Wake Me Up

to the power of grAttitude

I remember when I was a morose teenager I’d watch my retired grandmother living her best life and think, “I wish I could just skip to where she is.” Meaning, I wish I could bypass all the hard work and life lessons and just coast until the end. I’m reminded of that time and mindset every time I hear Avicii’s Wake Me Up and its chorus:

Wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older  

Thankfully, the next two verses remind me of how far I’ve come since then:

All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn’t know I was lost.

The Avicii Code

I saw a Google Doodle celebrating what would have been Swedish DJ Avicii’s (aka Tim Bergling) 32nd birthday. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago from mental illness-fueled addiction.

In researching this post, I checked out one of the videos for the song. The one I chose features a young woman longing to escape her current reality for something better. Full of hope, she rides a horse across a vineyard, into a city and among a crowd at an Avicii concert, where she finally finds her bliss.

Ignorant of the Avicii culture, I couldn’t figure out why everyone in the video had double-arrow tattoos on their arms. So I looked it up. Turns out Bergling chose the design to represent “lowest levels of Buddhist hell”, or Avīci in Buddhist culture. What I love about its symbolism is that it is believed that the condemned can escape Buddhist hell through enlightenment.

So what sets the people who come through the horrifying with hope, faith and contentment from those who don’t get back up?

What Enlightenment?

If I had a definitive answer, I’d be bald and wearing an orange toga. I can only share my personal journey toward it. And I’m by no means there. I’m just willing put one foot in front of the other one day at a time.

I didn’t ask for the tough times I feared watching my grandmother serenely sipping her afternoon wine. I resented them. I cursed them. I cursed those who I believed were responsible for them. I had no idea how responsible I was for many of those rollercoaster rides.

Now hear me out. There are plenty of people who have gone through plenty of horrific things with no choice but to endure them. Things I couldn’t begin to imagine living through. Some survive mentally and emotionally. Others don’t. Many don’t survive at all.

So what sets the people who come through the horrifying with hope, faith and contentment from those who don’t get back up?

I’d argue attitude and gratitude (grAttitude). I’ve had both a shitty attitude and a shiny one; I’ve cursed and I’ve blessed. And I’m telling you that a great attitude and humble gratitude generate hope and happiness–with a good dose of expectation for even better in the future.

The Universe just seems to reward positive energy. Isn’t it some axiom that says like attracts like? I think I remember reading that somewhere. So it makes sense that positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative, right?

Those very hardships I dreaded as a teen have shaped me into a person I can be proud of today. I wouldn’t have traded one minute of my journey for what I have now. Today I truly Wish that I could stay forever this young and I’m Not afraid to close my eyes because I have no longer have regrets.

Once I discovered the power grAttitude, I certainly woke up. And started living.


If you’re struggling to get back up from mental illness and/or drug addiction or alcoholism, don’t try to go it alone. Ask for help. Here are some resources:


Speaking of life lessons and hardships, I’m working on a novel that follows a young girl’s own redemptive journey. Here’s a teaser:

Published by Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer

Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer is a content writer and author of two children's books and a board book series for young children. She's currently working on her first novel.

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