I’d forgotten I’d made a separate tumblr for writing, until just now.
My friend Billy puts together mix tapes. He posts them (almost) monthly on his blog. I’ve enjoyed the last 14 installments - I sometimes think he has the best music taste in the world, and if you could see a list of all of the vinyl he owns, you’d probably think the same. He has a real knack for conveying really human situations through his mixes, most of which come to exist as he strings together songs during his travels with his band. I know that if I were in his situation that constant traveling, culture shock and being away from your friends and family would take it’s toll - in both positive and negative ways.
His latest mix, ‘Like A Window In Your Heart’ (named from Paul Simon’s Graceland) explores being at a crossroad in life, but in a less negative way than you’d assume. It’s more about reflection on the things that have brought you to the place you are now, enjoying and celebrating the things you have and considering where you will go next. It’s finding comfort in the fact that you’re not alone - and although somewhat schadenfreude-ish, finding some consolation that what you’ve experienced is unlikely to be unique to you.
And I think that schadenfreude aspect is what really drew me to this mix. Obviously I’m not taking pleasure in Billy’s, or anyone’s pain or exploration, but comfort, definitely. Billy and I happen to be the same age, with what I feel are pretty similar sensibilities, and probably facing the same kind of experiences along with the rest of the 27 year old population. I’ve found it to be a particularly strange year, wherein I’ve simultaneously struggled with getting older and feeling the pressure to slot into normalcy, but also really wanting to just settle down and put the drama of youth behind me (which is ironic, being that I am a youth worker, and will never escape it). I’ve struggled to find a balance between my old convictions and being an adult. I’ve struggled fighting for something that sometimes seems so amazing, and at other times feels as though it may destroy me. I’ve struggled with even staying here. I’ve sat awake in the middle of the night, hell bent on getting out, wondering how I could put together enough money just to leave and start somewhere new. I’ve struggled with wanting to be safe, be secure, be comfortable … and being terrified that I’m going to miss out on something.
I don’t know which path to take right now, and in the past this would’ve made me pretty anxious. But lately, I’ve started to take more time to contemplate things. How I got here. What was good, what was bad, what can change and what needs to stay the same. I won’t lie, it’s more of a drawn out process than I am used to - no jumping to quick decisions based on heightened emotion, but it seems to be working. And it’s helped me to really appreciate what I have in life - and to identify things and times and places in life that I actually deserve more or better.
I am hopeful, and I think that’s one of the really nice things about being an relatively well functioning “adult”. That no matter how shitty things get, there is usually something to grab hold of (although I should check my privilege with that statement). A friend, your family, your partner, music, this mix tape … things to hold you up while your feet find the ground again, and things to cherish when times get rough.