Both Sides Now

Once again, I am showing my age! In 1966, Joni Mitchell released a song called “Both Sides Now.” It later won a Grammy for best arrangement and instruments and vocals. It was later recorded by Anne Murray and Neil Diamond with success.


In the song, she sings about looking at love from both sides now and from the give-and-take. She concludes with that somehow, she really does not know love at all!

I guess that’s still true for some of us. But many of you have now found that one true love and clearly understands and embraces both sides.

Like many of us during the recent pandemic times, I ended up watching some TV shows that I would not normally watch. One was the story about the rise of country star Garth Brooks. Garth was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was a graduate of Oklahoma State University. That is the part of this story that I will come back to in a little bit. 

Garth has become one of the biggest county acts ever with his career. He recorded nine albums that achieved diamond status. He beat the Beatles who held the record at six. His career is amazing when you consider it all. He has won two Grammy Awards, 17 American Music Awards and the best-selling solo album. He did something very unusual for a musician and retired from performing between 2001 and 2005. In 2014 he staged a comeback world tour. He has since released several albums.

According to the records, he has sold 170 million records. As of 2020, he is the best-selling solo artist and is ahead of Elvis and second to the Beatles.

I could go on about his history and his fans. He is an amazing performer and loved by his fans here in the United States.

He has become more thoughtful and contemplative in recent years. In the show I happened to catch, he was sitting in a cabin on his farm talking about his father and two brothers. In this scene, he held his hands out and turned them slowly as he described his father’s advice about life. He had told Garth to always look at both sides of any situation before making a final decision to be for or against something. He said that everything is a blessing, and everything is a curse. That’s some deep advice, in my opinion. What may look like gold today can turn to brass tomorrow. Everything has many impacts. Being the richest person in the world comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. Don’t ever assume that everything will be perfect in the future. What may look like a golden chance may destroy your life. Like you, I can tell hundreds of stories that fit this scenario.

His dad’s good advice was that there was always another side to each issue in life. Some were good, and some were bad. It was always your choice to ponder the issue and decide what was right from your perspective, morals and beliefs in your life.

This perspective struck me for many reasons. In each of our experiences we have had to decide on many matters in many situations. Sometimes you must make the decision quickly and sometimes without all the information. One key thing we can all learn from this story is to always take the time and make the effort to find out all the information and facts you can before deciding. There is a need to not extend your time to plan, and you may be forced to decide before you are ready. 

In the year 2020 about the only thing you can count on is that what you know now will change in a few minutes or days. Nothing seems certain and what you were told one day will change dramatically the next day. So, what is right and wrong today may become wrong and right overnight!

I would just simply follow Garth’s dad’s advice and ask you to consider both sides of a discussion or argument. Ask more questions; look for more accurate information; wait a few days until you can discover all the facts and then make a decision that is best for everyone. Always try to consider both sides now.

And the rest of this story deals with Garth and his connection to the fire and rescue service. From what I have observed about him, he is a deeply concerned person and has not gotten above his raising. An old friend of mine works at the International Fire Service Training Institute which is housed at OSU. He met Garth when he was a fellow bouncer in a local club in Stillwater. To this day, Garth and his wife will stop and talk with him and his family when they run into each other in Stillwater just like they were both still in college. This tells me a lot about him and his lifestyle. 

Next time you have a chance, put on some Garth Brooks music and appreciate his view of life. You will learn something. He is someone who still lives in the barnyard!

Stay Safe.

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