The song begins with drums and electric bass, followed by a keyboardriff. The riff is also used as a fill between verse and chorus sections and is also played at the end. The section order is intro-verse-fill-chorus-bridge-v-f-c-b-solo-c-outro.[original research?]
"My Life" was used as the theme song for the ABC television series Bosom Buddies (1980–82), albeit in a re-recorded version with a different vocalist. However, due to licensing issues it does not appear on the VHS and DVD releases of the series, nor is it used in the show's syndicated airings; in both cases, it is replaced by a vocal version of the show's closing instrumental theme, "Shake Me Loose", sung by Stephanie Mills, who, like Joel, also originated from New York City.
A portion of the lyrics were used in A's track "Number One" from their debut album How Ace Are Buildings, earning Joel a writing credit. The lyrics borrowed are:
"Got a call from an old friend, used to be real close
Said he couldn't go on the American way
Sold his house, sold his car
Bought a ticket to the West Coast
Now he gives 'em a stand-up routine in L.A."