You know how it works. You’re looking for something different to listen to on your drive to work, but you’re sick of the same old stuff. So you browse through the playlists on your favorite streaming app, looking for something new for a change. That’s what I did one morning, and as I was swiping through my options, I came across the soundtrack for the musical “Hamilton”. I had just listened to a thing about it on NPR, so I figured I’d check it out and see what all the fuss was about. I downloaded it to my phone, plugged it into my car and began my drive to work.
I really enjoyed it, in fact I became a huge fan and can’t wait to see it live some day. It’s become one of my favorite albums to listen to not just for the music, but also in part because of the story of Alexander Hamilton. In fact, I was so inspired by the story that I actually read the same biography Lin-Manuel Miranda read that inspired him to write the musical. Essentially, this is a musical written by a genius, about a genius, and I can’t say enough about it.
But despite all of the great songs and lyrics that are in the soundtrack, one of the lines stood out the most for me:
“Let me tell you what I wished I’d known, when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control, who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
When I first heard it, I teared up and immediately. You see, I had just unexpectedly lost two of my oldest friends only weeks before, both within five days of each other. These guys were like brothers to me and the loss was weighing heavily on my mind. The grief was slowly becoming too much to bear, despite my attempt at being strong and showing no emotion. That line blew apart the wall I had built as an emotional barrier and I found myself pulled over on the side of the road, crying uncontrollably like a five year old.
Now, in the context of the play, George Washington is trying to explain to Alexander Hamilton that if he accepts a command of a battalion at the Battle of Yorktown, he has no control over the events that will take place, and he’ll have to accept the consequences of his decisions. Most of all, he’ll have no control over how the events of the day will be recorded in history, and how it will be remembered.
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
Now obviously, I’m not about to attack the British Army and create the greatest nation on Earth, but the words still stuck with me. I had just said goodbye to two of my oldest friends, and looking back, I have lost countless other friends and loved ones in the past, who was going to tell their story?
When it’s my time to go, who will tell mine?
Well, I am a writer, and I have a blog with more than ten readers now. So maybe it’s time I told my own story. That is what this blog is all about.
Since my other blog was supposed to be focused on an old fat guy (me) trying to get healthy, I didn’t think it would be good to put this kind of stuff there. After all, I’m still on the mission to convince folks my age that we don’t need to just get sick and die, that there is the option of working out, eating healthy and living well.
But “The Filthy Fifties isn’t the place for this. This is just about things I’ve done, things I think and things I feel. This is where I’d like to share advice to folks about lessons I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made as well as the stuff I’ve done well.
And maybe if I do it right, I might be able to bring a smile to the face, of anyone who may stumble across it. But regardless of how many people read it, it’s going out into the cyberverse, so there will always be a record of some of the stuff I’ve done, what I believed and how I feel. My Story.
So thank you Mr. Miranda, I will take your advice, and tell my own story… and I will not throw away my shot. (Hamilton fans will get the reference).