This I Believe

Katherine - Broomfield, Colorado
Entered on December 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in balance. I never understood why my friends were ok with being what I considered mediocre athletes. They where fine with just playing basketball in high school, but they didn’t care if they played in college or professionally. Why would anyone put so much work into something they didn’t plan on doing their whole life? If they didn’t spend so much time outside of practice they could be better. I didn’t understand. I danced for 5 hours after school everyday and 8 hours each Saturday. I knew I wouldn’t be going to college after I graduated high school, I planned on dancing professionally.

I had a reality check my senior year. I found out I had something called Morton’s Neuroma in my left foot. I didn’t know what that meant. Did I have cancer? Was I going to loose my foot? Are my plans of a dance career ruined? After trying acupuncture, chiropractic, reflexology, massage therapy, and seeing a number of doctors who supposedly specialized in such things, my only other option was surgery. I wouldn’t jeopardize dancing; I’d been trained to work through pain, so I did.

I didn’t audition for any professional dance companies like I’d planned. Regretfully I started applying to colleges. I got in to Brigham Young University and began attending in the fall of 2004. I didn’t know at the time that my college experience would teach me the greatest lesson I’ve ever learned, balance.

Everything everyone had tried to convince me of was true. I found value in education, faith, and believing in something other than myself. I discovered true friendship. I concluded life is about relationships, not achieving greatness. I realized I could still be good at dancing, without signing my life away to it.

I recently decided to have the surgery necessary to remove the neuroma. I was told I might never regain feeling to part of my foot. My own mother told me she thought it was a foolish thing to do. I just felt like it was the right time. I haven’t really been able to dance since the surgery, but I’ve again learned the importance of balance.

I didn’t think I could be happy without making dance my life. I still love it, but I’ve discovered for myself that dance, or anything else, is not your life. But those talents we are given are just a part of our lives that bring us joy. I actually enjoy dancing more now than I did when I was completely consumed by it.

I still hope to dance professionally at some point, but I won’t be devastated if it doesn’t work out for me. I will know I’ve still succeeded in different ways. Having a balanced life is more fulfilling than focusing on making one thing your whole life. No one else could teach me this lesson.