Youth & Aging
Fire Inside (Bob Seger)

One interpretation of this underrated song by Seger is that it reflects the search of a lost companion and the internal struggles the singer must deal with. It's about someone who goes out on the town looking for someone from the past that he loved dearly. He's in a state of rage because only he understands how much he needs this person. On his way through town he notices the phony lovers and lines, the weak, and the "dilettantes." During this visit in town, he notices how weak people really are - "Safe in the knowledge that they tried." All the people in the clubs and the discotheques are secretly looking to fall in love but they can't find it. He is the only one who realizes this and is quite critical of them. The trip sequence ends with the line, "On to the street, on to the next, Safe in the knowledge that they tried. Faking the smile, hiding the pain, never satisfied. The fire inside."

A slightly different twist might be that the song is about a woman and the "fire inside" is lust. While she is lonesome and looking for love, she cannot deny her desires. Her familiarity with the scene indicates that her one night stands are a cyclical pattern of desperation. Even though she is watching her hopes and dreams pass by and realizes that her youth and beauty will fade, she is unable to alter her behavior.

Regardless of the literal interpretation, we see it as a metaphor for being sure we focus on what's important in life and not the superficial garbage we're fed by the media and shallowness that forces its influence on our lives day after day.
Lyrics (Fire Inside)

Theres a hard moon risin on the streets tonight
There's a reckless feeling in your heart as you head out tonight
Through the concrete canyons to the midtown light
Where the latest neon promises are burning bright

Past the open windows on the darker streets
Where unseen angry voices flash and children cry
Past the phony posers with their worn out lines
The tired new money dressed to the nines
The low life dealers with their bad designs
And the dilettantes with their open minds

You're out on the town, safe in the crowd
Ready to go for the ride
Searching the eyes, looking for clues
Theres no way you can hide
The fire inside

Well you've been to the clubs and the discotheques
Where they deal one another from the bottom of a deck of promises
Where the cautious loners and emotional wrecks
Do an acting stretch as a way to hide the obvious
And the lights go down and they dance real close
And for one brief instant they pretend theyre safe and warm

Then the beat gets louder and the mood is gone
The darkness scatters as the lights flash on
They hold one another just a little too long
And they move apart and then move on

On to the street, on to the next
Safe in the knowledge that they tried
Faking the smile, hiding the pain
Never satisfied
The fire inside
Fire inside

Now the hour is late and he thinks you're asleep
You listen to him dress and you listen to him leave
Like you knew he would
You hear his car pull away in the street
Then you move to the door and you lock it when
Hes gone for good

Then you walk to the window and stare at the moon
Riding high and lonesome through a starlit sky
And it comes to you how it all slips away
Youth and beauty are gone one day
No matter what you dream or feel or say
It ends in dust and disarray

Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass
Waves rolling in with the tide
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode
But we cannot be denied
The fire inside

Yesterday (Roy Clark)

Another good song about lopsided value systems at a young age causing regrets later in life.

Roy Clark sang this song at Mickey Mantle's funeral in 1995. Mickey had heard Roy sing it before and thought it depicted his life so well that he specifically asked Roy to someday sing it at his funeral.

Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995, because his liver had been damaged by years of chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis and hepatitis C. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," he said.

Imagine this song as a K-12 anthem, played at the start of every day over the school PA system. Could it affect and improve attitudes and behavior?

Lyrics (Yesterday)

"It seems the love I've known,
has always been the most destructive kind.
I guess that's why now,
I feel so old before my time."

Yesterday, when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet, as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life, as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned,
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand,
I lived by night, and shunned the naked light of day,
And only now, I see, how the years ran away

Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wild pleasures lay in store for me,
And so much pain, my dazzled eyes refused to see

I ran so fast that time, and youth at last ran out,
I never stopped to think, what life, was all about,
And every conversation, I can now recall,
Concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all

Yesterday, the moon was blue,
And every crazy day, brought something new to do,
I used my magic age, as if it were a wand,
And never saw the worst, and the emptiness beyond

The game of love I played, with arrogance and pride,
And every flame I lit, too quickly, quickly died,
The friends I made, all seemed somehow to drift away,
And only I am left, on stage to end the play

There are so many songs in me, that won't be sung,
I feel the bitter taste, of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay,
For yesterday, when I was young

George Jones - I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair

A fun and upbeat song expressing the sentiment of an aging, but not "old", man with some neon left in his veins.
The Wizard of Oz

Here is an excerpt from the beginning credits of this epic 1939 production that remains in the heart of anyone that sees it one time, even today. The messages are timeless and the wonder, possibilities, and values it projects continues to awaken the child in adults of all ages.

"For nearly forty years this story has given faithful service to the Young in Heart; and Time has been powerless to put its kindly philosophy out of fashion. To those of you who have been faithful to it in return ...and to the Young in Heart ...we dedicate this picture."