Hey all, my name is Mara Herdrich. I’ve lived my entire 22 years in the Milwaukee, WI area. I am still young, still exploring, still learning, and finding the person that I’m supposed to be. But, don’t let that trick you into underestimating the lessons I’ve learned in these early stages of life.
It didn’t take long after being introduced to the Take Today Community for me to fall in love with the message. Passion and persistence are what is driving this mission toward success; two characteristics that have carried me to where I am today. So, here we go, and I’ll share with you a simple hobby that has instilled in me these values; a hobby that has ultimately transformed the way I view the world.
I started dancing at age two; an activity that I instinctively had to join in on because my older sister had done so first. But as I grew older, the dance studio became my classroom, and it opened up a curriculum of life lessons.
Lesson 1: Beauty is everywhere
Dancing has taught me early on to find beauty in all things. If you haven’t already noticed, the human body is capable of amazing expression and movement. I am so intrigued by dancers who can stand on their heads, or turn 6 times in a row with one leg in the air. But what a lot of people don’t see is the beauty that is perhaps less obvious. That could be the beauty of trees growing in the ground, or our planet orbiting around the sun. It is so important to recognize and protect the beauty of the space that surrounds us, and the beauty of this life on earth.
Lesson 2: We’re not all that different
Sure, we all have unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. However, I have yet to meet somebody who doesn’t need social interaction, validation, and meaningful relationships. Dancing has served as a universal language for me; a lesson on cultural competency by means of movement. You can learn so much about a person just by understanding their story and expression through dance, even if you can’t speak their language. Dance presents an opportunity of connection between people of different descents, ages, religions, and cultures. It turns a world of diversity into one big community; something we should learn to do regularly.
Lastly, Lesson 3: It’s cool to care
Dancing is something that sparks passion in me, and it has brought me to become a more passionate person in general. An opportunity I will never forget is being a part of my college dance team and preparing to compete each year at UDA Nationals. Nothing says “dedication” and “persistence” like 18 college students foregoing their winter break for three weeks just to dance. We practiced nearly 230 hours (yes, I calculated) before competing, just to reach a common goal. Out of this experience, I’ve come to realize I am much more successful in achieving my goals when I am passionate about the process. Thus, if you can, I advise you to find what makes you care so deeply, and create your goals from there. Be passionate about your work, your team, your friends, and reaching your highest potential.
Now, my competitive dance career comes to a close, but I will continue to stand by the lessons it’s taught me for a lifetime. This hobby has shaped a lot of who I am, and has led me to an encouraging future. Currently, I am working on completing a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. Working with people of all abilities to achieve their quality of life is something I find so rewarding. But, the part of my life I am most inspired by is that I am actively learning alongside my classmates, who are equally as driven to make a difference in the lives of others.
With that said, we all have the ability to reach our highest potential. So, in the dawn of each day, I invite you to find what fuels your motivation, to see beauty in all things, make new connections, surprise yourself, and always keep in mind to Take Today.