"When I was a child, I thought like a child
… but as an adult, I put away childish things." The Apostle Paul
We all know that with age comes wisdom, which is very different than intelligence, though people often confuse the two. Wisdom is gained through experiences, through your failures more than your successes, through your tears more than through your laughter. To me, a life well-lived is one in which you’ve lost your disillusionment and see things as how they really are, not just how you want them to be. I’m trying to live a life well-lived.
I’ve always found meaning in song lyrics, found a special message just for me in them, and my friend once remarked that she could pick any mix tape that I had and know exactly where I was in my life, in my relationships with boyfriends or crushes or exes judging solely from the songs upon them. She was right – now and again a song will come on the radio and I’ll instantly know who I was loving (or hating or avoiding or stalking) at that point in time. Pretty amazing, come to think of it, given just how MANY people fell into one of those buckets over the years (not to mention how many songs I’ve claimed as my own.) I would argue my interpretation of the lyrics with friends, convinced in my naive 20-something wisdom that I WAS RIGHT and THEY WERE WRONG. One of these songs was "Say Goodbye" by Dave Matthews.
You’ve all heard it; the lyrics are found here, but at one point in the song he sings:
See me this way
I’m turning and turning for you
Oh Girl, oh just tonight
Run away here with me
On an evening oh just wait and see
But tomorrow go back to your man
I’m back to my world
And we’re back to being friends
In the infinite wisdom of my not-yet-20-year-old self, I was convinced that the man in the song was deeply, truly in love with the woman and, knowing that he couldn’t have her (after all, she had a ‘man’, as referenced in the song), he realized that having her for one night is better than not at all. Sort of a twist on the "Better to have loved than lost then never loved at all" adage. Or something like that.
My friends fought with me, trying to shake the blinders from my eyes. "He’s USING her!", they would exclaim. "He just wants to have sex with her!"
Pshaw, I thought. Now why would he want to do that?
I think a bit of context would help my case here, because even I (now) can see the folly of my ways. At the time, I was the epitome of naive virgin Ohio-flock in a passionate unrequited crush-relationship with the boy next door. I kid you not. So you can see where I was coming from – the song, to me, was more than just words; it was the role-reversal depiction of my own situation. He (and note that I’m capitalizing that ‘He’ not just because it starts the sentence, but because I really did see Him as some sort of demi-God) was in a relationship, yet I was convinced that somewhere, sometime, He would see the light and come running to me with arms open. Fate and all that. (It’s clear at this point that I had read one too many chick-lit novels and watched far too many romantic comedies even in my early youth.)
So yes, Dave Matthews was in love with the girl, and his passion was so great that he would sacrifice his true desires – to date, love, marry her – to spend JUST ONE NIGHT with her. Sigh. How romantic.
Fast forward ten years, nearly to the date. I’m sitting here listening to iTunes on shuffle and along comes an acoustic version of "Say Goodbye" and for the first time in forever, I listened to the words…REALLY listened to them.
WHAT WAS I THINKING? The dude is HORNY! Dave Matthews WANTS A PIECE! He wants to GET LAID! Come on, to think I once was that naive is just ridiculous…I may have been a virgin, but I sure as hell wasn’t raised in a convent. How embarrassing to be that naive!
Then again, how sad that I’ve come so far that I can’t even remember being that person whose ideals were so strong and whose hope was so endless. Perhaps a small part of me isn’t really ready yet to put away "childish things," or at least give up all hope. That is, if it’s not too late.