Quit "Should-ing" All Over Yourself and Get All the Endorphins with DANCE WALK

A woman dances with a group of other dance walkers on a sidewalk at night. Cartoon butterflies surround her. 

I have a simple rule for my life: Don't say "should." The word "should" makes me feel guilty, cranky and unmotivated. It turns every activity into a dreadful chore. It usually goes like this: "I should exercise, I should be more social, I should…" [Hides in bed and mainlines Netflix.] The word "could," however, is full of magical possibilities!

As I was reading through all the brilliant suggestions for offbeat hobbies, I found myself should-ing all over the place. Every time someone mentioned running, my brain said, "Yes, hrm, I really should do that." Then I noticed every time someone mentioned dancing, I felt longing. When I finally realized what I was doing, I said, "Hey, I could dance." I stopped, searched Meet-Up for dancing, and found THE MOST AMAZING GROUP EVER.

It's called Dance Walk, and it is inspired by this youtube video:

It's simply (brilliantly!) a group of people who get together and dance party their way down a street.

I showed up for an evening Dance Walk downtown with my friend Christopher to find a large, friendly group of mostly women. The leaders welcomed everyone and gave us the three rules of Dance Walk:

1. Take care of yourself — drink water, take breaks, whatever you need.
2. Take care of each other — if you see someone falling behind, tell the group to wait up.
3. Take turns helping out. There was a speaker attached to a dolly for music that we wheeled around and a group camera for documentation.

Then we took off! We wiggled, shook, skipped and grooved down the wide sidewalk of a busy downtown street, where we got honks, cheers, and "What are you guys doing??" hollers. I immediately felt happy — happy all the way through. I turned to Christopher and said, "How many kinds of endorphins is this? Exercise endorphins, dance endorphins, being silly endorphins, being outside endorphins!"

"Making new friends endorphins!" he said.

While we danced in place at a stoplight, we spotted lightsabers in the park across the street. We unanimously decided to dance-walk our way over to investigate. We boogied into Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and a couple other folks getting their LARP on. As if this wasn't great enough, we could now see further into the park where there was a color-changing fountain sparkling under the city skyline. We danced around this discovery, and Christopher and I even ran through it without getting too wet and earned some cheers from our group.

Dance Walk Darth Vader

It was the most surreal, silly and deliciously absurd experience I've had in a long time. I couldn't stop smiling afterward. As I was in a weird half-conscious state in bed that night, I thought I was covered in small, cartoonish butterflies of every pastel color. As I felt the light flutters over my whole body, I thought, "Oh! That's what endorphins are!" I felt all warmly happy and fell deeply asleep.

As time passes since Dance Walk (and I write about it for a public audience), my brain really, really wants to discount all of this as ridiculous, frivolous and certainly not what I "should" be doing with my time. But you know what? "Should-ing" makes me unhappy. Remembering endorphins-as-butterflies motivates me to seek out more great experiences that I could have. And what else "should" I really be doing with my one precious life?

I can't wait for the next Dance Walk.