Why would a 46 year old career mom want to be a ballerina? Because she's realized she doesn't want to be homecoming queen.
Campaigning for homecoming queen is exhausting. You sell your dignity and power so that others will like you over someone else. All you get is a crown of glitter and glue and a brief moment in the spotlight. Then the rest of your life is spent thinking about "the good old days" when it really was only 20 minutes of a heart pounding announcement in a gym decorated with paper streamers, followed by a slow dance to "Stairway to Heaven."
But it's what I've been doing in trying to feel successful. I've been waiting for someone else to recognize my hard work. And I realize how ridiculous that has become. The truth is, I know how hard I work. And I know that has netted some great opportunities. And it's enough.
Now I want to feel queenly. But of my own doing.
Ever watch a ballerina after the performance? There's some lingering eye liner and hair spray; but look at how she walks. Her head is high, her gait gentle but with direction. She knows not only where she's going, but how to get their in style on her own two feet.
And she is 50 years old.
She is the matron who draws people into to the dance by as much the joy in her eye, as the graceful presence of her gaze. She is proud of who she is, not who she was. She is the Strega Nona (Grandmother Witch) of the arts, of children, of the community.
On a whim, I Googled "The Old Ballerina" and found a book with that title. Normally, I use the public library for non-work related book purchases. This one, I might buy for my vacation week in Canada; when I plan to unplug from media and reward myself from a place of knowing and not just aspiration.