What a surprise
Self-conscious? Why worry, especially about strangers?
Studies actually found a pattern in 20-year stages. We surprisingly reversed its final stage!!
At one time, I was terrified to get on a dance floor, speak in front of people, and do any other activity that put me in the spotlight. That was true even if I was in the middle of a crowd, like on a dance floor. Other dancers around me were watching, judging!
That all changed around age 38 when I had to teach a computer class from videos at work. The first day, I said “Please fill out these forms.” Those papers rattled, they shook so much. For the 3rd class, I tossed the worthless videos and rewrote the class.
Presenting that class was a turning point
Especially for all other public activities
I started giving presentations at local professional groups and teaching more classes. Most of those activities revolved around work. Other public activities took much longer.
Rules of Self-consciousness
Why worry about what people think? Your manager and family are important, but acquaintances and strangers? Are you nuts? Fortunately, such sensitivity varies with age
- Teens and age 20: you constantly worry about what other people think of you
- Age 40: you don’t give a damn what other people think anymore
- Age 60: you realize no one is thinking about you at all
I never heard of the 20–40–60 rule until I read the Medium post linked at the bottom of this article. Looking back, it makes a lot of sense. However, I only spent a couple of years in the middle phase instead of 20.
For acquaintances and strangers, you shouldn’t care, unless you’re living in the middle of a Regency romance novel in the 1800s where gossip is paramount.
I was in the age-60 mode most of my life
That meant to dress for yourself, perform for yourself, do the best you can. Don’t worry about being perfect or fulfilling someone else’s impossible image.
Recently, something changed
Revert to my teenage years?
I heard throughout my life that old people revert back to their teenage years when they retire. Just looking at the cars and golf carts in The Villages, a retirement community of 125,000 in Florida, many do.
I wouldn’t want to go back to my teenage years. I spent most of my time working and going to school. I rarely went on dates and never went dancing.
No, I did not revert back to my teenage years.
That would be awful. Now, life is much better.
What about age 75?
If I reverted to my teenage years, I would never walk onto a dance floor. I never went out dancing, anywhere, until age 40 at a 1986 national computer convention in Orlando. I was an invited speaker!
That night, I asked another attendee to dance. Her smile looked like it was the most wonderful event of the day. It was fast rock-n-roll and I didn’t have the slightest idea of what to do! So, I used the Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge method — I copied her moves. She said I was a good dancer.
I thought I was going to collapse! I did not realize my physical conditioning was that bad. It was only three or four minutes.
I was single at the time, so when I went home I went out dancing every night, not to pick anybody up but to get into better shape while doing something fun — once I got used to it.
It lasted a while, but declined until I met my wife 20 years ago.
My life changed
My wife and I are frequently the first on the dance floor, with no self-consciousness now. There is nothing I would rather do than go dancing with my wife.
That’s why we retired to The Villages, with its live bands on the town squares and numerous nightclubs. The virus has just suppressed them some, but not completely.
Our casual dancing in public has evolved
to have a life of its own, especially at age 75
We mostly kept to ourselves, but a strange thing happened recently, first at concerts on the town squares before the virus, then it accelerated at the City Fire night club.
We have a fan club!
— — — For leisure, unstructured dancing in bars!
What a surprise…
People come up to us all of the time and say how they love watching us dance. We look happy to be with each other.
I’ve noticed that half of the women smile when we step onto the dance floor. Some even take pictures and the Lead Singers from 6 different bands stop to say ‘Hi’ before they start.
One woman asked how long we had been married. She probably figured 50 years or newlyweds. She was surprised when my wife said 20 years.
It’s too bad more people aren’t out dancing, even before the virus. I suspect some feel embarrassed because they are not experts. Just remember,
You can be on the dance floor
Feel really stupid
Have lots of fun -or-
Sit and watch the dance floor
BE really stupid
Have much less fun.
You don’t have to know any dance routines. I don’t. We have no structure, just two positions: close and far. And we always hold hands or each other, either position.
We go dancing about 5 times per week, even with the COVID pandemic. City Fire has done a great job to reduce the risk, so we don’t worry about it.
Whenever you feel safe, try more dancing or something else new - like karaoke, and don’t worry about what anybody else thinks. I frequently discovered that new activities were fun once I got past the self-consciousness.
(Feb 10, 2021)
Karaoke performed the first time the day after this article was published:
I Could Have Danced All Night
I started karaoke around age 72.
No one gives a shit: The 20–40–60 Rule
I guess we should cue this up by defining the 20–40–60 rule. We’re going to do that via here: