I’ve joked for years that the human body is a time machine.
This idea invades both my creative work and my cocktail party anecdotes. But it’s something I believe with sincerity. We steer ourselves through the years as they unfold, like taking a car cross country. And like the family station wagon, our biological time machines suffer wear and tear. The odd maintenance is required to keep things running smoothly.
I’ve spent a good deal of my life amassing music to accompany me on my escapades through time and space; collecting records, making and sharing mixes, and shelling out way too much for concert tickets. I’m very much a twentieth-century soul in regards to my music, a connoisseur who can’t stand how Spotify has diminished the importance of the album.
To me, songs are the vessels for memories, the time capsules where we store who we used to be. They can evokes moments from years long since past and remind us how we got to here.
Of course, this can be dangerous, as not all nostalgia is good nostalgia. The heartsick longing for the past can rob you of the present. To combat this, I’m constantly striving to find my next favorite song. I often ask myself what I’ll be nostalgic for in future, once the present has become the past.
I suppose this is dangerous too, as I’ve realized recently how trying to preserve a moment can soil it. Instead of just letting things be, I have a nasty habit of trying to make moments more than they are for the sake of remembering them.
Often, the most significant moments in our lives are the ones we can’t anticipate. We have to let life rearrange itself and take what comes, cranking the volume knob and learning the word to our next favorite song as we go.