So, you find yourself sitting in the debris of some broken dreams. The dream house has fallen down around you. The shock is wearing off, and you’re becoming conscious of the dust on your clothing. You realize that you’re physically intact, and you find your love, also in one piece.
For a while, the two of you quietly sit together, wearing matching shocked expressions.
Maybe, like Tom Petty wrote, you’ve been “a rebel without a clue,” and reality has start to set in. The A&R man has said “I don’t hear a single,” and you begin to wonder where you go from here. Maybe your dreams were in some other form. Either way, it’s hard to tell, because they are in fragments on the concrete and all mixed up with dirt and grease.
That’s where “That’s Just The Way It Is, Babe,” by John Vincent III, comes in.
You’d think, from the title of the song, that maybe it’s about giving up, giving in to fate, and slinking away into some sub-optimal existence, forever casting your thoughts back to what might have been. You could’ve been a contender.
Turns out, though, that the title is just an opening line for a different approach, a new way of looking at things.
The fact is that it’s really rare for reality and dreams to line up. The reason why we love “dream come true” stories is that they are dramatic, and they are dramatic precisely because they are unusual. We are encouraged by the stories of tremendous success against all odds. We gain hope from them. If they happened all the time, they wouldn’t be news – which, if you think about it, perhaps makes them less of an optimal template for “this should be your life.”
Somewhere between “follow your dream, wherever it leads,” and “nose to the grindstone, put your head down and just keep on keeping on,” maybe there’s a middle ground. John Vincent III suggests a new way forward – simplifying.
The lyrics speak for themselves from this point.
Hey hey, let’s leave this whole thing behind
Buy ourselves some land, baby, and act like we own it
Somewhere down south where the skies feel like home
Outside of town the parcels are big and wild
So we could go walking anytime
Nobody else in sight
That’s just the way it is babe
For over a century, societies around the world have seen a shift from small town living to moving to the big cities. Small towns have emptied out, and some have disappeared entirely. A few small towns carry on, roads crumbling in front of houses nobody lives in anymore.
Lately, though, our communications revolution has changed the way we live and work. If you work on a computer, it’s not the same as being in a factory and needing to be close to it. Like John Vincent III, many of us are finding that big city life is complicated and expensive, and that it doesn’t live up to the billing.
Like John Vincent III, many of us are deciding, when we have the opportunity, to simplify by moving out, and rediscovering small town or country life. It might feel like we’re taking it on the chin, but like Brad Paisley sings, “Although we might feel lost, it might be where we find ourselves.”