“Live a life you will remember”
Life offers very strange coincidences. A couple of weeks ago, as I was returning back home from a long day at university, the sound of the chaotic traffic in Rome was getting to me. I couldn’t bear it any longer, so I decided to listen to some music. I needed something that could help me to unwind, and I knew just the thing: an Avicii playlist.
Many of Avicii’s songs have a particular meaning for my life because they have accompanied me in past times, during my days of clubbing, and have passed on a certain feeling of strength and courage. They remind me of many people, the many nights out, when I organised parties with my university companions: back then an Avicii track always used to open and close off our nights. When I had my hands in the air, when I could not hear a word because of the high volume but could feel the beat of my heart with the music.
It seems kind of strange and against any logic of traditional method of prayer when I say that this kind of music helps me to pray because it relaxes me, and gives me the possibility to embrace a living part of me. And this is exactly because it stirs up many great memories and emotions.
According to Ignatian Tradition and the calling of the Jesuit to «Find God in All things», I believe that this principle can apply even to a dance-electronic song such as «Hey Brother». Is not sure that life is a never ending search and journey to know oneself? («An endless road to rediscover»). Is it not true that life is a journey filled with difficult moments when our relationships do not go as planned? Albeit, there remains a desire for hope, best expressed in the question: «Do you still believe in one another?» When someone hurts me, this song gives me the strength to remember that we are just human beings, weak and in need of love and forgiveness. Only with this type of attitude can I truly hear the cry of the brother beside me. This speaks to me about the Gift of Love in giving and dedicating life to others in each single moment, and to do this as best I can with all the persons I meet along my journey of life.
«Wake me up» speaks to me about the difficulties of being a youth and of growing up, the struggle in becoming an adult, the fears and insecurities in light of the various decisions that regard me. The rhythm of this song makes me feel that creative force that is the beauty of being young, the desire to learn notwithstanding the moments of tiredness, to fear the fear yet apply myself in anything that I set my eyes on, to know that I can make mistakes and fail yet go for it just the same.
The song «Broken Arrows» has great lyrics and is complimented by a touching music video. In the video, the father of this girl manages to come in touch with himself after only after he has spent some quality time with his young girl and when he sees her succeed in doing the high jump. It is only thanks to the time they spent together that the father manages to appreciate her, to win his depression, manages to find his focus and finally becomes a champion in his sport. This helps me to remember that I am not invincible and that I am in need of others. When I am overly concerned about myself, this kind of attitude helps me to look beyond my ego and to appreciate the persons that love me and wish me well. It helps me to discover anew the force and the courage and motivates me to do a good deed for someone else. At the end of the day, it helps me go out of the vicious circle which is thinking about myself.
One of my favourite songs is «Waiting for love». The beginning of the song («Where there’s a will, there’s a way, kind of beautiful») transmits a certain positive energy especially when I feel down and tired as a result of the many daily commitments that leave me breathless. The song starts with a toned down voice and a slow beat that slowly rises to a crescendo. Many a times in my daily routine I tend to lose touch with what is essential and I tend to think about what doesn’t go well, my to-do-lists and what I would prefer to be. Listening to music helps me remember the many gifts I have received in life, all the people that give me a ray of hope in simple acts of kindness and love. Both the joyful and the painful experiences I have been through. All these memories fill me up with a strong sense of gratitude. In Avicii’s words: «If there’s love in this life we’re unstoppable»
The last song on my playlist: «The Nights». It passes on an indescribable feeling of strength, a desire to explore the word, to do unforgettable experiences, and to live a life that I will remember. It speaks to me about life and my choices in so far as who I want to be and what what I want to be remembered for. In the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius offers a good guide about how to take a decision. One of his suggestions is to place yourself at the moment of death: at that moment and reflecting about my past life, what decisions would I have wanted to take for a life «filled with happiness and joy?» (EE187) In the intro of the video «The Nights» we can hear the voice of Avicii that recalls the time when he was 16 years and his father told him that he could be whatever he wanted to be as long as he worked hard. From that moment on, Avicii decided that he wanted to be remembered about the life he lived rather than the money he earned. And it is exactly this that helps me centre once again my decisions about what is fundamental and what really matters, that is to find the equilibrium in moments of boredom.
Two days later, 28 April 2018, Avicii is found dead, what is thought to be a probable suicide. I was shocked and very saddened, more so when I think that he was just a couple of years older than I am. Avicii or Time Bergling, was a great DJ and a fragile man who succumbed to the pressure of the music business. He described himself as sensitive and an introvert, and at the end, he was unable to withstand the immense pressure that comes with being famous. He decided to end his life and stop producing music.
EDM (Electronic Dance Music) like that of Avicii, is usually associated with the desire to enjoy oneself, to live passions without inhibitions, without stopping to ask many questions, and to forget everything and everyone. It is a form of escape from the world and problems.
However I think that we can find another way to interpret the same lyrics, words and rhythm. I believe that there is something beyond the logic of emotional highs as an end in themselves and that finish together with the night. That beat that makes the heart restless and open to the question about joy and the meaning of life.
The nights pass, and so do the emotional highs that come along with them… Then what?
From my end, what remains are the many beautiful relations and friendships that have left a mark, that have helped me to grow and find my true self. What remains for me is the memory of a young DJ that has accompanied my youth with his music and with his death has made me reflect about my life.