Listening to music while writing late at night, I found myself clicking through various Google All Access radio stations. A familiar band came up, then another that I recognized, melodies that I hadn’t heard in a very long time. I listened, kept searching for them... the same songs I listened to at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen--in dark bedrooms, staying up on the phone way later than I should; in the car, driving around, trying to imagine my future, my uncertain, untapped potential; on the deck in the heat of the summer, struggling to decipher the wellspring of emotions that sprung forth from somewhere within me.
I listen to these songs at twenty-six and smile. Back then, I was so concerned, so focused, on what the future would look like. I had a hard time living in the moment. I wanted whatever came next, after high school, so damn badly. But even as I was wanting it, I found myself realizing that it was not going to go the way I wanted to (at least at that time). These songs fill me with nostalgia like the best of them and suddenly I’m transformed into that girl who wore her heart on her sleeve, who loved hard and played hard and, despite her best efforts, was guilty of being impatient, of trying to rush her destiny. (Maybe I'm still that girl in a way. Maybe she'll always be a part of me.)
At twenty-six, I have the knowledge that the destiny, the future that girl was waiting for, is just so much better than she ever could have pictured. Now, I listen to these songs, and while I think about the past, I also think about the present… about the man sleeping in the next room over, the very love of my life. And it is then that the waves of nostalgia are washed out by the deepest, most overwhelming contentment, true happiness and devotion. I never could have imagined how twenty-six might look, but I would not have it any other way.