Dance, sing, love. How often have we used these words but not fully given ourselves to experiencing them?
I was cleaning out some files and came across a card I must have purchased years ago. Clearly I intended to send it to someone in particular, though I have no idea who that might have been. Yet the card’s message is a reminder of what is most precious and so easily forgotten as we power through day after hectic day.
At a busy transitional stage in my own little world — full-blown empty nest and few ties to keep me where I am — these words are exceptionally well timed for me personally.
The full text reads:
Dance as though no one is watching, sing as though no one can hear you, love as though you have never been hurt before.
I’ve heard a variation or two on this theme, and no doubt, so have you. What is important: The meaning of these words, to live as fully and joyfully as we can, is essential to quality of life.
How often are we self-conscious in our actions as we anticipate that the eyes and judgment of others are upon us? Doesn’t this inhibit our capacity to dance, to shout out in celebration, to express ourselves with carefree exuberance? Isn’t this sense of constraining propriety or fearfulness of criticism part of why adults gaze back wistfully at childhood?
You will run across some versions of the quote I began with that include a line that alludes to living fully. I prefer the three-part variation that I have cited, and when it comes to an all-encompassing expression of living life to its utmost, I turn to a quote by the bawdy and bodacious Mae West as I can almost hear her reminding us that:
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
As for loving as though you’ve never been hurt before, most of us struggle to do so once we have been hurt.
In my own amorous adventures, I’ve never been able to jump from man to man; any significant relationships always required a sort of palate cleanser, and depending on circumstances, a considerable period of time before daring to put a toe in the waters once again. Naturally, as I grow older, I am even more reticent to do so.
I have fewer opportunities to meet people, and when I do, I confess, I feel less able to extend myself, and yes, less confident. Besides… Knowing what is involved in establishing and growing a relationship leaves me hesitant to even begin, and having been hurt, though of course I tell myself we’ve all been there, leaves me wary.
I know that I prefer my life populated, shared, active — if less active physically than when I was 30, certainly active when it comes to new ideas and new places, a willingness to explore, a desire for a passionate and tender meeting of the minds… and more.
That means I must be willing to dance, to sing, to love.
Even if I do so with trepidation.
I think she captured it beautifully.
Image of Mae West, circa 1927, Public Domain
You May Also Enjoy