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The time to embark on your adventure is now

It all started when dinner got boring.

It used to be that when some of my girlfriends and I got together, we’d go out for dinner. We’d talk about the crazy things we did when we were younger. We’d talk about the exciting things we want to do when we’re older. And then it struck us that we weren’t doing anything crazy or exciting now.

I mean, we were doing things. Important things — like packing lunches and paying bills and planting bulbs. But these things lacked a certain adrenaline factor.

So we became adventurers — going rock climbing and taking clogging lessons, running 5Ks and learning to belly dance. When it came time to brainstorm my annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, I wanted to share the love. I thought, "Hey! Belly dancing was fun — I bet I can get a few adventurous women to do that."

I had no idea.

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I e-mailed my "Shimmy for a Cure" invitation to friends. Who passed it on to their friends. Who passed it on to their friends.

By the time I had 25 RSVPs, Shawn and Michelle Fagan of Fagan Studios took pity on me and agreed I could move the event out of my basement and into their super-cool space in the old Gilded Star Art Gallery.

When we hit 39 RSVPs, I e-mailed the belly-dancing instructor, Laura.

"Should I be panicking?" I wrote. "Can you teach 40 people?"

"Goddesses never panic," she wrote back.

When we hit 53 RSVPs, I started panicking.

A week before the event, I went on vacation and by the time I returned, 77 adventurous women had signed up for my little belly-dancing fundraiser.

With two days to go until shimmy time, I had to find a bigger venue. I sat down at my kitchen table and called every available church, business and community space in a 20-mile radius.

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My end of the conversation sounded something like this:

"Hi, I’m looking for a venue for a fundraiser on Friday… Yes, this Friday… 80 belly dancers…. thanks anyway."

Then, at exactly 10:32 a.m., the sky opened, the angels sang and Karen at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church answered my prayers.

"Sure!" she said. "We have space you can use."

"It’s for belly dancing," I said. "Is that a problem?"

"It sounds fun!" she said. I could’ve kissed her full on the lips.

The rest was cake. On Friday night, 85 of the coolest women you’ve ever met showed up with open minds and open checkbooks to support the American Cancer Society and shake their money makers.

"I had no idea it was going to get so big!" I told my fellow belly dancer Laurie.

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"I knew!" she told me. "We’re all bored! We want adventure! We want to be exotic!"

Sue Hruska, the Relay’s honorary chair and a brain cancer survivor, addressed the group just before our lesson began. She reminded everyone how important it is do the things you want to do — to embark on your adventures — today.

"No one knows what tomorrow brings," she said. "Do it now."

And we did. We shook. We shimmied. We doubled over in laughter. During one move, as Laura had us squeezing our shoulder blades together ("Pop that chest! Pop! Pop!"), I looked around at the women surrounding me and felt so grateful to be sharing this adventure with them.

Now it’s your turn. Don’t wait until you have a free weekend, or until the kids grow up, or until you retire. Don’t wait until someone invites you along on their adventure. Do something just to feel the butterflies in your stomach. Do something just so you have a story to tell. Do something for no reason at all — except that you can.

Jennifer Koski is a freelance writer in Rochester. Her column appears Wednesdays. Send comments to news@postbulletin.com.

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