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RORY ROLLINS

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The Story Behind “When We Were Young”

When I posted the song title of my new single “When We Were Young”, some people joked “but we are still young, what could you have to say about it?”  Truth is, I was referring to our childhood kind of youth.

I wrote this song during a slump a few years ago.  I was very depressed and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  While I was teaching a few of my music students one day, I started to feel almost nauseous and envious of their carefree vibe and how they could find joy in the smallest, simplest things.  It just got me thinking about how the older we get, the harder it becomes to really focus on the joys of the simple beauties of life.  It also got me sad to realize that many, if not most, of our limitations in life are our own fault by our narrow minds and societal conditioning, without questioning ourselves and allowing for self-discovery.

What did I do? I somehow ended up watching Lion King (original) and found the scene with Elton John’s song “Circle of Life” brought me to tears.  That inspired how the project would unfold.

After working with some incredible teammates (songwriting, production, video), I wanted the video to share yet another small piece of my story with you, and why it means so much to me.  The “mini me” in the video is actually one of my amazing piano/voice students.  The senior, is a family friend that struggles with many health issues.  And finally, the dark-haired man, is my dad.  My dad has long struggled silently with alcoholism, and been in denial about it most of his life until recently.  Him participating in the video to even take that step of demonstration that there is a problem was heart warming and emotional.

Each of these characters are showing that ultimately, regardless of “the hand you’ve been dealt in life”, you have choices.  Aging can “suck”, but it also doesn’t have to.  We can make changes to live healthier, happier lives.  The “mini me” represents the part of my youth I sometimes wish I could “do over” to make happier memories and a healthier state of mind.  The now adult me in the video, is me taking charge to flip the script and build a life I’m proud of.    Given my early life story that you may have read about in my earlier article “Surviving Childhood Abuse” shared on Havoca’s website, I’m fortunate to date to not have succumbed to the stereotype results from that kind of upbringing.

All in all, this video means a lot to me for many reasons, but I want this to be a thought trigger for you as a viewer.  Does it make you feel nostalgic? What memories do you hang on to? What memories do you want to forget? What can you do to create new ones for a better future for yourself?  Your past doesn’t define you.  It can absolutely break you, but only if you let it.

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