I have this amazing friend, Erin, who deserves an entire blog all to herself. Recently, I was feeling a little down and needed some inspiration. Motivation so to speak from someone who is serious when appropriate, but never too serious to miss the humor life offers us daily. So I picked up the phone and called Erin, a friend from long ago with an amazing story, a character in my life who pops in and out and every time I talk to her, I feel like I’ve taken small tokens of truth from our conversations. Usually, when I call, we rattle back and forth for at least an hour, laughing about the past and catching each other up on what has been going on in our lives. Needless to say, Erin is one of those rare individuals whose energy everyone is attracted to, meaning that she has thousands of stories. You might think that because of her immense experiences, travels and encounters with all kinds of people that she would be a snob, but completely the opposite. She is one of the most humble and kind people I have ever met and my keeping her in my life is somewhat selfish because she brings more to the table in our friendship I am sure.
Anyway, I called Erin and explained that I was lacking some of that jovial motivation and inspiration that we have shared through the years. “Yeah”, she said, “I know what you mean”. One thing I love about Erin is that she does not grab her life lessons from self-help books or therapeutic strategies posed by Dr. Phil or Paid Advertisements; all which are fine but not her style. No, she buys the five dollar grab bag of eccentric wisdom from the man on the street. “So, I was in my pilates class the other day.” Erin said, “And my instructor is this older, black gentleman, Walter.” And she started laughing in only the way that she can, which curls the corners of my lips just to hear. I knew this was going to be good. “Walter wears these short shorts and has a great body and he’ll tell you Honey, I’m gonna be 50 this year! So, he walks around and dances while we’re doing pilates. After class I told him I thought it would be fun to go out dancing with him and he said to me; Honey, you couldn’t handle me. I just dance like no one is watching. And so, I guess that’s kind of the lesson, right Pete? We care way too much what people think. And I just think we have to not care as much.”
Recently, when I was in Miami with my boyfriend, we were sitting at this outside bar overlooking the ocean. Next to us, for at least an hour, this older woman performed yoga and pilates at the side of the bar. I took her picture, somewhat in humor, but afterwards, I commented to her about her Yoga skills. “I try to give myself a workout every day for at least an hour or two.” She said, as if sitting on the side of a bar on Ocean Drive in South Beach doing yoga was normal. To her it was. Look at her smile. That is the smile of a woman who has found her dreams, lived them and is simply happy to have one more day writing her own script.
I know I care way too much what people think about me and how I live my life. Probably a lot less than I used to, but I still do nonetheless. I think about my mother’s last day lying in the hospital bed before she died, and how I realized how little so much matters in the very end. What is it that really matters? The characters we’ve encountered, the times we’ve had, the tuna fish sandwiches and kisses in the rain like I mentioned before. Those are the pearls. I know this. So I’ve made a commitment; vowing on old Walter, my Mother and Auntie Mame who once said, “Life is a smorgasboard and some poor suckers are starving to death!” From this point on, I vow to care less, live my life by what makes me happy while being considerate of others, achieving my dreams and helping others achieve theirs and dammit…Dancing like no one is watching!