At one time or another, we are all young. Perhaps you still are, or maybe you’re not old enough to realize that you still are. Regardless, being young is as inevitable as we all should wish that being old could be.
Your youth is both cruelly short lived and mercifully transient. It is a time filled with the firsts that will inform what you expect from your lasts. Your first glorious love, and your first anguished heartbreak. Your first beer, and your first hangover. Your first realization that a universe of endless possibility is contained within you, and your first crippling fear that you have no idea what to do with that universe.
All of these subtle rites of passage mark our lives in a way that is every bit as vital as the ticking seconds of a clock or the turning pages of a calendar. These experiences don’t just define who we are. They literally are who we are. Without our specific past, we cannot have our specific present.
So what do these instances of paramount importance have in common? What are the unifying threads that connect the moments that become our own personal legend? I’m sure there are many, and we could spend ages discussing them all. But for the purposes of the point I’m convolutedly reaching, I’ll offer just one: music.
Through all of our adolescent emotional peaks and valleys, the seconds that create lives, the wounds that never scar, music is a constant. We all gravitate towards the melodic tales of woe or high-energy blasts of rebellion that speak to us in eerily, searingly personal ways. Musicians create works of art that tap into something primordial in our spirits. The memories of each of our many firsts are likely to be triggered by an era-specific soundtrack that instantly conjures up the deep, dark feelings we waded through to become ourselves. Music, more than any other art, offers itself to our developing souls and imprints its message for an eternity of Pavlovian emotional response. Or at least a lifetime.
I suppose that I mention all of this to bring attention to the fact that today, July 26th, 2012, is Mick Jagger’s 69th birthday. The iconic lead singer of the Rolling Stones has undoubtedly been a part of more life-shaping moments of reckoning than almost any other man strutting around this planet today. From the plaintive wailing of "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction" to the casually chilling coolness of "Sympathy for the Devil," Jagger and the Stones have narrated all the momentous minutia that’s ever sent anyone hurtling in a new direction in their ever-evolving search for self.
So let’s raise our glasses and salute Sir Mick. May he live comfortably in the knowledge that his voice and his words have been the background to a million moments that have given rise to a million men and the lives they lead.
Paying homage to an all-time legend who has given us an immortal soundtrack for all of our youthful doings that can’t be undone? Now THAT’S a reason to drink!