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Music is the most powerful form of storytelling there is. Whether it’s the beautiful lyrics or the unforgettable beat, songs have the power to transform us. 

“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day is a song I’ve always known, but never paid much attention to. My mom is a huge 90’s alternative rock fan, and Green Day was usually one of the bands playing on shuffle in the background of doing chores or homework. 

One day, as I was driving down my street, it was as if my ears unclogged after so many years. I finally listened to the words of the song, and nearly had a breakdown in the middle of the road. I had just lost someone so important to me. I was in pain. I hated that life took that person away from me when I wanted so badly to hang onto them. I wanted them to come with me on my new adventure: college. Hearing this song was like Billie Joe Armstrong was speaking directly to my heart. 

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.”

“Good Riddance,” to me, is a bittersweet song about radical acceptance. It’s a farewell letter to the people and places of our past. Like the song implies, life is a path. I believe everyone is destined for certain things in life. We all have a road to walk filled with lessons and experiences, some good, some bad. 

“So make the best of this test and don’t ask why. It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time.”

When we’re walking, we sometimes cross paths with others who are in our lives for a reason. They may walk with us for a bit, hold our hands, or they may try to steer us off the path to find our purpose. Eventually, the person has to get back on their own path once they have served their purpose in your life. It’s okay though. You have to accept that they could only take you so far before they had to leave. You can’t change what happened in your life. You have to let people go sometimes. It wasn’t meant to be.

“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.”

Don’t have hate for the people who hurt you or left you behind. Don’t regret where you had to go or who you had to meet to get to the place you are now. Don’t regret growth or change. Let them go, and appreciate the memories you made with them, or the lesson they taught you about yourself.  Forgiveness isn’t something we do for other people; it’s something we have to do for ourselves in order to move on.

“So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind. Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial. For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.”

While you were on that section of the path, that person played a necessary role in your life. Maybe you were lost in the forest, and they saved you. Or maybe they tricked you into stepping in a mud puddle. No matter what, keep walking, and don’t look back. Even the person who tripped you was important, because without falling, how would you learn to stand on your own again?

“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.”

This mindset has helped me let go of so much, and made me realize that my life is in my hands. Most importantly, it helped me realize that my past is not my destiny. Readers, I hope you, too, can find value in a song like “Good Riddance,” or any other jam that gets you through the day. 

HCXO, 

Cam

Armstrong, Billie Joe. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). Nimrod. Reprise, 1997, track 17. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Camryn Gurecki

Millersville '25

Camryn is in the Class of '25 at Millersville University. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Writing Studies. In her spare time, Camryn enjoys reading romance novels, writing (obviously), crocheting scarves, and listening to music.
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