Luckily, the 30 minutes that came before bathtime and bedtime came before any racy dancers, rated-R outfits or judges shouting repeatedly, “Shut up. Shut up!” I was a little disappointed, though, that my kiddo missed the adorable little ballerina showing off her moves after her mom danced.
Bree Hafen won the judges’ hearts and a ticket to Vegas with an outstanding performance and two cuter-than-puppies little kids. But what really got me about this mom from Texas wasn’t her dancing, though it really was wonderful. And it wasn’t even her tiny dancing daughter, complete with pointed toes and pink tutu. What moved me about Bree’s audition was her answer to Nigel’s question, “How old are you?”
She very carefully and pointedly answered, “Twenty-nine.” And I realized: This audition was her last chance.
Contestants can’t be over 30, so depending on when Bree’s birthday falls, she might just be too old to try out for So You Think You Can Dance next year. So that moment on stage, that 60-second audition – it really was her last chance.
Or was it?
Sure, it might have been her last opportunity to try out for my favorite dance competition. But it’s not as if being sent home would have meant that Bree had to stop dancing. Heck, it’s not as if she couldn’t find another half a dozen reality shows to showcase her skills.
But you can hear it in her voice. She saw that audition as her last chance. Maybe it took too much out of her, too much time away from her kids, too many early morning rehearsals or sore muscles that can’t take the pounding of an energetic toddler. Really, though, I don’t know what brought Bree to that audition or how she truly felt about the whole thing. I just know that it sounded a lot like she saw it as her last chance.
Have you ever opened your mailbox or inbox, found an invitation or announcement, and realized that more time has passed or another deadline has come and gone? Have you ever submitted an article, tried out for a part, applied for a job or tried one more discipline technique while just barely hanging onto the hope that this time will work out?
I’ve felt that way. A lot. Specifically, last week. I started a new job [a story that I can’t wait to tell you soon], and it just might be the one I’ve been looking for. I’m tentatively optimistic that I may have finally found where I’m supposed to be, and that thought is as terrifying as it is exciting.
After all, I’ve started lots of new jobs. And I’ve thought each one was the one. And then? Then I was wrong. And then I was crushed. Every. Single. Time. At some point, I started feeling like maybe I’d used up all my chances. So this new job, unexpected and full of potential, feels a little bit like my last chance. I mean, really, how many times does one girl get to start her dream job?
All these mental gymnastics might explain why I found tears on my face as I watched Bree Hafen tell the judges that she was twenty-nine.
I heard a clever quote somewhere, basically saying that as long as you’re still alive, God’s not finished with you. I certainly hope that’s true. Because when we put the pressure of “last chance” on ourselves, we’re destined for frustration and disappointment. Nothing – no job, no relationship, no project, no performance – is ever going to be perfect. So naming it our last chance for success, happiness, forgiveness, vindication, fulfillment? It’s never going to live up to that expectation.
Setting goals and making bucket lists are good things. But pinning all of our hopes on accomplishing our life’s work by a certain date, be it self-imposed or based on a reality TV show’s rules, can lead to a whole lot of last chances. And I’m just not sure God intends for us to live with a “last chance” mentality.
He is the God of grace and new life and fresh mercies every morning.
Are you starting something new today? Or trying something for the umpteenth time? Be brave. Have faith. And let out that breath you were holding. This probably isn’t your last chance. You’re still breathing, aren’t you?
Have you ever felt like this was your last chance?
The video clip made me cry too! Thanks for sharing this and for your great post. Love that thought to not live like it is our last chance!!!
33 and single, yep, I’ve felt that! ;) But I agree completely with you. :) God’s bigger than us. :)
God is definitely bigger than us, and His time is outside our concept of time – and I’m so glad for that!
Congratulations on your new job! My ‘dream job’ would be in KC working for Hallmark … seriously. Is that what you’re doing? A girl can live vicariously, you know.
I wish you the best and am glad that you’ve got your dream job for THIS season, anyway!
Oh gosh, I would LOVE to work for Hallmark! But no, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m actually working for my church, which is awesome. (But don’t you think for a second that I wasn’t jealous when a good friend of mine got HER dream job at Hallmark last year!)
I love the lesson you drew out from this moment and not just because I’m thrilled SYTYCD is back on. Bree’s audition was so touching- the kids were a nice addition, too.
Last chances. That hits a nerve I didn’t realize was there. Thank you for this perspective and encouragement, friend. Excited to hear about your new job!
Hehe – you know me, always finding lessons in the massive amount of TV I watch. Hey, it’s my justification for my habit! :)
I can’t wait to hear about the job!
This is a really great post–so much to think about. I think there can be some good in thinking of things as last chances–maybe it pushes us to be bold or to finally make a move. But we should not live in fear that we have only one chance to have something good in our lives.
Thanks, Nicole. You’re so right – finding that balance between motivation and fear when thinking of a situation as our last chance is tricky.
Thank you for sharing! Now I have to go find some kleenex :)
What a beautiful illustration the video clip is of power we mom’s have as role models for our children. Watching the little one dance like her momma made me think of all the things my daughter is watching me do (good and bad).
Whew! Good point about the example we’re setting…
Wow, this post really got me. I feel like this a lot too. I actually am a dancer and I gave up my pointe shoes about 5 years ago because I couldn’t afford the studio lessons anymore. I still dance, though primarily modern, not in a studio and not very regularly, but rather in a few performances a year at my church. I’m also 29 and I have a three year old and a newborn. I wouldn’t trade my children for anything, but I constantly feel like I’ve missed my chance at things. I used to play piano quite proficiently but not as well as I would have liked. I stopped taking lessons 10 years ago, after 11 years of instruction. I can’t really practice anymore because we no longer have a piano in our house. I’ve been working on a novel for 7 years and a memoir for 8, but both are less than halfway done. I sometimes feel like I’m losing myself and yet I still feel enormous pressure to be a “good” stay at home mom (i.e. clean house, clean laundry, healthy meals etc), find a way to help provide financially (still haven’t figured this out yet) and make sure my kids are getting enough kid time, especially with other children. My three year old daughter needs to get out of the house more but I feel like I’m always too busy. Yet in all of this I constantly fear missing something. I look at my little boy and try to enjoy the sleepless nights, wondering if this will be my last chance to enjoy the newborn phase (though we hope to have more children). I need to find a way to enjoy the present and look forward to the future without letting so much ride on each moment and opportunity. Thanks for sharing your own thoughts on the subject. It helps to know that there are others who feel the same way.
Oh, friend, I hear you! We put so much pressure on ourselves – or let others put pressure on us – to perform, to be good enough, to do more. I know that none of us is promised tomorrow, but odds are, you have time. I have time. We have not missed our chance. It’s so hard to remember that, though. One thing that’s helped me is to remember that this time in our lives is just a season. It’s not forever. There will come a day when you can afford lessons or a piano, or carve out time to finish those books. And remember – you don’t have to DO anything to be good enough. You already ARE.