Songs to Get You Through a “The future? Don’t talk to me about it” Meltdown
If you’re a member of the college senior set, you probably know exactly what I mean by an “If one more person asks me what I’m going to do with my life, I will cry!” meltdown. I used to envy those b-school kids who got job offers before February, but it seems they are just as freaked out about the future and the uncertainty and challenges it brings. Just about everyone is asking themselves, “Where will I live?” “What will I do without my friends?” “Will I be able to find a job/be able to do my job?” “How will I budget?” “Will this (excuse my language) really suck?”
Even if you’re not a college senior, as the adage goes, “The only constant in life is change.” Coping with these unknowns can be anxiety-provoking and overwhelming, but I often forget that it is exactly these unknowns that make the future so exciting. My life has taken countless turns that I didn’t expect – for better and for worse. I did not think that only a year after stepping onto the training barge at on the Charles River on a whim with three of my friends, I’d be stepping into a racing shell to launch for a race at Nationals. I did not think that the relationships I’ve had since I was born would change so dramatically throughout the course of my four years at college. And who expected I’d become so accustomed to living away from home? Not me. (But, Mom and Dad, I still love coming home to sleep in my old bed – so don’t give my room away just yet! 🙂 )
All it takes is a certain song at the right moment to change my mood, or even my entire outlook about the future. When I’m upset, the lyrics articulate my frustration in ways that I cannot. When I feel pessimistic about the future, I can take comfort in the constant refrain of an uplifting chorus.
Here are some songs that help me ride out the emotional wave of an “OMG! The Future (with a capital F). It’s coming!” freak-out. If you are also struggling with the uncertainty of the future, try putting these on your playlist (to hear them, you will be prompted to click through to YouTube for licensing reasons):
- “Just a Ride” – Jem This song kicks off my favorite CD of all time: Music from the O.C. (Mix 1). (Are you done laughing at me? OK, thanks.) It’s actually a great compilation. (Again, I’ll wait until you stop laughing. Take your time composing yourself. The post will still be here.) Its source aside, this song has a calming melody and is one of the best choruses to sing when life gets tough.
“It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
No need to run, no need to hide
It’ll take you round and round
Sometimes you’re up
Sometimes you’re down
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride
Don’t be scared
Don’t hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
But don’t forget it’s just a ride”
- “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine No, I did not choose this song because it was in Eat, Pray, Love (the movie, not the book). This song was popular in the U.K. while I was studying abroad there and once I heard it while sitting in the St. Andrews Student Union, I was hooked. Play this one after you remind yourself that life is “just a ride” and get excited to shed your baggage so that you can enjoy better days ahead.
“Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive
The dog days are over”
- “One Girl Revolution” – Superchick This one is another great soundtrack find. This time, it’s from Legally Blonde. (If you thought you were done laughing, you have too much faith in my shameless love for select parts of popular culture. I’m sorry, but there will never be another Elle Woods, nor will there ever be another Seth Cohen!) This song plays during the scene where she mistakenly comes into a Halloween non-costume party in a full-out playboy bunny-style outfit and then finally decides to stop trying to fit in with her (boring) Harvard Law classmates. From thereon out, she works hard inside and outside the classroom to show them they have underestimated her – all with her own panache. I admire that! Elle is fearless, whether she is wearing a bubble gum pink suit to court or standing up to her professor when he sexually harasses her.
“I wear a disguise
I’m just your average Jane
The super doesn’t stand for model
But that doesn’t mean I’m plain
If all you see is how I look
You miss the superchick within
I’ll be everything that I want to be
I am confidence in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I’ll shoot the shot, bang
That you hear ’round the world
I’m a one girl revolution
Some people see the revolution
But most only see the girl
I can loose my hard earned freedom
If my fear defies my world
I declare my independance from
the critics and their stones
I can find my revolution
I can learn to stand alone”
- “Waiting on the Sunshine” – Sixpence None the Richer (I could only find a live version of this song, so take it as you will – then go download the studio version!) Now that you’re ready to face the future (with a ton of energy, thanks to Florence + The Machine!), calm yourself down to a sustainable level of energy, while maintaining a hopeful outlook.
“All the questions in the world
I can leave in my mind
I’m waiting on the sunshine, the sunshine”
- “Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield Yes, this one is a stereotypical choice, I know, but this may be my favorite song of all time. But to be fair, the girl’s right! The future is nothing if not unwritten…
“Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten”
Are you on Ping (iTunes’ social network)? With this iteration of the niche social media trend, you can share your favorite playlists with friends and follow your favorite artists’ new releases and tour dates! I have published this playlist as “Facing an Uncertain Future” – view it, write a review, or download the songs!