That’s a photo of one of the postcards I created and ordered last year (www.zazzle.com is so fun, by the way). I write love and encouragement notes for my coaching clients and mail them before a class starts or throughout our work together. The phrase “Don’t be afraid to sit in the front row of your life” popped up on several Pinterest boards of people I follow and I have adopted it.
I love the serendipity of life intersecting with my blog posts — it’s the best! Every summer, my husband and I try to go to a couple of live shows in our area. A lot of times, they’re bands we’ve followed since we were kids and they’re rolling through several dates across the U.S., spreading nostalgia and maybe a few new singles. It’s fun for us to hear the songs we still love and to see and hear the synchronicity of a group of performers who have played together for two decades or more.
When the commanding drum beat of The Go Go’s single “We Got The Beat” called out to my 10 year old soul at Champ’s Rollerdrome in 1982, I put down that square piece of concession stand pizza and heeded the call of the hardwood. I’d skate circle after circle, posturing in my mind as Belinda Carlisle, even though I was trapped in an Izod shirt and Calvin Klein jeans, that in hindsight, felt like Spanx. The Go Go’s: a band made up of all girls — no boys at all. And they were pretty and talented, as well as kind of naughty and bawdy, too. My people.
Last night, we went to see The Go Go’s (and the B-52’s — also a super fun act) in Cincinnati, OH for the third time in our marriage. We went a couple of years ago and it was fun; the music was great and my husband caught a guitar pick. I always buy us solid seats; they’re not premium, but we get pretty close.
I can remember, though, looking at the people in the front rows of the orchestra pit and thinking, “that’s where I want to be — up there with the people singing along and dancing unabashedly.” The seats among my peers who would rather stand still and sway a little (or tell others “down in front” to sit down) are okay, but I’m a front-of-the-house girl. I don’t need the beer to drop the inhibitions; I’m hardwired to set those free on my own.
So, the tickets for this show went on sale right around the time the Treasury Department deposited our tax refund into our bank account. I looked at my usual seating choices. They were sorta what I wanted. And then I asked myself, what would it take to get down in front? Yes, it was about the dollar signs, for sure. We had some discretionary income to do that — and it was much less than I’d thought. The real question was, did I want to claim my seat down in front (Row F, Seat 5)?
AND, did I want to meet the band prior to the show (this was tied into getting the primo ticket)? Well, hell yes I did. A “meet and greet” is something I’d never done before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I spent yesterday kind of flustered and nervous as we drove north on I-71 and segued from our daily responsibilities and current quandaries into rock and roll fantasy land. What if it was disappointing? Was I silly for doing this? And I stopped right there because those questions weren’t setting me up for the experience I could choose to have. Because it is a choice, you know.
What I found was this:
- Life can simultaneously be all parts responsibility, choices, transitions, celebrations, loud singing, and laughing.
- The members of the band were women like me: among them are mamas, partners, daughters, creative entrepreneurs, sisters, and friends.
- I can show up for my family and my work to serve, discuss, listen, decide, protect and love when I offer myself the same, if not higher, level of intention, attention, and presence I give to those other areas of my life.
Last night was about putting my arms around four petite women whose songs still make me so happy and taking a proud photo. It was three hours of dancing and laughing followed by the spectacular lightning storm we got to witness on the drive home. A totally front-row experience all around. And this helps me go about the business of sweeping the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, writing a blog post, doing laundry, and making my son lunch today.
Right now, I am working with an amazing group of women in my 42 Day Jump Start weight loss group. I think that “don’t be afraid to sit in the front row of your life” succinctly captures what I help women do. Without fail, the women who choose to work with me offer up that the reason they’re lending their time, hearts, and minds to my approach is because they have been taking the back seat (or row : ) in their lives for too long. Many of us have been conditioned to think this is what we need to do in order to take care of our families, work, and other responsibilities.
I once held the belief that if I poured my energies into fulfilling those demands in the “right” or “balanced” way, then my own health and happiness would hopefully fit in there somewhere. Except that it didn’t all the time, and that was showing up in the form of exhaustion, extra weight, and the nagging feeling that there was something more in life. And was it okay to feel that way? Or selfish? Or silly? (If you just read those questions and said “yeah, that is selfish and silly,” then you probably want to leave my page now, because that’s not what I’m about.)
I guide women to sit in the front row of life and take excellent care of their bodies; we do this paying close attention to what’s going on in their minds. It’s all at once revelatory, uncomfortable, joyous, frustrating and miraculous. It’s the foundation of a beautiful life and I feel privileged to watch people grow and change when we work together.
So. Are you in the balcony seats of life? That might be a good view, but is it a strain to see what’s happening from there sometimes? What are you hearing? Are you far away because you’d rather not listen? I’m beckoning you from up front; we don’t sit down during songs and we aren’t afraid to bump into each other when we’re dancing. There’s a seat waiting for you.
If your life feels like the lyrics of this song, maybe you and I should spend some time working together. Drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.