Two of my favorite philosophers died this year. Each one was a lighthouse on dark nights, a gentle wind on wild seas, and a joyous source of laughter on complicated journeys. Even though I never met either of them, their words and melodies answered my own longings and gave me permission to explore my own adventurous cravings. They shined a light that encouraged me to sail into the wild waters of my future, away from the safety of predictable shores.
Gordon Lightfoot filled many a lonely night with songs of love and romance. He sang his life into his adventures, shared his failures and repentance in haunting tones, and seduced me into my own sensual dreams. He taught me about the depth of love, forgiveness, and ways to open-heartedly share both.
Jimmy Buffet sailed into his next journey a few short days ago, leaving behind songs that inspired us to live life fully, embrace our dreams, and take the chance to enjoy each trip around the sun. In songs that made me smile and laugh, he taught me to face challenges by breathing in and out and moving on. His songs released my inner pirate and inspired my leadership style and one of my books.
Both musicians in their own way have been part of my life since college. Even though I never met either of them (actually I did shake Gordon Lightfoot’s hand once) they were part of my world, and their words changed me for the good. As did, I hope their deaths.
They were friends, and I imagine they are now sitting with their guitars writing songs together as they laugh about life. Sail on into the wondrous unknown. You are already missed and will be always remembered.