This story is not about a t-shirt. In fact the t-shirt in question cost about $35. What got me to qualify to purchase the t-shirt was actually many years of effort, and a lot more than $1,000. What makes it valuable to me is what it represents.
Five years ago I met a doctor who told me that partner dancing was the #1 thing you can do to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s Disease. (My father had AD.) My husband quickly signed us up for Tango classes, and Tango led us to West Coast Swing classes.
The great thing about how the brain works: the more you struggle to learn something, the better it is for your brain. Not just to prevent disease, but learning new things grows grey matter, forms new neural pathways, makes you smarter and more creative, and makes you happier!
6 months ago I signed us up for a global swing dance “team” of dancers around the world learning the same choreography. We’ve been learning and rehearsing a chunk of the dance every week, 40 minutes away from home in Orange County.
This dance is HARD! (I say this as a former professional ballet dancer: this is order-knee-braces-and-get-physical-therapy hard.) So hard, in fact, that I think my husband and I are the only pair of dancers in our group who stuck around all 6 months.
Which qualified us to purchase and wear our official “JT Swing Team” t-shirts and perform the dance at designated performances with other team members for the next 6 months. Our financial investment in rehearsals and training over the last 6 months easily tops $2,000… hence my “$1,000 t-shirt” claim (one t-shirt apiece).***
It is so worth it! Whether we perform or not, we learned so much, and I’m really proud of the effort. And I’m much better on the (improvisational) swing dancing floor.
Even more important: when we venture out beyond what we do well, we wake up and get smarter, more creative, and more alive than before. We’re literally laying down new neurological connections that make our world bigger inside and out.
And that’s what the shirt represents to me: the JOY of stretching outside our comfort zone, learning new tricks, having fun, making friends, and living fully.
I am always saying the highest purpose of money is to support love, lifestyle and legacy. I don’t know how long my body will dance, so I will dance as much as I can while I can. I’m grateful to money every day for affording me the privilege of doing what I love.
*** One more thing: I just want to share how thrilled I am to see dancers making bank, buying nice houses in Southern California, selling branded products, leveraging their teaching, legally protecting their choreography, and living their best lives. Back in my ballet-dancer days we looked forward to living on ketchup soup until we aged out. What a reframe! I love seeing artists NOT suffering for their art.
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