Growing up from adolescence to adulthood is challenging and sometimes scary when you ponder it. “Stop This Train”, a song by John Mayer figuratively represents life in a style that is captivating and meaningful at the same time. Mayer gives a vivid picture of the things he wishes not to experience as he becomes older. At a glance, one may wonder whether this song is about a train. The train here metaphorically represents life, the life which keeps moving until it reaches its destination. Life as a train ride will reach different platforms, temporary destinations, obstacles, turnings and so on.
Likewise in life, we will face challenges, new relationships, and loss of loved ones, victories, failures, and bittersweet moments all the same. In this train ride, sometimes we may feel like we are moving too fast and we want to stop this ride. The song brings out the desire to stop living when it feels overwhelming and the nostalgic yearning to return back to the past to savor the carefree, delightful moments of it. The percussion of a beat at the beginning of the song mimics a train riding along on a track that the listener can grasp effortlessly.
No, I’m not colorblind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind
But I just can’t sleep on this tonight
Stop this train
I wanna get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
But, honestly, won’t someone stop this train?
Sometimes in life, we get so confused that we wish we could turn back time and start over, to have another chance. Also, we fear the future and we get overwhelmed by moving on, finding a career, and even making new relationships. Further, in the song, Mayer says about the fear of losing loved ones. The fear of watching your loved ones; parents passing away while you stand there helpless.
Don’t know how else to say it
Don’t want to see my parents go
Any person has placed himself or herself at least once in their life where they see themselves mourning over the demise of a loved one. It is the worst kind of feeling that one can experience and this fear only does not describe half of the real incident. The loss you experience cannot be described by mere words. The pain you hold, a lump in your throat suffocating you feels so real and raw. There will come a day for anyone to fight life out on your own, where you become the breadwinner and you will be the only one there is to bear everything and comfort yourself.
So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find a way to say
That life has just begun
The state of getting older, being mature where you can see yourself barreling into the future out of control and astray is frightening. And then we start to think that we are not ready for this. And this unreflective urge to flee from reality makes us justify that we are still young and there is still time to figure out everything. Again the chorus plays, I wanna get off and go home again… What is home? A home is where you find comfort, safety, and happiness. A home can be a place or even a person where your heart lives. But here the home means the past. The sentiment desire to pack up and time travel to the place when things were easier, where your loved ones still reside. This is not possible and we have nothing to do but admit the reality even if it is disheartening.
Had a talk with my old man
Said, “Help me understand.”
He said, “Turn 68,
Don’t stop this train
Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in
Don’t think I couldn’t ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly, we’ll never stop this train”
The old man here adds a stroke of wisdom. His honest, encouraging words open our eyes to see things from a different perspective. Despite the fact the train is never going to stop or turn back, the old man makes us feel not to be pushed by the train. He who grew wiser with age by learning from his own life experiences tells us to accept the moving life even when it is hard. You should not dwell in the past regretting the choices you made, missing the good old times, daydreaming about alternate universes where you have done better, because those things still would not change a thing. Instead, you should move on. The key is acceptance, maturity. We should break free from our insecurities, walk out of our comfort zone and find our hidden blessings. You should be your own light, looking in a way how wonderful life is.
Instead of regretting and dwelling in the past, you should think about the comforting memories you enjoyed and dark phases you went through all the same as a part of your life and be proud of the path you thread to reach where you are now. If we could change the way we see life, we can live it to the fullest and keep moving with the train never giving up or giving in.
“Cause now I see I’ll never stop this train”
By Rtr. Ishara Nimeshi