Monday, November 5, 2012

Optimism in the Most Pessimistic of Places

I blame the radio for most of my embarrassing interests in music. While I’ve never been a huge fan of Coldplay, their latest album, 2011’s Mylo Xyloto, was a must buy after I fell in love with each of the album’s singles. My favorite? “Paradise.” While the radio continues to seduce and mesmerize listeners with overplayed crap, this song is a rare gem. Take a moment and listen to this song below.

While this song has been out since fall of last year, my obsession with it didn’t begin until spring of this year, when I began to think very cynically about life, love, and the world I live in. The lines “When she was just a girl/She expected the world/But it flew away from her reach” captured my pessimism and expressed it in a way I could not. As I began listening to this song daily, I always found it depressing, a downer of a tune with no hope whatsoever. And that corresponded with my mood and ideologies perfectly.

A few months, a breakup, and one downward spiral later, I still find myself attracted to this song, and it’s only getting stronger. But last night, at perhaps my lowest point, I was shocked to realize the song that once sponsored my pessimistic self would also restore my optimism and joy. As I slept, the song burst through my earbuds with a new message that was foreign to my ears: “So lying underneath those stormy skies/She said oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh/I know the sun must set to rise/This could be para- para- paradise.”

Upon hearing those lines, I could not help but grin as the fog of my depressed mood cleared. I realized that although my life will be filled with low points and trials, they will all clear and I will be able to go on with my life. As Robert H. Schuller said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” I may not be able to influence the conditions and events that life establishes, but I can control how I respond and act while waiting out the storm. This life could be paradise…if I choose to make it so.

Good on you, Coldplay. Thank you for teaching me a valuable, and uplifting, lesson. 

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