Friday, January 28, 2005

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be...

I was in sixth grade, walking down the hall with a friend whose name and face has since faded, discussing what we wanted to be when we grew up. As we rattled off job titles, our answers had less to do with what we wanted to do or could do than how cool it was. I said that I wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut or, if neither of those worked out, a movie star. Well, I didn’t take my first ballet class till 18, a little late to start a career. My astigmatism ruled out working in space. I think my acting career peaked at sixteen, when I starred on a hit show on KLTV. Now I’m grown up, but still dreaming of an exciting and glamorous career. Perhaps it isn’t “cool,” but I want to be an aerobics instructor.

I’ve wanted to be an instructor for a few years. I’m attracted to multiple aspects of the job. I get to be a fitness role model. People listen to me. I have the autonomy to choreograph and execute my own classes. I get paid to work out! I did not pursue a certification earlier because of the expense and my location overseas. Now, I am getting certified at the gym in my office building for minimal cost.

As a part of the learning process, I asked to teach portions of various classes. Yesterday, I led the warm-up for the step-ball class. It was a miserable performance. I stepped in front of the class and suddenly because a spastic mumbler. While it was a horribly embarrassing eight minutes, I learned a number of valuable lessons. 1. Speak up. You’re never as loud as you think you are. 2. Face away from the class. As a beginner, it is too confusing if you are facing the class, and thus on the “wrong” foot all the time. This makes it doubly important to speak up. 3. Keep it simple. I started out holding the large inflatable ball used in the class. It just made everything harder. 4. Rehearse. I thought I was too cool to rehearse the night before. Wrong! 5. Be yourself. I was so freaked out that I led the class like a complete automaton. Robots are boring.

Today, I led the 15-minute abs class. While I didn’t rehearse, I did put together a list of all the exercises I planned on doing, with some extras in case I didn’t fill the time. I only did exercises I had done before. I was loud. I was friendly and chatty. The class went very well and I left on a cloud.

I am newly energized about pursuing my certification. While the perky aerobics instructor is somewhat cliché, it is what I want to be when I grow up. (But don’t worry – I’m keeping my day job.)


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