As I listen to my latest mix CD for the road (which perhaps breaks a few of these rules), I find myself listening to Track #4 quite often. It’s Taylor Swift’s latest single, Back to December, one of the first songs I’ve heard from her that really wasn’t all sunshine and “boy in the corner, please notice me.” (I’m not a hater, trust me… I have a soft spot for those songs too!) Of course, my friends make fun of me for this — “It’s the most depressing song on the album!” they laugh, insisting we play Better than Revenge or Mine instead — but I still love the song nonetheless.
For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t heard it on all the pop radio stations in the past few months, Back to December is a song about heartbreak and regret — probably, more specifically, about her ex-boyfriend Taylor Lautner. She sings about how she wishes she hadn’t treated him the way she had, and that if she could go back to December and change her actions, she would.
Anyone who has made a decision they regretted could easily find the appeal in this song. Swift expresses those feelings in such a relatable way, and it is easy to apply them to many situations one has been in. However, the more I think about this, the more I wonder how helpful this song really is.
On the one hand, careful consideration of the decisions we have made in the past allows us to make better choices in the future. On the other hand, the more we think about our mistakes, the harder it can be to move forward. Instead of simply changing our ways, we sit around and dwell on the fact that we didn’t change our ways when it really “mattered.” We find ourselves looking at the past as a black-and-white photograph, one without blemishes, and forget the beauty of where we are today.
While listening to this song, I realized that every time Swift and I went back to December, we both got stuck there. With a new year ahead of me, I don’t want that to ever let that happen again. Instead, I want to begin each month — each day! — anew.