When the band played one of my all-time favourite songs by the Rolling Stones, I just about lost my mind.

Divine music intervention in the form of poignant rock ‘n’ roll lyrics that summarize life to a tee: “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.”


Sometimes it’s not about trying so much to get what you want, as it is about accepting an offer to get what you need, and in my case that need was to go out dancing with my friends.

And by dance I mean shaking what your momma gave you and being totally okay with that fact that your body mass momentum will occasionally make you shake more than what your momma intended.

So be it. Bust out those moves. Get your groove on (eventually your knees will forgive you).

One of the gifts of having survived a serious illness is the memory of knowing what it’s like to be unable to move, unable to walk, and fearing you’ll never again dance with your friends.

It’s been ten years since my own dance with death. To be truly humbled by your own body in the fight of your life is a bold reminder that you are not going to live forever, so whenever possible, move with grace. Dance with life. Accept the invitation. Say yes. Count yourself in.

Take last Saturday night, for instance.

The annual Monster Mash Halloween bash in Elora is a fabulous tradition, but this year, I wasn’t feeling social. I wasn’t in the mood. Sometimes my social butterfly persona just wants to cocoon. It had been that sort of a week where the idea of a Saturday night snuggled up in bed with a good book would have been divine.  But it’s not what I needed.

What I needed was friend time. I needed to be amongst people who could dance for hours without needing to talk, safe in the shared understanding that the next day, we’d all be applying muscle pain ointment to our legs. So be it. There is a time to dance and this was it.

And then the band struck up a rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s song, Thank you, with a chorus that repeats “Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” (I am aging myself, right?). Funk. Awesome. In a flash I felt overwhelming gratitude, absolutely present in the moment. There I was, dancing my heart out with my friends, not a care in the world, no mobile phone in my hand, no worries in my head. I was more alive than I’d felt all week. Letting go. No strings attached. Bliss.

It’s true, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes your friends know what you need: acceptance to be yourself and the opportunity to just dance.

There is always a reason to dance with life.



Kelly Waterhouse