Dance has been, and still is, a major part of my life. A lot of people see all the dance life glamour, because I've never been one to complain. But what they don't know is that I've also had my fair share of sacrifices.
I started training hard for Dancesport when I was fourteen. At sixteen, I had to leave home and my hometown Cebu to go live independently in Manila to be in the National Team. The first few weeks, I cried every night. Homesickness wasn't something I expected. But as with everything in life, you get used to it with enough time.
I feel I've missed out a bit on life because of Dancesport. I wasn't able to go to my graduation nor to prom in high school because I had to travel abroad for dance competitions. In college, I wasn't able to go to parties as much as my friends would, because all my weekends were filled with training, or traveling to different countries for competitions. I missed out on a few 18th birthday (debutante) parties and childhood friends' weddings as well. But even though I made a lot of sacrifices before, I don't regret it for dancing also brought me the best years of my life. At a young age, I was able to travel around the world (although usually mostly to just compete without time to explore). I started earning quite well at a very young age which gave me the ability now to take it easy and explore different fields without worrying so much about money. So after I broke up with my last full-time dance partner Andrey, I went and explored corporate life, partied like crazy, traveled to different countries, caught up with my childhood friends and made sure I went to the remaining weddings this time, and took a whole year without dancing.
It's a sad thing to feel you've missed out on life, but I'm still lucky I was given the chance to catch up before it was too late. My young dancing years felt like a whirlwind of one dance competition after another, traveling to a different country almost every week. Until it came to a point that I just wanted everything to stop.
Two things I took away from this life experience of mine:
First, is to always take breaks in between rigorous work. Always give yourself time to recover and enjoy so that you remain productive and avoid burn out.
Second, no matter how busy you get and how crazy your career goes, always take time to nurture relationships specially the ones who were there from the start. Make effort to talk and connect be it with friends, relatives, or your special someone.
At the end of the day, I don't have any regrets. Even if I did sacrifice a lot for dance, it was all worth it. Looking back and watching my competition videos still brings a smile to my face, and I don't think I'll ever take dancing (or some form of it) away from my life.
I'll end this blog post with a very special video of a TED Talk that I watched and felt extremely true. A study on how good quality relationships (not fame nor fortune) is the key to happiness: