The Meaning of Success

I’ve been watching Glee with Gal Smiley on a more-or-less nightly basis – we’re up to the end of Season 3 now. In general it’s going well – we sometimes roll our eyes at the Very Important Issue Of The Week storylines, but in general the music is fun and the one-liners are funny and the characters are endearing.

It’s rare that they perform a song on the show that I don’t know, but last night we watched an episode featuring a song that was completely new to me. What’s more, I immediately fell totally in love with it, and said to myself, I must find out who sings this song and then buy it, because it is TOTES CHARMING. Here’s the Glee version:

And here’s the original, which, it turns out, is by TAYLOR FREAKIN’ SWIFT.

Clearly this means that Tay-tay and I are bosom friends and I will be joining her squad any moment now. As much as I love Taylor, I have to admit I have zero knowledge of her music prior to 1989, so yes, I’d never heard this song before, but obviously my love for her runs deep. Also, apparently I am also A Little Bit Country. Who knew?

After this major, life-changing revelation I went on Wikipedia to learn about Taylor’s music and ended up reading her bio there, and I have to say, I am impressed. She is one of these people who, from a young age, has tremendous drive and focus and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I love her, but I think we can all agree that vocally she’s no Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey or someone who, having heard sing at age 10, you would immediately say, “That girl has some chops.” But she decided young that she wanted to be a music star, and then she worked tirelessly on that and nothing else until it happened. She entered the same singing competition four times until she won, she wrote dozens and dozens of songs until she got good at it, she asked her parents (who were in the banking industry, and totally not musicians) to move to Nashville, she made her own contacts and sent around her own demos, she tirelessly self-promoted. It amazes me.

I’m not sure I would want a kid like that, but in general I find that kind of dedication to a goal to be really inspiring. As I get older it’s easy to be jaded when people tell kids that they can be anything they want to be – the world is a hard place, getting ahead is so tough, and there’s a base level of talent that seems to be a requirement. But stories like this really make me wonder if you really CAN be anything you want to be, if you work hard enough and never lose sight of what you want. Maybe you have to have that kind of drive inborn in you – but maybe, just maybe, it can be learned.

I’m going to try to learn it.

One thought on “The Meaning of Success

  1. This is interesting to me as I have a kid who has an internal drive to play competitive hockey in ways that is almost foreign to me. But he does it and all that is associated with it in ways that is remarkable for a kid his age (and younger when he started). I look at this child and I think “he really wants this and he’s doing what he can to get there”…given there are so many kids who don’t know what they want to do with their life (and there is really nothing wrong with that, I too didn’t know until I was much older), it makes an impact on me, an adult and parent. Those kids who have no idea what they like, many end up wiling away their days doing who knows what that doesn’t help progress them, ignite them into new interests, help narrow down what is, and isn’t, important in their life…

    I know nothing about Taylor Swift but things you said, like “she wrote dozens of songs till she was good at it” just goes to show…the determination in some people is inspiring. I love to see that mainly because I’m the opposite (easily crippled by fear, the unknown, and a million other excuses). Taylor went after her passion. I have a kid who is doing the same. It’s eye-opening.

    Ultimately it’s nice to see that we moms can learn things from sharing in interests with our kids, and live to blog about it. 🙂

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