I’m a person who likes to hold onto things.
This is evidenced by the fact that I still have the doll I was given the day I was born (yes her name is also Elizabeth, yes she was named after me) and my desk drawers that I stuff full with years-old birthday cards from my grandparents and now-wrinkled letters from friends. I keep these seemingly silly pieces of paper because they are a tangible reminder of the people I love. They give me a physical piece of the past to hold onto.
Despite my borderline hoarding, the past still always manages to run away from me. I think the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is that no matter how hard I try, nothing in life ever stays the same.
This semester especially feels like everything is changing. My routine is changing — I have new classes and a new schedule — omicron cases are rising rapidly, many of my friends are studying abroad thousands of miles away and I just started a new role as the audience engagement editor here at The Daily Tar Heel.
What brings me the most comfort amid the fast pace of life is music. I have always heavily associated songs with specific moments and people in my life, and when I listen to them again, I am reminded that no matter how much time has passed, I will still carry those memories with me.
The first song I remember associating with a specific memory is “Sweetest Thing” by U2. U2 has always been my dad’s favorite band, and this was one of the songs that played on repeat in our house while I was growing up. My dad convinced me that U2 had written the song about me, and being a gullible child of about 5 or 6 I, of course, believed him, and felt very special until I later learned that it was instead written about Bono’s wife.
Some songs remind me less of specific moments but more of time periods in my life. I played “BLEACH” by BROCKHAMPTON on repeat during the winter of my senior year of high school while applying to colleges, and “Saw You in a Dream” by The Japanese House while doing homework on the steps of Wilson Library my first semester at UNC.
While it’s impossible to compile every single song that has held significance in my life into one playlist, every song below reminds me of people and moments in time I hope to always remember.
So this semester, while I clean out my desk and try my best to embrace inevitable change instead of fearing it, I know that these songs — and the memories that go with them — will give me something to hold onto.
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