A Return and New Start

I am really sorry to have been away so long – much longer than I intended!

It hasn’t been from lack of desire to write, but more from a lack of time. A lot happened really quickly once I returned from my deployment and part of that has meant figuring out a new routine – including time to blog.

Backing up a little, the deployment was really rewarding, although by the time I got home I was legitimately exhausted. We had a lot of weather issues which meant we either weren’t able to get into port or stay in port as long as we should have for down time.

Despite that, I was able to fairly consistently practice and even sent the bosses a video of my practice to which they provided feedback after realizing fully the limitations I was working with (it’s one thing to hear it, but another to see it!)

That helped a little to get me on track, but once I got back there was some uncertainty until last week with regards to whether or not I would be posted to another location back east. That put everything I was doing in a bit of a holding pattern as I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to work with the bosses.

Thankfully, last week I got confirmation that while I am going to be changing positions, I am going to be staying in the same location. As if that wasn’t enough, once I returned to work after my deployment, due to an unexpected departure I almost immediately was called on to take over temporarily as the senior public affairs officer in the area. That required a lot of extra time and energy to sort out as the unexpected departure left a lot of holes and issues to be sorted out.

Also in the middle of all that, I finally made the choice and transition to move myself and my cats to live with my spouse so we can establish residency for common-law status. I was more or less living at his place without my kitties in the months leading up to my deployment, so it wasn’t too much of a transition in general, but still meant quite a few adjustments overall to my basic routine, working out how those changes all worked.

I have also made some adjustments to my diet and workout routine. During the deployment, I realized I need to make some changes because what I had been doing wasn’t really working. So I went back to the program that worked for me the first time (and was pleased to see that the changes that had led to me leaving it last time were better incorporated), and committing to a counseling program to talk a little bit about the reasons behind my weight issues as well as being more mindful about eating only when I am actually hungry and stopping when I am full. It’s still on-going, but I have been able to get most of the weight I gained while deployed.

For fitness, I am also working with a new trainer. Not because there was anything wrong with my other one, but just because I wanted to try a change – some new exercises and a new way of training. It is also going quite well, although I have run into one exercise I recently discovered is causing my back to flare up that I will have to avoid in the future. Running is still happening, and it’s been challenging. I had to change to new sneakers as I found about a month ago I was being plagued by shin splints. Progress is still slow, but it is happening, so that is something to hang on to.

On the dance front, that is not without changes as well. I realized shortly after returning to lessons with the bosses that while I really enjoy working with them, I was also frustrated with only being able to work with them once every 2 weeks. Even though I was working and practicing regularly, I MISSED just dancing – something there isn’t a lot of time for when you are trying to cram 2 weeks worth of stuff into a couple lessons.

It took me a little while, but I realized I had to find a way to work with an instructor during the week without interfering with what I am doing with the Bosses. After considering a lot of different options, I decided to go with our local dance franchise as it also gives me a better place to practice where I am not competing with basketball players and kettle bell swingers. It’s also located between work and home which is convenient.

At the franchise I am working with Smooth Guy on, you guessed it, smooth. The focus there is not on competing or even a lot of technique. The goal there is time dancing with a partner, working on building a repertoire of steps. I am currently reviewing the end of their bronze program which is where I left off when I worked at the franchise many years ago.

I also worked out a deal where even though Smooth Guy is not familiar with International style at all, his Boss is and together they are learning my latin routines so each week at my lesson we can spend about 15 minutes dancing through the routines. It’s been a week and so far he has most of the sequence of steps in my rumba down, although there are some differences between Latin and Rhythm that are showing up, but considering it’s a week and he has never done Latin before I have 0 complaints. I think that is the final piece to my dance puzzle overall.

In the details, I also had to sit down with Boss to sort our my solo practice. I felt there was not organization or direction to what I was doing as I didn’t know what it was they wanted me to focus on and I had so much information I couldn’t filter it. After finding out I am sticking around for at least a year, that made it easy to sort and in the end Boss gave me two things to focus on: Focus and Timing. I have two main exercises over 3 dances, and then I am to work on incorporating those 2 points into the first 30s of each of my routines.

It’s been a week and already I feel much better and motivated, and at my lessons today Boss commented he already noticed a big difference.

As a final bonus as I close this out – with knowing where I will be – we are now looking at planning to compete in early fall. Our fist competition today. Finally, a competition goal!

I promise not to be so much a stranger from now on.