I've always been called out for my strong memory. I'm the one in a group of friends who can recall the most random moments from start to finish of the story. Though many are often impressed with my ability to retrieve moments from the past without struggle, others frequently question, "How the HECK did you remember that?" Sometimes, my response is, "I don't really know, to be honest," but other times, it is the melodies that are associated with these memories that make the retrieval simple.
Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back" and Eric Church's "Springsteen" serve as perfect anthems for this concept because it is true, Kenny, "every time I hear that song, I go back" too. I see the people around me, I feel the strong emotions associated with that point in time, and I feel as if I am standing in those previous shoes of mine all over again. Eric, it is "funny how a memory sounds like a melody" because I often hear and see those memories flood through my mind time and time again.
It was "Up!" and "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" that I belted in the car as a teeny first-grader with my mom as she picked me up from school and dropped me off at dance class. It was "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen and "Chelsea Dagger" by the Fratellis that my dad would play on our drives to soccer games to fire me up for the game before me. It was "California King Bed" by Rihanna, "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum, and "Son of Man" from the Tarzan soundtrack with my brothers, where we discovered the littlest one had the voice of an angel, the oldest was shockingly in tune with his falsetto, and I was indeed tone deaf.
It was "Hey Soul Sister" with my grandparents when my grandfather and I attempted to teach my grandmother every word, but she kept getting tripped up on "hey mista, mista," then would burst out into a loud giggle. These anthems are what brings a smile to my face when I am missing my family the most and need to time travel to my favorite moments.
"Timber" by Ke$ha was the melody that welcomed me to my college soccer team. "See You Again" by Carrie Underwood was the song that triggered my waterworks when I moved nine hours away from home my freshman year. "Fix You" by Coldplay and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel sends tears down my face and goosebumps down my skin when I think about my grandpa who passed away from cancer my junior year. "Work" by Rihanna instantly reminds me I cannot dance because my college roommate would absolutely jam to that song and show up everyone else on the dance floor. "Lipgloss" and "Swalla" by Chris Brown instantly transport me to my favorite house to be in on the weekends, with my closest friends in a circle, attempting to sport our best moves (key word: attempting, although it really only applies to me).
"Body Like a Backroad" takes me to the night I drove around campus, windows down, tunes blasting, with some of my favorite people, driving far, far away from the thoughts that our senior year of college was coming to a close. "I'm the One" by DJ Khaled serves as the final tune of my college experience. "Praying" by Ke$ha serves as the ultimate reminder that my heart deserves the very best. "How Does It Sound" by Dylan Schneider" and "Meant to Be" by Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha highlight my exciting move to Boston and my plunge into post-grad life. "Nobody Knows" by the Lumineers and "While You Still Can" by Brothers Osborne remind me that time is short and your journey is what you make of it.
Now, enough about my soundtrack. I want you to find yours. Music has this impeccable power of bringing us back to the moments that we adore the most, the moments that may have hurt us but have left us with ultimate lessons, moments that are forever engraved in our memory. When those songs queue up on your own Spotify or Apple Music, play in a restaurant or the mall, or wherever it is you may hear them, I hope you smile, knowing how much they have shaped you. I hope you realize they are your time machine. They take you back to the places you thought you would never see again. As you grow older, your soundtrack will become longer, because your life will be filled with more and more moments that make you who you are and your heart complete.