Paul and I saw Young@Heart over the weekend. It's an amazing movie/documentary about a senior citizen singing group from North Hampton, MA. The average age of the performers is 80 years old, but what makes the movie really fun is that they sing rock anthems like "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Stones, as well as songs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Cold Play. None of the songs they sing are from the choir members' generation, but they do incredible renditions anyway. The movie is poignant, humorous but most of all joyful. The choir members sing and move with vibrant energy and make the audience realize the sheer elation of learning and singing new songs at their rather advanced ages. In fact, it is the age of the singers that adds a whole new dimension to their performance. When they sing "Fix You" after the death of one of the choir members the song achieves a depth of meaning that no rock band of 20 year olds could ever accomplish.
I came away humming the songs from the movie and thinking about how much my mom could have benefited from being in a group like that. Mom had a lovely voice but she only sang in church as a member of the congregation. She was a petite woman, but she loved to belt out hymns and then modestly bask in the appreciative looks of churchgoers in nearby pews. It was her secret pleasure. Mom would have been a great addition to a group like Young@Heart. When she was old enough to qualify for membership she no longer had a reason not to join--no excuses about taking care of her husband and her family that constrained her earlier life choices. Even though she lived clear across the country from the Massachusetts singers I wish she could have experienced the joy of the Young@Heart gang.
I've been thinking about joy a lot lately--specifically, about how to add it to my own life. My friend Patty is my joy mentor. Her blog is aptly titled, Capturing Joy, and that's pretty much her life's mission statement. She's identified what she loves, what gives her joy and focuses her life accordingly. She's a good role model.
Paul and I are already testing out the music=joy equation promoted by the movie. Last night we were driving to dinner and listening to an old Jefferson Starship song, We Built This City. Paul turned the volume up and we both sang along with abandon. Maybe in a few decades that can be our audition song for Young@Heart.