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Why you should dance more

| Monday, September 27, 2021

Dancing: a foreign concept to some and a talent of others. I have very little skill when it comes to the technicalities of dancing, but you’ll always see me busting a move. Why? Because I recognize its importance, and you should too.

My grandpa was diagnosed with dementia five years ago when I was a freshman in high school. Since then, his mental awareness has gradually diminished, yet he still remembers key aspects of his life like childhood memories. Over last year’s two-month winter break, I was able to spend a lot of time with him. One day, as we drove to the park near my house, I shuffled my playlist and the song “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” began playing. Immediately, my grandpa began tapping his knee to the beat. I was shocked. He continued to follow the beat and even sang along. I drove around the block a couple extra times and replayed the song over and over as we sang together. These ten minutes will always be my all-time favorite car ride.

I immediately called my grandma when we got to the park to inform her of my amazing discovery. She told me that she and my grandpa loved to go out and dance on the weekends as young adults. One of their favorite songs, as you could guess, was Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” 

I began to think about why my grandpa could remember the words to songs he danced to decades ago but not the names of people he sees on a regular basis. I realized that those memories dancing with my grandma were among his most cherished.

I put myself in my grandpa’s shoes, thinking about what moments I’ll remember, even if my memory is significantly limited. I can tell you what I am not going to remember: failing a quiz, doing poorly on an exam or getting a 3.5 GPA instead of a 3.7 GPA. Yes, school is important. Yes, you should do your best. But school is not everything, not even close. Go out and dance with your friends. Have fun. Make the memories you’ll always remember.

You can contact Mackenzie at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Mackenzie Olsen

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