“What and how much had I lost by trying to do what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
You know the kind of dancing I avoid the most? The kind where everyone gets up and does the same thing in a coordinated way. The Hussle, the Electric Slide, the Macarena… you get the idea. And it’s not because I’m especially magnificent doing my own dance moves. I’m a Clydesdale dancing amongst Fillies out there. But I find the group participation dances to be a great time to get another drink.
We dance with the shortness of life, conforming as we must because we’re social beings and dependent on one another to survive and thrive. But why should we fall in line when we can follow our own path? Why do what’s expected of us in this brief spark of independence before we rejoin infinity?
The more I recognize the chafing between expectations and personal direction, the more I encourage others to break free and dance to their own beat themselves. Not a celebration of reckless behavior (you can’t be swinging around like a wild man on the dance floor), but a nod to find your own rhythm and way of expressing it. We’ve all lost so much time already, haven’t we? Get out there and dance already. But do it in your own way.