I listening to “Royals” on a loop right now (particularly this version) after a day at the Nonprofit Technology Conference and thinking through an itty-bitty epiphany. The first fifteen or fifty times that I listened to “Royals” I just heard the chorus, and it sounded like another sing-about-money-to-get-money pop piece, albeit with a lush alto voice crying for alms. But then I finally caught this lyric:
“My friends and I we’ve cracked the code
We count our dollars on the train to the party
And everyone who knows us knows
That we’re fine with this, we didn’t come from money”
And I thought of my monthly lunches with people who do communications work for nonprofits, who speak to and for hundreds of thousands of people, for not-much-money. And I think of all of us standing at the lunch counter, arguing with ourselves about whether we’ll pay for soda or ask for the small-plastic-cup-of-shame-and-tap-water. Then checking our phones to tweet to 25,000 people.
I think I’m clear with myself that I didn’t come to earth for money. The people who know me know I’m fine with tap water, that we’re all working together to crack the code that let’s us save the world and live our lives. And there are queenly benefits to this work, whether I’m tweeting or doing the work I’d like to do, writing the laws which govern our lives.
It’s a life measured in impacts, not diamonds.
PS: Here are my 3 favorite versions of this. The first is the original with its hauntingly simple video, then The Boss, then a sad clown.
“You can call me Queen B.” – Lorde