I love music. I was a HUGE fan of the 80s and 90s big hair, metal bands. I knew the lyrics to every Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Journey song in high school and yes, even now.
Music is intertwined with my life’s soundtrack of memories. A song comes on the radio and I remember where I was, what I was wearing and even what emotion I felt as I listened. It is as if music grants me lifetime access to my life – even when I forget it – it can instantly remind me of a memory so far deep into my mind’s file cabinet that it startles me with its clarity.
And it was because of this – that I had to step away from all of the music I loved— for several years.
The moment I became separated from my husband, every song tied to our 20 years together felt like my entire life, my whole identity was on a slow, painful replay.
Each song I heard that I loved reminded me of a life I was no longer sure about in that moment. I couldn’t stay immersed in that music—it was too supercharged for me.
What I didn’t realize at the time . . . that this was completely normal.
When you find yourself smack in the middle of a life change, it is normal for your “old you” to feel like a favorite sweater that no longer feels quite right.
My amazing mentor, Dr. Martha Beck, speaks of this metamorphosis as a melting down of one’s former identity into something completely new. And her keen analysis leads me to my next confession. I fell in love with country music.
Here’s where those of you who’ve known me my whole life, “gasp!”. (Insider secret . . . I vehemently disliked country music all my life, even to go as far as denounce it publicly and refuse to have it playing in my presence).
Since I elected to evict myself out of my “former life” – I found myself in a liberating quandary. Yes, there was pain I was sifting through as I melted down the parts of me that were leaving – and yet, it opened up a space for someone new to emerge. How powerful it felt when I realized I could re-design myself in this very moment.
And this realization led me to “try on” many different music genres that I had ignored in my comfortable space of the familiar. I began a romance with music that led me to fall in love again . . . with parts of me that were emerging, with new musical energy, and songs that now held my present moment.
As painful as it is to let something go you love, what can take its place is magical at the very heart of the transformation.
I eventually was able to go back to the music I loved and listen to it again without the tears. Yet, it holds a different space for me now, like flipping through old scrapbooks and reminiscing.
Could you fall in the love with the very thing you despised all your life? It’s an interesting proposition. Each day, each decision is of our choosing. Sometimes by choosing the thing that feels most foreign or uncomfortable, we invite a little magic in our lives.