This past weekend, I found myself on a boat celebrating a friend of a friend’s 50th birthday. Naturally, all of the guests were abuzz with excitement; 50 is the “golden year,” after all. As for me, this was a chance to reconnect with an old friend while making some new ones along the way-and rest assured I took full advantage of both opportunities. A little Cardi B and Bruno Mars, margaritas, and coconut shrimp brought it all together.
As we gathered around to celebrate our guest of honor Mr. Kilby, he recited a few lines from the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack:
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
While I’ve always appreciated this song, the full import of the lyrics didn’t hit me until that very moment, particularly in the context of getting older.
Next year, I will be celebrating a milestone birthday of my own: the big 3-0. On the one hand I cannot help but be grateful that I’ve made it this far when several others I know personally didn’t even get to see 25. However, as 30 approaches I found myself getting a bit discouraged. While my life is far from torturous, it’s not quite what I’ve expected it to be. I suppose it’s the perfectionist in me. In fact, I would bet that many of us have felt that sentiment one way or another at some point. But, as the song says, by never losing our sense of wonder, hunger, faith, gratitude, perspective, and joy, we are more than able to keep dancing through life and reshape it as we see fit so long as there is breath in our bodies and fire in our hearts to do so.
As we sailed toward the Miami skyline just as the sun began to set, among the laughter, music, and revelry… this peace came over me. In that moment, one personal truth became wonderfully clear:
I am confident that as I move through the years, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be at all times, so long as I choose to dance through life rather than sit it out.
It’s a beautiful place to be.