"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West
Sleep would not be coming easily tonight. Was I tossing and turning with worry about the latest crisis in my life? A crisis which is in fact started out as a little annoyance in my day, but with the help a soft pillow, a firm mattress, and a need to count sheep, had been inflamed into a full-blown catastrophe?
No, this lack of slumber was the result of a wonderfully good time: my 60th birthday party. As my friend Marcia said, “I expected it to be great, and it completely met my expectations!” And I thought, “Well, me too!” It was perfect.
It was a dance party. A line dance party. And the most magnificent moment for me was when everyone, and I mean everyone, was up on the floor dancing! It was just glorious. Later, one of my line dance class pals, Jenaya, said, “We couldn’t believe that everyone was actually dancing!”, meaning they could not believe that even the slowest and stodgiest and straight-laced of my pals was out there, swaying to the beat. Jenaya said, “I told them, I know Marty told them they had to dance. That’s why they were all up there at once. Am I right?” I could not deny it. Indeed, everyone I invited, even those who said they could not dance a step, was told (by me) that in fact they would be dancing. And, because they are such lovely people, or because they are afraid of my bossy nature, they danced, at least once.
So, is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? I mean, it was a little overwhelming! Dancing, music, friends, family, love, food, the hall. It was unbelievably delightful. I had to check in with my husband during the course of the evening, and then later, as I was trying to fall asleep. Did people have a good time? Were they as happy as I think they were? Was the evening as wonderfully wonderful as I thought it was? It’s like being at your own wedding…you think everyone is having a good time, but then there is always the possibility that someone is texting during the Best Man’s dreadful speech, or someone is whispering in the pews because those bridesmaids’ dresses are a tad too ugly.
But John dutifully responded that the night was indeed as wonderful as I had thought. That everyone was happy and having a good time. And since then, I have heard wonderful comments from so many people who attended.
All this brings up a number of thoughts for me. First, I really do need to be reminded that I am not responsible for another person’s happiness, which is what a good therapist will tell us every time. But still…I really wanted people to be happy. I guess I have to realize that some people may have thought the food was just so-so, and in truth were dancing only because I bossed them. And that is OK ... I think.
Second, I wonder, is there such a thing as too good a time? I felt hungover with happiness as we cleaned up the party’s mess. Is it possible to take in such joy? To embrace it, and well, be happy with it?
And then, and this is related to the above question, there is my struggle to believe that I deserved this. And that I continue to deserve this. My family, my friends, my dancing, and living to the grand old age of 60. It’s hard to take in.
But, of course I deserve it. Right? We all do. And I am beyond grateful for the wonderful celebration, and even more for this good life I have been given.
I can imagine that the sad or deprived among us are saying, “Really? Too much happiness? I’d like one day, just one day, to have that problem.” So, maybe I am feeling guilt.
The best way I can think of taking in all this good stuff is to spread it around. I tried to do that by hosting a big dance party; I wanted everyone to experience the joy of moving together to the music.
And I hope to always be mindful of other ways to share my joy, both big and small.
It is a wonderful, joyful life. One meant to be shared with others.
See you on the dance floor.