David Bowie, Under Pressure, and the Changing Soundtrack of My Life

I heard yesterday that David Bowie died of cancer.  I know he was a great artist and musician, though, truth be told, I really only know one song well—Under Pressure (by Bowie + Queen).  I know it well because it was a theme song of my later 20s, when I was working long hours as an attorney in Washington, D.C.  (Side note—Am I the only one who has theme songs running through her head at any given time?  I mentioned this to a friend years ago and she seemed amused and surprised by that notion.  But I do.).  Work was a series of fire drills, overnight research assignments, and short order filings.  As I did these projects, Under Pressure would play in my head as the soundtrack.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Pressure.  Pushing down on me. Pressing down on me, no man ask for.

Now that I’m no longer working (outside the house), that song is buried in the crevices of my mind.  But every once in a while, it resurfaces when I’m feeling particularly stressed.  Like, for example, a few weeks ago, when I was scraping stool samples out of diapers on the kitchen floor while all three babies sat in the car screaming.  And suddenly there was the beat in my head again.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Pressure! Pushing down on you!....  In that moment, I was reminded of my former work colleagues, and how our paths have diverged since I left D.C. in 2008; I was scraping poop out of diapers on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor, and they were doing Very Important Things like serving as White House Legal Counsel, serving as judges, or working as major partners in the corner offices.  And then there was me.  Scraping diapers on my hands and knees in the middle of the kitchen floor.  The hilarity and ridiculousness of it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wished someone were with me so we could both laugh at myself, and possibly cry a little bit too, but no one was, so I texted my best friends and told them that Life Has Come to This.   

And while the days at home can be long (sometimes unsufferably long, yes), the soundtracks in my head are now much more upbeat.  They’re cheery and bright theme songs.  I hear The Good Life by One Republic.  We all got our stories but please tell me what there is to complain about… Oh this has gotta be the good life This has gotta be the good life This could really be a good life, good life.  Because, it is. I hear You are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne and think about my daughters.  I hear Whatta Man by Salt N Peppa every time Seth does something really helpful (check out his birthday video set to that song on our Facebook Page, Roussel Six Pack!).

No, the days are not all perfect.  Sometimes I yell too much.  Sometimes I say the wrong things.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve got. Nothing. Left. To. Give.  Even still, it's a good life.  It’s a fulfilling life.  I end every day totally used up and worn out, and sometimes I end with yelling at my kids to GET IN BED, but damn, it’s a good life.  With a happy soundtrack to match. 

I just need to get the gym more so that I can hear my gym theme song—and one I love so, so much—Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.  I’m starting with the man in the mirror…. Because if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.

Yes I’m a lil crazy.  And yes, I’m owning it.  

RIP David Bowie.