Today was my 15th anniversary of living my authentic life.
What prompted me to do it after thirty-seven years of life living in it? For that, I defer to a short piece I wrote in a "Prompt Writing" session I participated in a couple of years ago. (Readers who have been reading for a long time will have already read this.)
The facilitator said, "Pick up your pens. I'm going to give you a prompt, and you have 15 minutes to write without stopping, without editing, just keep on writing. At the end you'll have to the opportunity to share what you've written with the group, only if you want to. Ready? The prompt is, 'Write about running away.' Begin."
|I ran away into my intended life on August 5, 1978. That's when I married—a woman. It was like I went through a door—a closet door—that had a sign on it that said, "Your Expected Life." |
For 16 years I worked as hard as I could, with the greatest of intentions. I intended to have a good relationship with my wife—and I did—well, all except the sex. My wife and I grew together—we shared life goals and life dreams, and we were good friends. Our families and all our friends remarked on our remarkable marriage. And I intended to honor my marriage vows, of being faithful—and I did—for 16 years.
I intended to be successful professionally—and I was. I had the job at IBM. I had the $200,000 house while still in my twenties, and I intentionally drove around in my BMW.
The years passed and those intentions began to wear me out. I got tired. I got real tired. And then, one day, riding home from IBM to that $200,000 house in that BMW, I wondered, "Is there any way that I could drive this "ultimate performance machine" into that ravine in such a way that I could be sure I wouldn't have to live with an 'intending to die' for the rest of my life?"
That was my turning point. That was the day I decided to live my authentic life. And I look forward now, thinking, "Thank god that I didn't live my entire life here with only good intentions."
We left Durham at 3:00 for the drive to Charlotte and our 6th annual Queen City Stomp. Two-and-a-half fun, fun days of line-dancing and two-stepping with cowboys and cowgirls from across NC-SC-TN-GA.
We arrived between 5:30 and 6:00, and after checking in a registration, spent a little while at the Welcome Reception in the Sheraton hospitality suite, where we had munchies, such as chips and dips, veggies and dips, Chex mix, Gold Fish, and small candy look Tootsie Roll bars and Dots. Oh yeah, and the free beer and spiked punch. The potency of the punch (or lack thereof) was a topic of discussion.
As for Raleigh folks, Ernie, Wayne, Chris, and (photog) Rob were there.
The dancing started at 8:00, but we didn't walk over to The Eagle until a little after 9:00. When we arrived a very long lesson for a couple's dance was in progress. When it was done, Robert and I participated in the next one, not because we were overly enthusiastic about it, but in case, it too, was long, we'd at least be doing something.
It was a full night of dancing, and it definitely picked up once I found a fan that wasn't pointed up over everyone's head and in front of which I could stand.
I did a lot of two-stepping, mostly as a lead (unfortunately) as most of the Raleigh leads did not attend this year. I did a fair number of line dances; I'm capturing them for posterity:
- Tush Push
- Circle Jerk
- Barn Dance
- Annie's Cha-Cha
- Georgia Winder
- Chill Factor
- The Train
- Hideaway Cha
- Boot Scootin' Boogie
- Midnight Waltz
There was also the traditional "Meet & Greet Two-step" where all the leads line up on one side of the dance floor and all the follows on the other, and where the line meets, you grab the next person and two-step down the floor with them, rejoining the line at the end. I spent some time in the lead line and some time in the follow line. It went on for two or three songs. Fun way to dance with a lot of different people, and to meet the people who at least do more than grunt when you say hello.
The dancing went until 2:00AM. We left at about 1:30. Fun night.