Life results from what you choose as you make each decision in your life. I go to bluegrass festivals because I love the music, the friendly people, joining in the parking lot picking that goes on to all hours of the night, and because I’m learning how to play the mandolin, I especially enjoy the opportunity to listen for new tunes I can add to my bluegrass tunes notebook.
The bluegrass festival I went to last week was different.
While I was listening for new tunes to practice I heard lyrics that I’d never heard before in bluegrass music. Like country music, most bluegrass songs are about lost love, a dying horse, and lonely train whistles in the night. But this time I heard lyrics about following your dreams, giving life your best, doing what you love to do, and most importantly, the message that life is what you choose it to be.
I heard lyrics talking about life; lyrics that were talking about the future. “I’m going to reach for the sky, I’m going to reach until I know why”. Another said “We’re on the road, we’re working out the future one day at a time, trying to find myself before I get too old”.
But my favorites were “riding in the wrong direction is what I do best”, and “when the grass grows tall, don’t be surprised by what you don’t know, just learn to love and be loved in return”. “Life is what you choose it to be.”
What surprised me was the depth and the wisdom those writers were sharing with the audience. I was hearing the lyrics of songwriters that have learned to pay attention to life; the lyrics of philosophers. I wondered if others at the festival were listening and hearing their words.
As I sat with friends around a campfire the last night of the festival, I found myself thinking about those words “life is what you choose it to be”, and thinking back to all of the decisions that created the life I’ve lived. Some were good decisions. Some not so good. But they certainly created my life.
Would I have made some different choices had I known what I know now. Probably. Do I have regrets? A few. Don’t we all? But I think the most important insights I had sitting around the fire that night was the realization that the life I chose to create, one decision at a time, ultimately shaped who I am today. And that I wouldn’t change. For the most part, I like my life and who I am.
The other insight I took away from the fire circle that night was a renewed commitment to pay attention to the choices I’m currently making in my life; because they will create the life I will be living tomorrow. And some day I will be sitting with friends around another campfire looking back and thinking about the life those decisions created for me.