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The day I grew up

8 December 2015

Some people might say that I never fully did. And of course, growing up is a long and gradual process. But in my mind, there is one particular date that stands out, and if I were to pick a date on which I lost the illusions of my youth, it would be 9th December 1980, early in the morning.

I had recently turned 20 and was studying economics at the University of Aarhus in my hometown in Denmark. I lived in a large student housing complex in the suburbs of Aarhus, Skjoldhøjkollegiet. That particular Tuesday morning was an ordinary one. I woke up and began the morning resuscitation ritual, involving strong coffee and such, in preparation for the day at the university. But then I turned on the radio… Just a couple of hours earlier, around 11 p.m. on 8th December local time, John Lennon had been shot and killed outside his apartment building in New York.

I had been a Beatles fan for many years. Unfortunately, since the band stopped touring when I was 7 years old and broke up when I was 10, I never had the chance to see them live. For a decade, I had held on to a dream–that one day they would reunite and make some more of that wonderful music that I so loved. But on that December morning 35 years ago, I suddenly knew that my childhood/adolescence dream would never be fulfilled. Childhood was well and truly over.

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When I am in New York, whenever I have the time, I go to Central Park and visit Strawberry Fields. And just recently, I had the pleasure of flying home from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, where he is honoured with a statue in the departure hall.

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 Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

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