Professor Virginia Garrett-Cannon
ENGL 1113, MW 11:00 a.m.
19 Sep. 2018
“Live Like You Were Dying”
The title of the song, “Live Like You Were Dying” has a different meaning to each listener. To live like oneself were dying could mean: changing how ones relationships are with different people, allowing him/her to get in touch with their religion, and to give them the courage to do things that one never thought they would do. “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw tells the story of a man who found out his days left to live were numbered. Once he came to realization that he was dying, he tried to figure out what he should do next. He started living his life to the fullest, a totally different way than he had before, so that he would not leave behind any regrets. He made up for the mistakes he had made and started living each day as it may be his last. He made time for things he always thought there would be plenty of time for later. He became a better husband, family member, and friend. He realized how precious life really is and wished everyone had the chance to “live like they were dying”.
Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” has a purpose to inspire everyone to not take their life for granted, an encouraging but serious tone, and it achieves its purpose.Tim McGraw’s purpose in this song is to send a message about life and to inspire everyone to “live like they were dying”. His purpose for writing the song is stated though questions that he asks each listener throughout the song. In these lyrics “Like tomorrow was the end and ya got eternity to think about what to do with it, What should I do with it? What can I do with it? What would I do with it?” he asks each person listening what they would do if they thought their life was about to end. Would they do things differently? Would they leave behind regrets? How would they spend their time left? He wants listeners to realize that tomorrow is not always promised and he or she should not take the little things in life for granted. The writer is sending the message to “live like you were dying” through repetition and through the words he has chosen.
Ultimately, this song is related to cancer or other life threatening diseases. When people find out they have cancer many times they reevaluate their life because cancer is using a non-survivable disease, since there is not a cure. There are treatments but depending on what stage the cancer is in, they could or could not be effective. They might change their lives by spending more time with the people they care about, becoming more religious, or just spending time doing things they want to do before they die. Unfortunately, this song can emotionally relate to many people who have been diagnosed with cancer or have had a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Although the writer is not just addressing people with cancer, he is addressing anyone that is or has before taken their life for granted. He wants everyone to live their life like they’re dying because everyone is going to die, he/she just don’t know when.
Equally important, as McGraw’s purpose of this song are the multiple tones throughout this song. The tones are serious, encouraging, and content. These tones are demonstrated through the lyrics and music of the song. The overall tone in this song is serious because it’s about a man who is about to die. The tone of these lyrics “And one moment came that stopped me on a dime” is serious because the man just found out he had cancer and he is not sure what he should do next. Another main tone in the song is encouraging. In the lyrics “Someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying” he is encouraging everyone to live their life like they were dying. The meaning of those lyrics is to persuade listeners not to put things off for tomorrow because one are not always promised tomorrow. Most people live each day thinking they are invincible and nothing bad will happen to them, but everyday people find out devastating news that changes their life completely. Not only does the writer’s tone relate to the purpose of the song, but the word chose also does. McGraw’s word chose in this song makes the message easily identifiable through the lyrics. He said he went sky diving, rocky mountain climbing, and bull riding, which supports the purpose to live like you are dying. He chose sky diving, rocky mountain climbing, and bull riding because they are things most people want to do, but are too scared to actually ever do them. When one finds out that they are dying there isn’t much to lose any more so he became way more courageous. These lyrics also prove that this song has an encouraging tone because he is encouraging listeners to not, not do things they want to do because they are too scared because everyone is going to eventually die so you should live ones life to the fullest. The lyrics “all of a sudden going fishin’, wasn’t such an imposition” also supports the purpose of the song, to like one are dying. He conveys the message, that one shouldn’t put things off because he/she nevers know if they will have tomorrow to do them, though the lyrics. McGraw repeats “To live like you were dying” several times during the song because that is the message he is trying to send through this song. The language he uses in this song is straight forward. There are not any hidden meanings in most of the lyrics, although some of the lyrics can have different meanings to each listener. When he said he “loved deeper” that could mean a different thing to every person. In this song, he meant that he spent more time with the people he loved and showed them how much he really did love them. These lyrics also support that the tone is serious because the man knows he is going to die, so he wants to make sure that the people he loves are aware of how much they really mean to him. He probably wanted to make sure that everyone he loved knew how much they meant to him, so when he died they would know. When he said “I gave forgiveness I’d been denying” he meant that once he found out he was going to die, he forgave people he never thought he would forgive. When he found out he was dying he probably realized that there was more important things in life then holding grudges.
Nevertheless, the writer did achieve his purpose, which was to inspire everyone to “live like they were dying”. The text in this song is effective because it is straight to the point. By listening to this song the purpose, tone, and context is clear and its easy to understand the meaning.