Adapting to Change
Jesse Kornbluth, Headbutler.com
Gerald Torres, University of Texas School of Law
Ronni Bennett, Timegoesby.net
Professor Michael Smyer, Boston College Center on Aging and Work
It's got to be faced one way or the other. Change. Pretend the world isn't constantly in a state of flux, and you may emerge one day wondering when the Spanish-American War ended. Yet, pretend you have no life experience and you may find yourself wearing hot pants again. Our fearless panel discusses the challenges of change as embodied by music choices.
Ronnie Bennett, the author of the blog Time Goes By, discusses what it's really like to get older. She says she made a conscious decision to stop listening to popular music in the mid-seventies. (It was the advent of disco, so it's understandable.) "I didn't have enough brain space," she says, "And I had to make room for the books and movies I wanted to enjoy."
Jesse Kornbluth, of headbutler.com, feels that it's important not to listen to the same music. "Repetition dulls you." On the other hand, with new technology literally at our fingertips, people are afforded new ways with the tried and true. Listening to old music with digital technology, for instance, can be a whole new experience.
Gerald Torres is a leading expert in environmental and Native American legal issues. He likens old music to comfort food. "It's not going to challenge you, but it can make the ruts deeper," he says.
Aye, and there's the rub. There's a difference between fond memories of something, like music, and nostalgia. Memories are vital, and add depth, richness and continuity in our personal histories. On the other hand, "Nostalgia can be corrosive," says Torres. Nostalgia is a way of remembering the past through rose-colored glasses, and it causes everything else to pale by comparison. It's important to be here and now. After all, people change-and hopefully, grow-through life. "The best time to be alive is now," says Torres.
In the end, we need not disavow the things we enjoy. But the world has too rich and varied a bounty to simply stick with the chicken soup every time we go to the buffet.