Fated to Pretend

“Yeah, it’s overwhelming. But what else can we do? Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute.” —MGMT, Time to Pretend

Today was the first time I truly listened to the lyrics of the song, and I was struck by how much I relate as a twenty-something.

Time to Pretend is about growing up. You miss childhood and all that it comprises. But, as the song says, “There is really nothing, nothing we can do.” Life marches on.

The song is about the life you envision for yourself and the life reality forces upon you. You want to “live fast and die young.” Move to Paris. Fuck around with the stars. But, after all, we are only “fated to pretend.” You may think you choose to live that life, but it’s only an illusion. Even model wives will have children and get a divorce. “Everything must run its course.” Note how they say must: We don’t have a choice.

The quote I open with particularly speaks to my current situation. I was just talking to some friends about this while in California. I made a choice between doing what I love for next to no money and the corporate world. Now, I still love my career, but to some extent I sold out. But here’s the thing: I am comfortable. I have the luxury of a new car, a beautiful apartment, paying off my debt, vacations to the Caribbean, a 401K. Yes, I am happy.

And, at the end of the day, I’m still a journalist. I write for a living and learn every day. Those were the two goals I set out to accomplish in my career.

So in this way, I haven’t sold out as much as I made a choice for my own happiness.

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