An icon for boomers, on life and love

If music produced icons for the baby boomer generation, Joni Mitchell is one of the biggest. But here’s the hard part: some of her recordings, like Blue, are now 50 years old. That’s why it seems right for BoomerCafé to share with you something she wrote not long ago: reflections on life and love from a woman who sang about life and love.

I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it.

Joni at age 77.

Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth— we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood.

Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society, we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity— the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line.

But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing.

Joni back then.

I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called “The End of Sex,” that said something that struck me as very true. It said, “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is, you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over.

You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love.

It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you— it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.

3 Comments

  1. “People will tell you where they’ve gone
    They’ll tell you where to go
    But till you get there yourself you never really know
    And where some have found their paradise
    Others just come to harm…. “

  2. A very wise, very talented woman. I’ve been a fan for decades. How amazing it would have been to actually have known her … especially back then. I can only imagine ….

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