(Descendez pour la traduction française.)
Sometimes we can come across a song at just the right moment in life. The lyrics speak to us and help us to move forward when we’re hesitating. One of those songs in my life was “I’ve Loved These Days” by Billy Joel which I came across in 1984.
1984 was an important year for the Mrs. and for me. I was living in the US, she was living in France and we were deciding what our next step would be. I was working in the purchasing department of a newspaper in Washington, D.C. and was enjoying my life there. At the same time the Mrs. was working in a company in France and had moved up to mid-level management. So she wanted to keep working there. But I was feeling that it would be good for her to get out of France and experience something new.
Then one day she told me that if it was really important to me she would quit her job and come to the US.
That gave me a lot to think about. She really did love me if she was ready to give up everything and come here. But was that really the best thing? I was enjoying my life in Washington but I felt like I was in a rut and not progressing in my life. Was it better for her to leave France to experience something new or would it be better for me to leave the US to experience something new?
To make a long story short, I decided to move to France for about five years, to know her country, her culture, her language and then we could come back to the US.
One of the things I did to prepare my trip was to buy some cassette tapes. I wanted to have some good music to listen to when I got there. I had been a Billy Joel fan for a number of years already and I wanted one of his cassettes. I found a cassette from 1981, ‘Songs in the Attic’, that was live versions of some of his earliest songs before he made it big and I thought that would be nice.
When I got it and listened to it I liked it a lot. But one song, “I’ve Loved These Days” really hit me. The music is almost sad or melancholic and the lyrics describe someone who has a very good life, too good even, he talks about cocaine, champagne, silk sheets, etc., but feels he needs to make a change in his life. He enjoyed the life he led but it’s time to move forward toward something better.
While I didn’t have the same lifestyle he sang about the lyrics captured what I was feeling about my life. It was comfortable but it was a trap, like quicksand. And if I wasn’t careful I’d get sucked in and I wouldn’t like who I had become or how I was living but I wouldn’t have the strength to break free and make a new beginning.
Making that decision to move to France was a big step out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. I was feeling nervous. But I would listen to this song and feel, “I’ve made the right decision.”
“I’ve Loved These Days”
And spend our nights so bon vivant
We dress our days in silken robes
The money comes
The money goes
We know it’s all a passing phaseWe light our lamps for atmosphere
And hang our hopes on chandeliers
We’re going wrong, we’re gaining weight
We’re sleeping long and far too late
And so it’s time to change our ways
But I’ve loved these daysNow as we indulge in things refined
We hide our hearts from harder times
A string of pearls, a foreign car
Oh we can only go so far
On caviar and cabernetWe drown our doubts in dry champagne
And soothe our souls with fine cocaine
I don’t know why I even care
We’ll get so high and get nowhere
We’ll have to change our jaded ways
But I’ve loved these daysSo before we end and then begin
We’ll drink a toast to how it’s been
A few more hours to be complete
A few more nights on satin sheets
A few more times that I can say
I’ve loved these days
“I’ve Loved These Days” was orginally released in this albmu from 1976.