Monday, July 2, 2012

Make Life Your Own

Thanks to my cousin over at Que Sara, Sara, I've had this song stuck in my head all day:

And now it'll probably be stuck in your head too. (Sorry. Or you're welcome, depending on your point of view.) I know it's a very popular song, so please, please don't be offended when I say that it has always irritated me. (Keep in mind that we all have different tastes, and that's ok. You're just as entitled to love it as I am entitled to not love it.)

I'll give you that it's a pretty song, and that Doris Day is beautiful, but the lyrics have just always rubbed me the wrong way. What she says is:

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother 'What will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?' Here's what she said to me:
'Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be will be.
The future's not ours to see. Que Sera, Sera.'

But ever since I was a kid, what I always heard was: When I was young and impressionable, I asked my mother for guidance and insight into the world, and she said 'Eh. Whatever.'

I know that's an overly simplistic (and perhaps overly cynical) attitude toward the song. And I really was always half joking when I said it. But like I said, I formed the opinion as a kid... so maybe I was overly simplistic and overly cynical at the time. Either way, that's what I began to think about this morning as the song played through my head.

Of course, now that I'm older and wiser (and more philosophical) than I was in my youth, the thoughts didn't end there. I started to wonder if I could put away the sarcasm for a bit and hear the song on a different level. And yes, I can appreciate what it is trying to say. But I also came to the conclusion that I mostly still disagree with it.

Sure, you can't predict the future. And sure, there are outside forces that you can't control. And no, it doesn't do you any good to worry about things that you can't change. But does that mean that you should just accept "whatever will be," or should you take a more active approach in determining your fate?

Maybe the future isn't "ours to see," but I believe that it is ours to make. So I say don't just sit back and wait for life to happen. Go out there and make your life what you want it to be.


  1. Sometimes you have your nose stubbed on something to be able to see it - yes - this song really sounds rather fatalistic. I mean there is a state of mind of the sage of the east, but this is a much higher harmonic than this song. This song seems to promote a 'no sense in doing anything' but the higher harmonic would be to create a direction with intention to get there but still be disconnected from the outcome. The reason people give up is they try once, miss, try twice, miss again and then learn that there is no point. If you are disconnected from the outcome, though, you can try again and again and again until you succeed - and that's definitely not the spirit of this song - - and yes, Doris Day is beautiful :-)

  2. I totally see your point, I just think I interpret the lyrics entirely differently. *LOL* Or maybe I just want to be Doris Day. Regardless I must post my rebuttal blog. :)

  3. I always saw the song differently. My interpretation has always been that you shouldn't worry about the future or who you will be, you should concentrate on the now and who you are. Because there are no guarantees in the future, so you should be happy now especially when you are young.

    That said I do agree that we make our futures, I just believe it is based in the foundation we create now and in the past, so it all works together and worrying or stressing about things doesn't change that. I also always thought the song was more about the mom telling her not to worry and enjoy life.

    P.S. I'm not offended by your viewpoint! I'm actually finding that I agree with more of it than I realized. I enjoyed your post, made me think. :-)

    1. Yeah, the non-sarcastic, non-cynical part of me always agreed with your interpretation, too. I think a mom is perfectly right to tell her daughter to just be happy in the now and not worry about the future. (I mostly always went with the twisted interpretation because I thought it was funnier.)

      But even with that, I still think it's perfectly reasonable that the two viewpoints can work together. I think we can decide to do what we can to make our life what we want it to be *without* worrying or obsessing about it. I think working toward a goal doesn't have to be stressful, and we can still learn to be patient and accepting when things don't turn out like we had planned. Does that make sense?

      Thanks so much for sharing your views - I always appreciate rational sharing of differing opinions. Any time we can discover other perspectives that make us think more deeply about our own, I call it a win. :)

  4. Your post put one big smile on my face. This was the very first song I learned as a little girl taught to me by my mother. She'd play the piano and I'd sing it. Only now have I realized that I never put too much thought to this song. I guess I never listened to myself whenever I'd sing it. Haha!

    By the way, I learned Que Sera Sera way before I learned my ABCs. I've always known there was something odd about me.

    1. That's wonderful! I'm so glad I could help bring up such a happy memory for you. (And hearing your story definitely put a big smile on my face too. Thank you for sharing it.) It's definitely a beautiful song. Sing it proudly! :)

  5. Probably bit cynical, yeah.
    The song's a shallow answer to a shallow question:
    "Will I receive enviable superficial success and meaningless admiration?"
    "Maybe, ... probably not. But it's not important. Life goes on."
    I'll work on some lyrics to express the deeper questions and insightful answers you seek.
    Love you! ... and your blog!

    1. LOL. I've read some of your poetry. I have no doubt you could come up with some pretty good lyrics. (Maybe when you're done you can do a guest blogger post on here with them?)

  6. I wasn't sure where you were going with this, but I love your closing statement - Life really is all about what we make of it.

    1. Yeah, sometimes I might take a little while, but I really do try to come around to a good point eventually. :)