Music as a Snapshot


If you ever struggle to remember the places you went, the people you were with and the way you felt at a particular time in your life, all you need to do is dust off your cassette tapes, thumb through your CD collection or pick apart your iTunes library. It may sound silly, but sometimes all you need is just one song to bring you back to a moment, just a few chords to revive a distant (or not-so-distant) memory.

Longtime readers of my blog are aware of how obsessive I am when it comes to creating mix CDs. Although I haven’t created any new ones lately (my car is overflowing with them!), I still listen to the old ones from time to time, and they remind me of the experiences I had and the lessons I learned from them when the CD was first made. During today’s 3-hour drive, I listened to the second mix CD I ever made for my car, and it transported me to September 2009, when I was nineteen years old and just beginning my freshman year of college. When that one Taylor Swift song plays, I picture myself back in the car with my summer roommates, singing along as we each hoped that cute upperclassman boy would fall for us. Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails conjure images of the guy I should never have given a chance, and Chris Brown’s Forever reminds me of my friendship with my now-roommate as it developed from freshman year.

I don’t advocate dwelling on the past, but revisiting old music preferences in the present-day can bring back a flood of memories and remind us of how we’ve grown in the time that has passed. It allows us to remember those previous events from a fresh perspective, to reflect on what we’ve learned from our experiences and mistakes. So why not uncover the playlist you created when you were eighteen, sit back and listen? Don’t stick yourself in 2008 for too long, but smile at the now-ancient stories and be proud of yourself for all you have accomplished since then.

Leave a Reply