A long time ago, I fell in love with the band Dashboard Confessional. Sometimes, when I’m really frustrated with what is on the radio while I’m driving the half an hour+ commute from or to work, I’ll pull out those old beloved EP’s and sing at the top of my lungs to some of my favorites. Remember to Breathe is one of them. Another would be Hands Down. At my wedding, I actually was escorted down the aisle by my father to the Vitamin String Quarter version of Hands Down (see below): .
I notice that a lot of the songs I used to be in love with don’t really apply to me anymore. But I still sing with them at maximum vocal power, and I remember all those emotions that used to sweep over me when the songs really did represent something that was actually happening to me at that time in my life. Sometimes it feels like songs are more like memories. My childhood best friend and I have a strong connection via music and lyrics. Fairly often, I’ll receive a text message from her in the middle of the day or night with just a lyric from one of the many songs we used to listen to over and over again during high school. And the memories flood back to me of those moments that are now….a long time ago.
I was getting ready for a neighborhood party this weekend and had my Pandora on playing in the house and the beginning chords of a song that overpowers me every time I hear it started and I just had to stop what i was doing, and listen (Alien by BUSH if you must know). And again – I’m transported back to a specific time in my life and I can’t help but have those old feelings wash over me again even though absolutely none of the things that I feel when I listen to the song relates to my life now.But that doesn’t mean that you don’t remember how it felt.
Yesterday, I was having a conversation over what I’ll call an unusual “happy hour” gathering by our office – and someone said they were having a hard time relating to someone who was trying to heal from a broken heart. For me, I find it impossible to forget what it feels like to have a broken heart. Even though I’m in an awesome relationship and happy – I just don’t think those feelings will ever truly fade from my memory. Maybe that isn’t the same for everyone. Or maybe I’ll feel differently when it’s been several decades ago. But man, I still remember how much my heart hurt after ruined and failed relationships in my past. That doesn’t mean I’m interested in re-visiting any of those relationships by any means, but I just feel like I will never forget even if i try.
And even if i did manage to forget for awhile, I would eventually hear a song that brought it back to me crystal clear. For me, it’s just the way I store memories – they are associated with a song.
In general, I think I have a hard time forgetting past emotions and really, that’s a big part of my struggle with trying to be a better, healthier person. It can be difficult to let go of how I’ve failed in the past, and I clearly remember the disappointment of trying and not succeeding. But I’m trying to turn it around and look at the upside. That as much as I might remember a time when I didn’t do something right or feel 100% about things – I can also have clear memories of me succeeding, achieving my goals and I need to fuel the down in the dumps days with the memories of a day well done.
So my homework is to find a song that signifies success and inspiration so that i can blast it in my car on the down days to remind me that tomorrow is a new day with so many opportunities to succeed. What do you do to keep yourself motivated when times are tough?