Getting Good

Getting Good

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Getting Good
Performed by Lauren Alaina
Written by Emily Weisband
Produced by David Garcia

Once I fall in love, then I’ll be happy
But then you fall in love and there’s still a hole
Once I get some money, it’ll all be easy
But then you get that money, you still feel broke
Once I get a little older, I won’t worry
Then you get older and it don’t feel like it should
I’m thinking once I learn to grow right where I’m planted
Maybe that’s when life starts getting good

Once I get a car that don’t stall in the morning
I can make it anywhere I want, just wait
But I can see it right now, sitting in my driveway
Afraid if I take it out, I’ll chip the paint
Once I get a house that I can hang my hat on
I bet I’ll want to build a bigger one if I could, yeah
I’m thinking, once I learn to grow right where I’m planted
Maybe that’s when life starts getting good
Oh, getting good
Getting good
Life starts getting good
I’m thinking maybe that’s when life starts getting good
Hey, yeah

I’m afraid of both my parents dying
I call my dad, he answers right away
And I didn’t hear a word ’cause I was thinking
About what hasn’t happened yet but will someday

And we hang up the phone before I know it
I’m crying over the conversation my fear took
I’m thinking once I learn to soak up every moment
I’ll realize my life’s already good
Already good
Already good
Life’s already good
I’ll realize my life’s already good
Thank God that my life’s already good

This song was released less than 6 months before COVID 19 invaded our lives and planted so many of us in homes. I remember running to this song at the beginning of the year and noting that it would be a good song to write about even then. At this time its meaning is even more complex.

The song points out the fallacy of future thinking and wagering your happiness on future markers. It’s a natural thing to do. Who hasn’t occasionally or often entertained the “Once I” thoughts in this song only to have similar outcomes? I’ll admit I certainly have. It’s natural, but not all that helpful.

Her conclusion is absolutely true:
Once I learn to grow right where I’m planted
Maybe that’s when life starts getting good

This conclusion is the foundation of therapeutic practices such as gratitude and mindfulness. It’s not a “maybe,” it’s a reality that the most peaceful and satisfied people are those who have learned to be present wherever they are.

Especially during a year of crisis it can be tempting to get trapped in the idea like, “Once this is all over I’ll be okay.” But we know better. We know that the people best enduring this are the people who had coping skills before and will continue them after. If you don’t have your ability to grow where you’re planted, now is a great time to start working on it.

Just this message could have made for a powerful song, but she also brings up her parents towards the end, so I’m drawn back in to discuss more. I think this is the song equivalent of what therapists call a “doorknob confession.” You think you’re done with the session and then just as you’re about to end, another topic comes up.

She admits, “I’m afraid of both my parents dying.” And we start to learn about the deeper origins of the future thinking. In these last verses, I hear the singer and the songwriter, who are both in their mid-twenties, working to resolve coming out of super-young adulthood and into a more mature adulthood where they reckon with the frailties of their parents.

This moment in the song conjures up my own memory of being in my mid-twenties in grad-school and having a professor tell our class that we weren’t adults yet. “What?!” we protested, feeling grown with our internships, side-hustles, and student debt. Our professor clarified that we would actualize as adults when we started to deeply see the frailty of our parents as they age. She added that maybe some of us who had struggling parents already had to experience this early, so some may already relate. Those with major life struggles did.

My professor’s reflection made an impact on my differentiation and ability to accept more frailties of my parents as they emerged both because of aging, and also because I was better able to see them and handle them. If you are a client of mine struggling with adjustment into adulthood, you have probably heard this little story.

The final verse in the song concludes exactly where I might guide her to go. She learns to soak up every moment and find the gratitude for all that she is and all that she has.

Spencer Northey

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