Wouldn’t it be great if life were a musical? Pause here. Read that line again. Let it sink in. Humor me on this one – just for a few moments. Hear me out. And admit that somewhere inside you a song has started.
The impact of a good musical cannot be overstated. And life lends itself to this tendency. We constantly refer to it in artistic terms – the rhythm of life, the timing of a situation, wait a beat, the flow of a conversation, the staccato of heels on pavement, a clap of thunder, rain song, all the world is a stage…… You get the picture. We are such auditory and visual creatures that we use those kind of descriptors in our written and oral language. We respond emotionally to sound, rhythm and movement. It’s why music is such a huge part of our movie and television experience. We run (ok, that’s a generalized “we”) or exercise to it. We hum or play it to soothe our infants. We turn to it when we are happy, sad, or overwhelmed. We clamor for the artists who create it, travelling far and wide to see them.
It touches us on a visceral level, evoking tears or laughter, and many times vivid memories of where we were when we first or last heard a song. I still catch my breath every time I hear Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child O Mine”…..and not for the reasons you would initially think. It was playing on the radio when I received the news that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and would undergo emergency surgery two days later. I still can’t listen to the whole thing. And I love me some 80’s hair bands…….
But I digress. Back to the Musical of Life.
Can you imagine? How great would it be to randomly (or with beautifully timed intentionality) burst into song and movement in moments of heightened tension or joy? To be fair, I generally burst into song at random moments throughout my day on a regular basis, but seldom does anyone join me, so it doesn’t count as a musical, per se.
If you’ve never been in a musical production (or moment of any kind), I don’t know that you can fully appreciate the stress relief that occurs from a rousing dance and song number that releases energy and emotion with total abandon. Seriously! Think back to the last tense or angry interaction you experienced and imagine how much more quickly and effectively you could have let it all go and reset yourself by participating in a Broadway-esque jazz routine (think “Cool” from West Side Story) or perhaps an aggressive tango (since I mentioned WSS, I now have “A Boy Like That” in a constant mental loop. Crap).
We’ve had a really rough week around here, trying to get through our first broken arm (Drew, who else?). After the scare, first ER, x-ray, ambulance ride to the second ER, more x-rays, multiple doctors and news of pending surgery (three pins through the humerus, thank you very much), both Gregg and I were totally past our limit by the time we were admitted for our overnight stay in the frozen meat locker hospital room to wait on the early morning procedure. I am sitting here actually laughing out loud at the mental picture of one or both of us jumping up from our chairs in Trauma Waiting and exploding down the hallway in a rendition of Ren’s frustrated dance number from “Footloose”. Can you even imagine? I can picture the mad rush of nurses, med students and residents scrambling to get out of our way! If only I could still do a back handspring…..or convince Gregg to do a dive roll…
And reflect back on your last argument. I mean, could you really stay truly mad at someone after a full out sing-off/dance-off? You’re winded, you’ve gotten to fling your arms around, you’ve done phenomenal harmonies together….. What’s left to hang on to? Issue solved, or at least decompressed a few levels.
Ta-da! And if that doesn’t do the trick, you just say, “And…scene” and walk off.
Then there’s the mental flash-forward, backward or to an alternate present. I want one of those! You know, where you jump into an entirely different scenario, complete with costume and hair change, band, back-up dancers, situation of your dreams and to-die-for vocals and choreography. Fantastic! Some days, all I really want is a five to seven minute escape from reality. In a designer dress. And fabulous shoes.
Group numbers would be the ultimate. Don’t roll your eyes! If you’ve ever You-tubed a flash mob you have no room to mock me. Picture your co-workers or Bunko group snapping, clapping and hopping their way through a situation together. Bet it made you smile.
And we could totally spice up boring circumstances. Board meeting? Alternate tropical universe! Never-ending homework? Fact-filled song! Tedious yard work? A hip hop extravaganza! I was especially struck this past weekend as Gregg was engrossed in the Masters tournament. I cannot even handle that much golf. Or any golf….no disrespect – shout out to Bubba Watson. But it must be noted that I spent the last half hour of the event choreographing the players and their caddies in my head. Think “Fame” with nine irons.
As if I weren’t going overboard enough (and possibly frightening some of you with my ludicrous incidentals), Luke just walked by wearing a robe and declared, “I’m going to read like an Englishman, Mom. Where’s a pipe?” I have no words. That apple plopped right at the base of its tree. And now I find myself propelled into scenes from “My Fair Lady”. I wonder what he would do if I threw his slippers at him…..
So, I challenge you all this week. Sing a little song, do a little dance, find a bit of music in an unexpected place. You might surprise yourself with what it does for your heart. At the very least, you’ll get a good laugh (or someone around you might).
Solidarity, sisters. All the world’s a stage.