The past few days I’ve been sick. With classes bearing down on us, homework getting more abundant and stressful all the time, the commencement of the annual plague, and the pressure to join clubs or work until there are no holes in your schedule, it’s difficult to have a positive attitude. It can seem like each day we start out on the wrong side of the bed, put our worst foot forward, and remain in the same depressed state until we collapse into bed at the end of a trying day. My go-to song to lift my spirits never fails to give me some perspective, and a little more spring in my step.
Travis Tritt’s “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” is not a song about a bad day with a good spin or good ending or about how you need to just keep pushing through til you get to the top of that mountain. Actually, it’s just about feeling happy, even if not everything is perfect in your life. It’s about taking a minute aside to breathe deep and think about the good things you’ve got going. Which is exactly what we all need sometimes to remind us that everything isn’t as bad as it seems.
“I got rice cookin’ in the microwave/Got a three day beard I don’t plan to shave/And it’s a goofy thing but I just gotta say, hey/I’m doin’ alright.”
The upbeat sound of, what I believe to be a mixture of piano, guitar, bass and perhaps drums, has that almost physical effect on me that lifts the weight of both my tension and mood. Tritt’s voice and his positive tone help to lighten the atmosphere around me and improve the quality of my perspective. It’s true that sometimes feeling really good can be similar to the high experienced on drugs (or so I’ve heard, mostly through popular music) and is often described that way. But it’s better than a drug induced high because it’s natural – no stimulants needed. One of my favorite characters, Francie, from the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn describes a similar feeling, though perhaps the more dizzying, depressing side of it in a similar way, by saying she’s “drunk on life.” I’ve always identified more with that than with the stereotypical college student mindset that it’s better to show sensitivity and emotion only when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Luckily, I believe that mindset overall is changing and that the stereotype is fading.
Anyway, that’s why I feel connected with Tritt in the line of this song that goes: “I’m feelin’ pretty good and that’s the truth/It’s neither drink nor drug induced, no/I’m just feelin’ alright.”
The song discusses the idea that even though not every moment is wonderful, sometimes you feel good and that’s a good thing. Take pleasure in those moments, days, however long they last, because you never know when it will end or when the next one will be.
“Sometimes it’s lonely, sometimes it’s only me/And the shadows that fill this room/Sometimes I’m fallin’, desperately callin’/Howlin’ at the moon, aw-ooh.”
However, shortly after the goofy tone of the song is reintroduced with the reminder to take time to do something interesting or that you really want to do, especially during times that you’re feeling good about yourself and your life, because you want to remember the good days more than the bad ones.
“Well I might go get me a new tattoo/Or take my old Harley for a three day cruise/Might even grow me a Fu Man Chu.”*
In the end, whether you just take a step back from your day to breathe and think about the good things in your life, or you find a way to take some fun time for yourself in your busy schedule, this song is just a great upper and a good self-reminder. Maybe add it to your gym playlist or your morning routine to psych yourself up for the day. It’s got a great tune, it’s fun, and it’s got some great ideas to get your head buzzing with more than just notes about homework and what you have next on your to-do list. Listen up!
“And it’s a great day to be alive/ I know the sun’s still shinin’/ When I close my eyes/ There’s some hard times in the neighborhood/ But why can’t everyday be just this good?”
*A type of long mustache that looks like a mustache with sideburns or a limp handlebars mustache (for a more clear visual, I suggest Google images).
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