I wished I was smarter
I wished I was stronger
I wished I loved Jesus
The way my wife does
I wish it had been easier
Instead of any longer
I wished I could have stood where you would have been proud
But that won't happen now
That won't happen now
There's a whole lot of singing that's never gonna be heard
Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow
Think I broke the wings off that little song bird
She's never gonna fly to the top of the world right now
Top of the world
--Patty Griffin, Top of the worldTop of the world is one of my favorite Dixie Chicks song. It was written by Patty Griffin who is also one of my favorite artists. Top of the world is one of those songs that kind of tears at my gut and makes me tear up when I try singing along.
I stumbled onto the lyrics and chords for Top of the world last week and began playing it on my guitar. Again, I could barely get through it without choking up. For some reason it stirs up strong emotions in me.
Maybe it's because it is obviously a song of great regret. And you can't get to middle age without your fair share of regret.
Though I guess I would technically only be classified as middle aged if I was going to live to 120. But the Oxford English Dictionary defines middle aged as being between 45 and 65. I guess I'm more three-quarter aged. So I have a quarter more regret than the rest of the middle-aged people.
That being said, I try to confine my regrets to stuff about myself. And most of it is out of my control.
Ironically, singing Top of the world triggers several regrets in me. One, I regret that I can't sing well. I had a decent singing voice until my voice changed around aged 12. Then I lost the ability to hit high notes. So I don't sing much around others. My family tends to ignore it when I sit on my bedroom floor with my guitar and sing. The only one who really seems to enjoy me singing and playing my guitar is one of our cats. He likes to sit under the chair near where I'm playing and listen.
Or it may just be warm there.
I also regret not being a better guitar player. I am self-taught and can strum my way through many songs, (given simple enough chords). But I am not what you would consider a great guitar player. Again, the cat sits and listens to me, but no one else in the house ever seems to notice I'm playing. I also regret not being able to play much by ear. I need music in front of me and I'm terrible at memorizing songs.
I suppose those are petty regrets. At least I have a voice and a guitar (several actually). And playing the guitar and singing are soothing to me (and apparently the cat).
And by playing my guitar and singing Top of the world, it helps me be part of that emotional song. It gives me a glimpse of why you can't wait until it is too late to make amends. And it helps me realize what impact we have on the world around us. By the world around us, I am referring to the immediate world around us, and particularly the people around us.
The goal should be to make your impacts on the world and people around you as positive as possible. Because even if you can't make it to the top of the world, you shouldn't begrudge other people getting there.