Editor’s Note: Song lyrics denoted in bold italics.
I’m a true child of the ’80s! I was a wee kid during its heyday, so I can only imagine what it was like to be an adult during this time. Was it as splendid as John Hughes and Huey Lewis make it out to be? Did people spontaneously just start dancing in the middle of the street a la the Thriller video? I’m not sure, but I do know one thing for sure: The music was — and still is! — gosh darn inspiring. And one song in particular always makes me feel like I can win a gold medal in the Olympics…
John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)”
From St. Elmo’s Fire: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Nevermind the fact that this song served as the theme song in the Brat Pack movie of the same name (Andrew McCarthy, anyone??), but it’s a song that screams of triumph, of champions, of growing up and taking on the world. That last point is something that I think people are all too quick to dismiss when talking about any Brat Pack movie. They criticize it for being too frivolous and not nearly deep enough. What? Are you kidding me? These movies are GOLD, and anyone who can’t appreciate this must not be a true movie aficionado. I dare say that the inherent value in all the Brat Pack movies is summed up in this one song!
Growin’ up, you don’t see the writing on the wall
Passin’ by, movin’ straight ahead, you knew it all
But maybe sometime if you feel the pain
You’ll find you’re all alone, everything has changed
Who doesn’t think they have it all figured out when they’re young and innocent? The world is your oyster and you have this sense that nothing bad will ever happen to you. After all, how could it? You’re invincible. It’s funny because even though I was going through all these scary and uncertain medical things, I felt the exact same way growing up. You’re not the least bit afraid to take chances or take risks. You live for wild and crazy adventures, having little — if any — regard for the consequences of your actions.
Play the game, you know you can’t quit until it’s won
Soldier on, only you can do what must be done
You know in some way you’re a lot like me
You’re just a prisoner and you’re tryin’ to break free
When I grew up, though, everything seemed to changed. It was one of those unexpected and shocking changes that sneaks up on you and knocks you over. Life wasn’t coming so easily anymore, it seemed. Everything, every choice, every decision — it was now so complicated. I’d finally realized what everyone adult meant when they said nothing is ever black and white. Honestly, it was enough to keep you down if you weren’t careful.
I can see the new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher
Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels
Take me where my future’s lyin’, St. Elmo’s fire
I often wish that the journey to find that middle ground could be on a nice pretty path lined with birds and flowers. But, sadly, it’s not. It’s an ever-evolving path made up of twists and turns — so many that you sometimes feel like you might faint from the dizziness. Until one day, you come upon that glorious middle ground and find your adult sense of confidence. True, it might not be the same type of carefree confidence you had as a teen, but it’s a new kind of belief in yourself, nonetheless. A more mature confidence, if you will.
You now know that you probably won’t ever have everything all figured out and that’s OK. It’s no longer something to be fear or avoided at all costs. It’s, well, at the risk of not sounding completely cheesy, a new fire that burns deep in your soul. You’ve been waiting for this day, and now this day has finally arrived. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an Olympic event to train for… xoxo