My oldest loves watching Glee and now that Netflix has season two, that's what we end up doing most of time when she's at my house. Watching Glee is a mixed bag for me. Yes, I enjoy watching Glee, but there's also a part of me that grieves and says, "That could have been me."
Something about "show choir" just appeals to me. I shouldn't be surprised much. I'm sure I've mentioned before that as a child the person I wanted to grow up to be was Dick Van Dyke. I loved the production numbers in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I distinctly remember watching "Me 'Ol Bamboo" and "Step In Time" and thinking, "I want to do that."
I'm not really sure where I got off track. Probably when we moved when I was in Jr. High and went from a place where it was no big deal if a guy was in the choir to a place where it was about as uncool and you could get. In my new school, I was the male in a choir of at least 50. And I was harassed for it, like Kurt in Glee. I didn't have to wear anything "fabulous." It was enough that I was in the choir. Unlike Kurt, I learned very quickly to keep a low profile and not draw attention to myself.
I tend to think it wasn't just the harassment that derailed my aspirations. I think there were a lot of factors at play, not the least of which is my Mormon upbringing where conformity is the sine qua non of existence and where I was taught to doubt my own inner voice in favor of the dictates of old men in dark suits. It certainly began a pattern of laying low and not drawing attention to myself.
Recently Facebook has reconnected me to some of the guys I danced with while at BYU. I had joined the folk dance team and even made it onto the touring team. Turns out one of the guys I thought didn't like me—always having been stand-offish and distant—had a huge crush on me. One of the first things he said to me was, "You were so quiet!" "I was scared," was my reply. "I was afraid if I said too much people would figure it out." Dancing with the folk dancers was bitter sweet. I loved being on stage and dancing, but there was always a part of me that felt guilty for doing something that served no purpose beyond making me happy. I danced for a few years before I quit the team to get married and get on with my "purpose in life" of starting a family and fathering children.
Playing the "What might have been?" game is generally not very useful. The past is done. We don't get do-overs. You end up stuck, wishing for things that cannot ever happen. There are no guarantees your life would have played out how you imagine, even if you did get your wish. Dick Van Dyke certainly hasn't life a fairy tale life.
So what to do then? If I had a client struggling with these kinds of things, I would probably challenge him or her to find ways to pursue that dream now. For now, that means I've stopped listening to NPR on the drive home and have begun singing along with show tunes again...something I haven't done in years. I usually end up getting home in a better mood now as well. Go figure.