New Year, Really!

New Year'sWhat 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’.”

New Year

 

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23 Comments

  1. Thomas Nola

    Hey Roger,
    Happy Happy New Year
    How about Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing? That James Brown tune was one of my absolute favorites.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Happy New Year to you, Tom, and Marvin Gaye belongs in any collection of listening and dancing songs. Aren’t sexual and spiritual healing one and the same?
      Will you still sit next to me in church if I start to boogaloo during opening prayer?
      Thanks for reading and commenting even if you move across the aisle!
      Roger

      Reply
  2. Colette

    Dancing of any sort is good for the body and soul. May you launch your new year with such resolution, and may you be open to and enjoy all the magic and mystery that will unfold as a result. I love your image of an obedient son, Jesus, breakdancing before and after performing a miracle in response to his mother’s entreaty. It lifts my spirits to read your lighthearted and hopeful piece. Thank you for sharing this and all your other writings of this past year, always inviting us, your readers, to come along on your journey, as you explore your heartfelt questions and your quest for answers. We look forward to more in the coming new year. Dance and write on, mon ami!

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Colette,
      Thank you for responding to the “invitation!” Yes,dancing is good “for the body and soul,” and I will carry that thought with me as I inevitably look over my shoulder to see if anyone’s watching, God forbid, as I break into a modified two-step. I’m going to keep a journal of places, tunes–real or of my own composition, and duration of the dance–all for humoring myself when I retire and look for something to read while awaiting my turn on the shuffleboard court!
      Happy New Year,
      Roger

      Reply
  3. Carmen Apodaca

    I want to see this. It is a great thought. I thought Jerry Seinfeld had a great idea when he made a bucket list and then changed the b to f and he was done. That’s how I view resolutions. However day by day commitments to take care of myself by enjoying life some how sounds great. I want to see more movies. Paint more paintings and sing. Happy New Year. Bu the way did you get some dancing shoes for Christmas?

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Carmen,
      A great way to deal with the urge to fill the bucket with unreasonable expectations. More movies, painting, and breaking into random singing all sound marvelous. Yes, I did order red dancing shoes from OZzies Footwear in Salina, Kansas. Unfortunately when the package arrived they’d sent red slippers several sizes too small. The return of the red shoes to the Kansas address is complicated but they guarantee satisfaction even during inclement weather!
      Happy New Year and thanks for responding,
      Roger

      Reply
  4. Ted

    Should I ask the pastor to have people stand for the Lord’s Prayer? That would make it a little easier for you to pull off the “between the pews” portion of your resolution. I have a connection.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Ted,
      I have been working on my discrete and subtle footwork for those occasions when the urge hits me while seated in public, but any connections you have are welcome.
      Happy New Year,
      Roger

      Reply
  5. Sue White

    I have to admit … I’m having a little trouble picturing this, but it sounds like a great way to start off the New Year!

    Maybe you can get crowds of people to join you wherever you are – I’ve seen some YouTube videos of people doing all around the world.

    It was truly amazing – and joyous! Now, I’ll think of you whenever I see one of those videos!

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Sue,
      Some ideas are best kept at the thinking-it-through stage, not this one! That said I doubt your reluctant disciple is going to be in the middle of a flash-dance, although I wouldn’t run from it! Thanks for reading my words and commenting–much appreciated.
      Happy New Year!
      Roger

      Reply
  6. Anne

    So I had a smile the whole way through your piece. I’ve come to realize (post stage 4 diagnosis) that it is more than okay to dance with spontaneity when we want. I recently went to a formal holiday ball and very early in the evening no one was on the dance floor. They played one of my favorite songs and a hotel server was the only one there, dancing by herself. So I joined her. Before cancer, I would have not done this because my mind would have been on the potential awkwardness of it all, or that uncomfortable feeling of drawing attention to myself. But post-cancer (especially my 9th year of this perpetual holding pattern between remission and recurrence, I want to tap into more of what frees and refreshes my soul, and what delights me down to the cell level. It requires daily intentionality, taking restraining thoughts and habits captive, and sparking what the cares of this world (the daily grind) tend to snuff out. So, dear Roger, I hope you dance! (I think that is actually the name of a song.) And, I hope you keep writing! Your persuasive pen (or keyboard) leaves “beauty marks” here and there, and they cause me to ponder cool stuff.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Anne,
      Thank you for reading, commenting, and your kind words of encouragement. Your anecdote about the “formal holiday ball” where you joined the only dancer on the floor is inspiring, and far and away surpassed by 9 years into remission! Please, keep smiling, tapping “into more of what frees and refreshes [your] soul, and what delights [you]. I will continue to write, gratefully enjoy a wonderful profession, and now…dance, dance, and dance some more.
      My wishes for another day of remission followed by another then another with more to come as you smile, dismiss awkwardness, and listen to whatever taps on your soul’s door.
      Happy New Year,
      Roger

      Reply
  7. Dona

    Dancing through 2018- what a great idea! What fun just thinking about! Also, the endorphins generated would be very helpful in “living fully into 2018 whatever it brings.”

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Dona,
      Thank you for reading and responding, and fun to think about dancing, BUT what if we listened to the music in all our souls while doing the mundane–brushing our teeth, turning the key in the car’s ignition, watering plants, showering, or more important, writing a response to Dona, and we allowed ourselves to connect with the music we each have in our souls? I wonder how much better our lives might “feel,” and though I’m making a not-so-private commitment what might the larger picture be if we danced more and kvetched less?
      Happy New Year,
      Roger

      Reply
  8. Giny Chandler

    “And I am the Lord of the Dance said He” Dance away!

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Giny,
      The piper may have called and be calling IDK, but the day after “tomorrow will be my dancing day!” Thanks for reading, commenting, and perhaps joining in the dance!
      Happy New Year,
      Roger

      Reply
  9. roger marum

    A California friend of many years recommended I see “The Greatest Showman” about P.T. Barnum, and not because I might learn some dance steps (he’s never seen me dance), although he may have had that in mind, but because he and his wife thought it a well choreographed movie and Hugh Jackman did a great job. I certainly hope my dancing creates a three ring circus [only] in my mind–I did, however, pick up a bag of sawdust, you know, just in case the circus calls!
    Roger

    Reply
  10. Gary Lievre

    Great I hope you keep this resolution can’t wait to see your fancy steps just don’t try to dance on my ceiling I don’t want to have to Call 911. Fantastic piece.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      They may be finely honed by March when I see you, but maybe not. Is your ceiling slick?
      Roger

      Reply
  11. Bud

    First, have a Happy New Year. Second, I could do some of the things you envisioned but I might tire of them just as I do resolutions. Maybe I will try and see what happens.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Happy New Year too!! My reach always extends beyond my grasp (thanks Bobby and whomever), and though I tire as well I’m excited to see what happens!
      Thanks Bud, and don’t worry about the coffee table–it can be replaced!
      Roger

      Reply
  12. Jo Anne Kurman

    You really got your readers going on this one, Roger. It was a fun read and fun to imagine you breakin’ the moves. I like the Happy Dance myself. One funny thing, instead of Resolutions or Goals, at the top of the page I write Decisions. Weird, huh? You know, thinking about it, the bolder my “decisions” have been over the years on the Eve..well, those are the ones I’ve accomplished. Some took 20 years to get ’em done. The smaller, not so much.

    Reply
    1. yourrel4 (Post author)

      Jo Anne,
      Nothing weird about decisions, although some of the ones I’ve made I’d like back! Let’s be bold and risk takers in 2018, fearlessly make decisions, and be gentle with ourselves when mistakes occur. Thanks for spending time with my words and commenting.
      Roger

      Reply

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