When you get into hooping it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up to you and asks you this question.
STRANGER: “How long can you hula hoop for?”
ME: “Do you mean waist hooping or hoop dancing? If you just mean hula hooping on your waist, man, I could probably keep a hoop going till I fell asleep!” 🙂
Satisfied with the answer they walk away. In the last few years though, I’ve been asking this question of myself in much broader terms. I mean honestly, “how long CAN I hula hoop for?” I don’t worry about this much in terms of age or physical health but more in terms of personal interest. As I approach my 10 year Hoopiversary this August I keep pondering this question more and more. How long can I hula hoop for, how long will hooping be part of my life? Where my mind takes me is on a journey of the unknown and slightly unsure. How much time should I dedicate to hooping now and days? I mean really, if I’ve been doing it for 10 years is there a time when I should move on to something else?
The tricky part is of course that I’ve made hooping my life; I mean it’s everywhere. It’s my job, it’s my online experience, it’s my social group (spinners/performers), it’s the conversation I have with every person I meet who asks “so, what do you do for a living?”, it’s everything, it’s my life. I work full-time as a performer, an instructor, and a festival organizer and although it’s not uncommon for people to have a career shift in their life, I MADE this career and it IS my life. So how is a career shift supposed to work? How would that even look? Could I even stand a 9-5? What kind of employer would be interested in hiring an ex ‘professional hula hooper’?
Even with all the work elements aside, sometimes I consider the skill set side of things. If you think about it, if I stopped hooping and focused on something else I could dedicate myself to another hobby and in a few years would have an entirely new skill set!! I could spend the next few years learning to become a master chef. I could learn an entirely new language!! I could learn how to play guitar and remove that residual guilty feeling I have from purchasing two guitars in my life and never having learned how to play either of them. The hoop taught me how to develop a skill, it taught me how to teach myself. Shouldn’t I use that information to teach myself other skills I’m interested in? Wait? What else AM I interested in? Sometimes I forget the other hobbies I used to enjoy because hooping is so damn amazing that it basically took over my life.
Sometimes my mind goes the other way, back into the hoop; thinking that I should be practicing more or drilling all the new tricks. I mean really, if I have been hooping for 10 years shouldn’t I be really, really, really good??! Like RIDICULOUSLY good? Shouldn’t I know all the tricks? Shouldn’t I be able to do all the tricks in both directions, in every different dance style? Sigh. Clearly I know that’s not what hooping is about… But still I wonder. The truth is, I haven’t really gotten any “better” in the last for 4-5 years. Sometimes I wish I’d dedicate more time to my practice and keeping up with new moves. At the same time, I’m pretty happy with my skills. I like that I can put on a few songs and jam out and feel good with what I’ve got for my flow. In my heart I know that we don’t have to learn EVERY trick.
Lastly, if I did decide to stop living the hoop life, picked a different career choice, and shifted my time and energy to another interest… Will ANYTHING in my life ever be as amazing as hooping has been!??!? The journey has been incredible. When I first got into hooping it hit me like a train in the backside, catapulting me into an entirely different daily life, community of friends, and thought pattern. I can’t imagine anything else; with the exception of maybe birthing another human person, ever being that impactful on my life. Will everything pale in comparison to the hoop for the rest of my life?
I’m sorry, this article is really jut a bunch of questions and doesn’t offer any solutions, but perhaps it can start a dialogue on these other, less talked about hoopy feelings. With the transfer of Hoop City I’ve felt a pull toward creating more content for long-term hoopers. There are TONS of resources for those who have only been hooping a short time but less information about what the coming years have to offer. If you would like to join in this conversation, I’ll be posting a series of articles around this topic on this blog. To keep in touch please join our Facebook Group, share your experience and comments below and tag your hoop friends that may be at a similar point in their hoop journey.
Much love, I’ve missed you all.