Mein Achtel Lorbeerblatt

I recently looked through my collection of old vinyl records and came across one of my favourites from the seventies. Reinhard Mey was one of the first successful Liedermacher in Germany and his songs just resonated with me at the time. Some of the songs that got him into the limelight were “The murderer is always the gardener” and “The hot battle at the cold buffet”. One about murder mysteries and the way the most insignificant person turns out to be the perpetrator; the other about the loss of civilised behaviour when faced with an ‘all you can eat’ offer. He has a way of painting pictures with words, he brings humour into his songs, and always there is a little message hidden in them, sometimes right out there, sometimes more subtle.

Listening to them again did not only bring back memories but also showed the timelessness of his lyrics: I still identify with a lot of them. One in particular caught my ear: Mein Achtel Lorbeerblatt – my one-eighth of a laurel-leaf. I’d put a translation here but I am not a word smith like him and it would be only a dim shadow of the power of his words. Essentially, he is talking about how everyone around him has something to criticize and tries to change him to their ideals, but all he does is ignore them and quietly goes and sits on his ‘one-eighth of a laurel-leaf’ that he has achieved for himself and where he can do as he likes. And he goes on to say, that there are still a few people that accept him just the way he is, and those are the ones he writes his songs for, and he thanks them for his ‘one-eighth of a laurel-leaf’ where he can do what he wants.

We run ourselves ragged trying to please everyone; we change to be accepted by people that really, at the end of the day, do not matter. How about being yourself, surround yourself with friends and people that take you as you are, that have no agenda to use you for their own purposes. Yes, you might lose a few ‘friends’ but were they really worth having?

A lot of little inspirational quotes to this subject are posted and shared on social media, but the next post is flaming someone again – why? Does it only work one way? Thank you for my one-eighth of a laurel leaf, where I can do as I like!

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