July 20, 2011

Everything I Need to Know.....I Learned From Jimmy Buffett

The ultimate Boomer, Jimmy Buffett,  will be 65 on Christmas Day. Even though he is only had a few hit records, Jimmy continues to be one of the biggest concert draws, year after year. He portrays an image that is a combination of beach, booze, sun, women, and song well into his 6th decade. His lyrics are often witty, literate, and captivating. For millions of  Parrotheads, he speaks to their dreams, aspirations and lost youth.

Confession time: I am a Parrothead. I have been privileged to see Jimmy in concert several times, once flying to Denver just to see his show. There is no way I can see him in person or listen to his music and not smile. You can bet when my wife and I go to Hawaii in a few months, Jimmy's music will be along for the ride. He is very much part of my satisfying retirement.

With tongue firmly planted in my check, I contend that many of life's important lessons, especially for us retired and pre-retirees can be found in the lyrics of Jimmy's music. Not so sure? Here are some examples to convince you I am not just a cheeseburger in paradise:

"Few have ever seen, most of them dream.  I've got to stop wishin' and got to fishin'."
  • Too many folks dream their life away without doing what they really want to do. There comes a time to stop dreaming and a time to act.

"All of the faces and all of the places, wonder where they all disappeared.
Vision of good times that brought me so much pleasure. Makes me want to go back again."
  • I have known so many people and been to so many places, but they are no longer part of my life. Luckily, I'll always have my memories and I can visit again anytime.
"Oh, yesterday's on my shoulders so I can't look back for too long. There's just too much to see waiting in front of me. And I know I just can't go wrong."
  • Memories and the past are great, but sometimes they just hold me back. I am excited by what is ahead.

"I'm growing older but no up. My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck. I'd rather die while I'm living, than live when I'm dead."
  • I don't care what the calendar says, I can still be a little kid sometimes. I don't want to always act like a gown-up and I refuse to stop grabbing all that life has to offer.

"I'm a cultural infidel,. believe in common sense. I'm a cultural infidel, love the present tense."
  • They may not be "appropriate" for someone of my age but blue jeans and funny T-shirts are just fine for me. I don't live in the past; I take what's best about today.

"I wish lunch could last forever. Make the whole day one big afternoon."
  • My schedule is mine. I understand the importance of being wholly invested in whatever I am doing at the moment. And, if that is a long meal with friends, so be it.
"Ain't it funny how we all turned out. I guess we are the people our parents warned us about."
  • My 20's were a blast and completely different from my life today. My values, lifestyle, choices, and mindset then would probably shock many of my friends now. But, I learned tolerance and the ability of maturity to work its magic.

Jimmy speaks to the parts of us that mean so much: treasuring our memories but not living in the past, staying active and full of dreams, and keeping the streak of non-conformist alive, if only in our mind.



  1. Ralph,

    That's the great thing about Jimmy's music. You can simply enjoy the beat and the happy feel, or actually listen to the words and learn something.

  2. Jimmy may have layers but I'm talking about you, Bob. All those precise edges are starting to smudge.

  3. Salty beach sand in the sandals, sun on one's spouse as they wander near where the waves wash, and never giving up on living the dream on an island.

    Of course the lucky writer (Sonia) of Gutsy Living knows the dream. Nice interview a few posts ago


  4. I am sending the link to this post to my former boss who shares your views about Jimmy Buffett--he'll love this!!

  5. @Ralph,

    Oh yes, I'm deep (like the ocean).


    Sonia might remind us of the constant struggle to feed 5 people when food and water was often in short supply and everything had to be done by boat. Still, it was an adventure she remembers fondly. Thanks for the compliment on the post. I'm looking forward to her book.


    I hope you boss enjoys the tunes. I played the video clips this morning and it started my whole day off on the right (flip-flopped) foot.

  6. I once received free tickets to a Buffet concert. The first time I saw the 'Parrot heads' dancing in a rhumba line, I thought they were insane. Not anymore. All makes perfect logical sense to me now.

    Wasting away in Margaritaville is my mantra!

  7. Morrison,

    Anyone who can get away with a song title, 'The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful" has my attention. Some of Jimmy's lyrics are absolute gems and require at least a passing knowledge of books and history. He is much more than he may seem at first glance.

    My wife and I actually belonged to the local Parrothead club for a year. Not being big drinkers we didn't really fit!

  8. I lived in Key West in the 70's when he was just playing in local bars. For tips. Who knew?

  9. Music is one of the things I have missed the most in the last 25 years. I personally was a Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel guy. I played an acoustical guitar and had the harmonica and all. Even today I can quote lines from many of those songs. I wish I could hear them again.

  10. @Roberta,

    I love Key West and driving down A1A! Seeing Buffett at Captain Tony's must have been something. Back then he was thought of as a country artist.


    The great thing about the Internet is you can hear all those songs again. What I have found in listening to the 60s' and 70's music again is how well most of it holds up. And now, I even listen to the lyrics.

  11. ". . .and Jimmy, there's still so much to be done."

    The words I live by in retirement.

  12. The Other Jean,

    ...from "I took the first fast boat to China," right? Words to motivate us everyday.

  13. Yep. From "The Last Mango in Paris."

  14. Jean,

    One of my favorite Buffett songs. The lyrics are so clever! I've added the clip to the link on the sidebar.

  15. Hi Bob and QwkDrw,
    Jimmy Buffett visited Ambergris Caye with his water plane on Feb 16th, 2011. Here is the article link if you're interested. I'm sure it's the same guy working at the tiny airport that I saw in 2009, last time I visited the island.

  16. Sonia,

    Jimmy has had a few close calls in that seaplane. In fact he crashed at least once off the coast of Long Island and wrote about it in a song.

    I wonder what was in Panama?

  17. Just a little note from up north here in Montreal to tell you how much your Jimmy Buffett
    article touched me. I checked his videos out and read his book a while ago. So refreshing!
    His song Fruit-cakes song is a Gem, and I'm just a regular Guy like you,
    but now because of it, I feel like it's summer in Canada.

    Jimmy is of pure Americana Western & Folk tradition but with an incredible
    twist of humour. We Canadians lack that up here, even if there is huge creativity, we lack the fun side. Time to get Fun back in our Baby Boomer Lifes! And you are doing that!

  18. Hi Ray,

    Jimmy's message of fun and celebrating our youth and our future is universal. That is probably why he has lasted as long as he has. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting!

  19. This is absolutely true. It's stupid to wait for your death when you get old. You can have fun and do all you wished to do. You have the money and you have the energy. So, why are you crossing hands and watching your life as it goes by.

  20. Hi Janett,

    Even if you don't have the money, life can be lived quite nicely on the cheap. Look hard enough and much of what can put a bounce in your step is free.

    Thanks for the link to your site. It is a new one for me.

  21. Hi Bob,

    Yes, it's true. We can live on the cheap. I've been wondering all the time why we sepnd much less when we get low salaries and we spend a lot of money when we get higher salaries. :/

    I hope that you will like my site. I like yours. :)

  22. Hi Bob I too live in Montreal,I`m a huge Parrothead and had the privilege of seeing JB in Boston at Fenway Park in 2004.During the song Margaritaville he even mentioned Montreal. I`m hoping one day he will come to Montreal for a concert.I don`t understand why Evenko won`t book him here for a show.

    1. Jimmy is a smart showman. He always includes the name of the city where he is performing in at least one of his songs, and of course it always gets a big roar of approval. Adding Montreal in a another city's show, though, is something I have never heard him do.


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