This song got me through my final year of university… I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up in the worst of sorts and I was ready to give up on the day before I had even finished eating my breakfast. Every day was the same – wake up in time for an 8am class (I now wake up at 5am, so this hardly seems like an inconvenience to me anymore), go through the routine of class, being assigned homework, and doing homework just in time to get some more. I knew it was all towards a worthy end, but it felt useless at the time, and I always question whether or not I should have ever pursued engineering. I started playing music on my phone as a last-ditch effort to try and cheer myself up when this song came on. I lethargically cracked the eggs into the pan, slid the spring-loaded toaster down to start browning the bread, and pulled out salt and pepper – the only spices you ever need, or that I could properly use. Song after song flipped through (looking back, it probably only went through about 2-3 songs because eggs don’t take that long to cook, but when you’re downtrodden, it feels like ages). I flipped the eggs onto my plate, smattered the toast with a careless smear of butter, and stood in my little apartment kitchen to eat because I was afraid that if I sat down again, I wouldn’t have the willpower to return to my feet.
I was about halfway through my eggs when I heard it. From the first bar of guitar, thumping drums, and synth pad background, I was hooked. Something about this song just got me. It was playing the exact opposite of whatever my heart was feeling, and it was so refreshing, I ended up listening to it 3 or 4 times on repeat, head banging and singing… no, shouting along with it by the end. It said everything: hold on, if you can, be strong… it’s a risk worth taking to have a life worth living, you need to hold on.
Looking back, the true risk was staying put. It wasn’t running away with my laptop and guitar, it was trusting that there’s a purpose to all of this mundane crap.
And this is how I feel today. One week ago, I was reminded by a couple dear friends how important it is to listen to songs that once made you feel more alive than a cup of morning coffee. We sat by a bonfire in a farm field in west Michigan and blasted this song, and I instantly knew I was with people that knew my heart because, without saying a word, they made me feel the way this song makes me feel. We shouted and laughed and reminisced together, and it gave the song renewed meaning.
Today my risk is much like when I was in university. It’s trusting that I won’t be required to sit in this parasitical, soul-sucking cubicle forever. I need to hold on, if I can, be strong.
But I won’t lie, there’s something that feels wrong about all of this… It’s a risk worth taking to have a life worth living, but what if I don’t feel alive?