I have a complicated relationship with how things were before.
I often can’t decide if I love my home, or if Eastern Wake County is too much to bear for another weekend. I often can’t decide if I can give up the relationships and people I surrounded myself with for so long or if they are irreplaceable. It’s already my third year at UNC, and I still haven’t figured that stuff out yet.
Sometimes, I just want to relive parts of my life, especially the good parts. Without all of that, I wouldn’t be who I am — whoever that is.
What can possibly draw me back into those good moments?
I was a chorus kid in high school, and I still love to sing as much as I can. Some of my most happy moments, some of the best days of my life, came because I was singing — whether that be by myself in the car or with friends around a bonfire.
In the summer of 2017, I got invited to go on a trip to the Eno Rock quarry to spend a day on the water. My friend came to pick me up in an already-packed car, and I sat uncomfortably close to a girl I hadn’t met yet. After introducing myself, we had to put our faces way too close to one another so we could blow up a huge floaty that we were bringing to the quarry.
On the way, and only about halfway through blowing up the raft, a song that we all knew came on over the aux: “deep the water” by Lewis Watson. I sang my heart out — because it’s probably my all-time favorite song — and the girl I was sitting next to sang hers out too. Her name is Bella, and we’ve been dating for almost five years now.
Along with being in chorus in high school, I was on the tennis team. We were horrible at being a tennis team, but we were great at being a group of friends. Conference tournament day rolled around, which meant we got to skip class and go 45 minutes down the road to Smithfield to play.
We had to provide our own transportation. So, naturally, four of my closest friends and I drove with the windows down, telling stupid stories and laughing the whole way there. After we got our butts kicked by some of the best tennis players in the state, we got right back in the car and headed home, but not without yelling out the lyrics to “Stacy’s Mom” on the way. We still all say that was one of the best days of our lives, and “Stacy’s Mom” is still our group theme song.
Listening to music brings back incredible memories of incredible days — days that are impossible to relive any other way.
If I ever want to go back to the time we sang on the front porch of a remote mountain Airbnb, all I have to do is play “Rivers and Roads,” and I can immediately hear how we all sounded singing the harmonies together. If I ever want to go back to those early Saturday mornings watching the music videos channel on the TV, all I have to do is play "You Belong With Me." If I ever want to go back to watching Charlie Brown holiday specials during my childhood, all I have to do is play “Little Birdie.” It’s amazing.
To be clear, I recognize the songs below aren’t good together as a playlist, and some of the songs themselves aren’t even good ones. That's not the point, though.
These are the songs I used to sing, the songs that take me back to a taking-out-all-of-the-bad-stuff reality I wish I lived. Enjoy, or don’t. That’s your problem, not mine.
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