the songs that have shaped me

suddenly you’re 21 and you’re screaming along in the car to all the songs you listened to when you were sad in middle school and everything is different and everything is good.

I saw this quote when scrolling through my twitter the other day, and I found it ironic, as I was piecing together a playlist called “songs that have shaped me.” Songs that were my anthems in middle school, that I had forgotten about in these last eight years. Songs that I had played on repeat during the hard times and the good times of my early teenage years. Songs that I listened to to feel understood. Songs that resonated with where I was at in that moment.

And now I am 20 and these songs have taken different meanings, even though the tune and the melody and the words stay the same. My heart beats in a different way, it swells to different verses. The memories made with those songs playing in the background feel so distant, so far back in my mind. They’re covered in cobwebs and dust and filed under a box that’s labeled “my awkward days”. It’s funny how when I was living those days, I felt as though they’d never end. I felt as though I would forever be awkward and uncool. But I’ve come to realize that everyone has boxes that they place pictures of brace-faced smiles and peace signs and terrible haircuts. Everyone’s lived through awkward years. Its funny how I thought I was the only one back then.

I can’t help but sink into the wave of nostalgia that washes over me when I hear these familiar melodies. I’m transported back to the golden days, back to those moments lived with the people I loved the most. It’s bittersweet, really. We grew up to be pretty amazing people, but we had to leave some things, some people along the way. It’s hard not to let the pain of losing them to bleed into the happiness that those memories bring. there are songs that remind me specifically of someone, and it sends shivers down my spine as I am torn between remembering what it was like when he was still here and remembering what it is like now that he is gone. I try to let the memories stay untainted by the inky black. But there are a few stains.

It seems like yesterday that I was 14 with my headphones in on a bus beach bound. But it also feels like a lifetime ago. And yet suddenly I am twenty with headphones in west bound, with new friends and new songs and new memories and new destinations. And it’s strange to think that in six, seven, ten years from now I will hear these songs and remember these times. I will feel nostalgic for these times. I will miss these people, I might miss who I was. It’s difficult to wrap my mind around that sometimes. Some day when I am thirty the songs that I listened to when i was thirteen will take me back.

It’s strange and beautiful… life is a soundtrack that never stops. Each chapter, each week, month, year has its own anthem. I am constantly adding songs to this playlist. It’s both scary and amazing how they can take me back to simpler times, harder times, better times. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking that they can take me back to the people I’ve lost, the people who have left, the people that I’ve loved, the person I’ve been.

I wonder who I will become. I wonder what songs will resonate with me in the future. I wonder what songs I will turn to when I am sad. I wonder what songs I will sing along to in the car. I wonder who I will share those songs with.

if you would like to listen to my playlist for october, you can here


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