I'm fairly certain that everyone daydreams about alternative lives they could have lived, but how many of us actually stand up and say, "I'm going for it!?" It can take a great deal of courage to go after that one thing you love; the thing that lights you up, but you're not convinced could pay the bills. I wouldn't say I'm doing a perfect job of it, but I did quit my "real job" and dive into a world of artistic discovery and experimentation....and start my own company. I am quite proud of that, but I don't feel that I am at the end of my journey. It is still evolving every day, and I continue to find myself drawn in random directions. I try to follow my gut as much as possible though, and put my faith into the process, knowing that
One day, in my old office in San Francisco, I asked everyone what they would choose to do with their life if they could think like they did when they were 5. I think the activities we enjoyed as children can give us real insight into what we should be doing today. Perhaps this theory doesn't work for everyone (I haven't sampled enough of the population to know), but children have the ability to choose things because they want to choose them. As adults, our decisions are shaped by so many factors: judgments from others or from ourselves, feelings of obligation and responsibility, fear, avoidance of embarrassment, the possibility of failure...the list goes on and on.
So what if we could think with our 5 year old mind? What if we could choose something just to choose it, or because we really want to? I tend to bounce around from activity to activity, as if trying to live out all my childhood fantasies, of which there were many. There are things I feel I was destined to do, things I've just always wanted to try for fun, and things that I feel so drawn to, but am still holding myself back from trying.
What Would You Attempt by Photography of Beth Berg
There is an alternative life I feel I could have lived, and that is the life of a dancer. It's not like I am an amazing dancer or some undiscovered talent; but it is something I feel in my soul, and it must shine through because people honestly ask me all the time if I am a dancer. I suppose it starts with the superficial reasons....I have the body for it (so I'm told). But it is more than that; I have truly always LOVED to dance. I love the freedom and liveliness I find when the beat of a song crawls up from the floor and wraps itself around my body.
Crickley Hill Dance by Silas Stubbs Photography
When I was younger I took all kinds of dance lessons: ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern. But, just like my innate drive to paint, my innate drive to dance was locked away with my ability to let go in this way when I was about 14. It has always, always stuck in the back of my mind though. I can't tell you how many times over the years I have researched dance studios in whatever city I happened to be living in at the time, but could never muster up the courage to go through with it, let alone tell anyone about it.
I've been known to play a humorous, awkward ballerina.....dancing through my old office space or leaping like a gazelle down the hallway of my apartment building. But, recently I realized that I was making fun of my desire to be a ballerina, because I felt silly about it. It's taken me 16 years to realize that I want to dance ballet again. Gulp. I feel so strange even typing that, and have no intentions or goals in trying it out, but it's what I want. Every time I look down at my unbelievably highly arched feet, I regret not becoming a dancer. I suppose I should've realized that a long time ago given I've always instantly teared up when I watch others perform (any kind of dance). Everything happens in the right way, at the right time though...
A Ballerina in Flight by Painted Negative Photography
Now I'm on the hook, because I've announced to the world that I'm a closet ballerina wannabe. I have been looking around for studios where I might be able to dance, but haven't found a class that would work yet. Here's hoping.....I giggle at the thought of sliding those slippers back on my feet!
Dancing Dream by Karcharz Photography