28/30: Juggling, whirling, cartwheeling, etc.

It’s all about the -ing’s

I’m 27 years old and I still can’t do a cartwheel. I’ve always wanted to learn and I’ve made countless failed attempts but just because I can’t do a “real” cartwheel doesn’t mean I won’t still try to. I went to the beach today with two friends who also couldn’t do cartwheels. The purpose of talking about failed cartwheels is because sometimes it just feels good to move your body in ways you normally wouldn’t.

A few years ago, I was walking back to my hosts house in Richmond after spending the night at a party. On the way home we met a person who unknowingly changed the way I respond to anxiety/depression. During the conversation, he vented about some troubling recent events and how he’s really not doing well emotionally. After he shared his story with us, he mentioned his personal trick to shaking depression, even if its only temporarily. “Whenever things get really dark and heavy, I’ll force myself to stand up and start whirling.”

I’m not saying that mood disorders can be treated with whirling, but he did have a point. He said that he whirled because its impossible to not feel silly when you’re a full-grown adult whirling in your bedroom during a depressive episode. The whirling didn’t immediately fix his depression, but it made things feel a little lighter. Even if it was only for a couple of seconds. Spending the winter months in quarantine really did a number on my mental health. I ended up going into a depressive episode and my motivation to do anything was minimal to non-existent. While looking for something in a drawer, I stumbled upon some tennis balls I bought back in 2016. I bought them before flying to Indonesia because I told myself I’d learn how to juggle while waiting for buses, trains, planes, or during any other moment of down time.

Those three tennis balls traveled with my in my backpack, but I never learned how to juggle and eventually I forgot about them…

…. Until this winter. After I found them, I began throwing one into the air, then a second one, and then I pulled up a youtube video called “learn to juggle in 10 minutes.”

I dedicated a lot of time trying to teach myself how to juggle and maybe it was my way of avoiding my mental state, but it got me off the couch and eventually, I was able to juggle all three for about 4 rotations. Juggling didn’t cure my depression, but it reminded me of the guy I met in Richmond. Like his whirling, it made things feel a little lighter, even if it was only temporary. It’s impossible to not feel silly when you’re a full-grown adult learning to juggle during a depressive episode.

Depression, anxiety, and all kinds of mood disorders are extremely difficult to manage and I’ve always rolled my eyes whenever people say things like “you should try yoga/exercise” because its not that easy. Everyone has their own way of battling negative emotions, and I’m not suggesting that juggling/whirling is the way to go BUT I am a firm believer in the power of movement. If you’re able to, talking yourself into a couple of minutes of any sort of movement might inspire a little bit of lightness to your day. Even those failed cartwheel attempts from today brought some joy because its impossible for three full-grown adults to not feel silly while attempting failed cartwheels on a public beach.

The entire “whirling” story is more detailed but if you’re interested, I wrote about it in this older post https://aimeetheramblinwoman.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/north-carolina-to-utah/


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