Every now and again, people get to feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s a mid-life crisis, ADHD-related, or just a student in the throes of amped-up college life and swamps of homework, we all experience that dreadful emotion. When you get to that time, a good way to relieve that stress is to take a break from everything that is causing your stress, breathe deeply, and remember that all will be well again soon and you just have to make it over this one challenge for now. This sentiment is well accounted for in the song “You’re Aging Well” as performed by Dar Williams.
This song talks about the social pressure put on us to live a certain type of life and to have accomplished certain tasks at certain stages or ages of our lives. Its message is that we shouldn’t worry about what we’re supposed to do or how we “should” be living, but to enjoy our lives and appreciate every moment. The message is meant to be reassuring – don’t stress about not living up to your own or society’s expectations: everything is going the way it should and there is someone out there who does support you in everything you do, whether or not you know each other personally. Enjoy your life while it lasts. Don’t overthink things and stop trying to fight everyone around you because you’re frustrated with how your life is going. Relax and you might realize that this whole time you’ve been hating or fighting or anxious around the people who love you and just want to help you improve and enjoy your existence. Turning that around and supporting other people going through a difficult time is just as important. It goes along with the idea of the “Chain of Love” where you spread the goodwill that comes your way to improve the lives of others. Most of all it’s about feeling good in your skin, no matter how wrinkled it is.
The verses words are fast(er) paced in Dar William’s version of this song, which I think is meant to represent the rat-race seeming rush of our daily lives and all the anxiety and pressure we feel under that strain of time-management, despite the slower beat behind it, which could represent the more relaxed way that we are meant to live. However, the happier, bubblier refrain is meant to sound like a friend telling you that he or she is there for you, soothing in a way, even though the beat itself is faster and livelier than during the verses. This folk-genre song is considered so because it is so relative to all people, perhaps even more so in modern days than when it was written. Sometimes it feels like all we can do is rush around and that we don’t have time to slow down, breathe, relax, or smell the roses. This song is an attempt to remind us that a lot of that fast-paced lifestyle is something pushed on us by society and not a necessary way of existence. In fact, I believe it’s easier to survive longer if we sit back and relax now and then rather than just taking the highway through life – always on the go.
So try listening to this song whenever you need a break from the stress of reality and let it help you remember to really live, not just exist.
Gabrielle Lamontagne is a junior majoring in French and business administration.