Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pop song wisdom

Sometimes, I'll hear a nugget of wisdom in the strangest places, and it will stick with me practically forever. Recently, it was this. Remember back some years ago, when that "Wear Sunscreen" speech/essay, whatever it was came out? It was attributed to lots of people, including I think Kurt Vonnegut at one point, but anyway, that has nothing to do with my story. So, they made a pop song out of it, and I happened to hear it one day on the radio. There's a part that goes like this: "Don't worry about the future. Or, worry, but know that worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real worries in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." And you know what? Pop song or no, that's totally true. I could worry my head off about any and all number of things, but never even consider for one minute some of the actual things that happen to me. So, I don't worry too much about the future. I know that my real life is going to be screwy enough for me without all that added stress.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrman

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Boy was this big in the early 70's!