I’m almost 40 - and while my life has somehow the shape that I envisioned as I grew up, there are definitely big differences. Think about the same picture, but in different colors.
There’s music that accompanied me for the last 20 years, pretty much since I became an adult. It’s been long enough that I don’t exactly remember when it entered my life, and in some ways it feels like it’s always been there.
Of all that music, thousands of songs, there’s a handful that made a deep mark that I still carry with me. More than anything else, one song stands above any other: Arriving Somewhere, But Not Here by Porcupine Tree.
I turned 39 a few days ago and my wife got me as a gift a very nice edition of Deadwing, the album the song is included in. It’s a 2018 remaster, which I’m listening to on a high-quality system.
It’s a 12 minute song, with long instrumental sections, and I know every single little twist - yet this new version has some little extra details, some of the ambient parts are crisper, some of the guitar sounds pop a little bit more. I love it.
It also dawned on me that it is a song about how life turns out different than you think - with fairly tragic images - but with a growing sense of peace as notes go by.
There is relief in the understanding that some pieces of someone’s life are set - that some of the choices made are points of no return. That some dreams are over, and that’s ok.
I do have the feeling of having arrived somewhere, but not here. It is different, but it’s equally beautiful. And I’m finally ok with that.
And through the twists and turns of the last 20 years, I have a song that feels like an old friend that grew up with me, or even that was a little bit ahead, and I finally caught up.
To the next 20 years - hopefully I’ll get somewhere.