I met a Beatle once. It was the late 1990s and Pete Best, the band’s drummer from 1960-62, was touring Canada fronting the Pete Best Band. He had retired after a career as a British civil servant and was just playing for fun, and really what amounted to spare change. I think the tickets were ten dollars when I saw him in Pembroke, Ontario, in a banquet hall that I am sure only held about 200.
I had a chance to talk with him after the show, so now I can claim I met one of The Beatles, though admittedly not the first one that comes to people’s minds. He stuck around after the gig to sign autographs and have his picture taken with anyone who wanted. I didn’t think about doing either.
I was impressed by the man. He was fired from The Beatles just before they made it big. They became the top band in the world, he became a civil servant. It didn’t seem to bother him; he had obviously come to terms with the past with the “what ifs.”
He could have been like the Fab Four, living in a mansion and rolling in money. But he seemed to harbour no resentments against his former bandmates. He came across as someone contented with his lot.
His show was a lot of fun, early sixties British rock and roll tunes, familiar stuff to those of us who lived through it. My only regret is that I didn’t take my children, who were both too young. (Strange that I would have thought that – my son went to his first rock concert when he was 10 days old. He doesn’t remember it.) It may have been their only opportunity to meet someone who was a member of The Beatles.
I learned a lesson from Pete Best; or perhaps it is more accurate to say he reminded me of something I already knew.
Life is full of lost opportunities. We make choices, or have them made for us. Situations arise that leave us with regrets. The important thing is how we handle those, what are the lasting effects. Do we allow ourselves to become bitter when things don’t turn out exactly as we had hoped? Or are we able to leave the past behind and move forward? Those are fundamental questions that can determine our happiness.
To me it seemed Pete Best learned early on not to let the disappointments of the past dictate his future happiness. He was fired from The Beatles; he missed out on the fame and fortune. But he dealt with that and he moved on. He got on with his life and provided a great example for all of us on the importance of letting the past go.