A precarious pile of rocks balancing to form a human body shape

Like a Rock

The Bob Seger tune "Like a Rock" came on my music player as I walked the other day. It got me thinking of the number of references in popular music about rocks. We have references for people, problems, or things all things likened to rocks.  Instantly I thought of the Simon and Garfunkel song "I Am a Rock" (I know I am showing my age.)  Here are a few others in the top 100 Rock Songs.

  • Queen - "Rock it"
  • Joe Walsh – "Rocky Mountain Way"
  • The Offspring - "Let's Hear it For Rock Bottom"
  • Kiss – "Detroit Rock City"
  • The Donnas - "It's on the Rocks"
  • Def Leppard - "Rock of Ages"

If I added the term "Rock and Roll," the list would grow by thousands.

When I felt like a rock

As I listened to Bob Seger, my mind drifted back to when I felt like a Rock. I was 17, I had a few cares, no job yet (that would come in two months); in my case, I was standing on top of a 12,000-foot peak in New Mexico. I had carried a 70-pound pack and passed several who did not make it on the way up. Like the song says, I felt like a rock, I felt like number 1.

My body was strong, and my back was even stronger. I look back on that and think, who was that guy? I have to laugh because it was such a fleeting moment. Here and gone in an instant. Bob Seger helped me recall what that felt like. My overwhelming memory is strength. My body was strong, and because there were no showers, I smelled plenty strong as well.

Then my razor broke

Coincidentally on the same day but after my walk, my electric razor broke. I hate having beard stubble on my face. It itches, and I find it uncomfortable. But I also don't particularly appreciate using a straight razor because the room looks like a train hit a tomato patch as I am doing it. I find blood everywhere when I am finished.

Even buying the razors reminded me of backpacking. Just like when I was 17 in New Mexico I took the same basic steps (minus the cold water) to shave. As I shaved, it seemed my memory of that month in New Mexico would not leave my mind. I took it all in stride.

Things are different today

Today, of course, I am none of that. I got my razor replaced immediately (Sheryl was my corner cut woman to stem the bleeding). I laid down after my walk to get energy for the rest of the day, and of course, there is no way I could carry a backpack today. No matter if it were 10 pounds or 100, my balance would never tolerate it.

I am facing the fact that while I might enjoy this great Bob Seger song, I am no longer anything like a rock; does that make me less? I hope not. I hope I have gotten wiser over the last 48 years. I hope I can find meaning in things other than what my back can provide. But still, looking back can be valuable.

Am I more than I lost?

It is not what has been lost that I think about these days; instead, I try to think of all the new dimensions I am these days. In my case, older did make wiser. In fact, if I had not matured, imagine being 64 without care? What a self-absorbed one-dimensional guy I would be.

Age does add something. In my case, two more chronic diseases. Since I am not like a rock, what are my song lyrics? Maybe it is Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down?"

"Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down”

Strangely, that makes me more like a rock than I was in 1974. Does your 17-year-old favorite song lyric still represent you today?  If not, what is your new lyric?

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