Natterings: Sorry This One Isn't Funny

by Duke Egbert

“So much time to make up
Everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way…”

David Crosby died yesterday.davidcrosby_500

I am not a CSN(Y) fanatic. I like their stuff well enough; I’m not likely to ever turn off the radio when their songs come on. Especially since, being almost 55, I grew up with them.

There is a certain specific sadness to watching the musicians you listened to in your youth die.

My first gut punch was Neil Peart. I might have actually shed a tear or two, especially when I realized I could never see Rush live. That was on my list of things to ‘get around to someday’. Well, time’s up; I’ll never check that particular box. I missed that opportunity, because it seemed like I would have forever; I would have plenty of time.

This isn’t about musicians dying young. It is easy to point out why Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse and Prince died; their fatal flaws were documented in cold black and white on a thousand news sites. This is about growing old, and realizing that the music you listened to when you were young and immortal (and remember, in the words of Rush, “We’re only immortal for a limited time”) has a time limit. There will come a time, regardless of who you are, that you will see your greatest musical hero die of old age or an old person’s disease. For me, one went already; Dan Fogelberg died when he was just a year or so older than I am. Alan Parsons is 74. Peter Gabriel turns 73 next month.

I have never seen Gabriel live, either.

And it’s easy for me to make excuses; I didn’t have the money, I was raising kids, whatever. But I did manage to see Parsons four times; if it had been enough of a priority, I could have seen Rush. But I thought I had forever. I never considered that all those artists were older than I was.

There is one lesson I have come up with from both being older and cheating death several times. Not to sound cliché, but it’s better to regret the things you did than the things you didn’t do. Life has an expiration date. Experiences do, too. We live in constant denial of our own mortality; instead, we should live as if we are forever conscious of it and trying to experience as much as we can before it catches us.

If there’s a lesson from all this, these thoughts that chased themselves around my head last night in the darkness while I couldn’t sleep, it’s that the best goal is to try to live with no regrets. So here’s my message to all of you, DV contributors and readers alike: you will run out of time. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but some day; with that sad understanding firmly in mind, go out and do the things you always meant to do. Whether it’s seeing a musician live, telling someone you love them, or bungee-jumping, take the opportunity when it arises.

Because in the end, we will never know when our time is up.

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