Tag Archives: George Michael

The Present Will Never Last

This morning, I am traveling to the Washington D.C. area with my friend to celebrate New Year’s.  Of course, this won’t be a common celebration but one filled with some live music by a certain band that we know and love.  Yes, this New Year’s celebration will include a couple Duran shows.

When these shows were announced, I didn’t hesitate to make plans to go.  I never have New Year’s plans and this holiday includes time away from work.  If that wasn’t enough, I also had airline miles.  It seemed like a no brainer.  Yet, as the days passed by and become weeks then months, I began to wonder if I made the right decision.  I could use the money for other things.  The mountain of grading would not get done on its own.  My feelings of despair hadn’t let up much since November.  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling it much and put off real planning.  Yes, I had a plane ticket, a hotel room, but I hadn’t prepared the binder or figure out any real details.  I kept putting it off.

Then, on Christmas day, I heard about George Michael’s death.  Like so many others of my generation, I grew up listening to George Michael and Wham.  I sang his songs and watched his videos.  Hearing about his loss was like losing a part of my childhood.  Then, when you place his loss alongside the others who died during this year, the grief is almost overwhelming.  When I just think about the musicians lost this year, I am deeply saddened by those whom I will never have the opportunity to see live in concert or hear new music from again.  I was lucky in that I saw David Bowie live once.  I wish I could have said the same for Prince and George Michael.

Suddenly, I realized that I need to get it together.  I have the opportunity to go and see Duran Duran on New Year’s Eve.  I shouldn’t ignore any and all chances to see bands/artists I like.  I certainly should APPRECIATE every single chance I have to see Duran Duran.  If anything that 2016 has taught us, it is not to waste chances and moments to do what you love or to be where you are happiest.  After all, you never know when we won’t have the chance to do it again, for whatever the reason.

Now that I have rearranged my perspective, how can I not be excited and appreciative for this chance?  How can I not look forward to spending New Year’s not only with Duran Duran but also countless Duranies!  While I will miss my best friend being with me and I acknowledge that life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, I need to focus on what I do have.  I will have two Duran shows and I know that there is no place I would rather be.  Duranie friends will be all around me.  Life isn’t perfect but this trip will be pretty close.

So, as you are all reading this, I should be on my way.  Hopefully, my flight will be uneventful and then I will be able to enjoy a city that I have had the good fortune of spending some time over the last 6 years or so.  Then, I will be ready to party and put an end of a year that was filled with sorrow and disappointment.  With everlasting hope, I, along with thousands of Duran fans, will welcome 2017 doing what we love–singing, dancing, screaming and clapping for a band and music we love so much.

-A

My Last Post of 2016. What is to be gained?

This is my last post of 2016. I don’t post again until Monday, January 2nd 2017, so have a wonderful New Years, everyone! I don’t know what Amanda has planned for her blogs this weekend, but I would imagine they’d have something to do with traveling and seeing some band from the UK a couple of times.

There’s a part of me that is jealous, but another part—the saner portion of me—that is a bit relieved I’m staying home. It’s not about the band, because I would love to see them and my friends again.  No, my relief is about the not having to pack, schedule out the time while I’m gone, get on a plane, and then come back before I have to be at work on Tuesday, that makes me a little relieved I’m not planning a trip across the country.

I’ve seen many say that 2016 has been a tough, cruel year. The loss has been pretty tough to take. While I don’t typically lose family members every year, invariably there is a celebrity figure or two.  They pass on, and we all stop for a moment to pay our respects, then life simply moves on.  This year, I daresay the loss seems to have felt more acute. Whether it’s the number of people who have left us, or the people themselves, 2016 has been a roller coaster.

I’ve seen so many people tweet that we need to wrap every member of Duran Duran in bubble wrap, as if that will somehow protect them from the dreaded 2016. I’ve said similar things myself, in jest, as if adding humor to the situation will make it all more palatable. The reality is that there’s nothing any of us can do to make this stop. I’m 46, and many of my idols, including the band, are hitting their mid to late 50’s now. Many others are even older. I remind myself that my own father died at 68. Death is a certainty, it’s a matter of when. And that thought is pretty damn depressing.

How many of us actually sat down at the age of thirteen that we’d have to someday see all of the celebrities and people we admire leave this earth? How many of us really thought about the day we’d read online that George Michael passed away? Or David Bowie? Or Prince?  I know I didn’t. I never gave mortality much thought. I lived in the moment, and didn’t think too far beyond what I might wear to school the following day.  Blissful ignorance of youth.  And then we grew up.

It is 2016. Many of you reading are also in your 40’s. This year alone, we’ve felt the loss of many legends and heroes. Death has this annoying way of forcing you think about life, and I think we all want to be able to blame some THING for why so many people are dying this year. So, we blame 2016. I highly doubt we’ll wake up in 2017 and the Grim Reaper will have decided to take his talents elsewhere, but it is how we make sense of things that really have no answer.

I suppose that I’ve come to the conclusion that this constant parade of RIP’s and tributes will not have an end until I leave this planet myself. I’m at middle age, my heroes are either my age or older, and none of us live forever. I can remember my grandmother sitting in her chair in my childhood home, watching the news in the afternoons during the summer when she’d babysit my sister and I.  Occasionally there would be news of a celebrity death, and invariably she’d take a sharp inhale of breath, shocked by the news.

