Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
These are the opening lyrics to the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. It’s all about trying to make something of yourself. If you saw the movie “8 Mile,” it’s the song that plays over the credits. Here’s the chorus:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
Why am I quoting you Eminem?
I caught the end of “8 Mile” the other day while I was nursing. I’d forgotten how much that song spoke to me when the movie first came out. I was in my 20’s wanting to make something of myself as a creative professional, and feeling kind of desperate. I had this idea that if I worked hard enough, there would some day be one defining moment where all my preparation would pay off and I’d be launched into stardom.
You know what I noticed this time I watched it, as a thirty-something mother of two? Well, after Rabbit (Eminem) wins the rap contest, out-spittin’ his rival and earning the respect of his whole community, you know what he does? He goes back to work.
Whaaa? Where’s the Cristal? The celebratory blunt? The hoes? I never thought about the fact that he just plain old goes back to work.
This time, I got it. These days that “one moment,” that “one shot,” means something totally different to me. This morning, when I sat down to write, I was seizing today’s one moment, one shot. Tomorrow I’ll do it again. In some ways this is liberating, because if you miss one day, there’s always the next, but the flip side is that every damn day you have to muster the energy to treat it like your last and never let it slip by.