It’s been one heck of a year, and if we’re honest, the troubles of 2020 might carry into 2021. I’ve had to remind myself many times, it’s possible to be upset and grateful at the same time.
The following songs emanate that seeming contradiction, that acknowledgment of both pain and perseverance. They help me trust that the world isn’t over, while also permitting me to feel sadness.
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
I love the humble honesty of this song. We’ve all experienced unexpected seasons of disappointment, where we truly believed something good would work out. This song reminds us of our capacity to embrace change, even when it hurts, and to make something out of it.
More than Words by Extreme
What’s a sappy ‘90s rock ballad doing on this list? It prompts us to not take our relationships (romantic or otherwise) for granted. I find so much peace in knowing that however much goes wrong, the people who truly care about me will still truly care about me.
Coming Home by Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels
The present travel difficulties have many folks longing for home and family like never before. Though this song expresses a deep yearning, it isn’t sad. It’s hopeful and it celebrates the incredible joy of having a home at all. In this big, crazy world, it’s a relief to know you have a place you belong, even if you’re not there yet.
I Like Me Better, Lauv
I love the chill beat and overall uplifting vibe of this song, and it celebrates the power of having the right people in your life. Relationships can be messy, but they can also be transforming. Choose those who bring peace, clarity, and who want you to see your worth.
There’s a Place for Us from West Side Story
This gorgeous duet from the classic Broadway show and film carries more faith and determination than just about any other song I can think of. Though the story ends in a tragedy, it also ends in possibility.
The show ends with the theme from this song, suggesting a future with more understanding. West Side Story, set in the 1950s and produced in the 60s, challenged audiences to have hope in the fight against racial prejudice. Today, it challenges us to believe the same thing.
The Climb by Miley Cyrus
This 2009 hit inspires endurance and courage like none other. Though known for its Disney channel origins and appeal to teenage girls, “The Climb”, has made a name for itself as a rousing rock anthem. It reminds us to keep chasing our dreams despite the unknown.
Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman
Many people seem to believe that the events of this year were not simply unfortunate, but fateful, as if 2020 was irreversibly destined for catastrophe. Whatever you believe about fate or destiny, I hope this song reminds you to always chase after the life you want.
If we’re honest, we don’t have total control of everything. Still, we have the opportunity every day to control our own choices and reactions, which can make all the difference.