This makes me smile.

First there’s the seemingly unchoreographed, slightly awkard milling about stage, clapping and casting sidelong glances to those with instruments in hand. He is the new kid, young and anxious and uncontrollably giddy. Then that second verse? The way Bruce smiles in the background, then the way he nails the last two lines and the ? You can tell Brian Fallon is having the time of his life. This is the moment he cannot believe he is really living.

Good things come to those who don’t give up.

Plus, who doesn’t love this song? It was extra meaningful for me this past summer, deployed all alone in the world with little but memories for comforting company. Made me remember how much fun I’ve been fortunate enough to have. Then there’s how I routinely feel my bones aching, catch my hair falling out and require four aspirin instead of two after too much hard liquor on Friday nights. Feeling older makes you remember how free it felt to be young, I suppose…yet all of it just makes me want to hold on tighter, to dive back into doing whatever it takes to get that life I didn’t dare dream of. The one where I get to feel careless and tameless, inspired and unencumbered by passion and love and nothing to hold me back.

They’d say not to do it. But surely listening to conventional wisdom never did Bruce Springsteen or Brian Fallon any good.

“Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim,
The walls of my room are closing in,
There’s a war outside still raging,
You say it ain’t ours anymore to win.

I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover’s bed
With a wide open country in my eyes
And these romantic dreams in my head

We made a promise we swore we’d always remember,
No retreat, baby, no surrender.
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend,
No retreat, baby, no surrender.

~No Surrender
Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.