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Single Serving

By psychologist Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

Song: In My Life

Band: The Beatles

Phantom Tollbooth visitors: Hear and download (for free) this medley here featuring the Lennon/McCartney classic, In My Life, combined with a segment of  Dr. BLT’s new song All Those Memories ©2006:

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all…

Human beings cannot function as islands, though many, like the man depicted in Simon and Garfunkel’s I’m a Rock, try to do just that, mostly out of fear of rejection and fear of abandonment.  Of course blood is thicker than water, and the deep, multilayered bond unique to the family system cannot be replaced with a network of friends.  

Nevertheless, friends also play a significant role, and can have an enduring impact on our lives.  Such is the case of the friends Paul pays tribute to in this classic Beatles song.  Memories of friendships are formed out of special bonds that are established on the basis of a shared history, including the highs and the lows­the good times and the bad.  Friendship is good medicine when a person is recovering from heartbreak, the loss of a job, the death of a family member, or even the emotional bumps and scrapes that come with the daily vicissitudes of life.  

Friendships are usually formed between individuals who share a similar world view or Weltenschauung, but sometimes, opposites attract.  When Paul sings “…though some have changed… some forever, not for better…” he seems to be implying that some friends may have deeply disappointed him, yet, in the end, he returns to “I’ve loved them all…” 

Savored and severed friendships: 

Memories of savored friendships, culled from the past can give us strength to face the future in times of self-doubt and anxiety.  Memories of severed friendships, on the other hand, seem to intensify such self-doubts and anxiety.  

Loyalty, honesty, and selflessness are the qualities of great friends, but these are rare characteristics. These qualities are also crucial for a marriage to last. They seem to be abundant in Paul’s relationship to Linda McCartney, whom he lost to breast cancer.   

Both lovers and friends are mentioned in the song, and of course when Paul, (who once sang the Beatles classic, “When I’m 64)”) turned 64, just a few weeks ago, he was in the middle of a nasty divorce.  

Media reports seem to indicate that Heather Mills was the one who betrayed him, but we will likely never know “the whole truth and nothing but the truth…” when it comes to the dirty details of the divorce settlement.  We do know that there was no prenuptial agreement, so his colossal fortune is extremely vulnerable at the moment. Then again, like another Beatles classic song goes, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.” 

It is one thing to be betrayed by a friend, but to be betrayed by a lover is quite another matter altogether.  The scars are deeper and the suffering is most often much more intense and enduring.  I can’t help but wonder if Paul will ever reflect upon the woman who is about to become his ex-wife with any degree of the type of fondness and warmth expressed in this song.  Right now a more appropriate representation of his emotional state, and the relationship of just a few years, seems to be contained in the Beatles classic he recently performed at the Grammies: Helter Skelter. 

I’m sure Paul McCartney will get through this, with a little help from his friends.  I certainly hope he doesn’t become embittered by this ordeal to the point in which he loses the innocent charm and warmth that is radiated through this sentimental little tune.  


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