What’s the Soundtrack of Your Life?

I’ve had a hard couple of weeks. Lots to do. Not enough time. Not feeling adequate. When I get in one of these “I suck” frames of mind, it’s sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So I’m constantly surprised at the ability of music to snap me out of my bad mood. Last week, when I was literally almost in tears after a particularly challenging shopping experience with the children (which, by the way, as with everything, was totally my fault for going at a totally bad time when the kids were both tired and hungry), I got in the car, turned on the radio, and got this:

Now maybe I’m dating myself with this, but this particular song reminds me of a particularly wild, hormonal, exciting time in my life (and no, I don’t mean pregnancy). I can see faces of old friends when I hear this song and it snapped me out of my bad mood instantly.

When it was followed up by this one, I knew that someone was out there trying to cheer me up:

So all week, as I’ve neglected ChezArtz and several other projects, I’ve been thinking about this experience and turning on the radio in anxious anticipation of more songs from what I now refer to as the soundtrack of my life. Like Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical character in Almost Famous, I dig music.

And there are just certain songs that will bring a smile to my lips regardless of what is going on in that particular moment. Need some more examples? How about this one, that always makes me think of a shaggy-haired rogue who stole my heart when I was 20:

Or this one, that will forever remind me of cruising in a Chrysler Lebaron with my best friend with the top down just before Freshman year of college:

These songs, although not all from the same era musically, all evoke a time in my life–that crazy era from senior year of high school up until I met Matt junior year–when I was trying, and often failing, to figure out who I was. Now that I have the benefit of emotional and spatial distance, this seems like just about the best time in my life. Unfettered by responsibility, accountable to no one (including my future self, who would like to take this opportunity to scold my former self for endangering our life, disrespecting our sacred body, and neglecting our studies oh so many times!), this person comes alive, if only for 5 minutes, each time I hear one of these songs.

For those of you who know me, I know you’re screaming, “surely she’s not going to end this post without the Grateful Dead.” I’d never disappoint:

Can I take this moment of self-reflection to share a story about my father, who passed away two years ago? He hated everything about the Grateful Dead. He actually went as far as to cover the words Grateful Dead on my back windshield with duct tape when he drove my car (he neglected the Lorax & Cat in the Hat stickers, and the acid bears dancing across my windshield, but we’ll forgive that omission). And he asked me one time, “Why would anyone be grateful to be dead?” I hear you now, Dad. But I still love Jerry and his band…

This era was 1993-1995 for me. And the songs, I’ve already mentioned. What is the soundtrack of your life? What does it mean to you?

4 thoughts on “What’s the Soundtrack of Your Life?

  1. So I finally got around to reading this post. I could’ve filled in the songs just by reading the text.

    It is so good to love and know someone the way I know and love you.

    By the way, my memory of the STP track revolves around a box fan bedazzled with glow-in-the-dark stars and two young men, arm in arm, several MGD long necks deep, weeping at the top of my parents’ stairs. I’m sure my car figures in there somewhere, too!! Awful white hubcaps hurling themselves across 86th street, maybe???


  2. Thanks for sharing the memories — even if they are different for each of us! No Woman No Cry happens to be one of my “major” sound tracks, as I heard it for the first time, while visiting France for the first time, on my first late night out on my own with just a few older French boys as “chaperons!”. lol. What was my mom thinking?

    Also, despite having lived in Boulder since 1970, my dad asked me over lunch, 2 years AFTER Jerry died, what the big deal was “with this guy named Jerry!?!” Too bad your Dad was not possessed with the same naivete!

  3. It will take a whole other post to cover Matt songs–this one only covered up to age 20 (I met Matt a few days after my 21st birthday)…

    But I hear you. Music IS like water to me too sometimes!

  4. Music is so magical! I literally NEED music sometimes. I thirst for it like water! Tim has been making fun of me bc I have a whole series of songs on my iPod that remind me of how in love with him I am. He thinks I’m insane…but whatever works to keep the flame burning works for me 🙂

    Some songs I either love or HATE bc hearing them takes me immediately back to the place I was when I heard them. It’s funny, bc not everyone has that emotional connection to songs!

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