Most of us at some point in our lives, should we live long enough, rethink decisions made, opportunities not taken and journeys not traveled. There is not always regret. Sometimes it is only a fleeting “what if” with a quick dreamy alternate scenario flashing through our mind. Other times, it is a bold mental visit to the past encasing a definite changed outcome.

Serious and casual Elvis fans each have their likes and dislikes, young Elvis, older Elvis, army cut, sideburns, movie years, concert years, rockers, ballads … all sparkling facets of the same man, varying designs cut from a wonderful piece of versatile fabric. It would be boring if every outside pattern was designed to be exactly the same.

Our personal life journey isn’t all that different. We remain much the same material within, taking on different roles and styles as life seasons change, physically morphing into someone we might not have recognized a few short decades ago. Whatever the outside appearance of the trend dictates and whichever approach and methodology works for the time period, the core being is generally well set early on. It’s always been the recognizable and definable Presley nucleus, the fabric, no matter what the “style or season” that has kept the “love light burning” within his fan base.

It’s the man we admire and love, not his clothing or his haircut. The sideburns and jumpsuits don’t dictate who he is. The voice, mannerisms and appearance only outwardly accent that which we feel but cannot see or hear. The touch is from his heart to ours.

I love my children. I felt a connection from the very instant I knew they were to be. My triplets, in utero, were my life and the attachment from heart to hearts, soul to souls, being to beings, was an immediate bond. My older son was not born to me but from the moment I knew of him, the same relatedness took hold. He came not from my womb but from my heart. As they each grew, voices changed, likes and dislikes came and went, short hair, long hair, casual, sloppy, formal, childish choices grew into mature life decisions. How I felt and related to them has never once wavered. The strong interrelatedness remained, not dictated by externals. It is the same for Elvis Presley.

If the older Elvis had had an opportunity to have a sit down, come to Jesus, heart to heart with his younger self, what do you think he might have advised? There is a multitude of things I wish my post fifty self could have said to my pre fifty self. Worries of my younger years are since realized as pointless and  inconsequential, time wasted on things that are of no value. There are paths I should have explored but didn’t. I can’t say there are monumental regrets but there is a wistful thought of what if, at times. I’m certain the 1977 Presley must have had similar thoughts, many trails he passed up, explorations he entertained but never chanced to take.

I know you’re thinking how silly, none of this matters, nothing can be changed, the past is the past and what has happened, happened. True, very true. But I think the Elvis we loved in 1955, 65, and 75 was loved because of the Elvis Presley in 1935. The externals never changed the internals. His core base of attraction was within since the very beginning, the same core that he possessed all his life. That which attracted us, connected us. 

It’s that innate Presley core that still connects us today – to him but also to one another. Look at the friendships and relationships worldwide because of it. It’s unexplainable and undefinable but very real. The internet has been a remarkable facilitator but didn’t create the many bonded lives.

Choices can be life altering, good and bad. His were, so were mine, so are yours. What if he had not been managed by the Colonel? What if he had elected for Special Services instead of serving in Germany? What if he had married someone else? What if he had not married at all? What if he had not accepted the movie contracts?  What if he had never walked into the Memphis Recording Service that day? What if his family had never moved to Memphis? What if …?  

We grow through learning experiences and time. Wisdom and maturity walk hand in hand. Experience shapes the essential outward mold, but it’s the initial inward elements that beautifully remain tight and fast. It’s the very core of Elvis Presley that will be forever loved, cherished and admired – yesterday, today, and one hundred years from today. 

The legacy a man leaves is of the greatest importance, not because of what that man had, what he did, what he owned, who he knew, or where he traveled, but ultimately and truly because of who that man chose to be. Remaining true to his core tells of the measure of that man.