Lessons from Phil Collins

While I purchased tickets to see Phil Collins in concert as a gift to my husband Richard, it was also a gift for myself. I hadn’t expected it to be such a great night—singing alongside Richard, dancing in my seat, listening in awe at a great talent.

As a companion to his autobiography with the same name, Phil Collins has been traveling around the world and performing on his “Not Dead Yet Tour.” Just the title hints at his happiness to still be living and making music—while also poking a little fun at himself.

Collins took to the stage amid enthusiastic applause from a full arena. While I could tell he has faced physical challenges since he walked slowly with his cane, he brought energy and warmth to the crowd eagerly awaiting him.

As much as I enjoyed the experience musically, like last year when we went to see The Who in concert, I took away a few life lessons (or reminders about them).

My takeaways

  • Keep on trucking. Phil Collins struggles with some physical ailments, but it hasn’t stopped him from continuing to make music and perform. It can’t be easy for him to tour, but he keeps at it. The shows are fewer and incorporate more downtime than performers usually take during a tour, but he keeps on moving and selling out shows.
  • If you can’t stand, then sit. Due to his disabilities, Phil Collins has difficulty walking and uses a cane. Since he can’t stand for a whole concert, they had a stool set up for him. Did it matter? Heck no! He was awesome and belted out his songs with verve. He didn’t let a small limitation stop him from performing—instead, he adapted.
  • Enjoy yourself. One of the great things about Phil Collins is his humility and his humor about himself. He flirted with the backup singers while performing, joked about his growing old, and wasn’t afraid of having fun at his own expense. It was easy to see that he is touring because he enjoys it—that performing and making his fans happy gives him great pleasure.
  • Bring along your favorite people. One surprise from the night is that Phil Collins’ son plays the drums on the tour. Due to his disabilities, Phil Collins can’t play the drums like he used to (shoulder injuries), but his teenage son is quite a drummer and has filled in this role. Additionally, as Collins introduced the band and singers he spoke about their long relationships. It's apparent that Collins brings some of his favorite people on tour with him and they are all delighting in making music together.
  • Just be yourself. Sure, aging isn’t easy and neither are disabilities that change your life. But Phil Collins is still himself. He’s still got a passion for performing great music, for entertaining a crowd, for living his life. He wasn’t shy about being himself, whatever the flaws and changes.

There’s so much here to absorb— from being persistent in pursuing the life you want to adapting to circumstances. And yet there’s also enjoying yourself along the way with the people you love.

Reflecting on this night

Next time I’m feeling down, I will reflect on our night with Phil Collins and the lessons he reminded me about. It’s important because when I am in pain from my rheumatoid arthritis, I can lose perspective. It’s these lessons that for me reflect the essence of a life well-lived. No, it’s not about being a famous rock star. It’s about creating a life with loved ones that reflects my priorities and values, despite whatever health challenges or physical disabilities I may encounter.

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