Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?
Those who grew up like I did in high school probably started singing that as soon as you read it. The chorus line from Against Me! “I Was a Teenage Anarchist”. This song just recently started creeping back into my life and has now started to become my anthem recently. And I keep thinking about the phrase “wanted to set the world on fire” and now it has me thinking: When was the last time I felt like setting the world on fire?
I don’t mean like literally set it on fire burn it to the ground “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire”. I mean going out and changing the world. And I don’t mean it like “change the world” I mean really change the fucking world. Be someone who people want to be, do something that others aspire to, and just live as awesome as you possible can. When is the last time you felt that fire?
I’m trying to remember that right now. I used to have a fire that I was going to do something just absolutely great. My friends and I were going to shake up the establishment, really be creative and change the world. But then, something strange happened. Life happened. We got older, we got sober, we got wiser, we fell in love, we moved. We started working real jobs having to make real money and do real grown up things. Life happened.
Most of us now have a house, or at least rent a good one. We have been through college, and have degrees, and have kids, 2 cars, and a white-collar job. We’re nerds who spend Saturday’s at soccer games instead of shady concert venues that smelled like farts and old socks. Our days of copping cigarettes from other kids has turned into us copping a pen from the bank because the kids stole the other one in the car. Most of us no longer have hair to even think about styling and if we do, it’s turning gray with the quickness.
Combat boots are now work loafers and house shoes. Studded belts are now real leather belts with brass buckles. Torn up t-shirts are now what we wear to mow the lawn and the last concert we went to was probably one of the kids in choir, or band, or dance. The biggest fire we have in our lives is the one in the BBQ pit.
I’m not sure what happened to the guy that used to have fire. Did he die along with so many friends in the past? Did he take a quick path to success and leave me behind with my brokenness? Did I kill him with my selfishness, with my carelessness, with my pride, with my addictions and my failures? Or, did I simply make a choice to ignore him, and he’s been silently waiting on me to notice him once again?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know this though: I want to set the world on fucking fire. I do remember when I was young. I do remember when I had passion. I do remember what it was like to love who I am, and to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say “You are the shit! You are awesome! You are someone worth giving a damn about!” Do you feel that? Do you feel that itch inside of you? No, not THAT itch, nasty. The itch that says, you know what, I remember that person too.
You know what? Anarchy, turned out to be a bogus belief. The basic of society want me to give up my identity and conform, and I did that. I wanted so hard to believe in everything I believed in, that I let the reality of life completely ruin me. I let go of my style, my ambition, and my revolution.
Do you remember? When you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire? Because I sure the hell do. And I think, for the first time in a long time, I am starting to remember. I’m starting to feel that again.
And I WILL set this fucking world on fire.
Do you remember?