Cool Wind In My Hair

An Eagles documentary and an all-day hangover make you ask big questions. Alex Lane takes a trip down a dark, desert highway.

I spent the better part of a recent Saturday laid out on my couch, recovering from a rather rowdy Friday night. Between popping Tylenol, re-hydrating, and cursing my night-before self for her foolishness, I was truly a sight.

In a vain attempt to be able to say I accomplished something, I decided to watch a documentary. They’re educational! Maybe I’d learn something. At the very least, it would help distract me from the brain tunnels that accompany a rough morning after. I was grasping at straws.

So, I started clicking through my options. A while back, I had saved the “History of the Eagles” — a three-plus hour documentary about one of my favorite bands to walk the earth — to my queue. I had postponed the viewing because I wanted to be able to commit the time to these hours of rock and roll history, anecdotes, and film. I’m a sucker for a good story with a killer soundtrack, and the Eagles essentially wrote the book.

In my hungover, slightly delirious state, this seemed like as good a time as any, so I hit play.

Within seconds my living room was filled with the sound of classic Glenn Frey/Don Henley harmonies, and the smooth speaking voice of Randy Meisner. There’s something about rock footage, classic tunes, and old man nostalgia that is just a salve for the soul on these kinds of weekends. And when you’re 25, over-analyzing jobs, love, and life, a little wisdom from an unassuming source is just what the doctor ordered.

Enter: Joe Walsh.

Early in the documentary, Walsh — the bands longtime guitarist — has a talking head that essentially acts as an introduction for the origin story. What he said seemed innocuous and somewhat light in the moment, but in classic Walsh fashion, has seeped into my subconscious and had me thinking.

“As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos and random events — non-related events — smashing into each other. Causing this situation, and then this happens. And it’s overwhelming and it just looks like ‘what in the world is going on’. Later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. But at the time…it don’t.”

I’ve spent the last 24 hours mulling over this idea; this “clarity in retrospect.”

It’s always been so interesting to me that we have no set course for our lives. We’re born without a manual.

We go about our lives, and things happen. Sure, we make decisions, and chart our own course along the way. Manifest destiny, and all that. There are plenty of moments where life presents us with a fork in a road and we get a decision to make. Some of us are strategic, thoughtful, calculated. Some of us go down the path with the prettiest flowers, and the least carved route. It’s all in who you are, both by destiny and by design. We get to write our stories, and — if we’re lucky — they’re long, weaving, and seemingly nonsensical.

I believe there is a bigger plan in the Universe for each of us. It’s always at work, nudging us in some — sometimes seemingly wrong — direction. But it’s always putting us where we’re meant to be.

Think about it: Glenn Frey was from Detroit. Don Henley was from a little town in Texas. Joe Walsh wasn’t even part of the original lineup of the Eagles. There’s no logical reason that they should ever have even met. But the Universe brought them all together. It was all happenstance. And look at what they made together.

From moment to moment, we can think we have all this control and every decision is pivotal, but the reality is, we’re all just people. This is just life. We’re allowed to take risks, and fail. We’re allowed to lean on people, and learn from them. We’re allowed to move our feet, and realize we took a wrong turn. We aren’t perfect, and we weren’t made to be. We can do whatever we want at any moment, screw up or succeed wildly, and the world will spin madly on regardless.

The cool thing, I guess, is that we’re all doing it. We’re all figuring it out together — the failing, the succeeding, the calculations, the decision making.

Like Walsh said, life can get overwhelming and be confusing. But if we take a minute, we can have a little faith that the pain or discomfort is leading to one hell of a rising.

Life is wild. It’s only going to make sense when we look back on it all. All we can do in the meantime is the next right thing, and Take It Easy.