“Dreams Go By” by Harry Chapin scares the shit out of me. On the surface, it has a very pleasant and catchy melody with a fun chorus, however, once I actually started to pay attention to the lyrics it became a very deep song that from time to time puts me in quarter life crisis mode.
The song starts out as seemingly harmless love story about a guy and girl falling in love and how they push off their dreams, his of being a ball player and her being a poet to finish school. The couple graduates school and rather than pursuing their dreams, they decide to get married and put away some money for kids. This cycle pretty much continues throughout the entire song while the singer sings of his dreams passing him by because he pushed them off with a hauntingly real chorus.
And so you and I
We watch our years go by
We watch our sweet dreams fly
Far away, but maybe someday
I don’t know when
But we will dream again
And we’ll be happy then
‘Til our time just drifts away
The end of the song fast forwards to a time where the two lovers were now grandparents. They speak of all the things they regret that they never did.
“You say you should have been a ballerina, babe
There are songs I should have sung
But I guess our dreams have come and gone
You’re ‘sposed dream when you are young”
Now that I’ve explained the song I think that we could all agree that this song is terrifying to anyone in their 20’s or 30’s. I can’t count the amount of times I decided not to do something thinking I’d just do it in the future. The couple from the song is such a typical couple that we could all see ourselves becoming and it’s scary. Harry Chapin plays this morbid song of how people just let there dreams die due to procrastination and planning for the future but he puts a catchy tune to it and that’s supposed to be okay? This whole idea of letting your dreams die is horrifying but I wasn’t able to find anything calling out the true horror that is this song. Even YouTube and Reddit had nothing to say on the subject.
This song pushed me to the bigger to realize that life is short but not in the bullshit way college professors and parents say it. When I say life is short I mean that life isn’t as long as we think. We won’t have enough time to push off things we want to do. It’s dangerous to make excuses in order to push off pursuing a goal because life will always be busy. If something is important to you than you owe it to yourself to pursue said goal. There will always be a million reasons to not do something or to push it off for tomorrow. You could keep procrastinating and making excuses but the dreams you keep pushing off are going to become regrets if you wait too long.
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