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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Songs for 20 years of life

Taylor Barnhill - Copy Board Administrative Director
Taylor Barnhill Copy Board Administrative Director

As I write my office DJ debut, it’s exactly six days and 14 hours from my 20th birthday. 

Though I’ve been an adult for a little while now, something about deserting the '-teen' at the end of my age feels scarily definitive. I know it doesn’t really mean much — 7299 days of life is hardly different from 7300 — but I can’t help but feel that, after two decades, I really should know what I’m doing.

Sure, I have some ideas. I know I enjoy writing and editing, illustration and research. I know I value a career in something that’s fulfilling and uses my interests. And I know that, above all, I want to make the world a more empathetic, more peaceful place. 

But the truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing. At all. And I’m learning that a lot of being a human is like that. We work on things we care about, take opportunities as they come up and try not to worry too much about post-grad job prospects in the humanities. 

Well, that last one might just be me. I’m working on it.

Something about aging that I’ve always appreciated, though, is knowing that future Taylor knows a heck of a lot more than current Taylor does. All of the things I’ve worried about in the past — like landing jobs and getting into college — have all worked out, both in ways I expected and in ways I didn’t see coming. 

And, above all, I know that I can rely on future me just as much as I can rely on current me. So when I’m taking those baby steps of looking for opportunities and focusing on my passions, I’m learning to trust that future Taylor has the details handled. And she’s probably handling it while listening to her whole music library on shuffle, just like she has in the years before.

I know, I know. But don’t knock it till you try it — you find some great song transitions that way. 

In gifting you all this office DJ, I’m giving you a look into the current and the previous versions of me. My tastes have broadened, certainly, but songs like "Use Somebody" and "When I Come Around" go just as hard as they did when I first downloaded them onto my iPod touch. 

There are early-2000s alternative songs for revisiting your emo phase ("Sugar, We’re Goin Down" and "Hanging By A Moment") and songs for commiserating when you’re missing home ("Into The Mystic" and "Fire and Rain"). 

There are songs that remind me of loved ones ("New Slang" and "Hallelujah") and songs that remind me of loved artists ("Yours & Mine" and "Wild Horses II")

And, well, there are just songs that I like. Both new and old, from all over the place. Some sad, some happy — all ones that have meant something to past and current me. 

So I hope that, when you listen to this cacophony of genres, you remember to trust yourself both now and in the future. You’ve gotten through all the hardship life has thrown your way so far, and there’s no reason why you can’t keep getting through it.

All the versions of Taylor believe in you — and they recommend listening to this music on shuffle at least once. It’s fun that way. 


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