I started to live a different life

Gentle reader, do you realise how many great people have their birthday today (Sunday 8 January 2017)? This post is a quick celebration of three such great folks – Elvis Presley, David Bowie and Laurie Ruettimann – and of new life, change and difference.

The King

Astonishingly, today would have been Elvis Presley’s 81st birthday. He didn’t invent rock ‘n’ roll, but he brought a different life, a new fire, to the imaginations of countless millions back in the mid-1950s. “It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn’t it?”

The Thin White Duke

“I started to live a different life.” So said David Bowie in an archival interview recording included in the BBC’s phenomenal David Bowie: The Last Five Years documentary, which was broadcast just last night*. Bowie – who by rights should have been celebrating his 70th birthday today – was talking about his life-saving decision to decamp to Berlin four decades back, in 1977, and cure himself of drug addiction. But Bowie’s whole career, all his magnificent artistic creations, are arguably about starting to live a different life, endlessly reinventing himself to find himself. Bowie never settled, always pushed forward. In another inspiring interview snippet included in last night’s documentary, Bowie said:

“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, then you’re not working in the right area.”

There is always time to start to live a different life.

LFR

It’s also my friend Laurie Ruettimann’s birthday today. Last June, it was my privilege to meet her in real life at long last when she was briefly in London. As I blogged about meeting Laurie at the time:

“Fearless, wise, witty and a relentless innovator, I’ve always – silly as it might sound – seen her as something of a superhero in our midst.”

If you’re lucky enough to know Laurie, please drop her a line to wish her a happy birthday. If you don’t yet know her, please follow Laurie on Twitter, check out her annual birthday appeal (this time for donations to Hustle Up The Hancock), and check out her new business venture GlitchPath. If you let Laurie into your world, yours will be a different and better life.

All the new souls

A toast, too, to all the thousands of new souls – the thousands of different lives to be lived – that will be born into this world today. May your lives be long, healthy and joyous.

Footnotes

* Lucky UK-based readers can enjoy this bounteous Bowieful treat via iPlayer.

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