In 2015, I crossed off something that was on my bucket list: seeing the musical “Wicked” live—in New York City, no less! The 2015 trip to NYC was also the first time I’d ever visited NYC, unless you count the one hour I spent near Rockefeller Center in 1985 while my college choir was en route to Connecticut: the bus driver let us off for an hour of exploring. (I never counted that as a trip to NYC.)
On at least two different occasions, I tried to get tickets to “Wicked” when the traveling Broadway show was playing not far from us. Sometimes these touring productions will do a show in Charlotte or Greenville, but I was always too late to find a time that worked for my girls and me to go. . . .
Both daughters desperately wanted to see “Wicked.” Their friends and relatives had seen it, and one of my girls bought the Broadway show soundtrack on iTunes. I had a vague awareness of some of the most popular tunes—“Popular” among them, of course. But, somehow, I managed to stay mostly ignorant of the basic plot of “Wicked” until I saw it performed in the Gershwin Theatre in 2015. What a way to be introduced to a show! It was magical—and not just because the plot of “Wicked” deals with the education of young people with magical abilities. I’ll always be grateful to my husband for paying for this wonderful 25th anniversary gift. Strange as it might seem, we took our kids to NYC for our 25th anniversary: they’d never been to New York, either. We had to go to NYC, anyway, to retrieve my youngest daughter, who had spent five weeks in New York City studying dance at the School of American Ballet’s Summer Intensive. (She got to cross two things off her bucket list that summer!)
So many things got achieved with that trip to New York: we also got to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, which was exciting for those of us who are Rex Sox fans. We got to go to the Museum of American History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and, thanks to the insistence of my oldest daughter, the Cloisters. Some of us visited the Guggenheim, while all of us visited the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and parts of Central Park. We saw a couple of other shows as well, but “Wicked” was the stand-out for most of us. Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth weren’t performing in “Wicked” any more, of course, but the leads were good, the sets and special effects were spectacular, the storyline was captivating, and the songs drew me in more than I’d expected.
“Dancing through Life” is the song that came to mind today, as I pondered Linda G. Hill’s rather unusual prompt for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday: “movement. However, don’t use the word ‘movement.’ Choose some sort of movement, and base your post on that. Enjoy!” I felt stymied by this prompt, and I almost abandoned the idea of writing for SoCS. True, I haven’t written one post for this site in January, and this is my last shot at a Saturday Stream-of-Consciousness post, but . . . . How can I write about “movement” without using the word?
When I’m stuck, my thoughts usually fumble for a song that will fit. “Dancing through Life” from “Wicked” came to mind at once and, happily, brought back all the positive connotations that musical holds for me. However, when I looked up the lyrics for “Dancing through Life,” which the careless Fiyero sings to self-obsessed Galinda, I realized that the philosophy espoused therein is not one that I adhere to. In the abstract, the idea of dancing through life is appealing, but what it seems to mean in the context of the song is that nothing really matters, so it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you don’t take life too seriously.
Wow. If that’s “dancing through life,” then I must be plodding through life. I take almost everything too seriously, including Linda’s injunction not to use the word “movement.” I’m already worrying if quoting Linda’s prompt, which necessarily includes the word “movement,” violates the rules of her SoCS exercise. I’ve worried about doing things the right way since I was a small child. When I was in the second grade, my mother found me sobbing. Eventually, she got me to tell her what the problem was: I was afraid I was going to make a B in music. (I didn’t, by the way.) So, my overthinking approach to life would appear to be in direct contrast to Fiyero’s easygoing saunter:
Dancing through life
Skimming the surface
Gliding where turf is smooth
Life’s more painless
For the brainless
Why think too hard
When it’s so soothing
Dancing through life
No need to tough it
When you can slough it off as I do
But knowing nothing matters
It’s just life
So keep dancing through
In the end, neither Fiyero’s breezy stroll nor my cautious tiptoe will cut it. I still believe in trying to anticipate problems before they happen, but sometimes I populate my future with problems that never materialize. Sure, there are plenty of fires to put out every day, but they’re not usually the ones I was expecting. On the other hand, if “nothing matters but knowing nothing matters,” as Fiyero suggests, there isn’t much point to life. The sort of dancing through life that appeals to me most involves making progress in some way while still managing to stop and smell the roses. How to find the balance between caring too much and caring not at all? Therein lies the secret of happiness.
Lyrics to “Dancing through Life” were written by Stephen Schwartz.
Thanks to Linda G. Hill, whose prompt of “movement (type of)” took me on a trip down Memory Lane. Maybe some day I’ll make it back to NYC! Looking through my photos, I realized we did a lot more in NYC, but that wasn’t the focus here. Too bad I took a blogging break in the summer of 2015: so many unused photos and impressions. But I digress (which is the point of stream-of-consciousness writing, isn’t it). To read the rules for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday, check out Linda’s post. Every Friday, she provides a new prompt; the idea is to write a post inspired by her prompt with very minimal editing.