On life, and the passing into history of a year most(ly) dreary

Back in 1989, my friends Chris, Linda, Karen, Tamara and I were hanging out listening to music, as usual, in somebody’s dorm room at ESU.

At some point, we went to our dorm’s common room and flipped on MTV or VH1, and on came the video for The Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line.”

When the camera panned to show a guitar sitting in an empty rocking chair, it took us all a second to realize it was an homage to the late Roy Orbison. We sat silently as the symbolism sank in. For me, at least, it was a sobering moment (something I’m sure I needed more of in college, but that’s another story). I started thinking about death, the legacies we leave behind, and the struggles we all go through on our journey. 

I realized, then,  that “End of the Line’s” poppy, catchy structure belied a more profound meaning: You can waste your life wondering what other people think about you; you can waste your life sitting around hoping good things happen to you; you can waste your life dwelling on the past and worrying about the future; or you can accept the things you can’t change, live your life to the best of your ability and take your joy wherever you find it.

Sadly, 27 years later I still don’t always remember to live that message, but I try.

2016, by most accounts, has been an awful year. Divisive politics; the death of more icons than I care to list here; global atrocities; personal setbacks  … everyone seems to have a story from the year the music died.

It seems appropriate, then, to post the video and lyrics to “End of the Line” here. Think of it as a kind of tribute to those who’ve passed, a salute to those who are still on the journey with us, a send off to 2016 and a reminder that it’s all right – remember to live and let live, because the best you can do is forgive. It’s a message we can all carry with us into 2017. 

 

“End Of The Line”
Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand

You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring (End of the Line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything (End of the Line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring (End of the Line)
Maybe a diamond ring

Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, As long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is Judgment Day

Maybe somewhere down the road aways (End of the Line)
You’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days (End of the Line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (End of the Line)
Purple haze

Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive (End of the Line)
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive (End of the Line)
It don’t matter if you’re by my side (End of the Line)
I’m satisfied

Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

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