this is what john mayer meant

Miss Arizona and I have been volleying the same few songs back and forth at each other for at least the past 5 years. They’re songs that emerged while we were living together, driving around together, falling out of love together, and figuring out how to get organized enough to go to class together.

None of them are remarkably musically brilliant or synonymous with our generation, but when we play them in different places and spaces, we are together. One of them is John Mayer’s Why Georgia.

When I first heard this song I didn’t really know what it meant. Was he talking about a person? A place? Both? Why was he just asking “why?” Ten years after hearing this song for the first time, I think I get it.

It’s a song about that quarter life crisis, that feeling of ‘i got this. i don’t got this. i think i got this. wait, i’m not sure. wait, now what?’ It’s a song about driving around and working through your thoughts on the highway (something I sorely miss about owning a car). It’s a song about make or break moments. It’s a song about acknowledging where you’ve been and where you’re at. It’s a song about reconciling the dreams in your head with the life you make.

John Mayer, I totally get it.

Let me preface by saying I love what I do. It is in no way what I planned for myself three-ish years ago. But I love it for different reasons. Let me say I love where I live, literally and figuratively. I love my home, my street, my commute, my running routes, the bars I go to, the people that live here that I share my life with, the kids I volunteer with, the city of Milwaukee. I love it more than I ever anticipated I could love a place, because this one is truly my own. I love the way I live here. I am engaged in my community, I take care of my cat and myself, I love that when I come home to myself, I don’t feel lost.

I just wonder if it will be enough. And in John Mayer’s infamous line involving the couplet “quarter life crisis,” I think that’s what he was getting at. This feeling of enoughness. Will the life I have made be enough? Will it be enough for the version of myself who was convinced she’d change the world? Will it be enough for the jaded 80-year-old version of myself who has lived her life, and knows how the story pans out? Will it be enough for my spouse? My family? My children? My tax returns? Will it all be enough?

One of the absolute best things about running is that it’s a conversation with yourself; your mind and your body. You physically get everything moving in the same direction which offers so much clarity and the end of the day when everything seems to have been moving in different directions all day. It’s your body’s way of getting organized. It was in this evening’s dedicated organizational time that it occurred to me that making a difference is a choice.

A select few individuals get to make change on a monumental level. They run countries, make decisions, organize to make the world a better place. But those select few have responsibilities I don’t think I’d ever want to face by choice. The rest of us make change on the levels we invest ourselves in. Whether it’s in the lives of our children, the church organization, the company we work for, everyone has the opportunity to create change. It’s what you do with the chance that counts.

These past few weeks I’ve been feeling especially tired and acutely aware that I am human. But something in tonight’s realignment has shown me that feeling this way is a choice. I can choose to do something about it. I choose to manage my time better. I choose to make my daily exercise mandatory. I choose to eat well. I choose to do one task at a time. I choose to make time to read, study language, listen to music, try to play music and write down all the things I am thankful for. I choose to love and I choose to connect and I choose to diversify my life. I choose to apply for yoga teacher training school.

So put all of this together and it becomes pretty obvious; everyone has the chance to change the world, even if the only world they change is their own. And even that is pretty monumental.

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