Life Songs: Once

On my iPod, I have a playlist named “Life songs”, which are songs from important moments of my life, or songs with lyrics that really struck me during an important period of my life.

One of the songs on this playlist is called Once by Shane Filan (some of you may know him as the former lead vocalist of the Irish boyband Westlife), and it’s very close to my heart because this song came into my life during one of the most stressful periods of my life: 2014, my last term in college.

But first, I would like to share how I came across this song and what I was going through during that time: I have always been a huge fan of Westlife, and I followed each member’s career closely even after they disbanded (I still do up to this day!). When Shane launched a solo career and flew to the Philippines to promote his EP, he sang several Westlife hits along with his new songs as a solo artist and I came to see him perform. While I loved all the songs he sang, my world just stopped when he started singing Once. The song really spoke to me because it was a dose of positivity that I sorely needed at a very difficult time; I was trying to finish my thesis, pass a class with a bitchy professor who loves bullying students (and I, unfortunately, was one of the favorite targets lol), and look for jobs that I can get into after graduation, among others. Most of my attempts to get by during that period were unsuccessful and I was just so, so worried about everything that I didn’t even have time for myself and my family and even got health problems because of overworking.

With all those things in my head even during the show, I was really caught by surprise when Shane sang the first few lines:

Worry ’bout work, worry ’bout money
Worry if the punchline’s funny
We worry if the sky’s gonna fall

Worry ’bout winning, worry ’bout losing
Worry ’bout the roads we’re choosing
Or worry if that someone’s gonna call

We spend so much precious time tryin’ to figure out
What this crazy maze of a beautiful world is all about

It was brilliant. And when he sang the chorus, I knew immediately that this song was for me and for all the things that I was feeling at that moment.

So kick on back, fill your cup
Put on your favorite song, turn it up
Find a little peace of mind in the sunshine

Don’t waste your days looking at the clock
Say “I love you” to the ones you’ve got
Don’t leave a lifetime of rights on the wrong side

‘Coz you only live once, once, once

It’s a very chill, very simple song. But I felt like it was a message that I needed to hear. I was thinking of so many things during that year that I didn’t even think of myself and the people around me. I was so worried that if I stopped working, everything would go downhill for me. Sure, being hardworking is great but everyone has limitations. I didn’t realize that working too hard, hanging out with people who liked to pressure me, and overthinking things were actually making things worse for me. So instead of letting all this negativity consume me, why not chill out, take a break, and give myself time to think and surround myself with positive people? After all, everything that I am going through, no matter how tough, will pass. But the things that matter most will always be there. It’s a message that’s on my mind until this day; while I like working hard and challenging myself, my achievements should not come at the expense of my personal time, relationships, and health. Sometimes everyone needs a break and it’s not a bad thing to sit down, let it all out, and bond with the people you love.

20 Comments

  1. I have some songs about the almost relationships too and I avoided listening to those to avoid my heartache.

    It’s interesting to have songs linked to your life and have a playlist for life songs. Maybe I should start adding songs to that playlist too.

  2. Thank you for this!

    I listened to this song before but I think I really should listen to this again as I am really struggling with my last year in college. And just like you, I hope listening to music like this will help me.

  3. I usually listen to specific albums to get me through like: MCR’s The Black Parade Album. The last track of Famous Last Words is my theme song to keep going despite being forgiven and living with no regrets.

    It’s amazing how songs can influence and push us to greater heights, huh?

    1. It’s always good that you have some songs to listen to whenever you feel down, and it helps if the songs’ lyrics really speak to you. Some people don’t think music can do much but it really does make a difference 🙂

  4. I don’t really have a life song….I have like a dozen (maybe more), who all helped me get past some sh*tty times in my life – like Nightmare Before Christmas’s “This is Halloween”, when I sang it I was able to forget my 7th-grade bi*chy classmates.

    These days I use the term “comfort” songs for what I listen to whenever I’m down, as they never fail at comforting me in those moments….though they’re not exactly the objectively most soothing songs out there. :p
    To make you understand, I’m talking about songs from Within Temptation, Linkin’ Park and Nightwish, which are hard rock and gothic metal bands…not exactly comforting for everyone, but they always cheer me up so I love them. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean! A lot of my friends listen to songs from these bands too when they’re down. I’m not really into hard rock or metal music but some songs have good lyrics and great energy, so sometimes I find myself listening until the end! 😀

  5. I’m probably boring when it comes to playlists LOL. I still love my old school music, even the ones older than me. 😀 I don’t really categorize my playlists by theme, but more so by chronological date (example – ’60s songs, ’70s songs, ’80s songs, etc.) or by artist.

    The way I listen to songs all depends on my mood. For example, if I’m working on a site and I feel rather frustrated, I blast out old school hip-hop, feeling that I want to beat someone up. Or for example, if I were writing a (fan)fic and it was a romance scene, I’d just gather romantic songs that fit the scene. I don’t know if that made any sense LOL.

    Thank you for sharing. I don’t listen to much Westlife when they were still active because I was completely on study mode in college. Plus, in my area, Westlife isn’t as popular as all the other ’90s boy bands back then and I rarely hear them on the radio.

    1. I love oldies songs too! My parents used to play lots of old records at home so I’m actually more familiar with 60s and 70s songs than songs from my generation. And now that I’m living away from them, I still listen to retro radio stations. 😀

      Haha you made sense there! I do that sometimes as well. I say “sometimes” because most of the time my iPod is just on shuffle 😛

  6. It is so fantastic that you were able to hear that song, at that moment in your life. It was really the perfect message and I am so glad that it was able to help you and see things in a slightly different perspective! Maybe it will even be there for someone who needs it now. 🙂

    1. I know, right? It was like the universe conspired to let me hear that song during that specific moment, and you’re right, it did help me a lot! 🙂 That’s why I shared this song too, so that people who need to hear the message would have a dose of positivity 😀

  7. I really like that playlist idea – I might start doing it! It’d be awesome to go back and have the good memories come to you!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I used to love Westlife! I didnt know they did their own solo things so it was nice to find that out haha.

    What an amazing message! Im glad it lifted you <3

    1. Glad you liked the idea Pauline! 🙂

      Cool, I didn’t know you were a fan of Westlife as well! I really love those lads <3 Well, now at least you know about their solo careers lol!

  8. Hi Claudine! Apparently there is this song that I had listening or not should be always in my playlist. That song is “HIKARI” by Utada Hikaru. I don’t know. I love it so much though 😀

    Oh, bytheway~ I’ve got my own domain 😀 Heehee~

  9. I generally listen to classical and instrumentals because music with words doesn’t always appeal to me. I have difficulties making out the lyrics unless they are in front of me due to my hearing issues, so when I listen to lyrical songs, I usually tune the words out. For me it’s just easier to listen to the melody and beats of a song XD;;

    I think it’s good when you do find songs that do speak to you, though. I am trying to think of a song that helps me get through life, but my taste is all over the place, so that’s something I’d have to stop and really think about. ^^;;;

    1. Haha! It’s fine, it will come to you eventually. I don’t have a specific genre as well, and I like it that way actually. I don’t judge whether I like a song based on its genre but on its lyrics 😀

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