as it is a cardio workout.  Also, another perk.  I can actually see results!  I am leaner in my abs and my posterior.  (Thanks to squats to the tune of "I like 'em big, I like 'em chunky" from Madagascar 2!)  But the hard part mentally is realizing that you are not young enough to be in the bootylicious group!  I am older!!  And you know what?  I am glad. 

Another age awareness tool.: the proverbial slip-n-slide.  Yesterday, stretched out this wretched piece of vinyl across our back yard.  This particular one is a double slide, with water shooting out this way and that.  It also comes with two inflatable kickboard-looking devices that you use to assist you in the best possible slide.  How I got involved, you say?  Cooper was napping and Caroline did not want to slide alone.  So I donned my bathing suit and prepared  myself for the  inevitable broken arm/hip/collar bone.  I starting running, gathering speed, and flung myself across the wet plastic.  The bruise today on my outer thigh and the soreness of my left shoulder should tell the tale.  However, no matter how hard the ground was, I kept sliding.  We pretended like we were on Wipeout (great show!) and gave each other nicknames.  (I was "Working Mom", because I also used outside time to prune some plant life growing around my house)  Caroline gave us the names, hers were:  Fancy Caroline, Working Sissy, Sissylou, Fancy Lady, etc.  I am suffering today, but it was worth it for sure.  We had some girl bonding time and lots of laughs. (mostly at me!)

However, I have come to the realization that age isn't necessarily worse.  I honestly wouldn't trade places with that twenty something Mandy today. (maybe her pre-baby body, but that is why I am in zumba in first place!) The thirty-something Mandy is wiser, kinder,  and less selfish.  She listens to God more and herself less.  She has security in the man she loves and her children and her faith. 

And she is learning to Zumba better every week!!!  Bring it on, Moto Moto!!  (see Madagascar 2 for reference)


  1. Hi, Mandy! I left an award for you at Head in the Clouds!:) Can't wait to see your "Seven Colors!"