20 Sep Joy and the Hippie Chick
The other night I went out with a group of mom’s and our kids to celebrate the beautiful weather and the end of a very long week. We had a great time! The children behaved well and we all got to take a breath and catch up about what’s been happening in our lives. One thing I’m noticing about this age is that shit gets real. Nearly all of the women I know are going through some version of the same story: we have either lost a parent or are caring for one. We are raising children. Our career is at a level of success where it is demanding and we have a high level of responsibility either as a business owner or an employee. We have either been through a divorce, are in the process of divorce or are trying to maintain a happy, functioning multi-decade marriage – none of which is easy. We have been touched by cancer either personally or someone we love. We have experienced the death of friends, relatives and beloved pets. Basically there is a weight or a seriousness about our lives right now and it kind of happened without us noticing.
This became apparent as we were leaving the restaurant. It was a beautiful evening outside and there was live music playing and twinkle lights. There was no way seven little girls were getting in the car with that happening. So the moms plopped down at a picnic table while the girls went to dance. As we sat we saw her. The hippie chick. She couldn’t have been more than twenty. She and her boyfriend “Man-bun” were singing the beautiful music. She was barefoot, bra-less and dancing with reckless abandon. Her beauty was both awe-inspiring and upsetting. As I was staring at her I heard the first comment, “How nice to be twenty. It’s easy to be skinny when you are that young.” I quipped back, “It’s not that she is skinny it’s that she is so happy.” and we all laughed. But that wasn’t really true. She wasn’t just happy. She was joyful. Deeply joyful. And she was free. Free from all of the reality and responsibility that we were feeling burdened by. In that moment we all had a longing to feel that way – us before we had to be grown ups. It was obvious she and Man-bun were madly in love. Part of the boundless joy she was exuding was no doubt a result of the constant hot sex they were inevitably having (which was another comment from the group.)
Although the comments may sound catty they really weren’t. It wasn’t jealousy we were feeling. It was more shock at the realization that every one of us has been her at one point in our lives. We had all been wild, free and joyful. How had we become tired picnic bench sitters? How much better would it feel to be young again out there shaking it with Man-bun? Just then, as if an answer to a prayer, our girls came running over with outstretched hands asking us to dance. And we did! We left our purses, car keys, mortgages, PTA meetings, marital situations, work deadlines, sick parents and unwashed laundry mountains on that picnic table and we danced like our lives depended on it. We may not have been bra-less and barefoot but we were free and joyful and it felt great.
Joy is a choice. It’s one I need to make daily. Sometimes I’m so busy being a grown up I forget that.
So thank you hippie chick. Thank you for inspiring me and reminding me that no matter how serious life gets, I am one dance a way from my young, wild self and I can feel that way anytime I want to!