Saturday afternoon in downtown Oakland; a car with balloons and celebratory Biden /Harris signs blasted music and people on the side walk burst into song with the refrain, ” Yahoo. It’s a celebration.” Kool and the Gang’s Celebration song has become somewhat of a de facto tune for joyous moments. For me, it started in college; 11:00 pm, my roommate and I would crank up the tune and dance it out as a study break. We kind of got a following, in the dorm – dance party time in the hall. The power of music.
Growing up, with so much music available, I wondered why my parents, and actually all older adults seemed to be stuck in some bygone musical era. As youth do, I proclaimed, that’s not going to happen to me, I will always know new music.1 And you, what are your top songs? Think of the songs makes you happy, the ones that make you want to dance or make you sing along, the ones that make you cry. Come on, write them down for this exercise. Pause. Now, look at your list; are most of your songs from a particular decade? Most of us have a soundtrack for our lives heavily influence by what we liked in our youth.
Science says around the age of 30, the desire for new music drops off. Prior to that, between the ages of 12 and 22 on the precipice of teen and adult, hormones amuck, defining yourself and the world around you, music can loom large. You start define moments of your life with song. You get a rush with certain song, a dopamine release as you wait for the crescendo and a song to peak. You know it’s coming and you wait for it; like those spontaneous yahoos with Celebration song.
How open are you to new music? Do you actively seek it, or now and then happen on a song you like? Now switch that thought to ideas. Are you open to new ideas, do you actively seek out new ideas? I don’t recall ever hearing anyone proclaim to be close minded; yet think when asked, most of us can name someone they considered “close minded.” Keeping an open mind is work; you are willing to have your ideas challenged; you have embrace the possibility you could be wrong. This election week showed the US has a definitive split; half want one thing the other half another. Can we move from winners and losers and taking sides to unite? The question is simple:
Do you want the governing parties to work together to find solutions?
A no answer is a disbelief in democracy. A no answer is a prophecy that government will spin into chaos because there is no underlying principle to work together, to goal for a common good. But, what does a yes look like? Seriously, what does it means for both sides to work together? People often say they find it impossible to listen to the opposing side. Is this the attitude you want elected officials that you didn’t vote for to take?
While our ability or desire to collect new music may decline over time, hopefully our ability to be open mindedness has not. Here’s a great post on open mindedness. This week, as we thank veterans for their service on Armistice day, let us remember at a time of endless choices, we can work to be open minded and we can choose peace.
1 This is my spiral down the musical hole. Can I claim Thundercat as my new music but, ummm, since he was influenced by Stanley Clark, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock it seems to prove hypothesis, my musical taste were set up in late teens, early 20’s? What about H.E.R., but she was influenced by Prince. OK, what about Bajka or Nnamdi? Do I get any points for my last concert being Thundercat?