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The Times They Are A-Changin'

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"The times they are a-changin'" -- Bob Dylan

I don't feel old. Frankly, I don't feel any different than I did when I was 16. Twenty-two years later (oh, my... really?!), I even look pretty much the same.

It's not appearance, aches or pains that have caused me to recently confront the passage of time.

It's Stevie Wonder. And the post office.

A few months ago, a 20-year-old singer came in to prepare for her first major record label release. She's super-talented; after listening to her play and sing through a couple of her original songs, I told her I could hear -- one of the greatest compliments possible, in my mind -- a bit of Stevie Wonder in her sound and arrangements.

To which she replied: "Who?"

If that wasn't wild enough, just last week another young client was here for a session and asked how to mail a letter. She'd recently moved to New York from Russia, so I wasn't too taken aback by her question.

Until she told me that she'd never sent a letter, even back home in St. Petersburg.

When I expressed my astonishment, she replied: "Why would I send a letter when there's email?"

Still stunned, I asked "you never had a pen pal growing up?"

"You mean, the website where you pay people?"

She thought I was talking about PayPal...

Of course, plenty of kids know about the great musical minds that preceded the superstars of today, as well as their way around a post office. Many more are far better versed in music and the workings of the government than us "older folk."

It's not my clients' lack of experience that rocked me so much as the realization that a good deal of what I had viewed my whole life as certain knowledge and required truth was in fact neither.

In my mind, it was simply impossible to be a great musician without knowing who Stevie Wonder is. It was unfathomable that an informed person would not know the price of or how to mail a letter.

Yet these statements are false, as evidenced by my talented and knowledgeable young clients. Which in fact, is a rather freeing realization.

Certainly we can choose to hold onto the idols and ideas that give us meaning and a sense of awareness and place in the world. But we don't need to. And therein lies the great lesson for us all; as times change, it's not only important to acquire new knowledge, but also to have the freedom of mind and the willingness of spirit to let go of our insistence that certain things are right, that certain things are necessary and true.

Just as I long ago gave away those boxes of cassettes and CDs I once cherished, so too may I recognize and ditch my rigid attachment to the unnecessary beliefs, ideas, and viewpoints that can be equally cluttering to a mind that at its best desires to continuously move forward.

The times really are a-changin', whether or not we're willing to change with them. Thanks to Amy and Anastasia for encouraging me to keep up!

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