To conclude 2013, a three-part series on three songs summing up my year.

Nobody gets out clean.
No such thing as a getaway.
There’s struggle in everything.
There’s no finding another way.
Walk a mile on the other side and then you’ll finally see,
That nobody gets out clean.

For much of my life, I’ve gotten by relatively easily in my ‘vocation’. School and much of undergraduate university was a breeze. (That doesn’t mean perfect performance – there was too much good fun stuff to do at university!). I’ve probably felt to some degree it would always be that way. This year, the culmination and collusion of a bunch of factors meant for the first time in a number of years I’ve felt like I’ve struggled to do that to which I’ve applied myself.

The mind is a muscle: you can strengthen it with exercise; you can fatigue it.

Suddenly, things that I thought probably shouldn’t be a struggle become exactly that. Stuff just crept up and swamped me. This is necessarily vague, but it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when the next moment, task, or conversation seems like a mountain.

I came across Nobody Gets Out Clean when all this peaked and the chorus crystallized many threads in my swimming head: your life can only be lived by you and it must be lived deliberately and it might actually require some effort. Some struggle. An easy ride is promised to no one.

Read part two here.