From Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels: “We don’t go on because we’re ready; we go on because it’s 11:30.”
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During my late 20s, when I first dreamed of going around the world, I had hoped to share the experience with a companion, not from any romantic notion but because I was afraid to go alone. Many of my friends loved the idea of traveling around the world but were not prepared to act on it. For me, the call to go was so strong, to ignore it would have guaranteed a life of emotional torment: I imagined myself an old woman, lamenting how I had not followed my dream, and how that decision, in turn, created a blueprint for a timid, shrunken life.
The potency of that vision overshadowed the fears that had been holding me back.
Ten years later, at age 39, I took myself around the world.
Had I waited – for someone to finally say, “I’ll go with you” – I’d still be waiting.
I grew up in an era where a “nice girl” didn’t step out onto a dance floor unless someone escorted her. Sometimes a boy; sometimes as a “fall back,” you’d dance with your girlfriends.
Fast forward: adulthood. At black-tie events, where coworkers brought significant others, when the music started I wished for someone to dance with. Had one of my male colleagues not been with a wife or girlfriend I would have had no problem asking him.
Dance is a lifelong love. It gives me joy, fills me up. Too many times I’ve denied myself that joy when a great band was playing and all the couples headed toward the dance floor.
Bust a Move
Then one day 10 years ago I attended a cocktail event. Wore this amazing beaded dress – perfect for getting my groove on. I sat at a table filled with couples. One woman gave her husband “permission” to dance with me. Weird on so many levels. I didn’t enjoy it. I was being polite and so was he.
Then I noticed the wife’s mother. In her early 90s, she wore a bright red suit. With her eyes closed, she boogied along the full perimeter of the dance floor, even behind the bandstand, in total bliss. The entire room kept watch to ensure she didn’t trip.
The crowd’s secondary observation: Pure joy. With herself. Riveted, I thought, what are you doing sitting at this table? It’s Motown. Get your butt up and dance.
Now whenever I hear a favorite groove, no matter where I am – grocery store, taco stand, on a sidewalk when a tune blares from an open car window – I dance.
I’m not waiting to be asked.
I’m not waiting. Period.
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