What Drives Us Onward, and What Drives U2 Onward.
Last week, I went to see U2 in Belfast.
First time seeing them at my home arena, but my umpteenth U2 concert. It was decades since the 17 year-old me saw them in Croke Park, as they assumed the position of world's most significant rock band.
They have had a few ups and downs since then (as has most of their audience) and as usual, I was seeing them on a tour and I hadn't listened enough to the new album. It's interesting to think about what keeps this band going and making an effort to make albums when they could just tour every few years and sing their hits. This tour has 8 songs from the new album and it isn't an imposition, it doesn't interfere with the momentum of the show - and that was before they were familiar to me. I have made up for that since with multiple sessions listening to Songs of Experience and actually it's a great album.
The liner notes explain the motivation behind these songs. Bono wanted to write songs using the principle "if you really want to get to where the writing lives, write as if you're dead. It prioritises what you want to say if you think these may be your last utterances." He wrote music in the state of mind that he may not be there to listen to it, to read the reviews, to see the videos.
Where does that fit into dentistry? Into orthodontics?
I'm in good health, and intend to practice for many more years. But the patients I treat before I retire, most of whom are likely to be children and teenagers, some of whom aren't born yet, will be walking around with their smiles as the legacy of my work for decades after I finish working, and - let's not be too morbid, but also for decades after I finish breathing. Many of our Swords Orthodontics patients will be smiling on New Year's eve as they see in the first year of the next century.
And that's a good reason to do great work.