John Legend has been one of, if not my favorite artist of my adult life. From the start of my freshman year, he has featured dozens of songs that capture the essence of love, passion and happiness. There has been perhaps no one better in this generation, especially given the tendency for most other artists to focus on the more banal needs of life. At the end of last year, or the beginning of this, I can’t remember; John Legend released Love Me Now. At first, the song seemed to rub me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, its composition is beautiful, but something in the message seemed off to me. Recently, I’ve had the occasion to listen to the song under my new perspective of Me.Now. The title of the song and the mantra of the Me.Now.Movement are directly compatible to one another; and the message is resounding in an alternative fashion. That’s the beauty of music. The notes and lyrics don’t change, but in time, as our perspective changes, the message evolves within our own minds.
Here’s what I didn’t like about it when I first heard it:
I was raised Catholic and retain that identity to this day. Being Catholic, and married myself, the idea that he wasn’t sure if his wife (I’m assuming he wrote this song about Chrissy Teigan, especially since she features in the video) wasn’t assuredly going to be in his life forever. He talks about not knowing who is going to kiss her when he’s gone. Why would you question that? Do what you have to do to stay with your wife! It’s clear that you love your wife at the moment, so why would you envision the moment when she might be gone? He then goes on to explain that he doesn’t want to think about it, and that he just wishes for love right now. Again, the immediate gratification that pervades our culture from all angles infringed upon my perspective. Why would he be solely focused on right now? You have to plan your life for the long-term, and to do that, the best course of action is conservative growth, or so I thought.
Love isn’t money. We shouldn’t approach it the same way. He’s not saying he’s going to leave her or that she’s going to leave him. He’s saying he doesn’t want to think about it.
Here’s how the message changed for me under the context of the Me.Now.Movement:
If the listener focuses on the “I don’t want to think about it. I just want to love you now,” portion of the chorus; if we admit we don’t know whats in the stars, but that we know what’s in our hearts, we can begin to separate our strategy of long-term financial growth from the urgency and immediacy with which we must live our lives. John Legend isn’t saying his wife is going to leave him. He’s not implying I should be thinking about my wife leaving me. He’s urging me, reminding himself, that what’s important is abandoning the future plan that we might live for Right Now. What a powerful idea! We mustn’t think about how the years will go down. It will be alright. And has he follows, let’s make the most of every moment, tonight!
If we’re lucky, we’ll find someone who mirrors our hearts. If we’re attentive to that symmetry, we’ll maintain that love. The relationship is built on blocks, day by day. Love is conducted like electricity. It’s there when we energize ourselves in the moment. When we cut that circuit, it still has the capacity to conduct energy, but we won’t be able to see it or feel it. John Legend has the right side of the coin showing here. I’m hoping I can bare that in mind more frequently.
John Legend, and his work, has long been a source of relaxation, contemplation and happiness for me. I’m glad I revisited this particular song with the idea of happiness and presence in the now on my heart. This most recent revelation is just another in a long string of recent thoughts that help me magnify my focus and gain new appreciation for What Happiness Means to Me.
Yours in the Pursuit of Happiness,