Nan Graham Ford 2

Nan Graham Ford – Dancing My Way Through Midlife

Nan Graham Ford Your Stories 4 Comments

Nan Graham Ford 2I found my true self beginning finally at age 56.

Nan’s Transformation began with losing my career/job and discovering how hard it was to find any other persons willing to hire me at age 56.  That difficult situation turned out to be my wonderful new beginning.  YEAH!

Who am I was my regular question on a daily basis.  Soon after, a friendship that I thought was one for life ended abruptly after 10 years.  With where I was at the time, I had come to believe I was my ‘work’ and ‘my friendships.’ Well with both gone, again, ‘Who is Nan?’

The exciting thing was that left me open to begin to discover the answer in all new ways.  I began to dance NIA with a group of women and an incredible teacher.  This was totally foreign to me as I had always been told, and believed, I wasn’t coordinated enough to ever be able to dance, much less with others around.  The dance teacher, Nancy Whitlock, taught the classes with a love of movement, and in an entirely new way for me.  She allowed me to sit down when needed, move only as I felt able to, and encouraged me in it all.  NIA was the style of dance. I grew to love not only to dance, but also Nancy and all the beautiful women I was fortunate to dance with.  I began to see some hope of loving myself again and perhaps even finding that fun loving, laughing, and joyful soul that I knew was somewhere inside of me.

Never before in my life had I been around so many women who all were very different individuals; however, seemed to have found in each other an acceptance and love I had not seen in any other group of women before.  They boosted my self-esteem each and every time I danced with them and eventually I found myself believing that I, too, was one of them and that I might even be able to dance.  Dancing was only the instrument for the eventual understanding within me, I am enough and I do indeed have something to contribute to this world.  The women in that group bonded with each other and accepted me with love and support I had not ever known or seen in my own life.

I have heard before that we all have ‘a tribe’ that we are part of, and with these women, I have and had indeed found ‘my tribe.’  They became the sisters born of other mothers that I had not ever had before.  I slowly began to see and realize that I was not meant to go back to ‘full-time’ employment.  With the love of my life, Ralph supporting and encouraging me as well as these ‘sisters’, I found part time employment. This situation of work satisfies me and allows me to feel freer than I had ever felt before in my 30 some odd years of full time professional full time employment.

Thanks to all of these women, the love of my life and life partner Ralph, I am now having huge fun exploring ‘what’s next.’  I realize that I can be whomever I decide to be and do whatever I want to do with my time Thank you to the old job that I had ‘quitting me’ when the grant ended, thank you to the friend who was there to teach me what true friendship is and isn’t, and most of all THANK GOD that I found Nancy and NIA and ‘my tribe.’  Life is awesome and better than I ever even knew or imagined it could be, YEAH to my 60’s now and what fun I am having exploring the future opportunities.

Comments 4

  1. I love the way the Universe works to bring people together. And doing it thru dance is the best! I can’t tell you how many friends I have made thru the art of dance. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for writing this, Nan! You have been a treasured friend for many years and I am so fortunate that you invited me to join you for NIA so I could meet these other special women. What would I do without our Tuesday nights together? You are right; this is tribe unlike any other …

  3. Lisa Tjaarda

    Nan! This makes me smile! It is indeed amazing how the twists and turns in our lives lead us to these remarkable “finds”…the treasures of loving friendship, self love and appreciation for the life we have now! I would not go back to my youth for anything (unless I could take everything I have learned in my 50’s with me!) Thank you for telling this story!

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