As the Decade Turns, Thoughts on the Music Connecting Then and Now

For us, this decade began on a sand bar in the outer Fiji Islands raising a glass with dear friends to the first sunrise of the millennium. At that time, and well into the decade for that matter, we owned neither a bed nor a couch; both represented a major infringement upon our ability to act on the spontaneous and nomadic aspects of our nature.

Shoes one can throw in a car, a couch not so much.

Ten years later, we find ourselves not only with couches and beds, but with homes, children and work demands which decidedly preclude three week trips to the other side of the world. Given this reality, it seems now would be a perfect time to throw in our lot with the collective punditry and write about change.

Over the past week we've seen a lot of reflection upon how much has changed, and, to be fair, on both the societal and the personal levels we've certainly done our share of thinking about that.

Let's face it, irrespective of one's political orientation, you've got to be either willfully blind or completely out to lunch to not recognize that the events of the aughts were instrumental to the disruption and reformation of the world order (or disorder) and were deeply informed by global popular consciousness' response to that. So it makes a hell of a lot of sense to write about change.

But for better or worse, we just don't feel like it. After surveying the public discourse to the point of overload and indulging in quite a few late-night sessions with friends, we find ourselves less focused on what has changed and more interested by those things which have not.

Think about that - are there some things in your life which have endured ten years of major social and personal change? If you can think of any, we highly recommend you grab hold of them like a $20 bill you just found in the street and sit down and examine them. If you do, we're betting there's a good chance they'll reflect some of the more enduring aspects of your nature.

One of the handful we've identified is, surprise, surprise, the role that music continues to play in our lives. We don't mean to sound like a broken record, but it really is a bit humbling to acknowledge the extent to which it ebbs and flows throughout our days. And it feels oddly timeless that it is as inconceivable today as it was 20 years ago to think of a life not infused with music.

This plays out on many levels. Certainly it entails collecting music, listening to music, relating to music, but it's also more nuanced than that. We also continue to relate to others and to the world to a certain degree through music. A fact which in turn influences in countless subtle ways the choices we make about what we do and those toward whom we gravitate, thereby influencing, by extension, the overall course of our lives.

We recognize it's important not to get dramatic and overstate the case. Of course we have many different interests, and, yes, we have friends and colleagues who don't give a toss about music. But when we survey our interconnections with the world, music is one of the common denominators. It's one of the elements which provide an underlying consistency to the complexities of going about this thing called life.

And in the face of such dramatic change on both the societal and the personal levels, we could all use a little consistency. A little consistency and a little self-knowledge as we plunge into the next ten.

It would be untrue to say anything other than we have no idea what the future brings, but it seems we can be reasonably sure that, at least for us, it will have a rich soundtrack as it unfolds.

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Sarah Webster