The anticipation was building. I stood behind the curtain, waiting for my cue to enter. I heard the dialogue of the other actors on stage and felt the presence of the audience even though I couldn’t see them yet. Finally, it was time. I walked on stage, wearing a poodle skirt, timidly carrying a lunch tray and began my dialogue. I’ll never forget that moment.
My nerves completely melted away as I became her. I became Sandy. Months of rehearsing and years of auditions, disappointment, and hope all led up to this moment. For the first time in my life, I felt a feeling I had never felt before. I felt this strange sense of peace. I felt confidence. I felt joy. I felt as though this was where I was meant to be.
For those of you that know me well, you may think I’m over dramatizing my experience of playing “Sandy” in Grease my senior year of high school. To that I would answer: You’re probably right, but I guess I can’t help myself since I’m kind of a dramatic girl.
I chose a college without a music or theatre program because I wanted to persue a degree in fashion, so I haven’t had the opportunity to perform since high school. To this day, I do not regret that decision. My college experience has been far from perfect, but I know that I chose the right field of study. Despite knowing this, a sense of emptiness kept crawling its way back in to my heart year after year. I feared that this sense of peace and happiness that I felt on that stage was something that I would never have again. I would think back to that moment. I played it over and over again in my head. I came to the conclusion that those were my glory days. That was it. I was never going to have an experience like that again. That sense of sheer bliss could never be replicated.
Maybe you feel like you’ve already lived your glory days. Maybe you were a star athlete and suffered from an irreversible injury that won’t allow you to play anymore. Maybe you scored the job you always dreamed of having, only to be laid off with no promising prospects. Maybe you thought you found your soulmate and now you’re no longer together. I’m here to tell you that those are only your glory days if you declare them to be.
Now that I only have a few short months left in my college experience, I’ve figured something out. I haven’t loved every second of my college experience and I had some wonderful times in high school. And isn’t that how life goes? We have seasons that are wonderful, and we have ones that are just plain hard. It doesn’t mean that we should spend the hard seasons mourning the good times. We should make the best of the present, be thankful that the good times happened, and know that even better ones are on their way.
It’s true that I will never again feel that same rush I felt while wearing that blonde, curly wig, singing my heart out. It’s true that that moment can never be replicated. But as I reflect on it now, I don’t want to replicate it. I’ll hold it forever as a sweet memory, but I won’t let it cause me to resent the hard times or stop me from knowing that there are sweeter memories to be made. None of us know what the future holds, but if we have hope that life can continue to be an upward slope, rather than a vicious downward spiral, we can inspire others with our attitude. When I put things in perspective, I realize just how truly blessed I am, and feel a sense of joy knowing that I am exactly where I need to be right now. Who knows what’s next? Maybe I’ll get to be in a musical again one day and if I don’t, I’ll be okay with it, be grateful for the beautiful life I’ve been given, and believe that the best is yet to come.