It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely; she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playing low, and
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
‘Til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove
And I remember what she said to me
How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh-so-tight
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then
Against the wind
We were runnin’ against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin’ against the wind
The years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home, and I
Guess I lost my way
There were oh-so-many roads
I was living to run and running to live
Never worried about paying or even how much I owed
Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time
Breaking all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searching
Searching for shelter again and again
Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind
Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind
I love everything about this Bob Seger song — the lyrics, the instrumentation, the grit and soul in his voice, the way he (as he often does in his other songs) manages to paint a sweeping story with true shape and color and mouthfeel in the sparsest of details, the poignant note of enlightened resignation he hits. It’s made its way onto my running playlist in the past few weeks, and it always leaves me contemplative.
The song speaks principally to me about moving through life with self-possession and making peace with the myriad forms of resistance we encounter while doing so. Especially in moments of major transition and enterprise in my life, I have occasionally felt as though constrained by invisible forces pushing me toward inertia. “Stay in your place!” those forces shout. “Do not do that thing!” Do not move states, do not take that new job, do not start that new business, do not have that second child. Sometimes these exhortations take the shape of “deadlines and commitments,” but other times they emerge in more emotionally tortuous ways, like the not intentionally unkind but still-wounding dismissal of my pursuits in various ways by friends and loved ones. With age, I have learned not to carry grudges or grievances along these lines and to trust that most people are simply preoccupied with their own circuits and — to borrow from Seger — the winds that assail them.
The key, I think Seger indicates, is to accept this resistance as a condition of living with integrity, and to cultivate the skill of discernment — learning “what to leave in, what to leave out,” when to lean into the wind and when to take shelter.
Interestingly, Seger had this to say about the lyrics:
“Janey says to me all the time, ‘You allow more people to walk on you than anybody I’ve ever known.’ And I always say it’s human nature that people are gonna love you sometimes and they’re gonna use you sometimes. Knowing the difference between when people are using you and when people truly care about you, that’s what “Against the Wind” is all about. The people in that song have weathered the storm, and it’s made them much better that they’ve been able to do it and maintain whatever relationship. To get through is a real victory.”
What do you think? Are you running against the wind right now?
+Sister Jane has such fun, playful little dresses out right now — love this!
+This Olympia Le Tan clutch is tugging at my heartstrings. LOVE.
+This blouse is EVERYTHING.
+OK, this baby blanket (especially in the dog print) is beyond adorable.
+Mini pumpkins for the toddler Thanksgiving table.
+Also love this square-neck dress with brown suede boots/heels/flats.
+These little plush lovies are actually night-lights! So darling.
+Select items at SEA are on sale for up to 50% off. I’m drooling over this dress.
+Fun, easy, $60 winter floral dress. Would work with bump!
+Chic, personalizable iPhone charging block. (I never thought I’d string those descriptors together.)