In high school, when I needed to get out of the house, I would take my parent's 1989 apple red, 4 cylinder Toyota 4 Runner through the streets of Colorado Springs. Those moments were all turns and hills and driving on a roller coaster with the windows down with the music as loud as I could stand it without embarrassing myself at stop lights. I would drive and drive and drive, mapping the city in my head, and plunging down my favorite roads over and over again.
Since that was long before the days of playlists, I had mix tapes upon mix tapes- one for every mood and theme imaginable. I needed the outlet. I needed to process things that I did not have words for and music is more than words. Music is a more romantic form of communication. It is so often better at expressing emotion than words, which try to pinpoint something oceanic.
I still get lost in music. I will turn to a song before I even know how I feel and it becomes a realization as I listen. I blast Foo fighters and Tool after a frustrating day- using it to unpack my anger. I play a song on repeat for days because it mirrors the change in season or a thought I just can't face yet. I que up some Goat Rodeo when I want to dig into a book or a project, letting the music give my mind a soothing, stimulating backdrop. I often wake up with a song that follows me for days, tapping me on the shoulder in every quiet moment. Like this song and this one, and this one. I go to concerts and a part of my soul is challenged by the vulnerability of a live performance. A song will break up stubborn internal ground, making way for The Spirit to say something particularly tender. Music is a great companion.
You can rest your head on it, breathe it in, bath in it, wear it, drink it in, be cleansed and comforted by it. You can wrap it around you like a blanket when the nights are cold. You can light the world on fire, dance, seduce, celebrate, mourn, explore, challenge, rally, soothe, and hope. Music can keep you company and serenade your loneliness. It lulls you to sleep and supercharges your work out. It accompanies you on a road trip and walks you down the aisle. There is a reason there are soundtracks, playlists, concerts, scores, and theme songs- we use music to process the world around us.
What about you? What things help you encounter and process life? What role dose music play in your life? What songs have been following you around?