Hi, I’m a Millennial. There, I said it. I’m glad we got that out of the way, because despite this culturally persecuted aspect of who I am, I am also a hooper. But what exactly does it mean to be a hooper ostensibly lost in the pool of often confused and downtrodden millennials? It means I have a home to turn to when I find myself feeling overwhelmed. When I’m craving connection. When I’m craving a sense of security - something that effectively escapes me frequently throughout the day when I begin thinking about the mountain of student debt weighing down on me. My hoop is always there to hug me while dancing away my worries, and having this as a tool has proven life-altering while trying to navigate these tempestuous gen-y waters.
We, as millennials, are facing countless struggles largely unheard of in previous generations. We are well on our way to becoming the most educated, yet most underpaid generation in history. On average, we are making about 10% less than the median wages reported in 2000 – and that was almost twenty years ago - which means that when inflation is taken into consideration, is absolutely abysmal. This wage gap, however, is not only reflected among college attendees. Many who didn’t attend college are experiencing an even greater wage adversity because of the decline in the various jobs they tend to take on like manufacturing, etc… While these financial and economic woes are significant, it is just as critical to recognize that gen-y is struggling with the highest levels of clinical depression, anxiety, and stress than any other generation did at the same age. On top of it all, we are in the midst of a shifting, volatile political atmosphere, and are continually criticized, gaslighted, and attacked by many people in older generations who claim we are lazy, entitled, self-absorbed… the list goes on. All of these factors, when combined, invariably lead to the identity crises many of us are experiencing.
So how do we deal when these realities come crashing down around us? We hoop, of course! Yet it is also important to keep in mind that many of us are not just hoopers – we are yogis, we meditate, we are music lovers and adventurers, we are teachers, we are travelers, and we have a thirst for knowledge. All of these activities and qualities have something tremendously important in common, though – community. The hoop community itself is especially incredible, and I have witnessed so many amazing things being a part of it over the last seven years. The sense of connection and acceptance that comes from being a part of this circle (pun intended ;), is unique and magical. We create instantaneous, loving connections with people from all walks of life, all over the world, simply because we all adore these small plastic circles. How entirely peculiar and enchanting? We lift each other up, offer our knowledge, and provide a space to truly let go of any misconceptions about who we think we are and should be, allowing us to ultimately be our truest selves. For within the unique flow of dancing with a hoop, we are able to experience a truly raw, authentic part ourselves that many of us never knew existed before we found hooping.
Hooping provides such a beautiful way to fill our cups and therapeutically address many emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual challenges and limitations both as an individual and as a society. Whether it assists with depression, weight loss, confidence, connection, etc…, our hoop is an amazing healing tool, and when we use it with this intention it has the ability to create focus and passion in our lives, extending far beyond the surface of simple play. It hones our reflexes and ability to find solutions, which are vital qualities in these tumultuous times. We have also continued to alter the inherent desire for wealth from one rooted in the material to one in the experiential, and while that is not exclusive to the spin community, there is definitely a correlation between the two. We continuously find ways to shift the paradigm we are living in as a generation, and being a part of a community such as hooping or spinning multiplies the motivation and inspiration we experience on a daily basis, thereby increasing our ability to create a better world to live in.
Navigating our place in the world as millennials can certainly be challenging given the backlash we experience from other generations while trying to thrive and carve a new path for society to walk. We have an advantage, however, when we surround ourselves with communities that inspire us to be our best selves. Underestimating the value of connection and its essential role in a prosperous society has proven a key reason we are experiencing such a turbulent era, but with this realization, we regain the power to re-connect with our fellow humans and show the world what it means to be compassionate and understanding. The equity we can create when we enter this mindset of connectedness is unparalleled. Hooping should not be taken for granted, no matter how far we may stray from it at various points in our lives. Even if we may wander from the physical practice at times, our tool belt remains more stocked because of it, which invariably betters the actual practice of being our best selves in everyday life. Remember your newfound tools, friends, and use them. This community is always here to support us when we need it.
***Amber Lane of Boundless Movement & Healing Arts is a general lover-of-life and hoop enthusiast. After being diagnosed with degenerative disc disease at the age of 17, she entered the world of bodywork and healing. She discovered the hoop and meditation in 2010 when she was 19 and instantly fell in love, not only because they boosted her self-confidence to new highs, but also because these modalities magically healed her chronic pain. Life since then has been a whirlwind of learning and sharing self-healing techniques and manifesting the life of her dreams. She is now a Licensed Massage Therapist, and through Boundless Movement she hopes to help others in their journeys to health and true happiness through bodywork, self-healing, and personal transformation.