My Way

I rarely hear Frank Sinatra’s hit song “My Way” anymore. It used to be a staple of middle of the road and EZ-listening radio stations back in the day. I stumbled across an old CD containing the tune earlier this week and played it. Then, I repeated the track and listened to it at a louder volume. The goosebumps happened again as they did when I first heard the tune when I was much younger.

A lot of folks relate to the old song because the lyrics pertain to universal life situations. The discoveries, regrets, failed attempts, and the resolution of faith in oneself. The final verse contains perhaps the most powerful message:

“For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way”–{1967 and 1969 by Gilles Thibault, Jacques Revaux, Claude François & Paul Anka}

To live a satisfying, good life, a person must know oneself as well as possible. To try different experiences and learn from them helps us to better understand our own psyches. It’s about living the authentic life and not about imitating heroes and celebrities. After all, we are each unique in our perceptions and our emotional reactions. We are the manifestations of subjectivity. Deep within, each of us harbors a special dream that helps power our will to live.

The world is filled to the brim with beautiful, powerful things and people that can reveal our hidden aspects if we pay attention. How one interprets and activates this beauty helps us cope and even thrive on our complicated, harsh planet.

While reflecting upon Frank Sinatra, I remember that he was a complex, somewhat controversial person. His immense talent was overshadowed by alleged ties to the Mafia. He managed to shake off those accusations and remain popular beyond his death. Sinatra lived the way he intended without giving a hoot about what others thought.

If we are to be completely honest with ourselves, there are fallacies in our lives that we have not yet owned up to. In our quiet moments we can toy around and unpack probable reasons why we act and react as we do. Why do we automatically behave these ways?

I think back during the hunger years of my early adulthood. In order to survive, I had to swallow my pride and repress most of my true nature in order to remain employed. I’m still unsure how I managed to get through the rough patches; however, I’m here now, reflecting upon them. Somehow I made it and feel grateful that life turned out better than I could ever hope it would. Perhaps the contrast between earlier feelings of lack and the present perception of plenty has something to do with it.

At times, we feel uncertain about our lives and perhaps a lack of confidence has influenced our lives for awhile. Eventually, we make some difficult decisions and strike out on our own with a make it or break it determination. Win or lose we must keep going by using the lessons we learned during the bleak nights of our souls. When all is said and done, it is best to own personal responsibility for the state of our present lives.

Do we harbor a certain amount of hubris? How much of it is healthy and how much of it might cause our downfall? In my early 20s, my best pal and I would take secret, long walks near the outskirts of San Jose–away from the hustle of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our friends and family were unaware of these meanderings because they were our exclusive times apart from daily interactions and business.

We loved to expound upon the nature of life and wonder about our places in the world. Greg and I believed we could influence change upon the world. We went on and on about how the government, the military industrial complex, and organized religion were the bane of civilization. We hashed out the ways we would change the world for the better. The visions were exciting and positive.

Our electrifying, problem-solving walks usually ended by reaching the top of Mount Hamilton or a view of the metropolitan area in full sight of a freeway. While, casting our gaze upon the endless stream of highway traffic and the countless city lights, we affirmed that we probably would never truly change the world, let alone just the Bay Area. We affirmed that despite our best efforts, that it’s hard to even change ourselves, let alone anyone else. At least 99.99-percent of the people living in San Jose wouldn’t know about nor care about our lives. We would just be two more anonymous faces in the crowd. It’s sort of funny how often Greg and I had those conversations and came to the same conclusions. I suppose people need frequent reality checks.

We gradually changed our approaches to life partly due to our stimulating conversations. We learned that we are free to approach our relationships and work on our own terms. We began to accept that we are our own characters in our own dramas. We exist to act in our own best interests and accept that others possess their own rights as well. Greg and I agreed that it would be arrogant to impose our own beliefs upon others–just as others try to impose their beliefs upon us.

Both of us eventually moved away from San Jose. We still keep in touch via letters and social media. Sometimes we reminisce about our powerful walks. Today, Greg lives in rural Ontario, Canada, and I live in rural Nebraska. For the most part, we have been living life according to our own standards.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century Brazilian Formula One race car driver, Ayrton Senna. “I continuously go further and further learning about my own limitations, my body limitation, psychological limitations. It’s a way of life for me.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, Friendship, Meanderings, music and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to My Way

  1. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘My Way’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  2. Jim Wingrove says:

    it’s a soliloquy….an opportunity for any great actor

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