It seems impossible, but just like that… it’s the end of the year again. I’m sitting in a massage chair, with my feet soaking in a foot spa waiting for a pedicure; contemplating life. It’s just what you do at this time of the year. You think about the year gone by, and start dreaming about the year ahead.
On the TV screen above me I notice the original music video of Dancing Queen playing in a merciless loop. I haven’t heard it in a while- and I’m not sure if it’s the fumes of the nail polish remover or the immortal lyrics of the song, but I’m finding the moment rather intoxicating.
Where was I when I first heard this song? And where am I now? It’s a classic that fills me with a sense of freedom; young and sweet only seventeen. Confident and free.
I pause and make a decision- if I had to select a soundtrack for next year, it should be this one. I want to make a commitment to be always be like Dancing Queen. To move through life with a commitment to authenticity. To continue growing and unwrapping the very core of who I am – my values and my views – and to honour that in everything I do.
I look back over the years and at the amount of times I was timid on the dance floor, or the times I didn’t make the dance floor at all. The times I’ve tried to be someone else in order to fit in with the crowd- to be a different type of mother, or a different type of partner. I reflect on career decisions that may have ‘made sense’, but ultimately didn’t make me happy. Adventures that made NO sense, but that would have brought me joy.
This year has been a bold one. I followed my heart and made some big choices. I challenged myself in ways that were long overdue; I set goals that seemed totally unattainable. I leaped with faith into a relationship that made no logical sense, and discovered the love of my life.
And although I can’t say that I’ve arrived at any kind of destination, what I can say is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Just through being real, a little bit less fearless and a whole lot more ‘me’. It’s only taken me 38 years! But then again, it’s better than staying buried for a lifetime.
When I look at my growing boys, if I have one hope for their futures, is that they would learn how to live authentically- that they not fear risks because of the opinions of others, that they take chances even when the crowd watching doesn’t get it.
There is a great peace that comes from being raw and real. From putting up boundaries of what you will no longer tolerate, and from pursuing happiness in ways that others might even find confusing. In a world where so many people are shallow and uncertain, there is great satisfaction in being exactly who you want to be.
My partner and I have six boys between us, and this morning we were discussing how incredibly different all their little personalities are. It seems when you’re a kid, being yourself comes naturally. Kids don’t apologise for being who they are, and they seem to accept with ease that they are special.
My eight year old walked out of the bathroom yesterday with his hair slicked sideways in a mafia part, like he owned the world. I sung out from the kitchen and told him he looked handsome, to which he casually replied, “I know”.
I hope their sense of worth never changes. In fact, it’s my New Year’s Resolution: for our boys to never stop realising that the ‘prize’ lies within. They are special- just as they are. Because the great adventure of life isn’t about what you can ‘take’ from the world, but what you can bring to it.
We want out children to grow up in a home where there’s always room for them on the dance floor, no matter what crazy moves they want to make. I can’t teach them that if I spend my life standing fearfully like a wall flower at the back of the room.
My blue nail polish is drying and I’m estimating that we are now on about the eighteenth loop of Dancing Queen. But I’m good with it- since I have nominated it my soundtrack of 2018. A tune to remind me the importance of never straying from my authentic self, to honour the things that make me happy, to pursue my passions and be more daring with my decisions.
I wish you all an incredible New Year; and I dare you to pick an empowering soundtrack, and to dance boldly to your own song in 2018.