perspective

New Year, New Song

It’s back to school, which means back to work for me. Summer was gone in a flash.

Each member of our school leadership team was asked to choose a theme song for the year. We got some examples to spur our thinking.

Music is one of my love languages – not just love, it’s any emotion, really. The lyrics, the melody of a song can convey meaning I can’t seem to put into words. Playlists can transport me into different eras, remembrances, states of mind. Songs mean much.

So a theme song for the year was a big decision. I tried thinking about it and came up with some possibilities, but nothing seemed to fit. As a singer, it was all about the lyrics. I’d think of a song that had a great chorus, but then there would be some lyric about drinking or broken hearts or something else completely unrelated to school. In that case, it’s a no go.

What was the message I wanted to capture? Resilience. Flexibility. Hope. All things that speak to me in this transition time. In addition, I wanted something upbeat and catchy to keep the mood light.

And then it came to me. The theme song from the classic 70s sitcom, One Day at a Time. Upbeat, catchy, short, sweet, with all the right feelings.

Here are the lyrics:

This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time.

So up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Many of the people in that room didn’t even remember that sitcom, much less the song. So, a chance for them to learn something new.

Even in the very first week of planning, this year has already thrown us some curve balls. We’ve gone from masks are recommended to masks are required no matter who you are and if you’ve had a shot. I’ll admit my chest and shoulders slumped when I heard we were masking again, but I had already seen it coming and brought my laundered masks to work. Life goes on. It does.

We will get through it. We will have to help each other. We will have to approach each morning with a fresh perspective. We will do the best we can. If we trip and fall, it’s up on our feet and at it again. Somewhere there’s music playing…

One day at a time. One hundred and eighty five to go.

author moments

Symbols

Meaning is hidden everywhere. Places. Signs. Memories. That little park you pass on the way to work every day is the place where someone proposed. It is also the place where some friends had a huge fight. It’s the place where a kid broke her arm and ended up in a cast. Maybe it’s even the place someone first learned to drive, smoke pot, who knows. Countless scenes in countless stories have taken place there. All in the little park you pass each day without thinking.

Meaning, symbols, roadblocks are everywhere. We stumble over the hearts and sometimes heartaches of others without even knowing it.

Music is potent for memories with me. I grew up singing and listening to tunes all the time. Paul Simon, the Statler Brothers, and Dolly Parton on my parents’ 8-track tape deck in our conversion van. Show tunes and standards I belted out with our player piano in the basement. And then the love songs I would pine over each night, wishing in vain someone would dedicate something to me. It took decades for me to listen to the music of Chicago without bristling or quickly switching it off. Even today, there are songs I may never listen to again. Places I may never go. Overly sensitive? Perhaps. After all, it is just a place, a song, who cares?

Maybe I’m just too much. I willingly embrace being labeled sentimental. Someone watching closely may see the quick shadow roll across my face when that potent memory pops up. Most will miss it.

Just part of what makes me me.

For some people, cardinals are a special symbol. A reminder or even a visit from someone departed and dear. A symbol more purposeful than just happenstance…a place you used to go, a song you used to sing to. This is more of a sign. For me, it’s ladybugs. They always pop up at the most unlikely times. They bring me back to myself. A reassurance. A reminder.

Recently, someone new in my life called me ladybug as a nickname. And it stuck. Sometimes when she says it, it makes me smile, sometimes tear up, sometimes just makes me hold my breath an extra beat. She could never have known that ladybugs are so special for me. Just a sign that she has some role to play, a scene to share. A hand reaching out of the day-to-day doldrums to remind me of the bigger picture.

What it all means.