I've had the fortune to be asked by a friend from freshman year of college to give an Alexander Technique presentation to his high school choir students. Visiting (any) high school is such a trip, isn't it?? I spent a half hour scoping the classroom and the kids before excusing myself to lay in the field and process all that such a visit foments (and to recover from an early morning's drive to Charlotte, NC). This friend and his wife are a high school music teacher and a manager for Verizon Wireless. I think back to other friends I knew from freshman year: an investment advisor, an engineer, an emergency room physician. I muse on the career paths I didn't take, wondering what led them their ways - and me, mine. What would an advisor have said to me at age 18? What was I good at, inclined toward, what sort of prospects did my parents and elders see for me? I didn't have a clue. I can understand why parents are often the ones who choose a mate and a career for their child... Hopefully they have a broader vision that allows them to offer helpful guidance. What might the Now me have said to that young me, in the way of advice or reassurance?
I guess I can kinda see some sense in the path I've taken (thus far!). I can understand how and why I was drawn to making pottery - I always enjoyed being crafty. I went above and beyond in Home Ec, buying additional project kits and sewing them by hand on the weekend. And delving into the world of craft, art, and technique led me to consider deeply the question of what Self to express; what showed up as important to me? What did I want to say, convey, contribute to the world? And then, of course, that led me to the How of all that, which is a graceful segue right into the work that enthralls me now, Alexander Technique.
As I sit outside my friend's suburban-development home, with tidy yards encircling a half-block long mowed grass commons, I imagine showing my 18-year-old self the details of her life at 40. This is the car you drive (old! quirky! loud! kinda cool!), the house you live in (what's with that crazy wild garden? Only one story?) here's the lineup of lovers you've had (no comment). What would she think of me? If anything I hope she'd find me calm, at peace with the choices I've made, though I imagine and can feel her confusion and apprehension.
Yet.... There's one aspect of me now I think she'd be astonished and thrilled about:
Look through the eyes of this awkward, uncertain teenager. Years of being bookish have left her slumped and bespectacled. She hears she's "cute" but can't imagine hearing "hot." And then, she sees me dancing...
Tango! Swing! Balboa! Blues! For gods sake, is that striptease?!?
That's someone I can be excited to be. In the face of those concerns that I've somehow missed out on having the suburban lifestyle, the kids, the 9 to 5 routine, the apparent assurance of it all... The only thing I know for sure is, I'm going dancing.