“I think I just like being angry sometimes,” I told Matt as we drove into work the other morning, complaining about just barely missing a green light. There’s plenty to find to get angry about, especially if you’re already running late or a tad cranky about your morning coffee.
But there’s also a lot (arguably more?) to be encouraged by. The amazing Meg Randall had the idea to share what’s been getting us through the winter; the words – sung, spoken, written – that are keeping us sane and getting us through bad traffic.
So, for those winter blues or times when you just need something fresh, here’s my top 5:
Upbeat yet realistic, with lyrics that pull you into the everyday of the narrator but let you run parallel to your own experiences. The song opens with vocalist Elaiza Santos’ descriptions of washing berries in the sink, taking a big bite out of the fruit she’s washing, and, presumably life. You’re right with her as she takes her “seat in the back of the car,” crumpling up in a large slouch, the way you only do if you’re an adult squished in the back of a sedan.
If you want it, girl, go and get it
Pick the wound despite all that they say to you
What’s there to lose in making a move?
So, I washed my hands and took a hearty bite
If you want it, girl, go and get It
Even if the pain is undeniable
Moving to lose, is making a move
So, I packed my bags and bought a ticket out
If you “get it,” girl, do you want it?
Understanding and feeling are different
What’s there to lose if you’ve already lost?
So, I took my seat in the back of the car
As you sit with her as she takes bites of berries, digs a hole in her back yard, and crams herself and her bags into her getaway car, you’re right there with her as she encourages you to go and get it – whatever “it” is for you. Taking chances and stepping out of comfort zones to “risk it for the biscuit” as Matt likes to say. This song has been a comfort and an encouragement to me as we continue to settle into life in Virginia. New experiences. New apartments. New routes to work and coffee shops to frequent and friends to meet and scenes to wake up to. Santos’ unassumingly beautiful voice simultaneously encourages the listener to go and live life to the fullest, while realizing and reassuring that “understanding and feeling are different,” marking tensions between what you know and what you hope, what you work towards and what you fight against.
I could go on and on about this song, but I’d better cap it here. Go give it a listen, and feel free to adopt this as your power song, too.
PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, the show’s hosts, are absolutely hilarious. The Guardian describes the show more succinctly than I could ever hope to: “‘A podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.” That’s right: all the weird little idiosyncrasies and memes that tumble to the surface of the internet, explored and explained by two super-relateable hosts – one with the best laugh in the podcast business (Seriously. You’ll laugh at the jokes, and then laugh again at PJ laughing at the jokes. It’s the best).
Check them out for your morning commute to start your day off with an engaging look at the interwebs and life outside your car door.
This is the book about everything you wished you knew growing up as an introvert. It’s a book about “the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.” I picked this book up on a random trip to our local library; while perusing the section of Malcolm Gladwell-esque books, a librarian scooted in front of me to put back a copy of Cain’s book. Intrigued at the multiple copies and seeming popularity, and with a title like “Quiet,” it was kind of beckoning already, I picked it up. I’m taking my time with this one (read: I’ve had to renew it twice…) and am letting myself process the personality data and personal stories of introversion and the extraversion ideal.
A fantastic read for anyone who has ever felt too quiet, too shy, or, as my mother would say, “just doesn’t have the gift of gab.” Or, anyone who has ever been close friends with or related to an introvert (that should cover around 99% of the population – go read this book).
Words helping me Pause:
The book of Ecclesiastes
I’m a millennial. I’m in my mid-twenties. Therefore, I’m pretty much obligated to obsess over “my future” and “the future” and “living-in-the-here-and-now-but-aw-man-the-future!” (Right?). I feel like every two weeks, I’ve got a new plan, a new goal for my life, reconsidering what my hobbies should be, or what priorities should look like. That’s all well and good, but it can get a little overwhelming sometimes. While I was still living in Davidson, I reached out to my supervisor from my college job, the amazing Lori Ramey (check out her blog here) for some transition and life-goal advice. Among other things, she recommended reading (and re-reading and re-reading) the book of Ecclesiastes. This has become one of my favorite books in the Bible, with its seeming contradictions, honesty about life’s potential meaninglessness, and meditative tone. The words pick your feet up from your 21st Century ground, and transport you to walk with Solomon through his gardens, as he rambles on about the times. You might not leave the garden with an action plan to increase productivity or a treasure map to success, but instead, a greater awareness of life’s fleeting nature, the meaningless and meaningfulness of life that inform each other. That’s better than an action plan.
These are the lyrics and paragraphs keeping me sane during blustery cold weather. So often I find another season gone, and I can’t even remember what I’ve read or listened to. But why would I be so careless with the words that so strongly shape the way I think? I hope this is an encouragement to find joy and intentionality in the words and thoughts we’re consuming – and even a little inspiration of a book or podcast to add to your list!
What have you been reading and listening to this Winter?
Want more music recs? Check out The Record Monitor for reviews on music anywhere from slightly obscure genres to super underground music.
Thanks to Genius.com for Wool in the Wash lyrics.