Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Happy Birthday J.O.L.

As I type this my head is stuffed from allergies so my mind isn't exactly clear, but this day often puts me into a reflective state, which is what compels me to write. The impact that John Lennon had on my youth, and ultimately who I am today, is immeasurable.

I was in fifth grade when I was officially bitten by the Beatle bug. I couldn't get enough; fortunately there was such a huge catalog (it seemed like a bottomless barrel at the time) of music for me to dig into. The more I read about the band and their lives the more I became fascinated with John & Yoko and their foray into activism and the fight for equality. Whenever I trace my own roots as an activist I am brought back to my early Beatle days.

So many different areas of my life have been touched by John, Yoko, and The Beatles. My decision to pursue a career in higher education was largely based on my belief that college campuses are a place where social change often begins. In this messed up world I figured higher education is a place where I could possibly contribute to solutions more than simply becoming part of the problem. Over the years I've learned it's not quite that simple, but the idealist in me still believes in the power of the people (particularly young people) to change the world.

Today I am filled with gratitude for John Lennon's life, short as it was. In my pre-and-early teen years when life at school felt very dangerous for kids like me (scrawny, quiet, perceived by some fellow students to be gay), my safe zones were my bedroom and the record store. As I've grown older and gained more perspective on my past the more I've grown to believe that music, particularly that of The Beatles (collectively and solo) saved my life. It got me through the toughest times when I had no hope for the future. What got me through each day was the anticipation of getting home and putting records on the turntable.

So today I intend to celebrate John's life rather than mourn his untimely passing. I feel part of a much larger community of individuals whose lives were similarly impacted by John and his musical partners. Thanks for everything, John. I hope you know just how great your stamp on the world really was.

Thanks for reading.
PEACE. xxxooo Jeff

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