The good old days are alive and well

Yesterday Chris Cornell, an icon from my younger days as a seeker of real music, died. I remember when his band Soundgarden first came out with their heavy, grimy guitar riffs and his unmistakable voice driving their songs all along the spectrum of vocal abilities - it blew my mind! I will admit that my air guitar game was strong in those days. The early 1990's were a time when bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots were swooping in to rescue all of us from the nefarious clutches of hair metal and the really bad 1980's electronic stuff that they tried to pass off as music. I'm not too biased, am I?

As I get older I will inevitably experience the loss of those who not only entertained me in my younger years but also those whom I knew personally. Many of my friends have lost one or both parents and all of my grandparents have already passed on. Every once in a while social media lets me know that someone I knew in high school or college has succumbed to cancer or died from some other cause. Every single time that happens I pause and reflect, trying to conjure up memories of these old friends and acquaintances from places in the far corners of my mind.

This is not intended to be a sad or depressing post. Rather, this is celebration of memories if not all out nostalgia. I find my self consistently referring to the experiences of my younger years as I converse with my children (can you feel their eyes rolling through your computer screen?), realizing that I have become "one of those" adults who believes that everything was not only simpler but better back in the day.

It's not that I - nor any of my contemporaries - are going kicking and screaming into the future. I love today's technology and depend upon it just as much as today's generation does. The fact that I haven't had to walk across the room to manually turn the television channel in years has been life-changing for me. My life today has the ability to be so much more efficient than it was when I had to write all of my college and grad school papers on an electric typewriter. Can you imagine trying to type anything today without spell check?

But I have to admit, my fondest memories come from when I was younger and life for me WAS simpler. Sure, I didn't have to carry the weight of a job or family responsibilities (which I love, by the way), but the whole process of experiencing life for the first time was exhilarating. My mind wasn't cluttered with worries and anxieties like it sometimes is today, and relationships were at the forefront of everything that I pursued. That's why when I read of someone from my younger years passing on, it causes me to stop in my tracks to reflect on what, for me, will always be the good old days.

There is no doubt about it, life is short. I recently turned 47 and I can't believe how stinking old I am. Yet instead of living in the past, I relish seeing my own children create their own futures right before my eyes. Other than leading a life that points my children to the truth of Jesus, my highest goal is to live in the moment with them as they experience relationships, heart aches, achievements, and failures. As sad as it can be to see others from my childhood pass on from this earth, it's even more exciting to watch my own children and those around me blaze their own trails into the future.

Oh, one more thing. Today's music can't hold a candle to the songs of the 1990's. Thank you Chris Cornell for the memories and for Eddie Vedder and the other remaining old rockers who are still keeping it real for us today.

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