Freedom happens when you have choices. A lack of freedom is a lack of being able to choose. Enter desire and it changes things. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice as much as what Barney Fife called a “compelsion.”
It feels like it can’t be helped. That’s untrue, but it may as well be true. Especially if the desire as strong as Mark sings, “volcanic desire, unquenchable fire.”
My real obsession is making a difference. It’s hardly a single-faceted deal. That makes it complicated, and sometimes difficult.
Making a difference first involves figuring things out. If I have an obsession – and my wife will likely tell you I have a few – then this one is right up at the top. Making sense of things is THE thing that can drive me (and perhaps others) crazy.
Today, and all days, I fret more about impact than scale. While scope and scale are critical for so many who want to build some big thing, or be a big thing…I’m rather content, happy even, to be impactful to just a few. Depth requires limitations.
Let’s talk about it and listen to some tunes in between.
P.S. Today would have been Tom Petty’s 67th birthday – October 20, 2017
Another free-form Friday for Friday, the 13th. Why not? The theme of optimism continues! Because can you have enough optimism? Of course not.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss
“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.” – Benjamin Franklin
”One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’ t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” – Lucille Ball
Preface To Today’s Show
Tom Petty’s death derailed earlier plans to record. Years earlier – March 5, 1982 – another celebrity death impacted me. John Belushi was 33 and gone. I was 24. I can’t fully explain why, but it did. Petty’s death is much more explainable. Damn The Torpedoes was released on October 19, 1979, a day before Tom turned 29. I was 22 and in the record business – the business of selling records. It was a big deal. Side one (yep, we had vinyl records that played on turntables) contained Refugee, Here Comes My Girl and Even The Losers. Side two had Don’t Do Me Like That. The Knack, Led Zeppelin and Eagles had chart topping records in the last half of that year, 1979. Pink Floyd’s The Wall would dominate the entire first half of the following year, 1980.
From the moment Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedoes first hit the turntable I was hooked. Understandable since my teens years were spent listening to the breadth of music from Poco, with their alternative country sound, to Led Zeppelin and my fondness for the lyrics and great songwriting of Jackson Browne. Petty and his group were a tasty gumbo of real rock and roll. As Petty himself would say during his February 2017 speech after being recognized as MusiCares Person of the Year, “the roll is the swing.” And in 1979 when most of us first heard him, it really was rock AND roll. Played at a very high level for 40 years. Fittingly, it ended just days after the band played their final gig at at The Hollywood Bowl, bringing to a climax a 40th anniversary tour that had begun back in April 2017. Tom’s last performance ended with him stooping down to sign a few autographs before leaving the stage. A road weary man with a busted hip exited stage left with hopes, expectations and dreams. Of getting some rest. Getting his hip fixed. Spending time with a 4 year old granddaughter. And crafting more music. He had long maintained that he had no hobbies. Instead, he chose to spend his life trying to create or channel the best songs he could – 15 at a time. I’m glad he did because he’s in my earbuds daily – and has been for as long as I can remember. My gym experiences have included Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers since digital music began and we had iPods. It’s still that way today, except there’s a lingering sadness now with every song.
For the past year or more I’ve intentionally worked hard to embrace optimism. Let’s see if I can encourage you to join me.
“When you can be comfortably vulnerable with someone, you are careless with him or her. You are not anxious and fearful, editing what you say and feel. You are free to be yourself with the other person, because you can trust that he or she will not do wrong by you.” -Dr. Henry Cloud