43 years ago tomorrow my mother pushed me out into this world. I don't know much about March 1st, 1965. Legend has it that on the evening of February 28th "Ma" was eating beans and hot dogs, while watching a documentary about JFK with the same title as his book, "Profiles in Courage". She had some rumblings in her tummy which she thought at first was the beans and dogs, doing what beans and dogs usually do, but soon enough realized that it was me.
I had my mid-life crisis a few years back. One could argue that due to my precarious genetic makeup (both sides of my family are chock full o' unhealthy folks) that mid-life for me was at about 27 years. I held off on my mid-life crisis until I was about 35, after the death of my mother. I went through a period of introspection and self centeredness that is necessary to make sense of this thing that we know as "life". Purpose, meaning and all of that shit. A mid-life crisis is like a economic recession, you don't realize that you had one until its over. Mine is over and done with. I feel good about the path I've chosen and am looking forward to what life has to bring.
Birthdays have never been a milestone or benchmark for me. I've never set deadlines for my personal achievements or goals, so to me birthdays are more for the parents than they are for the person with the birthday. For some reason this year I have been perserverating about March 1st. Whether it be the long, snowy winter or a reaction to my mid-life crisis I have had a newly developed maudlin sentimentality for my birth date. I have thought about how my life and birth has/had affected those that were there. I have pondered my existence.
Appropriately, in celebration of my birthday I present you with my Top 5 songs about life. Whether it be how to live life, the meaning of life or just plain bitching about the human condition these songs were the first that jumped out. As in previous Top 5 posts (here and here) these are my personal opinions and feel free to share others you may think relevant. In no particular order, here they are, my Top 5 Songs About Life:
Click on the song titles for links to the full lyrics.
Secret O’ Life - James Taylor
I have to admit this is my favorite because its message is so simple and so true. We have no control over things like the "planets spinning through space" so concentrate on the things you can, love and happiness.
"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There aint nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to
The top of the hill
But since were on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride"
Two Step - Dave Matthews Band
"Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
Were climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue,
These things we cannot change"
Find someone to love and hold on for the ride.
Drive - Incubus
Whether it be a teenager unable to find direction or a man in mid-life crisis feeling like he's lost all control, this song about self-determination is an appropriate anthem.
"Sometimes, I feel the fear of,
uncertainty stinging clear.
And I can't help but ask
myself how much I'll let the fear
take the wheel and steer.
It's driven me before, and it seems to a faint,
haunting mass appeal.
But lately I, am beginning to find that I,
should be the one behind the wheel."
Times Like These - Jack Johnson
I just like that this song nonchalantly laughs in the face of inevitability.
"In times like these
in times like those
what will be will be
and so it goes
and it always goes on and on
and on and on it goes"
No Such Thing - John Mayer
"They love to tell you stay inside the lines
But somethings better on the other side"
If you can get past the fact that John Mayer was banging Jessica Simpson amongst many other beautiful women and with his pop sensibilities should be the last person to preach about non conformity, his message in this song rings sincere. Don't run with the crowd or do what your parents expect. Learn how to play guitar and bang hot chicks.
Immediately upon contemplating a Top 5 about LIFE I thought of "In My Life" by the Fab Four or "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh, but felt that they were too obvious ("Dust In The Wind", Kansas, can you say hackneyed). I tried to come up with things relevant to ME.
Because its all about ME.
Happy Birthday to ME!!!