Welcome to Life

Welcome to Life

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Welcome to Life

"Dear mother, can you hear me whining? (Green Day)" When something was difficult what did you do, especially when you were a young child? You whined. That was the way you got people to pay attention to you. You hoped that this way they could make life better for you. Complaining to your mother will make everything better. That is the logic that many young children are taught.

Life is different as you reach different stages and becomes more difficult each time you reach a new challenge. The stages start with your being comfortable in your surroundings, well protected by your family. As you grow older, you begin to grow apart from the people and the area that you were once close to. You start to go on your own path. This path leads you to a new place with which you may not be as comfortable. The song "Welcome to Paradise" by the punk-rock band Green Day explains the difficulty of moving away from home and how eventually life will get better and you will find that you are not as dependant on your family.

The song "Welcome to Paradise" begins a mere three weeks after the boy has left his home. He is writing a letter telling his mother how horrible it is to be away from home. He feels he is alone; this is a scary feeling. He reaches out to the audience by discussing a feeling that many young people have recently experienced.

I remember when I first started college, whether I want to admit it or not, I was scared. I moved to a new location three hours away from my warm room and, for the first time, I had to do my own laundry, take care of myself, and keep my area clean and livable. These were new and challenging tasks. At times, even though there are forty-two thousand people here, it feels very lonely, as if you are the only one going through this situation. Everyone experiences some sort of uncomfortable feeling when they have to move to a new location and start a new stage in their lives. From personal experience a college senior explains how he felt the first day he moved to live at college, "I definitely felt like I was in some strange limbo Twilight Zone kind of place…It wasn’t a very comfortable feeling at all.

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And that lasted for about two months" (quoted in Rosenberg 18-19).

The first thing that you notice in a new and strange place is all of its faults. These are the details that make it seem so distant from home. In the chorus of the song, the singer points out the downsides of his new home, the streets are cracked, the homes are run down, and the overall feeling from the place is that it is neglected. Although some people do not think highly of this place, he starts to feel some pride for this small piece of the world that is now his own. "I want to take you through a place I like to call my home; welcome to Paradise." This, I think directly relates to the conditions of the dorms; they are little white-painted cinderblock boxes, in which some of the seams of the room do not even come together. Our metal-framed bed, and the pieces of wood, which make up the shelves, desk, and closet are all that we have to claim as our own. The dusty room cluttered with papers thrown there by someone who is not used to cleaning, is a dull and not homey place until some pride is put into it. Then it starts to become our home, and show off who we are.

The reason many people leave home is to be out on their own and able to make their own set of rules. A college junior reflects about how he felt when he first moved in at college,

"It was awesome! This was great! When else did I ever go out and come home and go to sleep when I wanted? And I didn’t have to worry about hanging up my clothes in my room. But in a way, when your parents leave, it’s sad. You do have that little bit of sadness in you. But at first, you’re so overwhelmed that everything is great and you just want to get on with a new life." (quoted in Rosenburg 18)

As you leave home and begin your new life you look make the place you are staying at your new home. In the introduction of the book, Leaving Home, which is a collection of stories about what life is like for people when they first leave their homes, the author sums up the reason for leaving home and plainly explains the transition of how a new place becomes your home by saying, "We leave home to find home" (Rochman vii).

The second verse of the song reiterates the poor condition of the area in which that he is living. It is so bad in this new neighborhood that someone was shot and the singer wonders why he still lives here. Then he realizes that this is his home now. He is comfortable and he is never going to leave this place.

In the last verse, he is writing another letter to his mother. In this letter he tells her that he is laughing, and says how after six months of living here he feels comfortable, and is never going to leave his new home; "It’s now feeling like my home, and I’m never gonna go." I can remember when I first felt like that. After about one month, I did not want to go home, because now this is my home.

Life has gotten better, and it is not because I have forgotten where I grew up. It is because I became able to overcome and adapt to my new surroundings. Listening to the song "Welcome to Paradise" should help you to understand that when you first move away from home it is not going to be easy; it never is. You will find the faults of your new surroundings, and the little things that make it feel like it could never replace your comfortable home and supportive family. It is reasonable to question why you are staying there. But eventually, after you put some work into it, it will feel like home and you will find that you will never want to go.

Works Cited

"Green Day – Welcome to Paradise." Lyricsfind.com. 2002. October 16, 2003. http://www.lyricsfind.com/lyrics/6201/79816.php.

Rochman, Hazel and Darlene Z. McCampbell. Leaving Home. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.

Rosenberg, Ellen. College Life. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
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