dirty dancing and podcasts

Hi guys!  Happy Summer!  Des Moines is showing up in all her finest, as usual.  The city is alive, people are brunching on patios, it’s getting hot and humid, and possibility is in the air.

I have been listening to a lot (a.lot.) of podcasts – both at work and in the car (thanks to my 45-minute commute – which I’ll soon be trading in for something more like 5-minutes – woo!).  When I’m not listening to murder podcasts, I’m listening to Armchair Expert.  I’m drawn to it because of the deep dialogue.  By nature, I’m interested in getting past the superficial who, what, when, where, why and digging in to the heart of a person and Dax has the gift of delivering just that about some of the most interesting people (looking at you Duncan Keith, Erin Lee Carr, John Gottman).  So today, I was listening to their interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and the Universe nudged me.

Stay with me while we take the long way around…

***

I’m taking a leap here and assuming like 99% of you have seen or at least heard of Dirty Dancing.  I mean, as a child of the 80’s, it was basically required viewing for me.  Everyone from my high school girlfriends to my step-mom LOVED that movie.  While I liked it, I never really got it.  I was “meh” about it.  Then, for what was probably the first time in a decade, I randomly watched it a summer or two ago… and I got it.

Guys, that movie was ahead of its time, and I appreciated Baby’s character in a way I never had before.  She’s just a girl, trying to find her own way, after making all the “right” choices in life up to that summer.  I realized the reason I liked that movie so well after watching it as an adult (with a little life under my belt) was because while it was a love story, it wasn’t a happily-ever-after story.  We don’t know if Baby and Johnny get together after that summer and I realized that I liked it that way – which was in direct opposition with how I felt about it when I was a kid.  I wanted to believe more of love.  The younger Ryan believed that a sweeping love story needed to be the one that was forever.  My adult self knows that’s not the case.  Loving someone and being loved back is really a gift.  It doesn’t mean it’s a love meant to last forever, either.  Love can be the thing that gets you to the next chapter, or teaches you a lesson, or helps motivate you to climb the next rung of the ladder, or gets you unstuck, or (in the case of the movie) deepens your understanding about life – and you come away forever changed.  I’m so much more comfortable with that than I was when I was younger because I respect it now.  I spent a lot of time really busy with trying to make love what I wanted it to be instead of embracing it for what it was and missing the lesson entirely.  I get it now.

***

You with me?  Let’s get back to Elizabeth Gilbert on Armchair Expert.

She was talking about her time cooking on a ranch in Wyoming, going to NYU, working at Coyote Ugly and I was thinking to myself this lady has some STORIES.  She said she met her first husband at the bar and we all know how that worked out (cause we read Eat, Pray, Love).  That’s when it hit me – instead of feeling sad for her or being disappointed or having the interview leave a bad taste in my mouth, I realized all those experiences, all those loves, brought her to her life today and taught her something that left her forever changed.  I think we’re meant to be mindful and respectful of the people that enter our lives and not fight it when those pieces just don’t fit like they did before anymore.  I respect the shit outta people who are living heart-forward every day and instead of trying to hide their mistakes, they embrace the lessons it taught them.  I get it.  

It’s the same way I felt after I realized that Dirty Dancing is actually a really great movie.

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