Learning The True Meaning Behind Adele’s Single 'Chasing Pavements' Caused Me More Pain Than The Song Itself

Learning The True Meaning Behind Adele’s Single 'Chasing Pavements' Caused Me More Pain Than The Song Itself

Seriously, I can't be the only one who thought it was about chasing your dreams!


As a 16-year-old with my head in the clouds, I discovered Adele's "Chasing Pavements" and found it timely. That was the age I decided I wanted to be a writer instead of following in the footsteps of my father and pursuing the business world. Naturally, as an old-fashioned man who just wanted his daughter to be successful, he rejected my dream. It was a crushing blow for me, the girl who loved making her father proud, to see his face fall when I told him. Though it hurt me, I understood where he was coming from. It's not easy to achieve dreams of any kind, and I was afraid myself.

I was afraid I'd fail. Whatever that means.

But without my dad behind me and such a hard, possibly disappointing future ahead of me— I was unsure.

Maybe I should throw my dreams away. Maybe it'd be better for everyone if I just stayed quiet and live the life society tells me to live.

But my hands wouldn't stop typing. Every day, it was normal to see me in class typing at a word document with comically small text. Each school year I started a new one and it would grow so large that I'd eventually I'd have to move it off my cheap Netbook's memory hard drive and onto an SD card. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't some genius and it was all cheesy garbage I'd be nuts to show someone but I loved it. I couldn't help it.

And I couldn't stop reading, either. In sleepy, foggy mornings I'd read on the bus and I'd pour over my Pulitzer prize winners and classic fiction towards the end of lunch (I had the second to last period lunch and my friends would literally just take a nap on the table, so I read).

So, on a sick day from school where I was stuck in my bed and thinking way too much about the future, this song was comforting— or so I thought!

A refrain where Adele sings the lyrics,

"Should I give up

Or should I just keep chasing pavements?

Even if it leads nowhere

Or would it be a waste?

Even if I knew my place should I leave it there?

Should I give up

Or should I just keep chasing pavements?

Even if it leads nowhere yeah"

As someone considering to "chase" her dream and afraid that it may "lead nowhere" and that she knows her "place" and feels like she "should give up," these lyrics really hit a nerve.

So I listened to this song everywhere, for years. Whenever I was nervous about my life choices, this song was one of the ways I coped.

So, naturally, when my English Professor in college asked me to do a contextual analysis of a text, I decided to analyze this song's lyrics. I didn't even look up a biographical evidence at first, because I thought I had it down packed: she's a singer who didn't get famous till she was much older, and there were many times she wanted to give up. Writing this ballad and performing it was her way of expressing that emotion. But then, I figured I'd look it up, just to get some specific details I could address and I saw it— the truth.

Independant.com writes, "Adele Adkins had an argument with her boyfriend in a London club," for its first line. I read the line over and over. Then I skimmed down to where the website reports the song was " declared by the singer to be 'heartbreak soul.'"

Well, after reading that, I certainly was heartbroken. Luckily, this truth has come to me in a time where I'm nicely entrenched in working towards my goals and my goals are slightly more reasonable, although in the same vein. At the time of writing this article, all I am now is disappointed that Adele, a person who I had built up in my mind as a strong female figure to look up to, is not quite as goal-focused as I had projected her to be. I guess that's contextual analysis for you.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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The Path To Self Love

It's a beautiful and hard journey but the reward is so worth it


Like many of us, I tend to rely on other people and their opinions way more than my own. Stopping that? It's easier said than done but it's possible. You'll never fully be able to stop caring about what other people think but you can care a little less. How?

Building up your self-worth and confidence. That task is probably one of the hardest ones that I've ever had to tackle and am still figuring out.

Loving yourself can mean so many different things but at the end of the day it really means just being able to be your own happiness. So many people rely on others for happiness instead of themselves. That's just not it. We do this to ourselves but what happens when that person or group of people leave us? Then our happiness that was revolved around being with them is all gone. I've learned this life lesson the hard way and while it hurt like hell, I needed that. I had to learn that if I can't be happy by myself then I'll never fully be happy.

Sydney Mergler

Now, I know body positivity is becoming a thing right now but that doesn't change the fact that people still don't always feel one-hundred percent confident in their body. I personally have been struggling with my body image for years and finally have started to work on it for me. Not because I hate my body now, but because I want to get fit for me. It's been a struggle figuring this out and it's taken me years but I finally know what my end goal is and am working towards that. I know it's going to take me a while to reach it but at least I'm working towards a goal now and loving it at the same time. In fact, I feel so much more confident because of it.

Toxic friendships? Just break them. Do yourself a favor and don't dread on it, just drop them. You don't need the extra headache or drama. Life is hard enough as it is but having friends who are negative, disrespectful or just only look out for themselves makes it ten times harder. I'm not sorry for the friends I've dropped because if they really had wanted to keep the friendship, they would've treated me better.

Sydney Mergler

Over-apologizing? Just no. Let's not do that. For what? If you don't mean it, don't say it. There is no reason to apologize for something you either don't think needs to be apologized or you don't feel bad for. In the past, I used to apologize for every little thing and it drove me crazy.

On my path to self love, I've learned so much about myself already and I can't wait to learn more. I've learned I missed music, missed writing, enjoy yoga and other forms of exercise and so many other things. I've stopped holding on to things and people that aren't good for me and have started to let go of the past. Loving yourself can be a real challenge but at the end of the day it's the best thing you can do for yourself. You can't ever expect anyone to love you either in a romantic way or friend way without loving yourself. If you can't see the beauty in yourself how can you expect others to?

Sydney Mergler

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