‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life
Tryna make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
Where all the veins meet yeah
No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mold
I am here in my mold
But I’m a million different people
From one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
No, no, no, no, no
Have you ever been down?
— The Verve, Bitter Sweet Symphony
Do you hear Thoreau’s “quiet desperation” quote in your head reading the lyrics of Bitter Sweet Symphony? This song exploded in the mid-1990’s, becoming a theme song of sorts for Generation X and maybe some of those who followed. How do the lyrics hold up, almost three decades later? I think it depends on how well you’ve broken free of your mold.
Breaking free of that mold you’ve been cast in and following your heart is reckless. The very idea of breaking free disrupts all you’ve built around you. For what is a mold but that? Our very place in this world is determined by where we place ourselves. Life is change and moving beyond our old self. We must grow and see where the road takes us. Where our heart takes us.
Watching people you care about quickly turn from vibrantly alive to quickly sliding into the next triggers an urgency to break molds. To do the things you’ve been putting off and live today. This is what the stoics have been telling us all along. Memento Mori. Carpe Diem.
Get after it already. Follow the road where all your veins meet. We can all change.