Saturday, March 04, 2006

You can get what you want, or you can just get old

This morning on the way to work, I heard "Wouldn't it be Nice?" by the Beach Boys. Now all of you know that I am a HUGE Beach Boys fan and I would never dream of sullying the good name of Brian Wilson, or indeed, any Beach Boy, but I don't like that song. I used to, until I was about 20. I found it romantic. Now I find it sad. Not the sentiment of the song, really, but the fact that that entire portion of my life is gone. I can never again say "I can't wait until I'm old enough to ...." or "When I grow up, I'm going to...." I don't want you to think I am bemoaning my ripe old age of 29; in fact, I am completely happy with it, and excited about my 30s. But I am grown up. If I don't follow a dream, it's not because I can't... it's because I don't. And I hate to think of one wasting one's precious, once-gone-gone-forever time here by wishing it was something else. I know I did it, to an extent; I know I do it still. Anticipating is a great, exciting part of life, but you can waste away your life looking forward to something else.

A better way to look at it, I think, is "Vienna" by Billy Joel. Apparently, in Vienna, the state provides simple, necessary jobs to the elderly, like passing out tourism flyers or sweeping the sidewalks, so old people don't feel useless and a burden on society. Everyone is an important part of the lifeblood of the country. Billy Joel's song advises us to not ache for the next chapter in life too quickly. Good things are waiting for us, but we don't have to have them right this very second. I wish I had lived more of my life that way, and I hope I will continue to embrace my present.

It's just another way of stating my broken-record statement of "no day but today":

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me why are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do, and only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right
You got your passion, you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
Why don't you realize...Vienna waits for you

When will you realize...Vienna waits for you


Blogger krysten said...


i love billy joel.

i know what you mean, mami. especially with the ol' bday rolling around.

hugs and kisses to you in that flashy trashy city.

March 04, 2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger Dannybrou said...

jamie... do you remember when we saw the beach boys in concert???

March 06, 2006 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Uncle Al said...

Take it from an old guy. People worry about reaching the end of life and wishing they had done something different. Anyone can do that. The truly happy people are those who enjoy life all along the way, whatever they're doing. We're not here just for our own enjoyment (although you'd be hard pressed to tell that by reading or watching the news, to say nothing of EW). Don't get me wrong, I think you were smart to take off for New Yawk while you were young, single, and able. Nothing wrong with chasing a dream. But at the end of the day (life), how much better will it be to think back on things you did and enjoyed, rather than sighing deeply and focusing on regrets for things you didn't do. Rather, even if you hadn't gone to give that a whirl, you would have done something else that you could have enjoyed, had you chosen to enjoy it. (See Phil. 4:12)

So, you're on the right track with your "no day but today" philosophy. There's joy and value in everything, and way too many people miss it because they're looking down the road to "the next thing." Trust me, on the other side of 50, it is easy to think about what I could have done differently, but there's just too much good stuff to look back on to waste time on that. I can think of several other tracks I could have taken, and they could have been really cool, but this one works, too, and now I wouldn't trade it for anything. If you embrace what you have and place a high value on it, the other begins to pale.

NIce blog.

March 06, 2006 7:57 AM  

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