Humans are intrinsically creatures of habit. We continue to use our favorite mugs that have the ever-growing crack in it for morning coffee. We take the same routes to work, our taco dinner nights, and weekend meet-ups with friends after a seemingly long week. Habit is our safety net. It’s our way of saying to life that we are in control. If there is anything recent times have shown us, it’s that life will laugh at us when present our plans.
Our patterns have been disrupted in recent months. The places that we tend to congregate to as a display of shared sanctuary are either temporarily closed or not safe to go to. Human touch – boy, is that a risky proposition at the moment. Everything that we know is changing – whether we are ready for it or not. We quantify everything by time and there are currently two sides to that conundrum. Days melt into one another and the virus also shows us to value whatever time we have.
Billie Eilish‘s newest single, ‘My Future,’ is the first song that she and her brother/frequent collaborator Finneas made during this time of quarantine. It starts off serine – even with a wistful sadness to it. Much of that energy was contained in her debut album, 2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Electric piano and Eilish’s harmonies permeate throughout the first part as she decides to choose herself. Then, the song breaks into another tempo – in an almost celebratory declaration of Eilish breaking out of a cocoon of renewal.
One of the things we do not value enough is stillness. Being still is scary. There’s both a price and a bravery that comes with it. When you choose to be still, you allow things to pass you by in a world that predicates being connected. There’s also the fear of letting the things you have been running from catch up with you. Doubt. Loneliness. Sad memories. In not having many places to go, those things might be the only certainties you have in an uncertain time. That may be enough to drive you back to bad habits or bad situations.
Choosing to be still is almost like an act of rebellion. Couple that with being still by yourself. It’s like being a unicorn. Alone. That word. We fear it, but it can also be the key to needed healing. Societal pressures will lead you to believe that you have to have to be with someone to be someone.
“I know supposedly I’m lonely now (Lonely now)
Know I’m supposed to be unhappy
Without someone (Someone)
But aren’t I someone? (Aren’t I someone? Yeah)”
Imagine having self-love and not having it tied to anything but your own will? How much better would you feel not having a tug-of-war of keeping someone and losing yourself in the process? In an email that Eilish sent to fans about the song, she spoke of how ‘My Future’ came from a time of self-reflection and growth. Much of that only comes when you slow down and take a good inventory of what your life has become at that point.
Like the second part of ‘My Future’ indicates, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the animated video created for the song, there is sunshine peeking through and the foliage grows and takes her off into the sky. There is value in both just being and existing. Eilish expresses enthusiasm for being in love with her future self. In a time where we have no idea what the future looks like. At times it looks very bleak and other times, hopeful. We’re living in a constant push-and-pull of our emotional states. One day, the world will be better and you will be better with it.
Who knows when we’ll all be able to dance together again. In the meantime, Eilish gave us a song to two-step to. It’s ok to dance by yourself in the interim. That way, when you eventually find your dance partner, you’ll both already have your rhythms and the song can keep playing.