The Green Light: Motivation through Symbolism

Circumstance and coincidence are strange concepts. It’s those moments where you start to question whether something can be explained through simple happenstance, or the idea that there’s a higher power pulling the strings of your life. I read somewhere once that when you stop trying to find what you’re looking for, it will find you. It’s very vanilla, but I think  it has a lot of truth behind it. Motivation is quite the same. When you stop looking for it, you’ll find it.

If you follow me anywhere on social media, you have probably already heard me rant and rave about Lorde’s comeback, and her newest single. I’m a huge fan of hers. Huge. To say that her first album, Pure Heroine, was the soundtrack of my life between the ages of 16-18, would be a grave understatement. During the week, she released her first single in three years – Green Light. The song is fantastic, and the video is beautiful. She’s addressing a relationship of hers where things didn’t end well. The song is victorious, it’s melancholic, it’s an anthem of the broken-hearted. She exclaims in the chorus that she wishes she could “get [her] things and just let go”. However, she cannot. She is waiting patiently for the green light to allow her to. The indication that she no longer feels an attachment to this person. The signal that she can finally move on. It’s all very powerful. The video is completely drenched with bright, incandescent lights. As symbolic as you can imagine.

After having the song in constant rotation for a couple days, I stumbled across a video on YouTube. Rosanna Halse Rojas, a content creator whom I watch quite regularly, was giving her own take on Lorde’s new single. I watched contently. She drew similarities between the green light in Lorde’s music, and that of the green light from Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. It was almost as if a green light had flashed before my eyes. I have read Gatsby twice before, and enjoyed it very much. Upon returning to France after Christmas, I brought the book back over with me with the intention of reading it a third time, however, I could not find the motivation. Then, all at once, it was there.

I took to highlighting certain phrases of the book on my third read. One of the phrases which I chose read;

Involuntarily, I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away

It mentions the green light, something of relevance for me this week. However, the word “involuntarily” also stood out to me. This was all involuntary. Lorde releasing a song named Green Light, its presence in Gatsby, even the fact I had a copy of the book with me. It all seems so unintentional, yet purposeful. It all ties back into circumstance. Maybe it was all meant to happen.

So, what can this Green Light mean? For Lorde, it’s her search for clarity. The point at which she can start to rebuild herself after a break-up. For Gatsby, it represents hope, and dreams, and Daisy. In both cases, it’s about yearning. The idea that by giving this sense of want a physical manifestation,  green light, then you can start to move toward it. In another way, I think this green light can represent motivation, ambitions and goals. If you don’t identity the green light, or if you choose not to see it, then you’re just stagnant. Waiting at a red light. Impatient, and unmotivated.

It’s got me thinking a lot lately about my own ambitions and goals. Where I want to be, and who I want to be. What is my green light, and where is it leading me. I think these are important questions that you should ask yourself from time to time. In a way, I think this was all meant to happen simultaneously. Motivation is all around you. You just need to let the green light find you.


Anyway, that’s what’s been on my mind lately. Hope you’re having a great day, and an even better week.

Thanks for reading!

Lorde’s Green Light


Rosanna’s Thoughts

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