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Dance Like the Undertaker

Dance Like the Undertaker

| October 23, 2017

When I was growing up during family weddings, there seemed to always be one man who was first on the dance floor and last off at the end of the night.  He overflowed with a passionate enthusiasm for life, and left an impression on me. 

I also thought “Who is this guy that gets up to dance before anyone else is out there?”  “What if nobody else goes out and everyone is looking?“  “Doesn’t he just want to sit and relax a bit?” 

Many years later my mom and I were talking at one of the parties, and I learned that he was a mortician that helped out our family and was a friend. 

I struggled to reconcile his profession with his apparent exuberance for life.  I thought maybe his proximity to the inevitable was why he danced the most out of everyone with such abandon. 

What did he know that everyone else didn't that influenced him to dance? 

I came up with a few implied lessons that have stuck with me:

1)     Dance like nobody's watching!  It doesn't matter one bit.

2)     Seize the moment and enjoy life with your loved ones.  Nothing is permanent.

3)     Make the most of every day.  This important lesson was on my mind recently at the annual father-daughter dance. 

These are the moments that count in life, and I have a couple more lessons to add.

4)     It sounds corny but try and practice “mindfulness.”  Stop, breathe, look, listen, smell, and appreciate the stand out moments.  This will help solidify the memory in your mind.

5)     Choose experiences over things.  Studies show we get more incremental value from experiences over stuff.  Think about this when spending extra money.  A family trip to the ocean, while one-time event, may have a much bigger impact on the family than a set of new kitchen appliances.

The photo below was taken in the same room as those weddings; where I now aspire to dance like that undertaker with my daughters Mackenzie and Emma.


Thank you for taking a look!

Tom Gartner, MSAPM, CFP®