going back in timeI’ve been a fan of the Beach Boys ever since my uncle played their records to me when I was a kid. In 2004, Paul and I saw Brian Wilson perform “Smile” at the Royal Festival Hall, in London. It was a magical evening.

You can imagine how excited I was, then, to hear that the Beach Boys had re-formed, in 2012, and were bringing out a new album. But on first listening, I have to say it’s rather disappointing. Instead of creating a new style, they’ve gone back to the sound of the 60’s.

The past couple of albums that Brian Wilson has recorded have been inspired, and quite different from the traditional Beach Boys sound. Brian turns 70 today, and somehow it doesn’t seem right for him to be singing the same sort of songs he was doing in his 20s.

I just don’t think you can “go back in time“. Things move on, and trying to hold on to the past generally doesn’t work.

In one of the first companies where I worked, an employee had left to do something else, and had returned a year later – which I thought was odd. Presumably the new venture hadn’t worked out as he had hoped. Even so, I could never envisage myself going back to somewhere I had left.

Paul and I generally don’t even go back to places we’ve been on holiday, for a second visit. I think we’re afraid we’ll be disappointed. Either the place will have changed, or we will have changed, and we won’t be able to re-create the same atmosphere that we enjoyed so much the first time.

Ironically, on some projects this year I’ve “gone back” to doing the kind of work that I was doing in my corporate IT career, and it feels very comfortable. That worries me! I’m not sure whether it’s comfortable because it comes naturally to me, or just because it’s familiar.

If I were just clinging on to familiar territory, then it would mean I was no longer learning and growing – which would be a bad thing.

However, if it’s that I’m a natural expert in this kind of work, then that’s OK. It means that I’m in flow, and I don’t have to struggle to earn a living. I can relax more and plan to do other things I enjoy, in between, now that I have a more regular source of income. Like writing, and travel, for example!

Perhaps it’s OK to “go back” to doing something you’ve done before, if there’s a market for it, and if you enjoy doing it. I imagine it must be a good feeling, for Brian Wilson and the other Beach Boys, to be back together after having gone their separate ways.

And besides – you can always plan more challenging projects on the side…


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