The Meaning of Life: Per tango dancers in Argentina

I'm not a very good dancer. Well, perhaps better stated, I'm a reluctant dancer. It's not that I don't like to dance, I just don't know how to (I blame my Baptist upbringing). Mostly, I don't know what to do with my hands, so I grapple unto Sarah as though she's the last life raft on the Titanic. I kinda feel like this when I dance:

I was at a wedding this past weekend, and again, was faced with the "to dance or not to dance" question. I like to consider myself a "lead-off hitter' when it comes to dancing at weddings. That is, I take pride in "breaking the ice" by being one of the first wedding-goers on the dance floor. But usually I make my way to the coffee table by the second song (though the addition of Lukas has given me one additional dance move):

For some odd reason (possibly because I had some down time since Sarah and I were driving from Boston to Chicago for this wedding and to visit some family) I got to thinking about dancing. In fact, I spent about six hours thinking about dancing. It could have been the "fumes" from Cleveland or Toledo, but I started thinking about my time in Argentina about five years ago.

I loved Argentina. I loved the empanadas, siestas, the fact that soccer was always being played and I even developed a liking to mate. I love walking around Buenos Aires and especially walking down Calle Florida (Florida St.). It's just such a beautiful and rich culture. 

When we were touring the city, we happened upon a couple of tango dancers. As someone that has a hard time dancing with no one around, it was pretty fun to watch this couple as they danced while surrounded by a few hundred people (clearly they did not grow up baptist). But then I got to thinking, not only did they come fully garbed in appropriate tango attire they also danced in the middle of a crowded street for about two hours while never putting out a "donations" basket. I remembering being struck by the fact that nearly every tourist stopped to watch them dance, and the easily could have made a good deal of money, but it appeared they were dancing...just to dance...

When I wasn't thinking about dancing during this drive, I was thinking about our finances (this will connect, I promise). Sarah and I are debating between saving up for a down payment for a house, or trying to pay off the remainder of my student loans. Unfortunately, most of our "life decisions" are informed by our financial goals. Whether it be our occupations, schooling, etc, everything seems to be impacted by money. Now granted, there is an element of responsibility at play. We do have to make sure that basic needs are met, and Lukas (our son) is taken care off.  But sometimes I wonder if we are missing the point.

Sometimes I think we need to do things...just for the hell of it. Just because we can...Just because life is full of beautiful things that quickly pass you by if you're not careful. Sometimes we ought to do things not because it yields a profit, or meets a goal, but rather because it in and of itself has inherent value. 

I probably will never tango on Michigan Ave. in Chicago, but I owe a debt of gratitude to the tango dancers of Argentina. I think they "get it." 


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