Never give up what you love

You will probably regret it for the rest of your life…

If there’s one thing I will teach my children, when I have them, it will be this. Dont give up something you love. Even if times are hard financially, or if you find yourself having less time to spend on them. My biggest regret in life is giving up two hobbies that I absolutely adored. Ballet especially. I was a dancer for 9 years from the age of 7 to 16. It was a big part of my life and something that really helped me through my younger years. It was a place to go to meet new friends, chat with likeminded people and an escape from school life and activities. It helped me maintain a slim and poised figure and worked my legs so hard that I still have great dancers calves, 9 years on. I cannot tell you how many dreams I have had, where I am back in that dance studio, surrounded by my friends, and learning a new dance routine or ballet movement. Even at this age, I still go back to that studio, aged 15. And I wake up every time with the biggest feeling of regret. I should never have given it up.

I was 16, in college, starting to date, and I felt that it was a financial strain as well as a burden for my family. Taking me to and from the dance studio had become more difficult, as we had moved further away, and it took thirty minutes for my dad to taxi me there. Additionally, I had just started working and earning my own income. Although this would have made finances so much easier and I could have taken over the payment from my family, who had supported my dream for 9 years, it just added to the strain of having no time, and I realised something had to give. At that point, it was the dancing that had to take a back seat. If I had just waited, and built up my own cash supply and not put as much time into texting boys, perhaps I could have continued dancing. I let a lot of people down at that point. But mainly I let down myself.
Last week I started on a path back to that studio though, and back to something that I loved. I finally joined Barrecore in London, a fitness studio that combines ballet barre routines with yoga, pilates and some of the most difficult stretches you might come across. Whilst it isn’t ballet, and I won’t be getting back on my pointe shoes, I am at least back at the barre and back in a studio, with that electric energy and positivity to be the best we can be. I say we, as the studio fits up to 17 ladies and gents, all training harder than they ever have. 
After my first class, Barreasana, that combines more yoga movements for a thorough all body workout, I lay on the mat for 5 minutes afterwards, with my eyes closed and my weight pushing into the floor. And the emotion I felt was something I had not felt in a very long time. I was back to my favourite hobby, and whilst it was in a new and modern form, I felt like I had finally turned my life around and gone back to a time when I was at my leanest, healthiest and most active. And whilst this journey is only just starting and I have a long way to go before I feel like the best version of me, I am just so happy to be back in the game. 
I think that back then, I was in the game of giving up my hobbies, so my guitar playing was next to bite the dust. I had picked up the guitar aged 14, after watching the 2003 Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan. Honestly, that was my inspiration. Whilst it’s not the coolest story ever, it did get me into playing the electric guitar, an Epiphone Les Paul in sunset red that my dad, wonderfully as ever, bought for me. After a year or so, I moved onto playing acoustic and knocking out the tunes of a few of my favourites, from Matchbox 20, Bon Jovi and Alanis Morissette to the Goo Goo Dolls and Metallica. I had always been musical, taking up the flute and the keyboard aged 9 for a few years. But of course, they got pushed to the wayside when high school came around. But it was the guitar that I really took to and I would sit for hours in my bedroom, working out how to play the riff from Sweet Child O’ Mine or the start of Welcome Home by Coheed and Cambria. 
I think it was a few years later that I stopped playing. I had started dating a guy who was unbelievable on the guitar and would never put it down when he came around to my house. So I actually started to loathe the guitar being around. Especially when my skills on the guitar were nowhere near the standard of his, and I’d feel so inadequate and silly to even try to strum a chord. So I stopped playing, and never picked it up again. University came and went, a PhD came and went and then I turned 25. I realised that I had no other hobbies other than my blog, which had become my job and was no longer in the hobby category. And there was something pretty sad about that. 
So I’m happy to say, that again, I’m finally back in the game. I picked up a beautiful new Little Martin LX1E guitar from MusicRoom, with a much slimmer and smaller body and the perfect size for my petite frame. It fits right into my lap and I find it so much easier to reach around it to play. Plus, the fact that it is such a beautiful guitar, makes me love having it around. We have it hung on the wall, and pick it up whenever one of us wants to jam. Martin is a brand with so much loyalty in the acoustic guitar community, and the fact that this is so affordable in comparison to others, makes it such an incredible guitar for anyone looking to start playing. It is Ed Sheeran’s guitar of choice, and now it is mine.

So if you take anything from this post, please let it be this. Encourage your children or friends to take up a hobby they love and try your best to dissuade them from giving up. They may just need a small break away, before they rekindle their passion for it.

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