Okay, I have a big secret to share.

You know how everyone has that one longtime dream, that goal to be something that they know will never happen but always love to daydream about coming true?  For some, they want to be President, act in a movie, or fly a plane.  Me?

I want to be a back-up dancer and go on tour with a big pop star like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Janet Jackson.

Sounds silly, right?  It makes sense, though, especially if you know me.  First, I absolutely LOVE music.  It is my life.  I live, eat, breathe music.  I crave music.  One of my biggest fears is going deaf.  To never hear music again would be devestation.  So naturally, my not-so-secret-anymore dream would involve music, somehow.

Second, I love dancing.  I am not very good at it.  I’m okay, and I’m pretty good at remembering routines and steps (like the fact that I still remember the steps for the dances we used to choreograph at the camp I worked at in my teens).  But I adore dancing, and my belief is, even if you’re not good at something, if you can demonstrate uninhibited love and joy with whatever you are doing, then people will still want to watch you do it and your enjoyment will be contagious.

Also, I’m a Leo.  I love attention.  I love being on stage and performing.  So that one’s an easy guess.  Of course I would find thrill in having hundreds of people watching me.

Finally, I’ve always had dance in my life in some funny, odd little way:

  • I took ballet for the first few years of my life.
  • When I was 8, I used to sit in my room and sketch out choreography routines to INXS and Elvis Costello songs in my journal.  I would draw the stage and use stick figures and numbered instructions to show the moves, all the while acting them out myself to make sure they looked awesome.
  • In elementary school there were always opportunities to make a fool of yourself during class shows and recitals.  Guess who always volunteered…hence why there exist photos of me dancing around with props to 50s songs in 4th (and 5th!) grade, or performing “Cherish” in a denim mini skirt in 5th grade.
  • At sleepovers with one of my groups of friends when I was 10, we used to assign each song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack to every one of us.  Then we had to go and choreograph a routine and perform it for everyone else.  I used to look forward to those dances way more than Truth or Dare.
  • My pen pal Claire came to visit from England when we were 13, and most of the trip was spent choreographing dances we went public with in my front lawn (Annie Lennox songs) or in secret when we were supposed to be asleep at night (Whigfield and Shampoo).
  • My friend Emma and I loved performing when we were little, so much so that we used to create dances to popular Disney songs and act them out for our parents (so happy to see she is now an accomplished actress and singer!).
  • I have hours and hours and hours of footage of music videos I used to create.  Most of them involved getting dressed up and dancing and singing in front of the screen … so if Gwen Stefani ever needed a stunt double, I’m your gal.
  • In 2003 I discovered Jazzercise, which combines dance and aerobics.  During class, to stay focused and push myself, I would imagine I was on stage.  No wonder I later started training to become an instructor.  And now, even in my other favorite classes like Hip Hop Abs at the gym, I still pretend to be on stage dancing for an audience.

So why am I sharing this?  Maybe to just get it off my chest.  Maybe to help explain why I sometimes look like I’m staring off into space when I’m commuting with my iPod on (I’m mapping out the routine in my head).  Maybe it’s to help explain why a choreographed routine may suddenly appear next year at the rehearsal dinner or during the wedding itself…

But maybe it’s also to make you think about your own private little dream.  Even though it may never become a reality, when you really reflect on what it may be, it’s interesting to see how it’s always been a part of your life in some way.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to be an Olympic skier and you spent your childhood on the slopes and used to host Winter Olympics viewing parties with your friends.

I think these dreams are so important because even if we never achieve them, they help form our character, our values, and help define what is important to us.  They create hobbies, carve out social groups, maybe even get us a job in the same field or industry as our goal.  Or they become a reality after a mid-life crisis or a layoff when we just go, “You know what?  F-it!  I’ve always wanted to travel only by train across the US for a year, and now I can do it!”

My big advice here?  Figure out what your secret goal is, and never let it go.  When the chips are down, you’re feeling low, and there doesn’t look like anywhere to go but down, conjure up this little goal and guaranteed, it will make you smile.

On a side note, what’s interesting is how I never want to be the star…but rather in the ensemble, in the supporting role.  Maybe I’m not ready for my closeup just yet.  Maybe I like the idea of being a part of a group rather than being on my own.

So you think you can dance?  I think I will.