The Bobby Rock Newsletter #102 (7-2-23) - Trapped in Guantánamo Bay!
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #102 (7-2-23) - Trapped in Guantánamo Bay!
Checking in from the infamous Guantánamo Bay military base in Cuba. Am I really trapped here? Not officially. But can I just pick up and bail at any time? No. All good, though. Read on...
- Road Check-in: Rockin' Guantanamo Bay with Lita Ford... and playing for a "captive" audience! (Sorry, that was a Patrick Kennison pun...)
- The Best is Yet to Come: Is your finest hour ahead of you or behind you?
- Future-Self Reflection: This week’s journal exercise could open your mind to a different destination…
Rockin' Guantanamo Bay,
with Lita Ford
Like I've always said, if you stay in this crazy-ass business long enough, you will eventually see it all. Guantánamo Bay, though? Didn't see this one coming. I'm here with the Lita Ford gang this week for a Friday-to-Friday run where we are playing a couple shows for the US military. Why a full week for 2 shows? Because there are only certain days you can fly in and out via a small military airport in Jacksonville, FL, and our concert schedule limits us to Friday flights only. No worries, though. It is indescribably cool here.
When most of us think about Guantánamo, we think about the detention center and all that darkness. That is still here, but in a different part of the "island." Where we are is basically like a small US town... except safer and friendlier! No bullshit. Everyone here is either in the military or part of a soldier's family. And we are the oddball entertainers. The thing is, I think these folks appreciate what we do almost as much as we appreciate what they do. It is a symbiotic relationship if ever there was one.
We had a hellacious travel day to get here this week, and when we finally settled into the base hotel on Friday, I, of course, had to take a run around town. I stepped out around 4:00 AM (naturally!), and man, what a crazy-cool place to run in the middle of the night! Here's what I posted about it on social. (Scope the vid below for full effect):
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Late night run in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Super cool vibe here… quiet, serene, and pleasantly desolate around town tonight, with only military police trucks driving by on occasion. Planned on knocking out a quick 5-miler, but found myself so enamored with this place that I wound up doing 7. And it’s so humid here, I had to ring out all of my clothes in the tub afterwards before retiring them to the laundry bag. Everything was soaked.
Not that I ever concern myself too much with how safe it may or may not be to run in the middle of the night in the various cities I visit around the world… but: you get the sense that there could be no safer place for a late-night run than here! Motherfuckers leave their keys in their cars and their bicycles unlocked outdoors all night. With the exception of China, I don’t think I would try that anywhere else in the world. Of course, this whole place IS essentially one giant military base, let's not forget.
Anyway, playing the first of two shows for our military later today with Lita Ford and company. Let the good times roll…
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Even had to take a snap of a bike just leaning up against a wall, unchained! (Sad that this is such a rare thing to see in the world today, right?)
Last night was our first show, and these folks are off the fucking hook in the best way. Super appreciative and "respectfully" rowdy. The July 4th show—complete with a mid-set intermission for fireworks over the marina behind the stage—should be a memorable one. Haven't seen any pics from the show... don't know how prevalent they might be. But here's a soundcheck shot of the stage...
...and a Teddy Allison quick-pic from soundcheck:
And just to round things out a bit, here are a few more random pics and vids for ya:
From the flight in, just about to land…
On the ferry ride into Guantánamo proper, Captain Greg let me “drive” that beast for a few minutes!
The morning after… making friends with some of the “locals.” Goddamn, these bastards are huge! (Actually, I think the one in this vid might have been female! Oops…)
I’ve been scoping out some compelling wisdom from author Benjamin Hardy lately, and I ran across an interesting question he posed (paraphrasing):
Has the best of your life already happened,
or is it still yet to come in the future?
Think about this.
At first consideration, it seemed obvious to me: as long as I keep breathing, my best years and biggest moments are undoubtedly ahead of me. There’s no question in my mind. But to Ben Hardy’s point, the answer should be “the best is yet to come” for all of us who want to get up every day and live our best life.
In his book, Be Your Future Self Now, Hardy makes a compelling point about how, in modern psychology (usually delineated as post-20th century), our experience of the present is more influenced by our perceptions of our future, as opposed to our experiences in our past. This is a 180-degree contrast to the conventions of traditional psychology (roughly 1890s to the 1990s), where it was believed that your past was dictating much of what was going on in your present. It turns out that the pull of a compelling future takes root in both your identity and mindset, and hope—yes, good old-fashioned hope—becomes the primary driver of your present-day activities…. regardless of your current age, or what you may have already achieved.
