TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for the Optimist
Sometimes I hate being an optimist, and other times it’s the best thing about me.
I love who I’m becoming. I love the life I’m stewarding. I love this world and the people in it, even if some days that’s hard to do. But there’s a flip side to that—it doesn’t mean eternal sunshine. Sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel is most definitely an oncoming train, and my optimism blinds me to that reality. I can’t bring myself to admit that I’m hurting, that I’m scared, that I’m lost in the darkness. I stand right on the tracks, squinting into the headlight, and tell myself it’s going to be fine. I tell myself I can take the weight, that I can brace for impact, that whatever pain I feel won’t be that painful, somehow, in the end.
And so I bruise. My skin has purpled over the years, more so in this phase of life than ever. Every time I miss someone. Every time I’m disappointed, or a disappointment; every time I’m let down, or let someone down. Every time I work so hard to stand tall and instead get sent to the floor. Another scratch, another hit. And I peel myself off the ground and think, am I okay? Is this hurt all that’s left for me?
But here’s the thing—it never hurts too bad to fall. I’ve padded myself with hope, and love, and silver linings. I’ve built armor out of learning from mistakes and trusting my gut to guide me. The people in my life help me pick gravel out of my knees, and then they stand with me the next time I find myself on the tracks. I’m accompanied and I’m strong and I can withstand a whole lot as I grow. There is a light at the end of every tunnel and not every train gets to knock me flat.
It’s going to be fine. So are you. And here are five songs for deep breaths, inner strength, sunshiney days, and standing tall in the midst of it all.
“High Hopes” // Kodaline
I love the message that high hopes aren’t easy to keep up, but they’re worth it. Kodaline is one of my favorite artists for reflection; their sound is instant calm for me.
“Roll Up Your Sleeves” // Meg Mac
Part of optimism, for me, is believing that I can do the work. I can put in the time and make things happen for myself. And I can do it with a little bit of bop, a little bit of joy, along the way.
Something about this cool, ambient backtrack does wonders for calming me down—like the best, most cleansing deep breath after coming up from under water. No matter how dark things seem, it always allows me a moment.
“You Are Enough” // Sleeping at Last
Sleeping at Last’s Atlas: Year Two project is a master class in matching music to life. Moving through the five senses, a range of emotions, and all nine Enneagram numbers, this track in particular cuts right to my heart.
“The Other Side” // Parachute
Sometimes, you just need to know someone will hold your hand. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to really believe things will be okay. This song makes me believe it.
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