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Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of  five songs that represent it.

This week is interesting because both my husband and I have birthdays. His was on Saturday and mine, tomorrow. As always we ask each other where the time has gone — how has it passed so quickly, and how can we possibly be as old as we are –67. This makes us reflect on what’s gone before, and what we should do next. (I have a more creative and active bucket list than he does, by the way.)

The first song I thought of and always enjoy is When I’m 64 by the Beatles. I liked it when I was 20, when I don’t think I ever imagined being 64. Well, been there already, and feel nothing like the dull old couple McCartney described!

I have favorite songs for different reasons, but I like meaningful lyrics that play in my head as much as the music. Of course, it’s the combination of the two that makes a great song.

First on my list is The River, by Garth Brooks. It’s a beautiful song that expresses how I feel about life. I connected with it the first time I heard it:

…And I will sail my vessel
`Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I`ll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
`Til the river runs dry.
Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
`Til what we put off `til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don`t you sit upon the shoreline
And say you`re satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide.
And I will sail my vessel
`Til the river runs dry…

Hey, that’s life — that’s my life. I’d rather try and fail, than never to have known if I could have succeeded. I’ve hit the banks, and rode the rapids, been afraid sometimes, felt successful occasionally, but followed where life flowed.

Another song of Garth Brooks’ that I like is The Dance. On the surface, it’s the old story, man meets girl, they get involved, she leaves, he’s sad, but still glad to have known her. The theme though is something like The River, “it’s better to have love and lost then never to have have loved at all.” Real joy is rare, and worth experiencing even though it may be followed by pain. Vulnerability is better than stone walls. Life is to be lived, not endured.

Turn Turn Turn was written by Pete Seeger in the ’50’s, but became an international when sung by the Byrds in 1965 (then the Seekers, and later Judy Collins also did well with it). In truth, Pete didn’t really write it, he adapted it from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Like The River, it’s about life’s ups and downs, it’s rhythm, its ebbs and flows. I read this excerpt from the Bible at my brother-in-law’s funeral, and find it very comforting.

So far I think there’s a link between all the songs I’ve mentioned that show the direction my thoughts this week. I think a lot of people wonder about the meaning of life, of their lives in particular, but we all travel down the river, some bail out preferring safety, others make it to the end perhaps battered and bruised, but much wiser.

My husband is strumming on his guitar practicing Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven, another favorite of mine, because while sad, it’s hopeful. Nothing can be harder than losing a child, but despite his despair, Clapton knows that even when you lose loved ones you must “be strong and carry on” with the hope that one day you’ll meet in heaven and know each other. Life is for the living.

Having another birthday can be joyful, but also a time for reflecting, being thankful, and looking forward to the surprises life still holds.