As a girl who has been surrounded by music her entire life and also a songwriter myself, I am and will always be fascinated by the cryptic meanings behind the lyrics of songs. We see indie songs that have lyrics that are so out of the ordinary that it might be impossible to truly find the meaning. On the contrary, we also see lyrics on the radio that blatantly say what they mean in the easiest and simplest way possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little “All About That Bass” and “Love Me Like You Do” every once in a while. The simplest songs, in my eyes are super catchy, which is great for a dance party in the dorm or a singing sesh in traffic. But as I dig deeper into the singer/songwriter and indie genres of my music taste, I find that the lyrics that these artists write are simply poetic and a lot more expressive than the songs on the radio. Tonight, I tried to tackle something that I haven’t tried yet: the acoustic picking pattern of “Stop This Train” by John Mayer and let me just say that it was very difficult! Trying to get the beats right and the fingerings solid, I listened to the beginning intro several times. But then, while I let my callus-y fingers take a break, I listened to the rest of the song and took the time to peer at the lyrics for a little while. Come to find out, this song is so relatable to not only my life, but also all the lives of students in their late teens and early twenties.
So let’s start by establishing the main idea of this song. The set of lyrics that first catch everyone’s eye…
Stop this train, I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t, but honestly, won’t someone stop this train?
From the lyrics “I can’t take the speed it’s moving in,” the listeners can see that the main message John is trying to get across in his chorus is that life is just going a little too fast. Let’s all just take a minute and raise our hands up to how true this statement is lol. Don’t we all John Mayer, don’t we all.
I am seventeen years old and I have already had this conversation with so many of my friends, which is so sad. Whether it is deciding a college to go to, the next life choice to make, or even just something as little as where to go and what to do this weekend, my friends all have one common issue: time. It is a constant struggle because the days are going by fast, the weeks even faster, and the years even faster than that. They worry that if choose the wrong path to go on or make a bad choice that they will be “wasting their time,” and who can afford to waste their time if it going by so fast? Good question. I have been there and am honestly still slightly there. I see so many things to do and not a lot of time to do it, which ultimately puts a bigger stress on the decisions I make. It’s very stressful and heavy to think about, and we can really see this in the lyrics because John is practically BEGGING for this fast and forward-moving stress of life to just stop.
Every little decision counts when you are considering time, so here is my solution or at least a way to deal with this. You will need to remember 3 important things:
1. There is no such thing as a “waste of time.”
This is so very true. The worst decisions follow with the biggest lessons, and the biggest wastes of time tend to be the most enjoyable times. If you look at every choice as something that could be “worthless in a few year” or something that has a potential for failure, your decision making process will be a lot more stressful. Live freely babies! Instead of how can this go wrong, think what do I have to lose. If you make a bad decision, just pick yourself back up and start something else.
2. Live for yourself, not for others.
I preach this all the time. But the question really is for this section is: who’s time schedule are you on? Who cares if you end up taking an extra year of college or if you end up marrying someone at 30 rather than your estimated age of 25. Time is relative. Though it does continuously pass and it will never stop, who says you don’t have time. Life does not run by a set schedule. Be patient and also work at your own pace.
3. It’s okay to just stop to recuperate or adjust sometimes.
We get curveballs in our day to day life all the time. Sometimes we are rushed into situations we don’t feel prepared for or things just get a little too overwhelming to handle. What you need, and what we all need, is a break. Like John says in the lyric, he wanted to go home. Sometimes going home does the trick. Take a day and do nothing, go back to you roots, talk to your parents, take a bath. We can’t be working machines 24/7 and that is okay. That is what makes us human. Even if you really do not have anytime to take a break, just at least take 5 minutes and breathe. It’s always okay to just stop the craziness for a while and regroup. I promise, it will make the difference.
Like John Mayer also says in the song…
So scared of getting older, i’m only good at being young.
So I play the number game to find a way to say that life has just begun.
This is mindset I encourage you all to have. Think “life has just begun” even when you are in that transition to pure adulthood. We will never “stop this train,” but we all do have so much time to try, experience, love, fail, succeed, and grow. We just need to appreciate the time we have, live the most from those times and open our minds up to the many possibilities there are for all of us in the future. Don’t stress, everything you do will either be a lesson or be something that will benefit you immensely. So again, what do you have to lose?
I thank John Mayer for the inspiration, and I also thank you beautiful people for reading.