I woke up with this song on my lips. Literally. I actually woke up singing.
(For the record? I love it when that happens.)
Then I sort of danced about (in a clumsy half asleep fashion) singing it while I prepared for my day. "Mon-neeey talks ... but it don't sing and dance ... and it don't walk. As long as I can have you here with meee I'd much rather beeee -- Forever in blue jeans, babe!"
(Now it's in your head too ... isn't it nice, how I shared that?)
I mentioned this to my mother who said, "Oh, you've always really loved that song." I immediately had a memory of going someplace with my parents and sister. We were in the minivan. It was raining. I remember the windshield wipers swishing and the windows fogging up, and this song came on the radio and I was SO happy -- for no obvious reason. I remember that moment of complete joy. I don't know where we were going or why we were going there, but I remember my parents getting a kick of how much I love that song.
Sometimes it's just funny what stays with you.
Remembering that moment, though (well, that and an email from a friend) made me wonder: when was the last time I was completely, deep in the heart happy -- just because? For no reason other than that I am just allowing myself to experience joy without trying to qualify it ("I'm so happy because I just got that promotion") or ruin it ("I shouldn't be this happy because I still have a grillion projects to do and I'm never going to get them all completed")?
I couldn't remember, and that makes me a little sad. Because it's a choice, isn't it? Or maybe, it's more that it's a sum of our choices. The choices I've made have allowed me to become a person who looks at my own happiness and then wonders if I'm deserving of it.
Which, hello, is ... pretty freaking stupid, isn't it?
I was going to write "I can be so unkind to myself" but I don't think it's just me. I think WE can be so unkind to OURSELVES. We treat ourselves in ways that would make us really irate if we witnessed someone else being treated that way. If I heard someone saying, "I would like to be happy, but I don't think I've earned it" I would have to -- firmly, but gently -- remind her that is nonsense. You don't have to earn joy. It's not currency. It's like air. It's free to everyone. You just have to breathe it in and know that you deserve it simply by virtue of being here.
I like the idea of there being two Danielles -- the one who is here, sitting at my desk, puzzling through what turned out to be a complicated life (but then, they're all complicated, aren't they?) and then, another Danielle who followed a different path. One of us got out of the van after singing her little heart out along with Neil Diamond and trucked down the road that leads to this moment at this desk. Parallel universe Danielle decided to live IN her joy and followed her bliss a little more closely. She is wild and free, that one. She takes more chances and has more adventures. She probably found a nice, hippie-ish boy and married him in a field of dandelions and then danced barefoot to "Forever in Blue Jeans" and lives in a cottage near the ocean (since she's my imaginary parallel universe me, she's also thin. And has great hair. Oh, and a golden retriever named Fergus).
In this reality, I know that the past cannot be changed -- but I know that the present CAN. Looking back is not terribly helpful if all you do is dwell on the things you didn't do or focus on the "mistakes" you made. Looking around, at where you are right now? That's useful. Are you where you want to be? Are you WHO you want to be? If there's something that would make you happy -- down in the heart happy, filled with joy -- are you chasing it?
If the answer is no, then -- why not?
I can't rewind and become parallel universe Danielle. But I can be her moving forward. Happily dancing barefoot in a field of dandelions -- I am determined to be that girl.
And when I'm there? I'll probably be wearing blue jeans.