I am a diehard Bruce Springsteen fan. Anyone who knows me well knows this.

They also know that this is one of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite songs. Rosalita in concert – there’s nothing like it. It’s made fans from non-fans and diehards from first-timers. I remember when I first heard Rosalita live. The first few notes begin and you start screaming, without knowing you’re screaming. You dance and sing-along nonstop till the last chords die out. And then the crowd yells “BRUCE” (only it sounds like “BOO” – which confuses those who aren’t in the know).

Just like other diehard fans, Bruce’s lyrics and sounds have seen me through my toughest times. First stepping away from the Church – that was all about Thunder Road and “rolling down the windows and letting the wind blow back my hair, with the night busting open and these two lanes taking me anywhere.” Bruce’s words of freedom and redemption gave me the courage to break free, and the determination to stay free. Finding the strength to break an engagement that would have led to a disastrous marriage – that was the Tunnel of Love tour. I’d walk home from work every evening through Central Park, with Bruce on my Walkman, hearing him remind me that I deserved, and could have, better.

But to me, “someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny” is the best of best lines because it is so true. And so necessary for me to remember. As I’ve admitted, I can take anything, and everything, seriously. Very seriously. Too seriously. And when I can possibly pause, in the midst of anything or everything, I can possibly remember that I’m taking things too seriously.

Almost nothing deserves the intensity and gravitas that I offer it, and nearly everything can benefit from a lighter look, a simpler approach, and an easier stance. But I need help remembering to see things in this way. Because if you suggested to me, in the midst of my seriousness, that I needed to calm down or take a different viewpoint, I would fight back. Especially if you happened to maybe live with me, or were related to me. Then I would know that I was right in my intensity, and you were therefore wrong. But when Bruce reminds me that I will most likely look back on this and find it funny – when I can hear Rosalita in my mind and feel myself singing the saxophone solo to myself – then I lighten and loosen up.

“Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.” That was my friend’s high school yearbook quote (and my older child’s, I believe – my husband and I have created another generation of diehard fans). That’s a quote I love to call to mind and to remember. Even my darkest of times – I will most likely look back at them differently. And even my darkest of times – I’d benefit from taking a laughing, gentler look at them now.

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