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 was dying could mean: changing how one’s relationships are with different people, allowing people to get in touch with their faith, and to give them the courage to do things that one have 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 tries to figure out what he should do next. He started living his life to the fullest, a completely different way than he had before, so that he would not leave behind any regrets. He makes 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 to do later. He becomes a better husband, family member, and friend. He realizes how precious life really is and wishes everyone had the chance to “live like they were dying”. McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” has a purpose to encourage everyone to not take their life for granted, and it achieves its purpose though the appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos.
Ultimately, pathos is all about the emotion and how a person feels as he or she is listening to the song. Part of what makes McGraw’s song successful is it can emotionally relate to many people who have been diagnosed with cancer or have had a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Though the song doesn’t specifically say “cancer,” the lyrics “I spent most of the next days, lookin’ at the X-rays, talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time” suggest that is the topic. The reason is because when someone has cancer they usually spend a lot of time in the hospital trying to overcome it. When individuals find out they have cancer or another form of disease many times they reconsider their life because cancer can be a non-survivable illness, since typically there is not a cure. There are treatments depending on what stage the illness is in, they could or could not be effective. People may 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. He wants everyone to live their life like they’re dying because everyone is going to die, they just don’t know when.
Equally important, to the success of McGraw’s purpose for this song are the multiple emotion tones throughout this song. The tones of this song are serious and encouraging. These tones are demonstrated through the lyrics and melody of the song. One of the overall tones in this song is serious because it is about a man who just found out he was dying. The tone of the lyrics “And one moment came that stopped me on a dime” is serious because a man just found out he had cancer and he is not certain 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” McGraw encourages others to live their life as if they were dying. The meaning of those lyrics is to persuade listeners not to put things off to another day because he or she is 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 may change their life forever. Not only does the author’s tone relate to the purpose of this song, but the word choice also does. McGraw’s word choice 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 do things they want to do and not be too scaredbecause everyone is going to eventually die so you should live one’s life to the fullest. The lyrics “all of a sudden going fishin’, wasn’t such an imposition” also supports the purpose of the song. He conveys the message, that one shouldn’t put things off because he/she never knows if they will have tomorrow to do them, though the lyrics. He 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.