Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Unknowable Future

Over the past few years there have been some major changes in my family dynamic.  And there are more changes coming down the pipe in the near future.  It's inevitable at this point.  Maybe it's because of all these changes, but I've been thinking a lot about these two songs lately.  They both deal with family life and how it changes with time.

The first song is called 'Boats & Birds' by 'Gregory and the Hawk'.  My interpretation of the song is that it's about empty nest syndrome.  A mother is singing to her child about how she knows that they will have to grow up and someday and the child will live his or her own life.  'You can skyrocket away from me - And never come back if you find another Galaxy - Far from here where there's more room to fly - But leave me your stardust to remember you by.'  The song is about coping with the fact that sometimes you have to let go of the people you care about.

The other song is 'House of Gold' by 'Twenty One Pilots'.  It has sort of the same premise, but the roles are flipped.  This one is about a son who wants to have the means to provide for his mother in her later years.  She's provided for him after all, and it's only fair that he return the favor.  'She asked me, son, when I grow old - Will you buy me a house of gold - And when your father turns to stone - Will you take care of me?'  The son wants to care for his mom in the event of his father's death.  He worries that he won't be able to provide for her needs financially.  My favorite line in the song is 'And since we know that dreams are dead - And life turns plans upon there heads - I will plan to be a bum - So I just might become someone!'  This drives home for me the point that the future is unknowable.  We can't control it.

And what are our biggest fears?  The unknown.  And if the future is both unknown and unknowable it stands to reason that the future and the change it brings can be one of our biggest sources of anxiety.  And fear can be such an isolating emotion.  Fear of the unknown future is not something we have to face alone however.  Because the unknown future and the fear it brings are universal.  Everyone has experienced it or will experience it.  Everyone you come in contact with should be able to empathize with your worries.  That makes everyone you meet a potential part of your support group.  Or, if talking to other people about your worries is too scary, you can have you fears quelled vicariously through songs like 'Boats and Birds' or 'House of Gold'.  Songs help because they remind us that we aren't so alone.