If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Jen Xu
7 min readOct 5, 2020

gold — EDEN

If there’s one artist that has ever managed to touch my soul. I don’t usually care for music beyond “hey, this feels good” when I’m trying to decide which EDM playlist to put it in, or if it belongs entirely somewhere else. But EDEN has the kind of music that makes you happy and sad and confused and frustrated all at the same time, in a good, perfect way. This is my favorite song of his. It’s everything I feel, all the time, and his incredibly deep, brooding voice is how the voice in my head operates. I have no clue what his intention with this song is, so I’ll just talk about why I feel it so heavily. Here we go.

Don’t know how well this is gonna be
But, the basic idea is-

I laugh because that’s my entire life. I never know “how well this is gonna be” when I decide to do something. Every time.

Free fall for now
Desert air won’t drown you out
And for a second I thought the world was ending
And I couldn’t breathe in

Free fall for now? I feel like I’ve been doing that my entire life…never knowing why things happened to me but wanting to understand, never feeling like I’ll ever have my life together. How did I end up here? Awhile ago, I would have asked how I could be so happy. Now, I ask — how did I end up in a brand new place in a pandemic, single, in pain, wishing that the world could make sense again? There are these moments every day where it feels like, for a second, I’ll never be okay again. It’s hard to even move past that thought, move onto the next second. I feel like I am paralyzed.

Yeah, and so this isn’t your time
Yeah, been chasing kairos with those scapegoat eyes
Can’t you realize?
Fuck the summertime, it’s you
So scared of overgrowing youth
When it’s not done with you

The past few years have been full of personal growth and honesty. I started this blog almost 4 years ago now and I know that step I took was the exact right thing to do at the exact right moment. This blog is how I know I’m the most impatient person I have ever met. I am always chasing these things that I’m not ready for, and it’s great that I want them — but it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that it may just not be my time. Not the time to have that other job I want. Not the time to pursue a PhD because I need to discover what I really want to do first. Not the time to be in a relationship because I have much more growing to do. The last two lines also make me laugh because I know I’ll never overgrow my youth and that in itself can be a problem.

The funny, immature, fart jokes are just part of my personality, and I love that, and that’s okay. I love being myself. But there are times when I’m terrified to grow up, and I know that I run from it. And I know that I’m scared of it. Sometimes I forget that I’m 25, it doesn’t make sense, I still feel like I’m a nervous 20 kid who doesn’t know what’s going on. And then I wonder if everyone feels that way? Do we all just wonder when being an adult actually kicks in? Does it ever?

And everybody gon’ run, run
Everybody gon’ run, run
And you can call it what you want
But I call it moving on
And I’m so done with singing words I don’t believe in no more

So yeah, I was right — everyone runs. Everyone runs from their problems and the people that are good for them, because sometimes it’s just easier, easier to pretend you don’t deserve happiness. And that’s okay, but I want to stop that. I want to run towards the things that challenge me, towards my problems to solve them. I urge everyone, however, to run from the things that we know hurt us. Run from the rage, run from the people who aren’t ready for us or deserving of us. Move on when it’s right, but move in on something when it needs to be defeated.

I like the last line. I mean, I’m tired of hearing people say words they don’t believe in. I’m tired of hearing spoken values misalign with lived values. I’m tired of people saying they are open, welcoming, and accepting, when they are closed off and hateful. I’m tired of the hypocrisy, and I’m tired of shutting my mouth just so people can live in their happy little worlds. We’ve got to only say the words we actually believe in.

So what you rushing for?
Who said it’s now or never?
I think you’re taking on the wrong advice
But it’s alright if these are your worst times
You know you’re good
You’re good

I think a big thing at this age is to wonder if ___ is ever going to happen. Am I ever going to be happy again? Am I ever going to get the exact job I want? Am I going to make the right choices, the right friends, find the right person to spend my life with? I can’t be the only one who feels like if it’s not happening to me at this old, old age of 25 — it’s not going to happen. When the world is full of people posting their best hikes, their best moments, and their best faces online — and I don’t see the times of brokenness, it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever be as happy as they are…until I remember that’s just how they appear. It may not be true. When the world is full of people making enough money who don’t need to worry about almost living paycheck to paycheck, full of people finding that right person, full of people who are living in their favorite places — it seems impossible to ever be happy again.

I’m laughing right now, because I know that even though these are my “worst times”, other people will have even worse “worst times”. I think of the people in war-torn countries who fear for their lives everyday. I think of the military, full of people sacrificing every little bit of themselves, even if they’re for different reasons, they’re there and fighting. I think of my parents, who gave their all to get me here. I think of a lot of things and it reminds me that it’s okay to struggle, but it’s necessary to understand reality. And to know that I’m good. I’m good. I’m okay, or I will be there…soon.

And if you want you can breathe on your own
This isn’t what I thought but it’s beautiful
Make peace with your mistakes and they’ll turn to gold
Weightless, I let go

I want nothing more than to breathe on my own. To finally feel like I’m not being suffocated by expectations and demands that I set on myself to “catch up” to the people I see on my social media. Lose weight, but look jacked. Get smaller in some places, but get bigger in other places. Eat more, but eat less. Get a “better” job. Make more money. Have more friends. Be better. When these thoughts swim through your head it’s hard to focus on the things you can do to get there, because there is so much to do. This is not what I thought my life would be like at age 25. I always knew my path would be a little bit different than most girls because I’m this annoyingly serious, occasionally pretentious, dorky asshole of a person sometimes, and I don’t really get along with everyone. So, nothing is what I thought it would be. But it is beautiful — when people say there is beauty in the struggle, I don’t quite fully understand it yet, but I know I will soon.

I didn’t really hear these last 2 lines in my head until just right now. This is what I’ve been fighting towards my entire life. I’ve been fighting to learn how to accept my mistakes, and further, make peace with them. I’ve been fighting to finally get past my crushing expectations that no one else has set for me. I’ve been working to understand how to feel weightless, like all the mistakes and choices I’ve made will help me grow and will be worth more than gold to me…eventually, even if it doesn’t feel like it now.

It’s funny, I have this tattoo on my side of two feathers. I got it because I wanted to remind myself to feel light, to work on things so that I can feel weightless, like nothing is holding me back. And just now, two seconds ago, I see what it means to feel weightless. It’s not just about the current stress, but it’s letting everything you did in the past become worth it. It’s learning how to make sense of things and letting go and learning.

And everybody gon’ run, run
Everybody gon’ run, run
And you can call it what you want
But I call it moving on
And I’m so done with singing words I don’t believe in no more.


No more
No more
Call it what you want
Call it what you want but I call it growing up and I’m done

Moving on, growing up, letting go. A lot of things that are incredibly difficult, but necessary, and important, and will be amazing.

Maybe this song meant something different to me a few years ago. I first heard it standing in my best friend’s kitchen in Boston, when we excitedly discussed the music and all felt right with the world. And now, whenever I ask someone if I can play my favorite song, I pick this one. I remember picking it 2 years ago, sitting on a grassy hill in the Utah mountains, and putting my phone in the cupholder to make it louder. I remember laying there, holding hands, watching the pink and red and purple skies and wondering if I was allowed to be happy because it didn’t seem real. The thing I love about songs is that the way you relate to them is always evolving. I change, things change, the world changes, and that is just how it’s going to be. And it’s going to be okay.



Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.