On that note, others might feel their best is irretrievably behind them if they consider the “pinnacle" something related to the popular perceptions of success in one’s work: money, notoriety, fame, etc. Certainly, this is something common among entertainers and athletes, where the “heyday”—especially by popular perception—might have already happened in the past.
This idea recently hit me in a surprising way as I was scoping out the new Reggie Jackson doc. Towards the end of the film, the baseball slugger expresses deep disappointment in never quite being able to procure ownership of a ball club—something he came close to doing on two or three occasions. And while he was understandably dismayed by any potential racial barriers to entry on the team ownership front, he spoke of feeling like he was a “hood ornament,” implying a stifled upward trajectory in his life since the 70s, when he was “Mr. October,” rocketing baseballs into the bleachers in some of the most impressive displays of clutch and composure in post-season history. I'm sure he's been reminded of his World Series heroics almost daily for the past 45-plus years. I got the sense that, for him, being the first black baseball club owner might have been the only real shot he felt he had to equal the magnitude of his glory years on the field. Perhaps this is a struggle for most anyone, in any field, who has achieved enormous success early on, then has to live the rest of their life being reminded of it.
Still, though, Jackson has continued to thrive and find purpose in his life, mentoring players and playing an important admin role with both the Yankees and Astros organizations. And as we contemplate our future selves and consider that compelling future, it would seem that the most important attribute here is a sort of “reimagining” of what our best self might be. It could be a reboot or variation of what we’ve always done, or perhaps a full reinvention into something different. But to the extent that we embrace all prospects for our best future, our present crackles with purpose and expectancy. And that's the real point here.
For those in the 50-plus club, I’ll remind you: “retirement” is essentially a 20th-century concept, born out of America’s Industrial Revolution, where the moguls could send the older employees out to pasture and welcome a new era of young bucks into the fold. So I say, fuck retirement as an aspiration. You want to live at a more leisurely pace? Fine. But there’s no mandate that says you have to settle into a sedentary life rooted purely in nostalgia, reflection, and inconsequential pastimes to pass the time. Our life experience alone at that point should suggest that we all have more in the tank to offer for a third or fourth act.
Kicking Ass in the "Later Years!"
Perhaps the most poignant illustration of this comes from author Jim Collins (see our Newsletter #17 for more on Collins), in his reflection on one of his mentors, Peter Drucker. Drucker was, of course, one of the world’s greatest business thinkers, who was legendarily productive well into his nineties. Collins talks about participating in an event at Claremont College celebrating the centennial of Drucker's life. While there, he asked to see “the shelf,” which contained the 39 books Drucker had authored.
The titles were laid out chronologically from left to right. Jim asked how far along Drucker was in his writing journey at age 65. He was told, about 1/3 of the way across. This meant that he still had over 20 more books in him after the standard retirement age! Later, the Drucker folks were kind enough to send Collins a photo of "the shelf," which Collins still has on display above his writing desk. Collins says he envisions a “you are here” sticker on the photo at around the 1/3 mark as he, himself, now approaches the youthful age of 65.
Drucker’s late-game productivity reminds me of one of my favorite ideas from author/speaker, Jim Rohn. (Paraphrasing)
What we lack in skill, we make up for in time.
What we lack in time, we make up for in skill.
Rohn’s example hinged around a young salesperson needing all week to reach his sales quota (needs more time), versus the experienced warhorses who could meet quota inside of two days (has more skill). So take heart if you think time is running out. Maybe, in all of your accumulated experience and wisdom, you won’t need as much of it to slay the dragon. Drucker certainly didn’t.
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Above all else, to me, is this: Your most promising future milestone might not be your most popular, most lucrative, most celebrated, or most impactful to the most number of people. These are all subjective or even illusive markers, contingent on factors we ultimately can’t control. However, your future self could and should be something that you feel is your finest hour… the continual culmination of skills well-honed and a life well-lived. And as long as you regard your future peak self as exemplary, you will wind up much further down the path than had no such aspiration entered your mind. And this is reason enough to embrace your future self wholeheartedly.
Future-Self Journal Reflection
Delving deeper into this future self concept…
With your trusty journal at hand, consider writing a bit in reflection of the following questions:
1) Thus far, what has been your favorite personal decade? (Teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.)
2) What key aspects or elements made it your fave?
3) What key aspects or elements would have to largely be present to make your next decade—the next 10 years of your life—your best?
Check this one out, friends. With a fresh new decade ahead of me (starting on 7-13), I found this line of questioning absolutely riveting!
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