I think I have mentioned in a previous post that I am a channel flicker. I love it, but it drives my wife crazy! I will watch three or four shows at a time, mostly things I have seen before so I don’t need to see every moment of the show. I can just flick back and forth between the best parts of each show and get the satisfaction of seeing all of them. Sometimes the shows I am watching mold together is some strange way to create a theme. This isn’t limited to movies, it can include just about anything; cartoons, concerts or even soccer on the Spanish channel. It can be a night of super-heroes or of war stories. Even if these stories are about different wars, they can all underscore the same theme of self-sacrifice or camaraderie. Some nights the things I watch can be so different that I can’t help but notice contrasting views, and wonder if I am the only one who sees them.
The other night I could not find anything I wanted to watch, so I clicked and clicked until I was so far up the list that I reached the music channels. On one channel there was a concert by a very popular band that is selling out stadiums around the world. The camera mostly focused on the lead singer/guitar player running from one side of the stage to the other, full of energy, screaming out the lyrics as the audience enthusiastically bounced up and down with energy that only people much younger than me have. I liked their music; they sounded good and the energy was infectious. I wished I could be in the audience enjoying what was surely a good show.
On the next channel was “Guitar Centers Sessions”. This is a small venue concert and interview. Most of the time it focuses on a band or individual who is a legend, or at least has been around for a long while. That night it was an interview with someone I had never heard of, but who is apparently is a legend to some. He sat in the chair talking about his life, including its many mistakes and missteps.
The contrast between these two channels was amazing to me. I flicked back and forth to watch them both, one highlighting the youth of today, full of energy, the other reflecting on life much later down the very same path. Both men tattooed head to toe, voices raspy, one from the years of cigarettes and hard living, the other from yelling out lyrics in giant stadiums.
Reflecting on his youth, the older rocker made a comment which made the contrast all the more evident. Paraphrasing what he said, the whole reason he had gotten into music was the anger he had inside. Anger over his upbringing, anger over how the world was. He said his music was a product of that anger; the problem with that youthful anger, however, was that his generation wanted the world changed, but they didn’t know to what. His follow-up comment was something like, “Now that I have grown older and even coached little league, I know what I wanted to change and can now work to make those changes happen.”
I don’t know the changes this man wants to effect in the world, and to tell you the truth I don’t care, but his comments made me think. When we have most of our energy and youth we waste it! I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I couldn’t focus and decide what I wanted. I bounced from one thing to another, wasting time that could have been spent making a difference. Now that I am older I know exactly what I want to change, mostly things I want for our children and other children like them. I want to make the world better than what I see in my generation, and I feel like I have a grasp of how I can make a difference. Like the old veteran, I have lived my life and it has, for the better, made me wiser, even though it hasn’t been the straightest road. There have been good times and bad, times of smooth sailing and times of rough waters. The wisdom is coming at a price, but now I can look back and say it has been worth it. I just wish I had some of that energy back!