Sunday, August 21, 2022

Let's Hang On

Cover picture of the 45 RPM
My teenage years were not far ahead when the Four Seasons had "Let's Hang On" make it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. I was not listening to Top 40 radio in those days. But within a few years I was a fan of the Four Seasons. Here are a portion of the lyrics, "Let's hang on to what we got. Don't let go girl, we got a lot. Got a lot of love between us. Hang on, hang on, hang on, to what we got. There isn't anything I wouldn't do. I'd go to any price to get in good with you. Give me a second turn..You got me cryin' , dyin at your door." As I moved through the teenage years these genre of songs and lyrics were abundant. Get into a relationship of love. The magic will happen. Then it is a matter of sustaining it. One's life is happy and fulfilled if you can hang on to that initial feeling.

The teenage years are a distant memory. The music of the Four Seasons come up on my Spotify stream as "Oldies" or maybe even "Ancient!" As my relationship of marriage approaches 41 years the lyrics of "Let's Hang On" are telling, but also unrealistic. It seems there is a desire (at least a little one) to hang on to what was. The romance. The passion. The spontaneity. The reality of multiple changes, as well as recent, significant "in your face" changes breaks the illusion of hanging on to anything. What is real is today. As Frankie Valli sang, "getting in good" is fantasy. What takes priority today is commitment, sustainability, grace, and perspective. Together this helps me maintain sanity. 

On another level, I see our culture in disarray because of the notion, both perceived and promoted of "hanging on." Some people want it like it used to be. There are established norms and perspective that dare not be changed. The belief that "hanging on" will provide some type of stability and ultimate salvation is sacrosanct to many. Now my Spotify stream can open my life to music from around the world. I do find some comfort in the melodies of the past, but they are from a different era. The lyrics, (other than a few) have no context in the reality of today. I discover new perspectives and new stimulation by letting go.

On Saturday (Aug 20, 2022), I participated in a 70 mile gravel bike event. It was in an area of Minnesota filled with lakes, wetlands, fields, trees, and copious climbs. I had a past connection to this area. While some of the scenery brought back memories, the terrain taxed leg muscles that had not been previously called upon. About two thirds through the event I began getting extremely painful cramps running along my inner thighs. I attempted to drink more fluids, ingest additional electrolytes, munch a few salty calories and continue pushing forward. The pain would subside briefly and then without warning become excruciating to the point of getting off the bike. I had a time in my head to finish the event. I believed if I could hang on, continue doing the same things to alleviate the cramping (which WERE NOT working), I could get the  miles completed. In frustration I stopped, got off the bike, and attempted to stretch the cramps away. I looked at my phone. One of my daughters had called. I did something different. I called my daughter. Walked a  little, but focused on conversation, not getting the miles completed. I was not going to win a trophy nor 

Getting to completion
move ahead in the line of salvation. After about 20 minutes of conversation and relaxation it was time to complete the miles. I did something different. I let go of previous expectations, embraced the moment realizing conversation with my daughter had more benefit than a set time of completion, and pedaled with a new perspective.  

70 miles completed. Thigh muscles are slowly releasing their tightness. Hanging on to past expectations were left in a ditch in Otter Tail County.

My next post will be on September 25.

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