Monday, July 18, 2011

Counting Crows

I love Counting Crows, specifically their album August and Everything After. That was my favorite album when I was in middle school, and it probably still is. I don't know if it's because their music is that good or if it's totally related to the nostalgia, but I love listening to that CD.

Instantly, I am free. Counting Crows was around before I had kids, before I had a job, before I had a husband or even a boyfriend, before I had obligations. I was 13, thinking about boys and flat abs and painted toenails and self-tanner. I was totally consumed with me, and  I was happy.

When I listen to those songs, I am back in my tiny bedroom that was really too clean to belong to a middle school girl, with my CD player, twin bed, and window that looked out onto the wooded backyard. I remember my friends, the boys I liked, and the boys I thought liked me. I remember riding the bus, walking to the pool, sitting in class. I can even picture many of the clothes that were hanging in my closet. There is a strange peace in being self-absorbed, and I get flashes of that when I listen to those songs.

I still am happy, but it's a totally different happiness, of course. I have many more responsibilities, and those responsibilities carry more weight. The freedom simply isn't there. The happiness is hard-earned; it means more because of that, but it is heavier.

I think it's important to experience nostalgia. It reminds us who we are, because who we are is largely where we came from. For me, I was once 13, sitting in my bedroom, full of optimism and myself. When I climb into my empty minivan, I turn off the kids' Bible songs CD and turn on Counting Crows, and I feel like I am sharing a secret with myself. And it makes me smile.

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