What could I commit to doing in 2018 that would be sublimely foolish, out of character and foreign to my comfort zone, and yet be vigorously wholesome, insanely funny, and absurdly pleasure filled? Dangerous territory, Roger, I thought while staring at the newly fallen snow outside my office window.
New Year’s resolutions, when I succumb to the temptation to make them, have frustrated me and failed to bring change in my habits and lifestyle, and therefore I avoid them. Even when they’re well intended and genuine, I rebel against them because I don’t want to be denied, and being told to do anything, even when I’m the “teller,” is likely to meet with resistance—that’s me. I do, however, want more joy and contentment, freshness and sparkle in my 2018 life.
Quit this and embrace that, do less of this and more of that. My “this’s and that’s,” the subjects for new resolve—exercise, food (chocolate excluded, yeah!) and drink, reading and writing, meditating and down-time, etc.—may be similar or different from yours, but we all have them or thoughts of committing to them. They may all be worthy, but even so I end up, perhaps like you, dropping the resolutions, feeling disappointment, guilt and a touch of relief, although not enough to sustain the stalwart pledge I’d made.
“No more!” I exclaimed to no one in the forest beyond the window.
I look around as if someone might be listening—no one is—but I whisper anyway, “I’m going to dance every day of the year in 2018!”
This is not about the cotillion, the cha cha, a rumba, merengue, tango, waltz, a Lindy Hop or a fine-tuned ballet pointe technique. It is about movement – stepping, shuffling, shaking, bobbing and rolling, grunting and sighing – and feeling my soul’s music regardless of whether I’m on key or not. And if self-conscious “chatter” starts to drown out the tune, I’ll sing, hum, or lip sync my way back into the flow.
It could occur in an airport queue, a café while the barista makes my latte, between the pews while parishioners recite the Lord’s Prayer, in front of the fire on Super Bowl Sunday, at Wrigley Field in the bottom of the ninth (Cubs down two but up to bat with no outs and men on second and third), and certainly between appointments in my office—spontaneously and freeing, anywhere and at any time—and therein lies the appeal and magic.
Is this a resolution? Sort of, yes and no. The former because though it feels like great fun to me, it’s a commitment, and the latter because it lacks any smidgeon of should or ought, the too frequent underpinnings of worthy goals.
I close my eyes and channel Fred Astaire’s ceiling dance, John Travolta in Grease or Pulp Fiction, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, and Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek. Already I’m smiling!
And then the irrepressible James Brown appears, center stage singing “Get On Up” as his boundless boogalooing energy lights up the room with “mashed potato” and “funky chicken” moves. I’m sold!
It’s not a stretch for me to envision Jesus in full stride, working up a glorious sweat breakdancing to the cheers of his disciples and other wedding guests at the marriage in Cana, only to be interrupted when his mother grabs his robe and entreats him to do something. “The host has run out of wine!” she declares. The obedient but impatient son pulls off his first public miracle, and once the water in the six stone jars is transformed into “the best wine,” the carpenter from Nazareth acknowledges the applauding crowd of guests by resuming his athletic, eye-popping dance steps.
So: 2018 beware, and as Sam and Dave sang it, “Hold on, I’m comin’.”
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