On NPR last week, I listened to an interview with Phil Manzanera, lead guitarist for the rock band Roxy Music. Roxy Music celebrated their rock and roll legacy by embarking on a 50th Anniversary Tour this past fall. Listening to the interview sparked a cascade of memories of my time in the late 70s, living in Toronto, working as a waitress in the coffee shop of a small boutique hotel that was the favorite lodging place of touring rock bands, artists, movie folks, film festival stars and musicians recording at the nearby recording studios. The interview reminded me of the time Roxy Music stayed at the hotel on their tour through Toronto and the morning after the concert I served Bryan Ferry, their lead singer and songwriter, breakfast at the coffee shop counter. Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten a ticket for the concert but I considered this a win nonetheless. He didn’t sing his breakfast order for me but he was a lovely customer.
Despite the memories invoked of that wonderful time when I was a small town girl living her dreams in the big city, it was the stark fact that fifty years had passed. Fifty years! I fully recall the haunting, ethereal sound of Roxy Music’s iconic Avalon and whenever I chance upon it on my radio dial I am transported. Still what this all brings me back to is the passage of time.
If there is anything I have learned in my six plus decades on this earth, it’s that the things we truly value are not things at all and one of the greatest, most valuable gifts of life is time. Time to live, to realize dreams, to rectify mistakes, to have a second chance. Time to travel, to fall in and out of love, to bear children, to read and learn. To experience this messy, amazing, thorny, wonderful thing called life. It’s frustrating not to know how much time we may have to live and yet, would we want to? Would our choices be different? I have often heard the old adage to live each day as if it were your last because it might be. Yet day to day, time passes, sometimes productive, sometimes not. It can’t be stopped or turned around no matter how much we try or want to. We cannot change it once it has passed. It just marches on.
One thing I insist upon is to celebrate birthdays. For some reason as we age, we’ve been given this idea that birthday celebrations are just for kids. That we are too old for parties. Who made that rule? I don’t like it much and refuse to adhere. I may not always have the larger, wilder parties of my younger days but I celebrate every birthday. There are many who never reach the age I am so right away I’ve been given the gift of time. I paint my nails red, pour a glass of bubbly and turn up the music. There is always cake with candles. And more than one moment of gratitude.
I love it when people reach milestones and I congratulate Roxy Music on their fifty years of gifting us with timeless music. Music is one of the gifts of life that keeps on giving despite the passage of time. It can make the past come alive again allowing us to relive emotions and events, if only in our minds. But I believe it gives us so much more than this. And I am glad.