It’s been a tough 2016 so far for us Baby Boomers. So far we have lost Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and now Glenn Frey. All were in their 60s — far too young to me now. At 57, I can’t imagine the thought of having a decade or less to live.
We came of age with most of these icons (Alan Rickman came later). Bowie fascinated with his endless reinvention and enigmatic creativity. The Eagles formed a soundtrack for my restless, confused young adulthood. Later, in his solo career, Glenn Frey recorded one of my favorite songs, Soul Searchin’.
Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable, which used technological wizardry to allow her a duet with her late father Nat King Cole, was stunning. Though she grew up in his shadow, she forged her own unique style and career. When she died, I recalled how I felt at age six when I learned of her father’s death, also too soon.
Ours was the generation determined to make the world different. We were sure we would conquer aging, illness, and death. Yet here we are, unable to transcend our impermanence, just like every other generation.
The most stunning part of these deaths is the sheer weight of contributions made in life. They all leave behind an impressive body of work that will live long after them.
Most of us don’t know any of these celebrities, but their deaths hit us hard. They remind us to get busy, to make our lives as meaningful and rich as possible. Bowie managed to release one last album right before he died, and he reinvented himself to the end.
We cannot conquer old age or death, but we can let these icons teach us by example to make every day count. We could be here for decades, but we could be gone tomorrow. We might as well go for it.
What She Knew is now available for pre-order! Ebook will be available February 29. Release date for the paperback is March 29.