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The Other 27 Club

  • 7 min read

Have you ever heard of the infamous “27 club”?

The club refers to a number of exceptionally “talented” musicians who all passed away at the age 27.  It includes some of my favorite artists like Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Robert Johnson, etc.

For each of the members, the general opinion is that they “died too young”. (Which is somewhat of a funny expression – I rarely went to a funeral where they said the person“died too old” or “died at the perfect moment”.)

However, there also exists another 27 club.  A club very few people have ever heard about. Because it rarely gets mentioned.

And if you thought the members of the first 27 club were often shrouded in a cloud of mystery, this club really takes it to the next level.  There’s so much mystery about the members that it would surprise me if you knew anybody who was in it.

Do you?

Don’t worry.  I don’t either. Even though it has millions of members.  And there’s even a related 35 club, a 56 club and sadly, even a 78 club.  But the fact that we don’t know  who’s in it is part of the club’s rules.

So how is it possible, that someone age 78 can still be part of a club for people who died too young?

Because this other club, is the club for people who died with their music still in them.

People may be sad about the loss of Elvis or 2pac (Okay, those 2 are still alive on a island somewhere, but let’s not get technical ? ). But what saddens me much more is the loss of all the people who never got to do their thing before they passed away.

Imagine Martin Luther King dying before he made an impact because people told him his ideas were stupid.  Dave Grohl not starting the Foo Fighters because he was afraid to open himself up and get compared to Kurt.  Or Banksy never making his first artwork because he was convinced he needed to get a job, a house and a husband first.

The world would look very differently if they had died with their music still in them.

You can probably hear me coming already.  I’m going to beg you not to join that other 27 club.  But hear me out.  I’m not saying you should become famous, try to change the world or do anything huge to get your name in the history books.

All I mean is that I know you do have something more to offer to the world than just being a cog in the machine.  Your personal gift of self-expression.  Whatever it is:

• Recycling garbage into art

• Saving the Colorado bug from extinction

• Creating an army of desperate virgins to send as a gift to all suicide bombers who hope for virgins in the afterlife, saving the lives of millions of people in the most fun way possible

…or perhaps it’s just dancing.  The point is:  Are you doing it?  Are you sharing something with people for no other reason than expressing yourself?

Or is your current to list filled with tasks that have no relation to who you are on a deeper level?  Like going to meetings, filling out forms and shuffling papers.

Because what’s life if you don’t celebrate it?  If you don’t share the unique world inside your head with others the same way you loved to do as a little kid?

Didn’t you feel much more alive as a kid, running around, creating finger paintings and playing imaginary games?  More than you do performing routine tasks that have no other benefit to you besides giving you a routine amount of money?

The money that people use to keep that same way of living. While using the time they have left to chill out and forget about that same life. Instead of doing those things they used to enjoy as a kid?

And here’s the worst part.  You might die today.  Or tomorrow.  Or maybe you’ll live another 27 years.  Maybe you become immortal and wait even longer because you have all the time anyway.  But then the world explodes and you end up floating around in space being bored for life, wishing you had at least gotten  some of your “music” out of you when the world still existed.

If you only had 6 months left to live.  What would you do after you quit your job? (I mean, you’d at least quit your job, right? ? ).  If you would do the exact same thing you’re doing now, you know you’re on the right track.  In any other case:  WATCH OUT.  DON’T JOIN THE CLUB.

Don’t become one of those people with predictable regrets on their death-bed. 

“Later” or “someday” are just synonyms for “never”.  If you’d make those changes if you knew you’d die, make them right now.  Someone reading this post probably will die the following year.  Maybe it’s you. No way to know.

When I think of what I would do if I only had six months left, I know I’d play / make more music.  Travel. Make love.  Hug my friends.  Look at the stars.  Take longer showers.  Swim a lot.

I’d never spend any time in any place I don’t enjoy being.  I’d forgive people for their manipulative tactics, violence and stupidity because I know deep down they just want to be happy.

I’d try to inspire and help anyone I can reach through this blog.  And I’m damn sure I wouldn’t spend any time worrying about deadlines or time pressure anymore.  Because that, ironically a “dead-line” would ruin everything if I only had 6 months left.

So I started doing all those things right now.

It doesn’t matter how much money I make, how famous I get or how much stuff I acquire.  It doesn’t matter if people make fun of my ideas, don’t enjoy my songs or act like a negative Nancy.

If I can help only 1 of the 1.500 people who read this live a happier life, that’s already enough for me.  If I was able to make music with friends as a genuine expression of how we felt instead of worrying about labels, genres or labels (the other kind), I did what I needed to do. And if 3 people danced, that’s even better.

If you expressed your love for someone and they rejected you, at least you expressed yourself.

If you made a drawing you liked but art purists considered it bad, at least you expressed yourself.

If you danced all night while people made fun of you, at least you expressed your true self.

Go write something.  Go climb a tree.  Go suck a didge or eat a pudding like you mean it.  Go sit in a swing set all night.  Go massage someone who needs it.  Watch an inspiring movie. Quit your job and tell your boss exactly why.  Start a risky business. Alter some road signs to make them funnier.  Walk around naked and get arrested, then hug the cops and give them some free cookies you baked yourself.  Share your soul with the world.  The way you really are.  Like you always wanted to do.

Whatever that means.  Just don’t join the second 27 club.

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