She’d softly say something like, “Well, there’s another one gone. Soon there will be no one left.”  Then she’d look over at me and my sister, playing with Barbies on the floor and muse, “Getting old is terrible, Rhonda Lynn. You can’t move, and your friends die constantly.”

I can remember looking at her then looking over at my sister, who couldn’t have been much older than five or six. I’d give her a tiny smile and then roll my eyes. Why? Well, we were never going to get old!!

I don’t blame people for wishing 2016 away, mind you. There are a number of reasons for wanting this year to just end already. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that by this time most years, I’m ready to get on with it already. On the other hand, I’m also trying to be careful not to wish my life away. I have things to look forward to in 2017. A girls weekend in Rancho Mirage, seeing Duran Duran again, my son’s graduation from high school, more college acceptances for him (I hope!), and then seeing him walk onto his college campus for the first time.

Even with all of that, I’m trying very hard to put the art of enjoying each day as it comes into practice. I don’t like saying the words “I can’t wait” anymore (although I still say them out of habit) because as it turns out, I CAN wait. Anticipation isn’t a bad thing. It heightens and stretches out the enjoyment of what is to come.

If there’s anything to really be gained from the loss we’re all learning to accept these days, it is to learn that time isn’t to be wasted. There’s not an infinite amount somewhere. When your cup runneth out, you’re done. One of the first things I said when I heard about George Michael—after shouting “NOOOOOO” and grabbing my phone, of course—was that I never saw him live. He was one of my favorite artists, and I never bothered. I didn’t buy the ticket. Granted, I am sure I could cite reasons, and timing would be at the top of the list, but the fact is, I didn’t buy the ticket.

I lightly pounded my fist on the dining room table, startling my mom in the process, and proclaimed that no one could or should ever tell me again that I go see too many shows, or that I shouldn’t spend the money, because once these people are gone, they’re gone. I really don’t know if the sentiment was understood. My family was never into concerts the way I am, and they don’t really understand my obsession with Duran Duran anyway.

What it all boils down to is that in 2017, I’m buying the ticket. Before my husband has a fit—that’s a euphemism. I’m going to seize more of the moments. See more of the people I want to see, do more of the things I want to do. Fear plays a huge part in my life, and my goal for the year is to live just a little bit outside of that box. Instead of just dreaming, I’m going to try doing.

Happy New Year! Be safe and have a fantastic time if you’re headed to the shows in Cancun or DC!

-R

A Profound Loss: George Michael dies at 53

I was cooking dinner yesterday, standing at my sink preparing potatoes. My sister, visiting from Chicago, was sitting at the table looking at her iPhone. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “George Michael  passed away.”

“NOOOOOOOO!” I yelled, reaching to grab my own phone. Honestly believing it was a hoax, I scanned Facebook and Twitter to confirm my suspicions.

I think we all know that of course, it was true. George Michael left us yesterday. Christmas, of all days. For me, and likely most of you—George Michael was more than just another musical icon. He was a significant part of the soundtrack to my life. I loved Wham!, adored his solo career, and yes—I admired him as a person, too.  Many of my friends met him at various points, and the one characteristic that continued to be mentioned over the years was “generous”. He was generous with his time, his feelings, and even his thankfulness for his fans.

I was in disbelief yesterday when I heard the news. I didn’t have time to really process, and my house was full of people who have no understanding. To them, rock stars are just rock stars…people who make little indent on our lives. To me, they are something quite different. The music and people who matter most to me, and George Michael is/was certainly among them, changed my life forever each time I listened to their songs. They matter. Forever.

Today, I’m sad. The sense of loss is profound. Wistfully, I think back to the times when my friend Karen and I would sing every word to “Young Guns (Go for it)”, or when I discovered “Wake Me Up” (which in my opinion, is impossible to listen to without smiling – no matter how sick of it you might be!). I remember putting “Faith” on repeat in the car when I’d drive back and forth to Redondo Beach to see my then-boyfriend (now husband), or watching the video for “Careless Whisper” over and over.

Yes, I was one of those girls who would squeal for George. He was incredibly good-looking – and just got better with age. Sure, he came out as gay. That didn’t stop me. I had believed those songs were written for me before, and I still believed that after. I worried for him when I heard about his drug problems and his stint in jail. I didn’t look at him with disdain, but with deep concern. I didn’t want anything to happen to George, because for all the happiness he’d already given me over the years, I felt (and still feel) he deserved it all to come back to him at least two-fold. I remember when he was sick in the hospital with pneumonia, and I breathed a sigh of relief when he emerged. I wanted to watch George continue to age gracefully, and still keep singing with that gorgeous, uplifting, incredible voice.

Sometimes, even the most heartfelt wishes can’t come true. I know I’m not alone today when I think about just how many people—really good people—have left us this year. 2016 feels particularly brutal in that regard, but I am also aware that we’re aging, and these things are likely to continue happening. I don’t like it. George Michael was an 80s icon and he was a huge part of my young adulthood. I don’t want to say goodbye to that anymore than I would want to say goodbye to dear friends. The sadness is profound, gut-wrenching, and overwhelming. Knowing that others feel similar should be a help, but truthfully—it isn’t. I wish that none of us needed to weather the loss.

Yes, the music is here forever, and death is a part of life. That does little to stop the sense of loss right now.  In time, the music will help heal, and I look forward to that.

-R