Assuming that I myself am not a paragon of virtue in the lifestyle department, I still firmly believe that the secret to a long, happy life is a combination of eating right, getting exercise, knowing love, and having passion. I've always had my art, and I had some horrible poetry when I was younger, but I know that lots of people do not naturally have something about which they are passionate. And I think lots of people don't put in the work to find that elusive passion, either, but I love the idea of people actively working to bring passion into their lives-- outside of passion for daytime TV and nachos, of course.
So one thing that really makes me happy and makes me laugh at the same time is watching older women join our bellydance class for the first time. These are your typical middle-aged women, lik 45, and most of them are either overweight or skeletal (ie, not curvy), and they do not appear to be very in touch with their femininity in the way that young women are. By which I mean that their exercise clothes are poorly fitting or not flattering, they have unisex/utilitarian hairstyles, they don't wear makeup or baubles. One even routinely wears a tennis visor and big, bulky shoes to enjoy this sensual and passionate dance.
And it's great that they're all encouraging eachother to try bellydance, but... it's so funny. They couldn't find their hips with two hands and an anatomy textbook. They do the side-to-side white person dance when they should be doing shoulder shimmies. They can't shimmy their hips, so they just sort of vibrate in place. When the instructor does hip drops, they look like they're kicking the cat out of the way or trying out for the Rockettes. And heaven help them when they try to do stomach drops or camel walks, because the parts that drop and undulate are not, in fact, the ones that should be dropping and undulating. There is no grace or sensuality whatsoever; they just don't "get it".
But they love it. They all have ridiculous smiles on their faces and twitter like schoolgirls between songs and grab other women by the arm in the locker room and squeal, "You have to try it!!" And they come back the next week with their friends beside them and with garish, fluorescent hip scarves tied tightly around their bellybuttons, like the mom jeans of the bellydance world. And it's wonderful.
So chickaboom to all the bellydance girls out there trying to find their hips. It takes guts to get out there and shake your thang. I salute you!