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Food for thought, Jazzercise

Roar emotion

Peg, me and Pina belt out the seminal women's rights song, "I Am Woman," at Karaoke for a Cause.

Anyone else out there wondering why midlife seems to be the adolescence you never had?

I have always been a pretty straight-laced, quiet, by-the-book sort of person. I used to stay in my little box most of the time, rarely venturing out of the comfort zone. As I climb through my 40s, however I’m throwing more and more caution to wind — trying new things, setting (some of) the rules aside and saying “why not?” instead of “cannot.”

Thursday marked my latest adventure in which is becoming a kind of backward bucket list — I do things and then add them to a list of stuff I was glad I tried.

It was Karaoke for a Cause, a breast cancer fundraiser organized by a fellow Jazzercise instructor who has handily earned her nickname, Party Peg.

(The sign on the TV monitor encouraged partygoers to Support Your Local Breast. Not sure which one they meant or if they worried its partner might feel left out.)

It had been at least 20 years since I’d been in a room with a karaoke machine. That time I didn’t sing, but listened to other wannabes in the bar of the Wayside Inn in Chatham, Mass., back when it had a rough-hewn, sagging floor and the best cream of broccoli soup that could ever warm a winter’s day. (Today it is  frou-frou hotel and the old bar is a fancy boutique.)

Anyway, the night was great fun, lots of dancing and the always entertaining spectacle of drunk people trying to eek out a decent version of “Fly me to the Moon” or other work from the Great American Songbook.

One fella had pretty nice pipes, in a crooner’s style. Some of the folks stressed performance skills if they lacked musical talent. And so we bounced from today’s dance hits to renditions of the Ramones‘ “I Want to Be Sedated” (yes, I knew ALL the lyrics) and the B-52s “Love Shack” that had the whole place shakin’.

A particularly lame version of a song whose title I’ve blocked out had me, Peg, Kristen and Pina endeavor to take back the mic. We turned out a lively rendition of “I Am Woman” and I’m proud to say no one covered their ears. (You can see in the photo that they positioned us by the exit just in case we needed to make a hasty retreat. I’m not sure how Kristen escaped being in this picture.)

Anyway, driving home, I marveled that the anthem we chose to represent strength and sisterhood could be my own personal soundtrack these days. Wife, mother, new career, new vocation as a Jazzercise instructor. Just about every day, I’m learning I CAN do just about anything that gets tossed my way. The process doesn’t always go smoothly, but I figure it out most times.

I am strong, and maybe invincible.

And really tired — how come Helen Reddy didn’t sing about that part?

About Terri Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

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