The other day, I was shown a video on Youtube called “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”
Originally the lyrics were a column that was written by Mary Schmich back in 1997 and they were later made into a song by Baz Luhrmann and that song was apparently a worldwide hit.
Clearly, I’ve been living under a rock because I had never heard the song until the other day but one of the lyrics really struck me.
The whole song is basically advice to a younger generation but written in an amusing and non-patronising way. The lyrics that caught my attention the most though were these ones:
“Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s”
I had one of the weird moments when you suddenly see things from a totally different view from the one you’re used to.
And I’ll explain why. I love a good quote and I really do find them to be inspiring and sometimes just what I need to hear BUT.. a lot of my favourites are based on the idea that if you really want something, I mean TRULY want it and if you’re prepared to work hard enough to get it then you will succeed.
However, the lyrics from this song made me realise that this isn’t always true. Please, don’t think I’m being a debbie-downer here but the truth is that a lot of things that happen in our lives are not within in our control and those things can and will affect your decisions and ultimately where you end up.
I’ve always admired other people and their achievements, whether that’s someone who has devoted their life to helping others or someone who has created a successful business or someone who has a long and still loving marriage or someone who is an incredible parent - there are so many inspirational people to look up to and I always hope that I will find out the secrets to their successes.
But when you think about it, there was a little lady luck in play too. I mean, you’re unlikely to have a long and happy marriage if your partner suddenly changes or decides that they no longer want to be with you. Or if you have a brilliant business idea but cannot afford to fund it or if you’re about to take a world adventure and then find out someone you love is sick and you can’t go.
So much can just happen to us and there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it which is actually pretty terrifying when I say it like that but at the same time as thinking about scary that thought is - that maybe no matter how much you try, or how hard you work, you still won’t achieve your dreams,
But what I also felt was a bit of relief. Relief because as the lyrics say, you don’t always have to blame yourself when something doesn’t work out. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve failed or that you didn’t try hard enough. Sometimes, things are simply outside of your control and no matter what choice you make you can never know for sure what would have happened if you chose differently.
And that’s kinda nice to hear. Because as much as we all need motivation or inspiration, we also need to remember to be humble, to appreciate what we have and also to know that despite the pressure to succeed, no matter what area of your life that might be in, if you don’t, it isn’t your fault.