I have a bunch of thoughts swimming around in my head, and I hadn’t decided yet what to share this week. There are some new developments regarding something I wrote about recently, and while I was thinking about how much I was ready to share about that, a song came on that seemed somewhat appropriate for the situation. I was going to post this song with the warning that it is a country song, because some of my friends who read this blog hate country music with a fierce passion. Then I changed my mind and decided to write about the act of changing one’s mind. Yes, friends, this is how my brain works at the moment. I’m very busy and scatterbrained.
Some see the changing of one’s mind as a weakness. And by some, I mean the opponents of politicians who have change their mind and those who vote against politicians who have changed their mind without thinking about who or what they’re really voting for. And there is often merit to this view. There have been countless politicians who change their views as the views of the general public change just to get themselves elected, politicians who were for something before they were against it and the like. But sometimes it is healthy to change one’s mind. Sometimes you learn something that causes you to see other things differently. Sometimes you just outgrow your old tastes. Sometimes you really like a song in your early teens, then you outgrow it when your musical tastes change, then 23 years later you realize it was pretty cool after all, as I wrote about previously. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It isn’t always readily obvious if one is changing his or her mind to try to fit in or because they have learned and grown. But usually fake people who change their minds to fit in or gain acceptance betray themselves eventually.
Going back to the train of thought that led to this post in the first place: One topic on which I changed my mind rather suddenly at one point in my life is country music. Sometimes when someone has a strong opinion different from mine, I’m okay with it, live and let life, it’s not your thing, whatever. Other times, especially if they’re being a jerk about their opinion, I wish I could punch them in the face, but I don’t, because that would be childish, and that would make me the jerk, not them. But I always have mixed feelings how to react when someone says that they hate country music, because I was once one of them. Growing up, my dad would sometimes listen to classic country, like Merle Haggard. Mom would make fun of him for it, and most of the kids around me at school didn’t like country music, so therefore I didn’t like country music. I was a teenager in the era of Billy Ray Cyrus and the early work of Garth Brooks, and they played that crap at every school dance, every football game, and every lunch time with music, and that turned me off of country music for a very long time. My position eventually softened to the point that I could handle being in a room with country music playing; I just didn’t follow country music. But I spent four months in my late 20s traveling across parts of 46 states, with everything I needed packed into the trunk and back seat of my Ford Focus, living out of Motel 6s, campgrounds with showers, and friends’ couches and spare bedrooms. The details of that, and what led to it, are another story for another time. A couple weeks into that trip, I was driving across Texas, there were a lot of country stations, and I figured what the heck, it’s Texas, may as well listen to what the locals listen to. After about an hour, I realized that a lot of this wasn’t so bad. I discovered the song in the video below on that day (July 5, 2005, if I remember right), and it almost brought me to tears because the lyrics (well, at least the chorus, not the part about his father dying) were pretty much about how I was trying to live at the time. (WARNING: The following link, and the other one at the end of this post, contain country music. Do not click if you can’t handle listening to country music.)
I’m not one of those people who listens to nothing but country, and I never will be. But I have definitely found a few country artists that I really like. I went to a Brad Paisley concert a few weeks ago (that was the concert at which I got recognized) and had a great time, even though I felt out of place without a cowboy hat or a beer. I was told, though, that most of those people were just phonies who were just dressing that way to give off that image. They are probably the same people who change their minds to fit in. I wonder how many of them were against country music before they were for country music. And I wasn’t at the concert to fit in, I was there for the music. And it was great music. I’m not that thrilled with the direction that a lot of country music has been going lately, but that’s a topic for another column.
But it’s okay to change your mind. I changed my opinion on country music because I’m a different person as an adult compared to who I was as a kid, with different experiences in life. It’s healthy to change your mind based on learning and growth and new understandings of the world. And those who change their minds just to fit in will be exposed eventually.
By the way, for my younger friends who may not have recognized the name Billy Ray Cyrus earlier, he is Miley’s dad. Apparently musical talent doesn’t exactly run in that family. 😛 And I’m not necessarily referring here to anyone who reads this occasionally who is related to the Cyri, because I know there is at least one of you who fits that description. And my facetious use of the Latin plural here brings this post full circle, because that is related to the story I wasn’t sure I was ready to share yet. And I’m still not… that story hasn’t finished developing in real life. If there ends up being a story to tell, I’ll tell it when I’m ready. But in case any of you were wondering, This is the song I heard earlier. Literally.
I’ll just end on this note for now.