I need your kind help understanding the line "Won't you take the time you were given" used in a song by Glen Hansard called My Little Ruin - full lyrics available here.

Come on, my little ruin
Won't you build yourself back up again
Won't you take the time you were given
You promised it to yourself
You could stand among the best of them
If you could hold your own
But no one's gonna do it for you now
But you and you alone

  • You don't want a translation. Translation means it's being changed from one language to another. You want to understand it, you want an explanation.
    – Catija
    Dec 12, 2016 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


There is a belief that each person is given a certain amount of time to live

the time we are given (on this earth)

the singer is saying that his friend should use all the time they were given to pick themselves back up again, and not end it prematurely.

  • Perfect, thanks a lot, you have been very helpful.
    – Venda
    Dec 12, 2016 at 23:21
  • 1
    @Peter: I agree with the meaning of 'time we are given', but I don't see anything that would imply that the person referred to in the song is going to 'end it prematurely'...
    – mike
    Dec 13, 2016 at 1:11
  • It is not explicitly said, but given the amount of depression that's being described it's a possibility, otherwise why else would the singer care how much time is left?
    – Peter
    Dec 13, 2016 at 3:59

The writer of the song, Glen Hansard, has mentioned in multiple interviews, that the song "My Little Ruin" is written about a good friend of his, who, not matter what happens, keeps screwing up his life. Prior to playing the song in this video, he states that the song is about

a friend who is a deeply, deeply gifted, talented human being, but insists completely on f**king up every time things go right. This is someone who steals defeat from the jaws of victory.

In the song, he is telling his friend to pay no heed to others, but to pick himself up, pull himself together and use his time on earth wisely, because no-one else is going to do it for him.

Another interview about the song can be found here.

  • Thanks a lot for your exhaustive answer. However, I was asking about that one particular phrase :-)
    – Venda
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:34

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