I read a cute quote that says, “When you take one step forward then two steps back, it’s not a disaster, it’s a Cha-Cha.” What a wonderful tune of optimism!

To celebrate my birthday week, I took a ballroom dancing lesson at a fancy studio in the city. Although I was self-conscious at first, my instructor and I were able to run through a box step and a waltz and even got to do some swing dancing. We tried the Salsa, but even though it’s apparently the most requested at the studio, it’s by far the most difficult. Not knowing which way to step and when to spin is confusing and really hard. However, my teacher said to just enjoy moving my body to the music. Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. (An oldie, but a goodie, I know!)

We’ve been hit with an awful lot of backward movement this year, haven’t we? We stepped out boldly into 2020 but were immediately asked to retreat a couple of steps. We had to switch gears, stay home and move backward by losing sports, live music, our worship services, our favorite TV shows and a lot of human connection. We’ve remembered how to cook at home again, play board games, read a book, complete home projects or even sew again.

I found the time and the energy to get back to what was important to me. I’m proud to say I’ve conquered caffeine addiction. I’ve read a book (or two or three.) Unfortunately, social distancing from my fridge hasn’t worked, and I’ve developed a “baby bump.” Maybe I should give my “quarantine baby” up for adoption and start a diet. Maybe not.

In fact, in the spirit of enjoying a trajectory that is the opposite of normal, I’ve decided to go backwards this birthday, too. Instead of going one past the big 5-0, I've decided to move my birth year two years forward and my age two years backward. That way, next year I get a do-over of my big birthday and maybe the world on the outside, and the world within me will be ready to really paint the town red. Hey, maybe I’ll hire a Salsa band!

I don’t know where you are headed, but I’ve learned to take those rear moving steps for what they are – part of the dance. I’ve decided to let the rhythm and the music ring in my ears and trust in the dance.

I hope you can try to do a back rock, putting your weight on your back foot instead of your front. Remember that you’re still making progress, even if it’s around a dance floor instead of the corporate ladder. Take those steps back, then, and this is the best part, decide which direction you want to go next. When the music tells you to start stepping forward again, follow the music, and your heart. Keep moving to the beat and call it a Cha Cha!

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