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Shine Your Light


What is your favorite time to listen to music? Mine used to be while driving, followed closely by during a workout. For the last few months, though, I've been able to rock out while swimming, something that I was never able to do before, and I have to say, this new combination is nothing short of ethereal. One of the best parts about it stems from the fact that I am using an iPod Shuffle, so I never know what's coming up next. Although, clearly, the odds are in Dave's favor.

Today, I was lucky enough to hear "Drunken Soldier," at exactly the right time during my swim. I was doing a double stroke, at least that's what I call it, when you swim one stroke toward the deep end, and a different stroke toward the shallow end. Because of the frequent change of timing in "Drunken Soldier," the synchronicity was just perfect between my movements and the song's cadence. I think it was this connection that opened the door for some under-water thinking.

Although I've enjoyed this track from the first time that I heard it, today it hit me in a slightly different way. I almost felt like Dave's words could be his own answer to his younger self from "Dancing Nancies," 18 years later. Instead of asking who else he could have been, Dave is now firmly stepping in his own two feet, and urging us to do the same. I love the idea of keeping our heads up and being kind, no matter. And who couldn't benefit from being themselves, instead of wasting time trying to be someone they are not?

I just wonder, though, how these lyrics sound to someone who wasn't a fan back when Dave was doing more searching to find out who he was. How would it be to jump on the wagon today, without having meandered the winding path with DMB? I guess I will never know, since I've been a fan since the early days. As I saw on a bumper sticker the other day, "I may be old, but at least I've seen all the good bands live."

And I think Dave is really on to something when he asks us to be who we are. I love the way he does it because he's not saying to just sit around and be awful. He does advocate for filling up our heads and hearts and taking our shots. It's just that he doesn't think we should waste time being anything other than ourselves. I take this to mean what I have finally realized; that self-acceptance goes a very long way. I used to think that to accept myself as I was, meant defeat of some sort. But now I realize that it's just the opposite. Only through truly accepting ourselves, as we are, can we even begin to think about what we might like to change. If it sounds paradoxical, it's because it is.

There is no better time than now to love who you are. If you wait until you get that job, or lose 10 lbs, or finish that degree, you just might miss the best of what's around.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.