When teenagers get to high school, they often feel the need to change, not only in a physical way, but in a mental and emotional way too. Some find that they need to change their schedule, hang out with different people, or just do something different with their life. I found myself needing this change after freshman year, and this change was the biggest change in my life.

My eighth grade year I wrote a couple of articles explaining my love for dance. I danced everyday after school for ten years. My passion for it was so strong that I thought I never would give it up. It was so a part of my daily schedule that my mind was automatically trained to know when I had class, what time I had to leave, and when my performances were during the year. Never did it cross my mind that this schedule would become so harsh for me. Every year I would sacrifice the same things: time, friends, other talents, and family. It never bothered me. This summer, it did bother me. After four weeks of intensive ballet and performance at my usual summer ballet workshop with Maine State Ballet, I had this different feeling in the end. I used to feel a sense of excitement and anxiousness for the fall season and “Nutcracker” auditions, but now it was a feeling of satisfaction and like I had had enough. At first, I thought that it was just a phase and I would get over it. The thing is, after a couple of weeks I didn’t, which was something I had never felt before. I talked with friends and family, and thought of the reasons why I would think this way. I ended up making the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life.

Before the fall season was supposed to start, I decided that I really had enough. At this point, dance was something that I was simply good at, not something I wanted to do in my future or had complete passion for anymore. Eventually, I knew I had to give it up to achieve other aspirations and experience the things that I wanted to during my high school years. The question was when. So I did it, I called my directors and told them I was done. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but I had to do it. I wouldn’t be completely happy if I hadn’t. Next, I had to break it to my family and friends who knew me as “the dancer,” who were a part of my life as “the dancer.”

Shocked was the major reaction I got from people. “Why did you quit something that you spent so much of your life doing?” was the response I got from many people. I think now, and realize it wasn’t a waste of time, it was a complete, amazing experience, and I wouldn’t take back any hour that I spent doing it. No explanation to any person I told was told without tears. It’s everyone’s feeling that put so much heart into something that you have to let go for the good of self- fulfillment. Although everyone’s first reaction was shocked, nobody was disappointed. This decision is a part of me growing up as a person, and moving on. It was never and could never be a decision because of other people’s thoughts or opinions. It was for myself. I am now four months into the school year, still adjusting, but inevitably happy.

I haven’t really been able to tell anyone what I am doing with all my time, and how I am doing with everything. The first thing that I did after quitting was look at the things I sacrificed most while dancing. Singing has been a passion of mine since I was three years old, but I put it on hold when I was seven to pursue dancing. I am now singing up a storm. I joined three choirs, the ELHS Chamber Choir, Acapella Choir and the St. Peter and Paul Church Choir. Along with that, I am doing acting, something I did while dancing, but that I wanted to do more of. I was recently in EL’s musical, “Once Upon A Mattress,”my first musical, and that made my decision to quit totally worth it. Doing the musical, I wasn’t able to get away from dancing. A matter a fact, dancing became my job. Mrs. Appleby gave me a job that I have always wanted to do – choreographer. She made me feel so much better, giving me the opportunity to display the knowledge and experience I had of dance and teach it, putting it into action. I’m now choreographer for the next two years, and I plan to have lots of fun with it. I am also doing other things with the drama club and have my drama plans for the next two years made. The most important thing that I am doing now that I wasn’t able to do with lots of time, is focusing on my education. School work is extremely important in my life because I dream of being a pediatrician. You could say I have a passion for learning and would do anything for it. That’s what I am doing. One more thing that I also have to mention, is the unbelievably amazing people I have met thus far. I have experienced more things in the last four months than I would experience when I was dancing in four years. I have new best friends (along with the best friends I had before), new people to look up to, new inspiration. These people have made the biggest decision all worth it. I couldn’t be happier.

I wrote this article to let all those people who knew me as “the dancer” know, that I still am that dancer. I always will be, and don’t stop knowing me as that person. I am just growing up and making more of my life. Anyone who just feels that they need a change, shouldn’t ever be afraid to take that risk and make it . I learned that, maybe, life has something better for you after you make that change. I thought I would be letting myself down if I quit, but that was all in my mind. If I kept dancing that would have been what my mind wanted, not what my heart wanted.

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