I don't think of myself as being very high maintenance. In fact, I would say that at least outwardly I'm extremely low maintenance. Right now, I'm sprawling on my bed in a white hippy skirt that has a number of holes and at least two stains. After egregiously neglecting to wear sunscreen the other day, I have a patchy pink burn on my arms and legs, my toe-nail polish is chipping, and my hair has been unceremoniously stuffed beneath a pair of headphones. This is classic me, and I don't care. I do care intensely about the music being piped through those headphones. It's an addiction, and though it isn't always as obnoxious as a shopping addiction or a compulsive craving for spray-tanning, it can be just as physically and mentally ravaging.
The amount, texture, quality, and consistency of the music that I hear can affect my mood for the entire day. If I wake up and Elliott Smith's "Everything Reminds Me of Her" is streaming from my radio, then my blue sky will most likely be tinged with a few gray clouds. If I wake up to the Grateful Dead, then I will have an almost insatiable desire to play outside, a.k.a. hug trees and roll in the grass. At the same time, most of my music has an indelible connection to the people who are currently part of and have been part of my life. Best friends, ex-boyfriends, old friends, and new friends are all tied to songs, as is the majority of my emotional baggage. "Time Bomb" by Rancid will always remind me of the summer of 2004; "Good Riddance" by Green Day of 2005; "Something To Do With My Hands" by Her Space Holiday of 2006; "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" by the Counting Crows of 2007; and 2008, well, I'm don't know yet. Led Zeppelin will always make me think of Spring 2002, but is that a good thing?
It's a gift to know that there's something in this world that I can completely lose myself in, but a curse to know that I can be lost so easily. It's wonderful to feel that you aren't alone in the universe in the existential sense, but at the same time it hurts to know that there will never be quite enough music to categorize and contemplate your personal anxieties and uncertainties, hopes and fears. Sometimes you have to compose your own soundtrack.
So here I sit with my sunburn and my messy hair, listening to Joel after Dylan and ZOX after Mason Jennings, arranging, rearranging, and researching sounds. It's not glamorous to happen upon a "Museum Playlist" from iTunes, and it's not particularly cool to sit here and ponder the connection between a live version of "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and "Sayuri's Theme" by John Willams (And what any of it has to do with museums? And why it all has to be so sad?). The coolness factor, however, has very little to do with the fact that this is exactly what I'm doing at this very moment. At the same time, I'm mentally designing my own museum playlist, and wondering which museum I'll inhabit next; and, I'm also hoping that some of the people who read this post will be inspired to do the same. In the end, the soundtrack of your life (and your life itself) is all what you make of it. Why not make it shine?