Words are my thing. I love them: learning them, using them, imagining them. Sometimes I feel I’m at my best in words; on paper, they can express my feelings at times better than I can verbalize. It’s a little safer to write our thoughts on paper at times, but the words are then there for us to speak…or sing, as the case may be.
Tunes have been flitting through my head a great deal lately. Often, in times of greater stress, I turn to music and lyrics to help myself relax. This past weekend I saw Saving Mr. Banks, a well-done film which is as bittersweet as it is uplifting. As a child who gobbled up the whole Mary Poppins concept, it was a wonderful retreat into the songs from the film. But I’m ready to relinquish the repetitive strains of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and tackle something less frivolous.
As one who tends to focus on what’s ahead, I need to learn to live in the present far better than I do. To that end, I’ve enlisted some musical “friends” to help me down that path. Vexing about tomorrow and beyond, a time period I am not able to control, just isn’t the most optimal use of my time. My traipse into musical nirvana has been fun and nostalgic, but not nostalgic in the sense of wanting to be in a different time…nostalgic in the sense of achieving a better frame of mind.
The first record album I bought with my own money was Elton John’s Honky Chateau. I was a dedicated fan of his for many years. One song that flits through my head is “Roy Rogers.” I grew up watching westerns on television and loved horses. It was my ambition to be a cowboy until I realized that cowboys didn’t exist in the suburbs of the Northeastern US. Not all was lost; I still retained my imagination. “Sometimes you dream, sometimes it seems/There’s nothing there at all/You just seem older than yesterday/And you’re waiting for tomorrow to call.” This sums up a belief of mine recently. There are too many days where I’m just waiting for the passage of time that will bring the next day where I wait for the passage of time…
A more excitable set of lyrics moves me to be more aware of changing my mindset. The decade of the 1980s is a lost period of my life for the most part. However, a few items glimmer in the shadows of my memory. Of the myriad hair bands from that decade, Van Halen was one I liked. “It’s your tomorrow/Right now…[…]…Catch that magic moment, and do it right/Right now.” It’s nothing earth-shattering but the message is clear. Quit wasting time and go after what you want. I get it.
Some philosophies encourage an individual to “take” while the taking exists. I don’t believe in living excessively but do feel this can be done within reasonable parameters. Following Janis Joplin’s example didn’t work out well for her, so I doubt it would work for others. But one cannot deny the exuberance with which she lived her all too short life. It’s a shame she wasn’t able to realize much of the situations about which she sang. Still, I can take a page from her songs and incorporate some ideas into my own thoughts. “When you’re loving somebody, baby,/You’re taking a gamble against some sorrow./But who knows, baby,/’Cause we may not be here tomorrow.” Enough said. I get it.
Each day I try to fold a little more effort into staying in the moment and not projecting myself too far ahead. It’s easy to look back and see where I have been deficient. It’s another matter entirely to “change” but that’s where the whole “baby steps” philosophy comes into play. In taking small steps toward a better mindset, I keep in mind one of Tim McGraw’s mantras. “And I loved deeper,/And I spoke sweeter,/And I watched an eagle as it was flyin’.” For one twenty four hour period at a time, I try to be a little better of a person. I get it.
How is it all possible? It’s pretty simple, really. A guy nicknamed The Boss shared a concept with me a few decades ago. “Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night.” My faith showed me there can be love again; my faith showed me there can be hope again; my faith showed me life is worthwhile. There is magic. I get it.
“Roy Rogers” Elton John
“Right Now” Van Halen
“Get It While You Can” Janis Joplin
“Live Like You Were Dyin'” Tim McGraw
“Thunder Road” Bruce Springsteen