The other night I was listening to the local community radio while sipping a hot cup of tea. The evening was perfect and the drink was exactly what was needed for a cool December night at home.
Some kind of world jazz was on the dial. Those kinds of songs that seem to go on forever and are not meant to listen to with much concentration. Perfect background music for writing, painting or reading a book.
As I listened from a distance, I noticed the static seconds in the quieter moments of the never-ending song. I listened with more attention and became lost in the spell of jazz sounds surely recorded in a far away place.
I like the static, the imperfections that come with listening to radio music.
Somehow it elevates the song, gives it more character, helps it comes to life. Like most other things, music has become so homogenized.
Songs sound the same these days and they sound too good to be true. Singers’ voices don’t crack anymore. You listen to a music record and then experience the song during a live performance. You’re surprised it doesn’t sound the same.
What happened to the time when everything was different because it was ok to take chances, and be different? Take cars. During the 1950’s you couldn’t pull up to a drive-in without seeing a rainbow of colors, shiny metal colors filling up the parking lot.
Today’s cars are all different shades of black, white or brown. And then there are faces. Yes, human faces. After a certain age, they begin to look the same. We don’t let ourselves grow old anymore. We’re too afraid to let people read us, figure us out, through the wrinkles on our faces.
I kind of like wrinkles. Most people don’t want them. They pay a lot of money to get rid of them. But we have them because our experiences, our journeys, make marks on our outer surfaces that let others know we have lived a certain kind of life.
Imagine Mother Teresa or Ronald Reagan without wrinkles? They would be different people.
It’s ok to be different. It’ ok to live a life that leaves us marked or scarred. A traveling wanderer named Captain Fred once told me that he would rather go busted than rusted. He was right. Life is too short to sit and rust.
A new year is beginning, and one thing we can all try to do is to be ourselves. Let the world know we’re ok just the way we were created. Wrinkles and all.
I better get back to my world jazz. The same song is still playing and I hear the static calling.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on December 7, 2016.