“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom/July is dressed up and playing her tune.” For many, those pretty words from the song “Summer Breeze” bring back times, places and events of our pasts. The recent news stories following the death of one of its composers, Jim Seals, 80, who, along with Darrell “Dash” Crofts, comprised the good ol’ 1970’s soft rock duo Seals and Crofts, resulted in the resurrection of musical soundbites from the group’s finest works. Indeed, each generation has its own unique icons, superstars and magical musicians. “We [as another Seals and Crofts hit song professes] May Never Pass This Way (Again)” or will we?

It seems like there is so much going on in our world… or not? Does history, in fact, repeat itself? It’s true of fashion, no? Look around: high waisted “mom” jeans, puffy sleeves, bum bags, flannel shirts, round and oval sunglasses, combat boots, skinny ties, clubmaster glasses (like those from the Mad Men 1960s days), leather jackets, the list goes on. Makes me wonder if our parents and our parent’s parents, like us, looked at rising fuel prices, alternative meat products, and civil unrest and reminisced about the “good ol’ days?” Is there really new news? Has everything been done before?

Take the live hard, work hard, play hard, seize-the-moment, carpe diem (thank you, Horace) message that mankind/womenkind/humankind (any kind?) have promoted and attempted to live by. A YouTube cleric recently accredited theologian and philosopher St. Augustine of Hippo, North Africa, who walked the earth from 354 to 430, with the words, “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.” So insightful for the time. Centuries later, we are still striving to perfect ourselves physically, as well as mentally.

In the same spirit, Seals and Crofts harmonized: “Dreams, so they say, are for the fools/And they let ’em drift away/Peace, like the silent dove/Should be flyin’, but it’s only just begun/Like Columbus in the olden days/We must gather all our courage/Sail our ships out on the open sea/Cast away our fears/And all the years will come and go/Take us up, always up/We may never pass this way again.”

So it appears that singer/songwriter Carly Simon, also a musical legend, was truly onto something with her song “Anticipation” and, specifically the line: “These are the good old days.” While many of us may never have looked at the words with any depth when the song premiered, sometimes life’s wisdom has a way of enlightening us.

Recognizing my own chance at a recent graduation party to seize an opportunity and get input from another generation, I shared both the St. Augustine and Seals and Crofts snippets with a young adult guest who likened the concept to Kris Allen’s song “Live Like We’re Dying”. He reminded me that Kris Allen was an American Idol winner a few years back. Later that night, after revisiting the Allen song on YouTube, it was obvious that he was “spot on!” As the Good Book’s Psalms and Matthew both reference, “Out of the mouth of babes!”

The 2009 song so perfectly reiterates the carpe diem theme: “So if your life flashed before you/What would you wish you would’ve done?/Yeah, we gotta start lookin’ at the hands of the time we’ve been given/If this is all we got, then we gotta start thinkin’/If every second counts on a clock that’s tickin’/Gotta live like we’re dying/We only got 86,400 seconds in a day to/Turn it all around or to throw it all away/We gotta tell ’em that we love ’em while we got the chance to say/Gotta live like we’re dying.”
Wow! That’s beautiful!

If we truly strive to live forever physically, we have the choice to live accordingly, as far as finding our own balance of good nutrition, exercise and preventative medicine. While there will always be those who, like my gentleman friend from Virginia, says, “Eat healthy, exercise and die anyway,” perhaps there is satisfaction in knowing that you did everything you could while you could. Let’s face it, no one lives forever.

Probably more difficult to achieve is taking care of our soul as if we were going to die tomorrow. Perhaps that means, in part, and certainly unique for each person, being finally at peace with what life has bestowed, tending immediately to things that are holding us back, letting go of the past, and stopping our judgment of others. Perhaps it means resolving a dispute, visiting someone who we have been meaning to, even if they tend to be a curmudgeon or controversial, sharing love, saying we’re sorry… giving of ourselves.

Obviously, we humans are a work in progress. We’ve been talking and singing about many of the same concepts for centuries. Maybe nothing really is new. Maybe history truly does repeat itself or maybe we’re like just like Rod Stewart sings, “Forever Young.”

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