I've heard that smell is the strongest of our senses linked to memory. For me though, it's hearing hands down because nothing affects my memory like music. I have a theory that everyone's life has its own soundtrack, filled with those songs that no matter where you are, if you hear them you are transported back in time.
My own soundtrack began with my mom strumming the guitar and singing "All I have to do is dream" by the Everly Brothers. I was probably about 3. Kenny Rogers's "The Gambler" oddly enough takes me back to both my barn lumber–paneled basement at the age of 8 when I just knew I would marry him and also to my surprise birthday party at age 22. Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me"? I'm dancing in a tent in Tammy's backyard in seventh grade. REM's "Everybody Hurts?" I'm sitting on the floor of my two-room apartment, tears streaming, high as a kite (sorry Mom and Dad but this blog is about honesty) and wondering if it's possible to die of a broken heart. The "Macarena?" I'm leading that dance with my two best college friends at a bar in Vegas. Alanis Morissette's "Head over Feet?" That's a big one. I'm sitting on my now husband's lap at the Pub in Whitewater, Wisconsin, realizing for the first time that this relationship is different than any of the others that came before.
After my wedding, the music fades for almost a decade. Is it just that the late 90s and early 2000s had terrible music? Possibly. Is it that life was uneventful? Maybe. It was pretty smooth sailing. I do remember when the music started again: when my daughter was born. In an odd mix that I think reflects the conflicted feelings I had about become a mother, both Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," take me back to our living room in a tiny house in Denver's Congress Park neighborhood where I'm dancing again—this time with a three-month-old who scares me to death with the amount of love she evokes in me.
Since that time, the music hasn't stopped. "Good Life" by One Republic now brings me back to last summer. I'm my car on I25. It's one of those brilliant early September days when the world is glowing with that luminescence that only autumn light can bring. After a brutal two years that tested my beliefs, my marriage and everything I knew about myself, I am happy again and hopeful for what's to come.
I don't know what song is next on my soundtrack, but good or bad, I can't wait to add it to the playlist.
What's on your soundtrack?