When was the last time you did something for the pure joy of it? With no goal in mind? With no other intention?
This morning in the yoga studio, the teacher asked us to remember how it felt to ride a bike when we were 12 years old. Not for the exercise. Not to get to a certain place. But for the pure joy of it.
I imagined myself pedaling down the city streets, wind in my hair. I remembered the feeling of releasing the handlebars, raising my arms up in the air, riding with no hands!
I remember the joy of it. Not the exercise. Not the destination. Just the joy.
I try to do things for the pure joy as often as possible. It’s why, as a grown woman, I started skipping instead of walking my kids to school. It’s why I loved running, and why I love yoga.
It’s why I always loved dancing. No matter what was happening in my life, I could find joy on the dance floor.
Back in the day, there were a few local dance clubs that played the music I liked to dance to: punk, new wave, goth, industrial, hardcore. The louder the better. It turned my anger, frustration, confusion, into pure joy.
There was a group of people that would frequent these clubs. I didn’t know them all by name, but I spent a lot of time sharing space with them. I’d see them in one club on Thursday night, and the other on Saturday. In one the next Wednesday and the other on Sunday. The same faces, the same cliques.
There were some people who stood out, for the way they dressed, or the way they moved on the floor. There was one guy who stood out because of the joy he exuded. When he walked into the club, there seemed to be a collective hello. Everyone knew him. His name was, appropriately, Skip. Skippy. Hipster Skipster.
He made his way onto the dark dance floor and he brought a light with him. His energy was contagious. I shifted myself to be in his orbit. I must’ve danced with him to 1000 songs through the years. Slamming into him, pushing him into the pit, raising a fist to shout lyrics. Sharing our love of music, sharing our energy. We were ageless, and timeless. It was epic. Legendary.
Over the last few years, thanks to social media, and nightclub reunions, I had the opportunity to actually get to know him a bit. I could tell you that the knowing demystified the legend … but it didn’t really.
He was, in my experience, just as he had always been on the dance floor. Smiling that smile. Laughing the most contagious laugh. Loving life.
His housemate has referred to him as a man-child on more than one occasion. Her word seems to sum it up perfectly. Sure, he was a grown-up with responsibilities, and a regular life, but he wasn’t an old person. He may have been 55 on the outside, but he still rode his bike like a 12 year old!
He lived life to the fullest, and he died doing what he loved. Yes, he died young, but at any age he would’ve still been young.
We’ve lost an ageless, joyful spirit. And now there is a gaping hole in the heart of an entire scene.
The only consolation is the joy that he shared with everyone he danced with, rode with, played with. And as it seems, the joy he shared with anyone he ever met.
With his untimely passing, the urgency of living a joyful life is reinforced.
Ride like a 12 year old. Live for the pure joy of life.
Dance. Jump. Skip.
Photo grabbed from Aldo’s Facebook page
Wonderful tribute to a wonderful guy. Thank you.
This was such a touching story and I wish to have known Skippy. He looks like a lovely person – and good for him for living his life with such joy. This story has brought tears to my eyes and has reopened them too – time to enjoy today! Thank you so much for this Julie
[…] I let the feeling wash over me as we walked, and began to skip, as I often do. (More so since I made a promise to a departed friend.) […]
Touching and well written , you put into words how I feel when I see many people from the clubs back then. I don’t know many names yet I feel close to them, I shared the love of music and dance with many of them. I still escape thru music nowadays , somehow I find the time to dance and feel free that way. Thank you
THAT is the real obit for HIM! Knew him for 43 years. As we grew older and life’s twists and turns sent us in separate directions we still managed to see each other a few times a year. And, speak weekly on the phone or text. Missed forever.