Pieces of advice that we know are helpful but choose to ignore 99% of the time – do not postpone happiness, pursue your passion and find meaning in life. If only it were that straightforward. You might not be able to fully live life but you can listen to these ten tracks that inspire you to do so.
Avicii – The Nights
I remember complaining to my dad about how much workload was on my plate. He told me it wasn’t sustainable and I should find another job. He meant it in a not-sarcastic-way and it made all the difference in the world.
It’s hard to chase your dreams and go YOLO when the people closest to you suggest otherwise. And nothing feels better when they converge. “The Nights” talks about this feeling and it’s a waste not doing it when the only constraint you really have is yourself.
Bastille – Weight of Living, Pt. II
I only knew “Pompeii” before 2015. My friend asked me to watch a Bastille concert and committing to my plan of watching more concerts and being a better friend, I agreed. To not waste money and enjoy the social experience, I made an active effort to listen to their songs and memorize the lyrics. This track stood out.
How awesome would it be if we can quantify how much living we do? Would it make any difference? Are we simply not self-aware or we do not run after living because it is not measured?
Bon Jovi – It’s My Life
I was in the fourth grade when this track was released. I did not have any existential crisis. Heck, I didn’t even know what existential meant. Just the same, the vocals of Jon Bon Jovi, the simple and understandable lyrics and the energetic vibe made it my anthem.
Nothing can be more cliche than this. But nobody can say it isn’t true. What’s worse is how we need a reminder for us to do what we know in our hearts to be right.
Carrie Underwood – Wasted
Not a lot of people grow up being exposed to country music. Reality shows like American Idol and The Voice have significantly helped increase awareness and reach. Carrie Underwood won “American Idol” and went on to become one of the biggest country superstars ever. Danielle Bradberry won “The Voice” and reminded us of the good music Carrie has made, including this tune which she sang in one of the rounds.
We might not be able to sing it as well as these two ladies can. But it doesn’t mean we cannot live life as well as they do, if not better.
Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
At one point, we all wanted to drop out of college but chose not to. It could be pragmatism kicking in and not wanting to let people around us down. Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, did. He even wrote this song about it.
Many debut singles from artists talk of their struggles to come out and pursue their careers. I’m sure for every success story we’ve heard, there are probably a thousand failures we never learn of. This track hopefully gives us some hope.
Jason Mraz – The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)
Someone once told me, and I believed, that only the lyrics in the chorus have sense and the rest are random verses. Later I’d find out it was about Jason’s good friend who was diagnosed with cancer and how that shaped his outlook in life.
We don’t need disappointments and tragedies coming our way to stop postponing happiness. Confessionals from people’s deathbeds are usually real and we need not be in their place to set our life in motion.
Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten
This gained prominence in my country because of a shampoo ad. It’s not my preferred brand but whatever. Constantly hearing it on television made me feel happy and helped spread this wonderful piece of music.
It’s an uplifting and inspiring track that boosts my mood and vibe. If I had to choose Natasha Bedingfield’s magnus opus, it would have to be this. And yes, there are other options, in case you were thinking she was a one-hit wonder. There’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” and “These Words”.
Nelly Furtado – I’m Like a Bird
It’s not about having life figured out. Sometimes, acknowledging you are on a journey of self-discovery, moving through people and places, is enough. Freedom is essential and having it is one thing to never take for granted.
Now I’m imagining if living like a bird, literally, would be better. I’d never know and pondering on the thought is probably not in line with maximizing time in this world.
OneRepublic – I Lived
After being featured by Timbaland in “Apologize” (probably the biggest injustice in the history of crediting musicians), I never thought I’d take more interest in OneRepublic. Their sound has evolved and the theme of their songs have shifted. If there is one band who perfectly captures this generation’s desire to live life to the fullest, it would have to be them.
“Counting Stars”, “Feel Again” and “Kids” would have fit just as well in this playlist. But to give the illusion of diversity, I took them out and chose “I Lived”. Not because its message is most in line, but because of the word “live”, probably overused and abused in this article.
Stacie Orrico – (There’s Gotta Be) More to Life
Knowing there’s more to life is different from knowing what it actually is. Stacie Orrico was a spiritual singer and found solace in her world view. Not everyone finds it there but acknowledging the gap should be enough.
If there’s one thing I know to be true it’s this – we may not always know what can make us happy but we do know what makes us unhappy. And doing something differently should be fine as you cannot lose happiness you do not have.