A year or two ago, I heard the song “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. It was like I was back in the 1990s in my friend’s living room on a random evening. Where music was always playing in the background. I don’t believe I’d ever heard Bittersweet before that moment, but it was oddly familiar. For all I know, that song was playing through the stereo speakers in my friend’s living room. It’s not the lyrics of this song so much; it’s the notes being played and the harmony behind it. It was the feeling I got when I heard the music.
For me, the 90s were about friends getting together in our homes to talk, laugh, play cards or board games. It was a time of good friends, good food, and good music. There were other songs that were playing in the background during that time. Songs that we didn’t always actively sing along with, but we had it playing in the background.
And now, years later, when I hear songs like “Bittersweet” or the music of Anita Baker, Kenny G, or John Coltrane, I am reminded of a wonderful time in my life. This music became part of the soundtrack of my life. As the years went by, I added more songs to my soundtrack. Songs that meant something to only me. Songs that brought me back to a good time (or even a bad time) in my life.
Soundtracks During Difficult Times
I was going to say that I couldn’t remember any songs that reminded me of bad times, but that’s not true. I remember hearing Michael Martin Murphy’s song “Wildfire” repeatedly when we were driving to a relative’s funeral. It was a three-hour drive and that song was wildly popular at that time. Therefore, I don’t remember that song with fondness and hearing it now does not make me feel happy.
So, I got to thinking…during the last two years of the global pandemic, what songs can I add to the soundtrack of my life? Songs that, when heard in the future, will make me smile and make me remember something good about this time? It’s been a difficult two years for me, but certainly not the worst two years of my life. I’ve had worse years.
It has been hard for me as all of my family and friends live on the other side of the country and it hasn’t been as easy to travel. I’ve been worried for family and friends who have either gotten COVID or they work on the healthcare front lines. It’s been hurtful to both witness and experience such insensitivity and disrespect of people who lash out at others who have different viewpoints. It’s been a difficult two years in these uncertain times.
Moving Forward and Adding to the Soundtrack
In late 2020, I made a conscious decision to limit my exposure to negativity and anger and the people or situations that cause it. I have surrounded myself with more positive and creative things like art, music, and humor. We haven’t been able to travel as much as we used to, so I’ve been going on day trip adventures, finding new places to make photographs. I’ve found myself appreciating the little things a lot more than I ever used to.
And all of that will be what I remember in future years, as I replay the background music that was the soundtrack of my life.