I just listened to the song, “Hotel California”, by The Eagles. In 1994, they did the “Hell Freezes Over” tour after years of being apart. When they performed this song in an acoustic setting, in my opinion it was the greatest rendition they did. The song was great. The song IS great. I couldn’t though help but realize that this performance was 19 years ago. 19 years ago. The funny thing is, 19 years ago the Eagles were old and tired. Today, as I listen to them, they are the equivalent to Big Band music when I was growing up in the 80’s.
Music intersects life. It defines generations and sets the mood for a year or even a decade. I wonder…does it ever die? When is a song or a band ever truly outdated? A few months ago I bought Gordon Lightfoot’s Greatest Hits. This man was a stud back in the day. “Sundown” is a song that in 2013 still makes me sing out loud. When he was in his heyday, Lightfoot made music truly sing. When I think about time, I realize that his music was popular 40 years ago. 40 years. Of course, this got me to start waxing poetic about time, memories and what they all mean in the grand scheme of things.
I think people spend too much time thinking about how great things were a long time ago. Admit it–we all have wondered what would happen if we could go back and do thing differently. While it’s a fun game to play, it’s a true waste of our time and energy. It also does little justice for our lives in the present tense.
Yes, we had moments in our lives when we “stabbed it with our steely knives”. We took risks and sometimes they paid off; other times it set us back. What matters most is we lived. We lived and we experienced and we moved on. I am so far removed from my high school years. I cannot relate at all to the current set of students that walk the halls of my alma mater. In my life, I had a 4 year span when I lived that life. I experienced, I lived. it is done. It’s time to live in the present and worry not about the occurrences of yesterday and years ago.
In the song, “Hotel California”, they sing about how you can “Check out anytime you’d like, but you can never leave”. Perhaps that’s so. You can however change your way of thinking and how you act in the present. While it’s always great to remember what once was, it doesn’t have to define you. We live, we experience, we grow.
The place I was before was sometimes great, but often, it wasn’t. I’ve learned from it and I am happy to say I am better for it. As you look back on your life, I wonder if you can do the same. It’s better to live in the now. If you do, you will find that the current set of memories you make are great to experience.
I don’t want to find the passage back to the place I was before. I like to know it’s there if I ever need to reflect on mistakes made and lessons learned but I find it holds me back if I spend to much time worrying about what once was. I’d much rather focus on what is and what can be.
Without the choices I have made in my life, I wouldn’t have my two children, Kathryn and Brantley. They are miracles. Even though I am not proud of everything in my past, I’m glad that the end result was them. They don’t see the dark days, they see a father who loves them and wants them to succeed. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.
Maybe, just maybe–in your own way, you can relate.