Everyone has a coping mechanism. Some of us cope with our hardships by writing. Some through working out. Some through sleeping. Some through talking and crying and venting. We all have different ways of getting through the darker days. I know that, for me, writing has been a huge way for me to just let it all out and feel better, but sometimes I just get blocked. I can’t find my way through writing sometimes. Writing takes work, and sometimes, when I’m down in the dumps, the last thing I want to do is work. These are the times when I would rather just listen.
Music has been a huge part of my life since I can remember. Ever since I had Boys 2 Men cassette tape blasting from my room when I was seven, music has been there. I owe much of this to my parents who showed me Buffalo Springfield, The Bee Gees and The Guess Who. I would sit in their room and listen to all their vinyl that they grew up listening to. One of the worst days ever was when we lost all those records in a fire. I’ve been trying to recreate their collection ever since.
As a writer, I find myself being obsessed with the lyrical content of a song. I hang on every word as John Mayer or Lana del Ray croon about their lost lovers. “I feel the SAME way!,” I think to myself as I turn up the volume on my car stereo. I’m obsessed with lyrics. I want to know what they mean, who they were written for, what they’re about, and how can I take something away from them. I want to be able to relate to the song I’m listening to.
There is just something so powerful about connecting with an artist through their music. Those lyrics that the artist has written (or if you’re Britney Spears, someone else has written) are seeping through the speakers of your stereo and flowing through your soul. That’s some heavy stuff, people.
In our twenties, we’re going through a lot of stuff. We’re in college (or graduated and completely lost). We’re finding jobs (or crying into our Starbucks coffee about not having a job). We’re trying to find someone special to spend our time with (or going on terrible OKCupid dates). It’s so much to deal with at an age where we don’t really have anything figured out. I can be extremely overwhelming at times. That’s when I like to turn to the simpler things—like music.
When I feel like I may have a mini-breakdown because things are just not going my way, I like to turn to music to help me through it. One chorus, one lyric, one note in a song can change my entire day. I can dance in my room to Katy Perry. I can cry to/with Bon Iver. I can bob my head with The Punch Brothers.
I’ve learned that there is a lot in our lives that we cannot control. There is a lot of stuff that happens to us that is just completely out of our hands and we have no other choice but to sit back and watch it all happen. That can be a hard pill to swallow. We want control of our lives, and as life loves to teach us, we don’t always get what we want.
But one thing we can control is the music we listen to. And I know this sound small and trivial, but at least it’s something. With music, we can soothe our broken hearts. We can smile when we feel like the world is coming down on us—hard. We can turn it up, tune everything else out, and just breathe easy for two and a half minutes. I’m thankful for that.
Which brings me to the fun part of this week’s column! I thought since I love music so much and since it’s become such a large part of my twenties, I would make a playlist for you guys of all the songs I’ve been jamming to lately that have been a huge release and relief for me as I meander through being a twenty-something. Listen and enjoy!