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On November 18, 1991, I was a little over two months into my freshman year of college and I wasn’t having a great time of it. School itself was going OK, but I was not fitting in at all with my obnoxious roommates. I missed my girlfriend, who was back home. I was also, generally speaking, feeling down and blue and gloomy. I didn’t realize it at the time and wouldn’t for years, but I was going through a depressive episode, the likes of which I’ve experienced on and off since I was 16. It was just a bad time all around.
An album helped lift my spirits.
Bruce Springsteen has an autobiography coming out. In a recent interview, he talked about how he reconciles his blue collar, Jersey shore past and the hundreds of songs he has written about all of that with the privileged life those songs and his wealth have allowed him to live for half of his life:
“Whoever you’ve been and wherever you’ve been, it never leaves you. I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can’t ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?”
That’s a pretty amazing and profound insight. A simple one, simply put, that somehow eludes almost all of us when it comes to considering who we are as people compared to who we used to be, in fear of who we may become.
That Springsteen may yet make something of himself. He’s a pretty good writer.