Watching an Idina Menzel concert on PBS last week, I was reduced to a blubbering mess during her performance of “No Day But Today” from Rent. People who know me well would probably be surprised to learn that I’ve never seen the musical or the movie. I’m familiar with some of the songs and the performers, but I’ve never been able to sit down and watch or listen to it. Some subjects just hit too close to home for me. I know that if I see it, I will sob uncontrollably and end up with a migraine.
Life and mortality have been on my mind a lot lately. Chalk it up to having attended several funerals this year. It’s more than that though. Now that I’m finally comfortable in my own skin and living as true to myself as I can, I’m realizing just how much time I’ve lost over the years. Time wasted living for others. Time wasted trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Time wasted being afraid to take chances. Time wasted being afraid to love because it makes me vulnerable.
We really don’t know how long we have on this earth. The stress of everyday life can make it difficult to appreciate what and who we have around us. We get so busy that we sometimes forget that life isn’t about how much you make or what you do but about the relationships that make life truly precious. I’m certainly guilty of falling into this trap, but I’m making an effort to change. There were times when I was so tired and stressed and ashamed of what my life had become that I ran from all the important relationships in my life. I maintained minimal contact with family and my few friends. If I stop to think about all the lost moments during that time, I get overwhelmed.
It has taken a lot of time and reflection to see that my fear made me run. Fear that I’d be seen as a failure. Fear that I had disappointed everyone. Fear that I’d be forgiven when I didn’t feel like I deserved it. Fear of not being understood. Fear of loving and being loved because I didn’t want to get hurt anymore. When you try to live and love with that much fear in your heart and soul, it can be crippling. You start to think that you can’t love, that loving someone will kill you. You think love is your kryptonite. Love isn’t the problem; fear is.
This song is about all of that. Life. Love. Fear. Regrets. It implores us to push aside all that fear and to love openly and without regret. Live life, don’t just exist.
“There’ only Now
There’s Only Here
Give in To Love
Or live in Fear
No Other Path
No Other Way
No Day But Today”