After about a month and a half of leave of absence, I can listen to one or two of my favorite songs – whether they’d be Europe’s or from another band. I still cannot listen to my favorite music without getting irritated and stressed. So I have a long way to go yet.
“We build our lives,
Hopefully the one that we chose“
– Europe – 2015 – War of Kings, Angels (With Broken Hearts)
I thought for a while that it would be long before I’d be able to share with you what I felt about this particular quote. I know that I have to go back to a place which is painful and dark… but today, I do not believe it to be really the case. I think that sometimes (read “often”) I am just scared of what I might find out about myself – be it positive or negative.
A few months ago, when I was driving to work, this song played in the car and as Joey Tempest sang “We build our lives, / Hopefully the one that we chose” my heart skipped a beat and my mind started racing. Before I knew it, my thoughts wandered to my past, analyzing what I had done with my life so far and wondering what I had chosen and what I had not.
I won’t make a list of what I did chose and not. I simply realized then that, approaching my forties, I was not completely (*) satisfied with my life. It was not a surprising realization, but the fact was that almost everything that I disliked about it was a consequence of my work. The way I felt was the scariest part which in the end got me crashing down. I can say today that it is one of the best things that happened to me in a long time though it is quite unpleasant to be burnt-out.
The quote I chose for my first of a long list of quotes coming from Europe’s songs represents one of my most recent wake-up calls. I knew I was not feeling well, but I did not wish to acknowledge it fully; “We build our lives, / Hopefully the one that we chose” was the extra nudge I needed to challenge myself and admit my psychological state. It provided enough pain for me to question my personal and creative achievements. In the three years I have been working, I have barely been writing anything… this part of me which is the most important was being negated. It is a choice, of course, I cannot blame it all on my professional situation; but if it was as simple as that, I’d probably never have stopped writing. Since I promised that I would not make a list of my choices and non-choices, I’ll simply say that the creative aspect is only the tip of the iceberg. That which lies underneath the ice is the continuity of what is visible above the sea level: conscious, unconscious, dreams etc.
“We build our lives, / Hopefully the one that we chose“: it was frightful to think that when I heard those words, I could not feel as content as I should have… that it gave me goose-bumps, not of pleasure but of unease. I thought, did I chose my life? and if I did, can I really say that every step I took was truly my own choice? how many of my so-called choices were made to please the people I love? to please society, etc? I became afraid of the answers… because, I am well aware that when I ask myself such questions, I already know the answers, only I do not want to acknowledge them… Europe’s quote was the nudge that made me accept and own the answers I already knew. I was still scared, mind you, but fear of how my entourage might react is not the same… because, this is not something I can control completely (**) – the control issue being an entirely different discussion I won’t bore you with.
Of course, as my husband said to me yesterday, there are a lot of people in the world who have not chosen their lives. In fact, very few have and we can consider them, who have, extremely privileged. Free will is an extraordinary concept which is hard to have faith in especially in a society like ours – the western one. However, I do believe that many of us can come very close to being privileged if we dare facing ourselves with courage and honesty. After all, is this not what makes life interesting?
(*) I have made small compromises in my life that I am extremely proud of. I call them small because the outcome of such choices far outweighs the drawbacks. I am talking about love here… but love conquers all and there are so many kinds of love that I am today the richest woman on earth.
(**) In this case, what I can control is how I present the situation to my entourage. Their reactions to what I say and my own state of mind when I do so, are completely out of my hands. It is tough for a “control freak” like me, and I know I need to learn to let go for my own sake.
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