Sometimes through a series of fortunate events you may find yourself experiencing the unexpected. This is what happened to me last Thursday, and why I found myself walking into a big top arena with my best friend giggling excitedly as we eagerly awaited the start to a performance show featuring horses. We were at Cavalia Odysseo!
Back it up three days - I had no idea the wonders that were waiting for us at the end of the week. I knew the show was in town since there are billboards EVERYWHERE and I heard talk about it on the radio. It sounded cool, like Cirque du Soleil meets horse show, but knowing that I'm on a tight budget it never crossed my mind to go. Then I heard my friend, April, won tickets! Lucky lady! It's not the first awesome thing she has managed to win. Sadly, her luck runs out with the fact that she lives so damn far away, and was not able to actually use the tickets she won. So she gave them to my bestie, Randi, and her husband, Eric. I was super excited for them to get a coveted date night, but then...Eric wasn't able to go! Poor Eric. #sorrynotsorry I was the next one Randi called and so stoked to go!
Thursday night rolls around, Randi and I get sufficiently dolled up, grab a bite to eat and head to the event. On our way over we were checking out our tickets and realized that they said "Rendez-vous VIP." That's not like VIP as in Very Important Person? Is it? ARE WE IMPORTANT? We had no idea!! We were so shocked in fact that we walked past the Rendez-vous Tent to ask the folks at the ticket booth to be sure. We were not wrong!
VIP access was absurdly cool! The Rendez-vous Tent was beautiful with a ton of a food, free drinks, and a photo booth [funny side note, as we were getting our picture taken another couple came up for theirs and the woman was also super pregnant and wearing the same dress I was! Her baby is due exactly one month before mine to the day.]. There were comfy lounge chairs where we got to hang out in style and eat scrumptious desserts during intermission. For the show itself our seats were right in the middle, so we got a perfect view of all the amazing scenes. And, AND we were able to get a stable tour after the show was over! We could barely contain ourselves we were so excited about it all!
The show was marvelous. The horses are well trained and beautiful (they treat them well too, I did my research before hand to make sure there weren't any complaints of animal abuse). I have to be honest, though, my favorite parts of the show were the two times the horses stopped performing and started frolicking happily upstage. They had to call in reinforcements to get the horses back into place, and one set of naughty Arabians had to go off stage completely. So silly! It was lovely to see their bond with the humans. Clearly there was depth to their relationships, and it really makes you appreciate what two different species can accomplish together when there is mutual respect and kindness.
The people were incredible to watch too. The energy and precision of their movements are literally awe-inspiring. I can't even describe the level of athleticism I saw in their performances both on an off horseback. It's the kind show that makes you appreciate the human body for it's beauty and strength.
After all said and done, it was that last point that got me thinking. Tangent thinking, so be warned... I'm a human too, and while I've always been reasonably in shape I've never been particularly toned or strong. I can run one whole mile when I'm at my finest, but I've never held my entire body horizontal on a pole by just my ankles (seriously, that happened). What makes these performers so different than me that they can do that? I'm sure genetic and mental predisposition are part of it, but I think the biggest difference is priority of time. These hardworking people spend EVERY SINGLE DAY for HOURS perfecting their routines and therefore their bodies. I get to spend every single day for hours cuddling my animals and sitting on the couch. That's what I want to do with my time. The performers are sacrificing some amount of relaxation and constant comfort for their art, just like I'm sacrificing toned muscles to eat a second bowl of ice cream for dinner. We have all weighed our options and decided to do what (theoretically) makes us happiest. That's not to say they never have a chance to hang out with their buddies, nor does it mean I never work out - it's just not our main goal, so the time we spend doing it is less.
I feel that in this culture and era, it's important to remember we are using time as currency to make our lives what we want them to be. We only have so much time in each day to exchange for activities. Like money, the things that I like to spend my time on is different from what you may like, Stranger - I will happily spend $200 on a single pretty dress, but feel that's too much for sunglasses I'll probably destroy, others are vice versa, others still would rather have 10 pretty dresses for the same amount of money; it's all preference. We like to chastise and judge each other a lot for using our time differently - tabloids, for example, think we should ALL have the bodies of Cavalia performers, be experts in at least two mainstream hobbies like cooking or party planning, and have plenty of time leftover to tend to interpersonal relationships at psycho-therapeutic levels. Too many hours playing video games is deemed "nerdy" and off-trend hobbies like making replicas of your pets out of their own hair is "weird." Reality? There is no wrong way to use your time! The only "wrong" I can think of is that you are consistently making choices that lead you to regret and unhappiness. Maybe then you should do something else.
Whenever I start to feel guilty that I've spent 6 hours playing a video game instead of working out or something, I ask myself, "Did I enjoy this day? Do I feel more relaxed now than I did this morning? Do I feel accomplished on some level?" Often the answers are "yes" but sometimes I don't feel those things, some days it's not relaxation that my body and soul need, but the feeling of productiveness, and then it turns into a cleaning or gardening day. As long as I am using my time in a way that meets my own personal needs (and before I start to sound too narcissistic, sometimes my personal needs are met by meeting the needs of others, which I think is natural when you are surrounded by people you love and admire), I feel like I'm doing things right, and I don't need to compare my athletic ability to that of a Cavalia performer.
Cavalia was great. Not only was it an entertaining, gorgeous, and thrilling show, but it also made me feel reflective. It's not every day you get to experience something so wondrous that it also leads you to a more thoughtful state! If you have a chance to experience something unexpected take the opportunity!
Perfect Stranger, what has made you thoughtful lately?