Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around.
— Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman
When I was young I just thought Tracy Chapman was pleading for an answer, any answer. After all she only wanted one reason, not a few or even a slew.
But at this point in my life*, a little older and wiser (I like to think), I know she wasn’t pleading for an answer. She was mourning the loss of a choice, any choice.
They say in twenty years time, you’ll regret the choices you didn’t make and not the choices you did. I don’t know if that’s true, I’ll tell you in twenty (well maybe ten) years.
But I’ll tell you this — if it’s true it’s because in twenty years you have fewer choices to make and all you can do is reexamine the choices you did make and those you didn’t.
When you’re young, life’s all about the choices you make. But when you’re old(er), life’s all about the choices you have left.
That’s the hard part about getting older. It’s not a receding hairline or an ever expanding waistline. No the hard part about growing old is realizing, one-by-one, your choices are no longer yours to make.
How many of us dreamed of running away from home when we were young?
Countless I’m sure. Heck, the dream still occupies many of my daydreams, if I’m honest. But now it’s just that, a dream. It’s no longer a choice. After all, you can’t runaway from home when you can leave at any time.
But does anyone truly regret not running away?
I know I don’t. But I miss the option, the notion, the hope of running away.
They say you can never go home again. I say you can never run away from home again. At some point, you’ve just left.
And maybe leaving is the only choice adults have, will always have. At some point it’s all that’s left. So by default it’s also the most powerful choice we make, whether to stay or go.
Some of use would never dream of leaving and some of us can’t imagine staying any longer than we have to. Either way, the choice is ours and it’s one we must make. It’s one we must own.
Because if you have to ask someone else if you should stay or you should go, well there ain’t no more to say.
*This week’s post is brought to you in part by the lyrical stylings of the musical storyteller — Tracy Chapman. Admittedly I could have worked in more than the two songs referenced above, “Give Me One Reason,” and “At This Point In My Life.” But I got cold feet.**
**Alright, I couldn’t help myself there. “Cold Feet” is another great song of Chapman’s but more in the vein of “Fast Car.”
The latter two songs have a complete story arc, if you will, while the two referenced in the post contemplate, more a moment in time than any story.
© Indian Macgyver 2017