In my playlists, there are songs that I play only to sing and dance along with, even though their lyrics often don’t make much sense. But then there are those songs with lyrics so intense that they leave me spiraling into this whirlpool of thoughts, and before I realize it: I’m looking at different ways to interpret a song as though my life is entirely dependant on it. One such piece that grabbed my attention while I was a naive ninth-grader was “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic.
Counting stars is a song that could mean different things for different people in different walks of their life. For me, this song exists as a reminder that maybe the right thing isn’t always supposed to be right in the eyes of society; perhaps we should chase after what we want, instead of blindly following what we’re told to do.
“Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be…“
It resonates with the human nature of stressing about the things that are out of their control. We think, overthink, and then think a little more about our dreams and ambitions. We worry about whether we’ll be able to pay the bills, buy a house and live a decent life while following the path of our dreams. These somehow, also become our dreams. However, this train of thought comes to an end when we realize that the uncertainty of the future is vast, but so is the sky that we lay underneath. So we end up counting stars instead: to help us fall asleep and strive towards the things we want to be when we wake up the following day.
“Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold...”
When we are in our early twenties, we often end up at a stop in our lives where we are grown-ups on paper, yet somehow we are unknown to all the hardships and struggles that stand in front of us. At this point, seeing a well-lit cemented pathway, we usually tend to follow the footsteps of many who came before us to this very fork of life called adulthood. We stand there, in front of the divergence of life, trying to muster up the courage we need to move forth.
“I feel something so right
Doing the wrong thing
And I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing…“
The line between right and wrong has been ridiculously drawn by society. What may feel right in your heart may seem mockworthy in the eyes of others. Hence we are often more scared of taking the road not taken, fearing what follows, if we fall. Often under this unduly pressure, we walk in the direction like everyone else, even if it feels wrong.
“Everything that kills me makes me feel alive…“
It seems to reflect the fact that when we decide to follow our heart, we often have to go against the natural current of the river where taking even a single step feels maddening; it feels impossible. Somehow, we burn ourselves down in the process to rise from the ashes on the ground. We fall, we rise, and even though there are struggles on our way, the mere fact that we follow our heart despite what society says or thinks makes us feel more alive than we’ve ever felt before.
The song Counting Stars resonate with the feeling of freedom that we youngsters are often trying to seek. It’s a song that beholds liberation for those of us seeking escape from the clutches of the societal hierarchy, trying to follow our hearts to choose the road less taken. Cause no one said it would be easy to follow the pulls in the strings of our own hearts, but there is an end to this beginning, and the threads of the plot of our lives lie in our very own hands. It’s up to us to decide the genre of this reel of ours called life.
Written by Namrata Gupta for MTTN
Edited by Asma Abidin for MTTN
Featured Artwork by Sava G