I'm sitting here listening to one of my favorite old albums, Renegade Picker, by Steve Young, which he recorded in 1976. This is one of those great albums that would be in the alt. country genre these days, but back then we just called it rock/country. I was specially taken by the third song on the album, Old Memories (mean nothing to me).
Old memories mean everything to me! I have memories of the good, the bad, and the ugly incidents in my life. I have been shaped by my actions, follies, and miss steps. It is the recollections of my life that continues to enhance my sense of me. After bringing forth a memory of a very rueful incident in my behavior, not only do I allow myself a chance for self forgiveness; but I also create options that would've prevented said behavior had I not been so rash, or unthoughtful, or unkind. I rarely sit and
dig around in my deep store of memories to find a bad one. Memories just happen. I feel that I can use the memories of the dark side of my life to provide positive growth, to be a better person, to live peacefully and happily.
I do not think I am unique when I admit that I have some ugly memories: some incidents created by another person, or persons; and some created by some horrible behavior of my own. As I grow older, when an unpleasant memory caused by another occurs, I am more likely to try and forgive their behavior, than I am to forgive myself for my own abhor-able behavior. For others I try to believe that everyone is attempting to be their best. I know this does not speak well for a lot of humans; but just think how much worse they could be if they weren't trying!
Good memories are a joy. They are pleasant to recall, and frequently they are pleasant to share. How many conversations with friends have we had that began with, “remember when?” We gleefully share our versions of the same happy incident with smiles and laughter. We often disagree on the sequence of the event, or whom actually did what, or what we did later; but it is usually with great happiness that the event is recreated. Happy memories that arise when I am alone, driving, working in the yard or garden, mechanically swinging a fly while fishing,or just sitting, are uplifting and balancing for my psyche. It is like an endorphin release, somewhat exhilarating. Good memories provide me with inspiration to continue to grow, be better, and live happily.
As I grow older I only want to feel at peace with myself, and be among people that I love, and that love me. I want to be a nice man, I want to live by “the golden rule.”
Thank you, Steve Young. I really love your singing and the songs you choose to record. And, to see and hear you at The Mississippi Studio, this year was one my years highlights.
Dec. 8, 2010