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Front Row Birthday

November 19, 2015

Call me crazy but my perfect birthday celebration involves music, dancing, family and friends; preferably in a tropical locale. Yet, since tropical isn’t in the cards this year I’ll just quietly turn 29 (again) on the 19th, eating gluten free chocolate chip cookies and sipping almond milk. SHRRRRKKKK! Hold on a minute…well, actually there will be cookies and milk; however, I’ll also be dancing with friends this weekend during my ‘front row’ birthday celebration!

Why front row? Glad you asked. One of my very best friends posted on Facebook a picture of women (circa 1950’s) riding a rollercoaster. The caption read: “You can choose to live in the front row, or the third row…” I forwarded the photo in hopes FOCUS could republish. If so, it’s side-splittingly clear the two women in the front row have grabbed life by the horns and are taking it for a wild ride. Behold their enormous smiles; you can almost hear their laughter. Close your eyes and feel the wind rushing at them while they enthusiastically hold onto their skirts; awesome, right? One woman even has her hat between her knees…the epitome of too much FUN! Undeniably these ladies are living life in the front row.

In contrast, take a gander at the subdued faces in the third row. How ironic. Two women sit staring off into the distance, void of emotion, outwardly expressing no awareness of the thrill of riding a roller coaster. I’m flabbergasted, how can anyone be so composed on a rollercoaster? Shaking my head in disbelief this photo begs the question: Which row would you choose? Laughing hysterically, about to pee your pants in the front row; or patiently waiting to get off the ride in the third row?

If you pause to think about it consider this, front rowers wildly exclaim as they try to catch their breath, “That was awesome! Let’s do it again!” In the other hand, third rowers offer a polite nod as they exit. Remarkably, the divergence between the people photographed offers a perfect synonym for living life. So, now that you’ve had a minute (to probably overthink your response) which row would you choose? Front row: fully vested in participating in your life, eager to ride every rollercoaster shouting, “Woo-hoo!” Or, third row: preferring to sit expressionless, forever the observer. Hmmm…

My philosophy: live life from the front row taking it by the horns for a wild ride…Woo-hoo! Awesome, right? You’re darn tootin’! Life is about enjoying, laughing, joy, passion, excitement and participating fully. Or, you could sit quietly waiting to get off the ride. Almost sounds like a no brainer but actually, in my experience, I’ve come to realize most folks ‘watch’ from the third row; mildly entertained (or annoyed) observing others. In a side note: if you’re annoyed you really should stop judging and try the front row…just once.

That’s right, simply abandon preconceived notions holding you back like ‘someone will see me.’ What? Having fun? Enjoying yourself? Dickens, hang on to your hats everyone. Before you decide life is best lived from the third row I’ll share a little known truth about myself. Labeling me shy as a child is a gross understatement. I actually wanted to disappear. Now, that’s shy. Yet somehow over the years I inched my way toward the edge of the platform. Slowly, tentatively one day I climbed on the rollercoaster…undoubtedly the last car. Gradually my preconceived fears of people watching, judging, fell away as I inched my way forward.

Today I live life in the front row, hanging on to my skirt and taking life for a wild ride! Enjoying simply being alive, laughter is a big part of my life. Plus, gratefully along the way I discovered two polar opposite passions (rollercoaster rides, if you will). My biggest passion is dancing. Completely escaping into music the world magically goes away. Trust me I dance like no one is watching. A benefit of being in the front row is overcoming the fear of ‘someone will see me.’ The second best rollercoaster ride for me is fishing. I know…polar opposite.

Okay folks, next time you have a choice to participate in anything life related (meaning ANYTHING) with family, friends or simply a passion of yours where are you going to sit…third row, ho-hum, or in the first row laughing, enjoying yourself and hollering, “Woo-hoo!”

Can you imagine…living life on a rollercoaster?

Smile, the ride has just begun!



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