Remember that feeling? You know, the one where the past was irrelevant and time was of infinite supply? Well, for me, that was most of my early 20’s.
Recently one of my favorite artists released a new record. I have been listening to this particular artist since I was 18 and I am not ashamed to say that I still pour over every word that he writes and records, despite *potentially* being outside the target demographic. So I am going to take a moment today to remember being young. To remember the person I was when the emotions were tremendous and the moments small. To be 21 and invincible.
Andrew McMahon and the various projects he has been a part of have always held a sweet spot in my heart. When I was an angsty 19 year old who found parts of herself in dark punk rock clubs, the lanky man wailing on his keyboard spoke to the pain I could never even fathom as possible. Together we worked through love and loss, anger and the joy of release.
“Into the Airwaves” came along when I needed just an ounce of permission to venture west and leave the past behind. The west coast has held a tight grip on my heart and soul from that point forward. With this newest record I have a new sense of permission. A permission to love my journey. To love the words that made me fall in love with music. And the freedom to live in a world where driving too fast with the music too loud is never something you age out of.
I was intentional about how I first listened to this new release. I wanted to remember what it was like before music was automatically downloaded to your phone. I needed to remember what it felt like to be in suspense of the physical copy and liner notes. I needed 38 minutes where I wasn’t attached to the everyday minutia that I find myself surrounded with. So I went driving.
As I zipped and swerved* through the small towns outside of Austin, I sank into the sound. Driving down country highways listening to a story I have grown up alongside makes me so grateful for the roads I have traveled and pushes me to reconnect with the part of myself that has grown up (maybe) a little too much. The part of me that cries to perfect harmonies and takes time to get lost. The girl who took risks because the pain was as valuable a part of the experience as the blissful discovery of another corner of her soul.
I have taken some time to reflect on why this 38 minute drive was such a release. It turns out, I miss some of the parts of myself that I long ago thought I aged out of. Well now, maybe I choose not to. Maybe I choose to be present in every moment in a way that feels a little naive.
I think we discover so much of ourselves during those formative years it is almost unfair to pack them away as simply a learning experience or small phase in life. So for now I am going to live a little more in that space. The space that I so willingly occupied at 21 and have so fervently avoided these last few years.
Windows down, music up.
*Let it be known I drive a far less sexy car now than I did at 21, making the “zipping” and “swerving” a little less romantic than I was hoping for.