I Hope You Dance
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.”
The above lines are the opening lyrics for Lee Ann Womack’s, I Hope You Dance. And if there is a wish, a prayer, a blessing, I could offer to young adults, twenty somethings or even Gen Y, it would be these lyrics.
I think when you graduate from college, no one can really prepare you for what is to come. No amount of career planning, support system, and individual stability can truly prepare you for the wild wild west of life post college. One day you’re surrounded by the certainty of college life and then the next day you step into the chaos of the real world. I mean, how does one actually prepare for this? You find yourself either on a career path or looking for one or maybe in graduate school which offers a very different dynamic of the real world from the two former experiences. Then all of a sudden, you’re expected to do adult-like things like pay bills (on time), and know what 401(1)k’s are. And on top of all of it, no one gives you a manual to figure this out. This is a learn-as-you-go experience and you are expected to learn fast.
Can you relate to this? Was college just a mirage where we learned privileged information that didn’t really prepare us for, well, you know, life?
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely loved college and I always give my Alma Mater, Drake, a lot of credit for emphasizing the necessity of real-world experience right from when I was a first-year student. But I can’t help but feel a certain amazement of how different life is from how I thought it would be. I guess maybe I was wrong in the first place for thinking that I had life figured out, if only a little. It’s not that I expect everything to go my way but I don’t expect to feel like such a foreigner to the concept of adulthood.
But, that’s just the thing; when you’re in your twenties, your adulthood should feel foreign.
Think about this for a second. When you’re in your twenties, you’ve been a child and teen for longer than you’ve been an adult. Which begs the question: Why is everyone in such a hurry to grow up anyway? We’re always insisting that we need to “have things figured out,” because adults have everything figured out, right? Wrong. Talk to some people older than you and I mean a lot older than you, they’ll be the first people to tell you that life, this very short and very long life is about “figuring it all out.” You are not going to have it done in one decade.
So, I guess my proposition to my fellow twenty somethings is to take a step back and look at your twenty something life right now. Are you still curious about the world and the world around you? Are you taking chances with yourself and with others? Are you giving yourself a chance to do the things you want to do? Are you meeting all kinds of people, people different from you, just because you can? Are you opening yourself to life and to love? And most importantly, metaphorically twisting different lyrics of the same Womack song, when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, what are you choosing?
I am writing completely from the heart when I quote, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.” But most of all, “when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance.”