Often, when I mention that I take ballet classes, this is people’s reaction, whether they say it outright, or nod politely while their facial expressions say it. So, I might as well get it out of the way. Am I too old for dreams of being a prima ballerina? Yes. Am I too old to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of ballet? Absolutely not.

The thing is, ballet makes me happy. It also makes me angry, frustrated and irritated, but mostly, it makes me happy. I took ballet as a child, from ages 8 through 18. I was not able to take classes while in college, and the next few years were full with looking for work, moving out-of-state, and starting my career. So eight years later, I was quite a bit overweight, and always in search of an exercise routine I could stick to. Then one day, one of my students looked at the pictures I had on my “Meet the Teacher” board and said, “You used to take ballet?” I answered that I did and that I kind of missed it actually. Then she told me that the studio she attended offered adult ballet classes as well. Actually, her exact words were “classes for old people.” I enrolled that summer.

It’s definitely difficult, as my body is not the same as it was when I was 18. Also, I’ve moved from exclusively taking the adult class to taking the regular curriculum classes, which means I dance with teenagers. I am literally twice the size and age of many of my classmates. Still, as frustrating as it is to remember what I used to do and now struggle with, I love ballet. For me, it sure beats going to the gym, and according to former students and family members, I am a much nicer person when I have dance in my life.

So unless I am too old to be healthy and happy, I am not too old for ballet. Items 12-17 on the list, here I come!