I Hope You Dance

melissa curtin Oct 13, 2021

One of my dear friends turned 60 a few weeks ago. To celebrate this milestone, she rented a lovely house on Bald Head Island in North Carolina for a week and invited her girlfriends to join the celebration whenever they could. 

The eight friends who came ranged in age from 49 – 71, each having been a witness to her life within these 60 well-lived years: her beloved sister, her stepmother since childhood, a friend from her teen years whom she met when she was a server at their hometown restaurant, four of us who met her during our corporate tenures, and her newest friend with whom she has shared the painful ending of a marriage. 

Just as in life, each friend arrived on the island right on time, one amazing woman after the other trickling in the door for a total of nine women.

Our days were filled with walks and bike rides, a tour of the island by golf cart, some shopping, and of course sitting on the beach basking in the sun and listening to the waves. 

I’ll speak for myself, but I have a hunch that some, if not all of us, enjoyed our coffee time in the morning and watching the sun go down on the ocean in the evening as our favorite times of the day. 

There was cooking, a puzzle, books and magazines, oracle cards, and even a dance class one morning when the dining room table was moved out of the way to make room for a group sweat. 

We talked, and talked, and talked. And just when we thought we couldn’t talk anymore, we talked some more. 

And we laughed. I haven’t laughed that much or that deeply since I can’t remember when. 

One of THE best things in life is a good belly laugh!

As we all reminisced and shared the highlight reels of our journeys through the years, I was in awe listening to the countless reinvention stories that poured from these women. 

We talked about careers, retirement, marriages, divorces, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, ageing, loss in countless ways, and of course, our hormones! 

We also talked about our hopes, dreams, and desires for the years ahead, all blanketed by a silent prayer that we and our loved ones remain healthy. 

Throughout these conversations, I heard a consistent thread of wisdom and felt the sacred knowing that can only be gained through experiencing the great dance of life. 

None of these women is the type to sit on the sidelines at the dance. Every single one of us has lived our lives in the center of the dance floor. 

(One woman, with literally no dance experience in her life, became a fitness dance instructor at age 49!)

As I write this, I am reminded about the Lee Ann Womack song, I Hope You Dance, that came out amid my move from Colorado to New York in 2000. 

I was having a hard time deciding if I should accept the job I had been offered in NYC because my daughter was four years old at the time and we had moved from Denver, CO to Glenwood Springs, CO just nine months before. Plus, moving across the country to the Big Apple as a single mom was a huge professional and personal leap for me in every way.

I remember the day I was driving home from work and heard the song, I Hope You Dance, on the radio. I knew at that moment that I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity. 

I never wanted to look back and wonder why I had sat this one out, and I also knew that part of my job as a mother was to teach this little girl how to dance. 

This song became my anthem when the “WTF are you doing?!?” thoughts would try to take me down.

This decision was one of many that led to the birthday bash so many years later with these incredible women. 

On our last night at the beach house, the Birthday Queen went around the table and shared a bit about how each of us has touched her life along the way. 

As she did, she radiated such love from her heart to the hearts of her friends as she handed each of us a silk pouch that held a polished black stone imprinted with the word GRATITUDE. 

Gratitude is what I feel for the gift she gave all of us that week. I’m grateful beyond words to my friend for inviting me to celebrate her special birthday and to every one of the beauties at the party.

Thank you, ladies. Until our paths meet again, keep dancing!

Think back on a time in your Reinvention Adventure when you could have chosen to sit on the sidelines but instead, you chose to dance. 

How did that choice change the trajectory of your life at that point in time? 

Feel free to share it with me. I’m really loving reading your responses. 


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