08 Sep Everything Will Change – Reflecting on “Give Up” by The Postal Service
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Postal Service’s only album, “Give Up,” and next year will be 20 years since myself and many other millennials graduated from high school and started college. This is a seminal album for the thinkers, the feelers, those of us who fucking hated high school because we didn’t feel understood.
Last night, I was talking to Monica, one of my best friends from college. We met in the dorms our freshman year at the University of Oregon, during the autumn of 2004. Right after “Give Up” came out. I downloaded it on Limewire in my college dorm room, so you know the file names and sound quality varied. But I just fucking loved it. I don’t know if any album had spoken to me the same way before. I loved No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom,” it’s one of my all-time most influential albums, but that album represents my childhood. “Give Up,” this was something new and exciting.
I told Monica that this upcoming Postal Service tour was inspiring the same kind of reflection that a high school reunion would. But we both hated high school, feeling out of place. As I was talking and since processing more, I invited her, myself and all of us who identify as “indie”, millennials who weren’t understood in high school to view this once-a-decade tour as the high school reunion we’d like to have. Through music, we have bonded and formed connections, ones we hadn’t found in the past.
Reflecting deeper, during this year I let go of connections I’ve had for decades, I finally saw my value and released anyone who didn’t. Anyone who took advantage of my kindness and generosity. Looking out on the connections that remain and the ones in their infancy, my deepest bonds are with those who fucking love this album so damn much. Music is the way I connect with the world and so it makes perfect sense that people who I value most also cherish this album the same way I do.
Throughout this journey to align with my true purpose in this life – one of art, music, film, fashion, food, fun and true fucking love – I have embodied the mantra, “Dive Deep Within.” Whenever I am talking to a friend and they are lost and struggling I tell them exactly that – dive deep within. The answers are inside of you. Look back 20 years, who were you? What did you want to do with your life? Did you want to sit on Zoom calls all day and still not be able to afford groceries? I bet you didn’t. I didn’t either.
Look back – when you graduated high school, before you went to college, when your dreams were running wild, who did you want to be when you grew up? It’s not too late. The more we lean into our authentic selves, the better life is going to get. The only trick is, you have to believe it. And believing it isn’t easy. But pretend you believe and eventually you just will.
Looking at the lyrics right now, I realize Ben Gibbard said, “I want so badly to believe…” and not I BELIEVE TRUTH AND LOVE IS REAL. Maybe it’s time to flip the script. I no longer want to believe – I do believe – in myself and the other like-minded souls that know a better world is possible. Let’s create it from love and not fear.
If you’re not looking forward to your 20 year high school reunion, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to go. I see The Postal Service’s every-decade tour as my new high school union and my point of reflection – only now it’s just the other indie spirits, the thinkers, the feelers, the lovers. Doesn’t that drop some of the anxiety around something you couldn’t wait to escape from? I couldn’t wait to leave high school and meet my people. Looking back 20 years, I’ve found them in each chapter of my life (including a couple from high school) and I now know who to look for in future connections – people who love this album.