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Beware of making assumptions based on your past performance and of your own confidence levels!

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Beware the “Highland Fling”

The Backstory:

The Highland Fling is a solo Scottish dance that requires delicate balance, precision, strength and vigour! It is a genre of dance that, being Scottish I learnt at school and indeed, the art of Scottish Country Dancing is in my DNA, including being part of a winning team while a Land Ranger in 1966!

Whenever there is a hint of Scottish music my feet start tapping and I am taken back to my early years of being “vigorous!” And so it was that while visiting friends in Inverloch – no, not Scotland but Victoria, Australia – I was asked to demonstrate the dance to an eager 4yr old. “No problem” I say, although I did mention I did not have the right shoes on. However, once the music began playing, my memory kicked in and off I went, bowing first of course.

Highland Fling Dancer

I waited for the beat and my first minute was fun, then I started to realise that my legs were not so strong as before and the “delicate balance, precision, strength and vigour” were sadly lacking. However, I was determined to show everyone that I still “had it” whatever “it” is but before I knew it, I was starting to turn and where my body went, my foot did not go and THE PAIN!

To cut a long story short, I had seriously pulled my TFL muscle (a hip muscle) and could not bear any weight on my right leg. Thankful to say that, after a visit to A&E to ensure no damage to the hip joint and a couple of rather painful sessions with an excellent Physio, I was able to walk again and after 10 days, was all but healed.

So, was I too confident? Did my assumption of the ability to reclaim a past skill, allow me to conveniently forget that I am now 70yrs old and should be more realistic in my abilities? But I am active, I go to the gym and golf regularly, but with hindsight, very few of these movements are anything like those of a Highland Fling. My overconfidence and probably, vanity were the main culprits to my demise!

The Moral:     

Reclaiming talents and being confident are critically important but beware being unrealistic and assuming that your level of utilising that talent has not changed.

Before agreeing to demonstrate the Highland Fling I would have been better taking into account my existing abilities – what are my present levels of the “delicate balance, precision, strength and vigour” needed? The environment too needed to be considered – I did not take into account the type of flooring in combination with the shoes I had on – and emotionally, I also felt pressure not to let a 4yr old down and did not want to say no!

A safer and less painful option might have been to say; “I don’t think I can do the full dance nowadays but I can show you some of the steps.” We would still have had lots of fun and I would not have taken such a fall!