mixed-up monday: dancing in the dark

on 09-24-2012

Click here to join Bruce & Courteney for some dancing in the dark.

I was 15 when Bruce Springsteen yanked a beaming brunette from the audience in his “Dancing in the Dark” video. I remember a fellow Springsteen fan saying he felt tricked when he learned she wasn’t a random fan but hired actor {20 year-old Courteney Cox}. He planned  to change the channel the next time it came on. I also remember my response, “She’s still a lucky girl.”And I  meant it — she was lucky to share a stage with Springsteen, and she was lucky to be chosen from a slew of other actors who wanted  to bop along with The Boss. Just because she was paid to play, she still exemplified glorious possibility, one of my favorite places to dwell.

A few years later, I still wasn’t conscious of how my penchant for embracing possibility fed what I was able to dream and accomplish, but I’d surely had glimpses of the way unbridled openness, authentic enthusiasm and hard work mixed into a potent cocktail.

For example {and yes, the cocktail reference  triggered this memory}, owning a pub in Ireland wasn’t even a remote consideration in my early 20s, that is until I learned about a Guinness slogan contest. The prize?  Keys to a fine drinking establishment on the Emerald Isle.

Then, just like a lottery ticket can spark imaginations to dream of super-sized yachts and Tahitian getaways, I imagined what it would be like to immerse myself in green — not the stacks of green I could get by selling the pub, but the green of Ireland, a country that wasn’t part of my ethnic landscape but seemed to whisper, “Why not?” in a language I could understand.

Don’t be afraid of the dark.” felt like a winner when I wrote it but didn’t get a nod from the Guinness powers that be, and though I quickly forgot about living in Ireland, I didn’t forget about how energized I’d been considering the possibility of the unexpected. Something about the life I imagined flourished in my almost-pub — writing like crazy plus the chance to talk to locals and travelers alike — and still reveals the essence of who I am today . . . a writer who also  thrives on interacting with and connecting people.  

As the days get shorter and the summer girl in me struggles with shortened days, I often think of my “Don’t be afraid of the dark” slogan and amp up my possibility sensors. Whether the darker days are season-induced or brought on by a rockier than usual stretch on the road of daily life, I believe that staying grounded in the what is and what could be is the catalyst for some of life’s shiniest moments.

Now, click on the pub for a playlist inspired by the dark — and sure, pour yourself a beer while you’re at it.

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