I've never been to me

"[I’ve never been to me is] about a woman who has never had children because she was too busy chasing her fantasy life . It is a very sad song if you really listen to the lyrics." (Charlene)

Walking past a waiting taxi this evening, I heard a tiny bit of the song I’ve never been to me wafting out of the window. It was my beloved version too, the one by Mary MacGregor. I would have loved to stop and catch a little more of it, but so as not to make myself look rather silly, I just walked on. The taxi driver didn’t know that as this nobody moved away, his steps were made all the more heavy by the deep, lingering memories.

Recently, the BBC News Magazine readers came up with a list of twenty films that made men cry. I’m sure there are lots of such lists for songs around too. Even different people might have their different lists. Anyway, I do have my personal selection of songs which, down the years, get me welling up every time I hear them, and Mary MacGregor’s “I’ve never been to me” is one of them. I realize that the original version by Charlene is more popular, and many would consider Mary MacGregor’s singing style as old-fashioned as her photos on disc covers. But it is the way she conveyed the sense of loss of a woman who has had a glamorous life and yet never finds freedom that resonates in someone like me who is frequently “cursing at [my] life”.

Another reason for my getting emotional has to do with that nostalgic quality of old songs. Their tunes and melodies always have the magical power of evoking lost moments in younger days. It doesn’t matter how wretched or discontented you were at the time. It is only when you look back, eons later, that you realize that those were actually the golden moments of your life, and you ask yourself the painful question of whether this realization has come too little too late.

It takes us back to the saying "si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" (if youth only know, if age only could).

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