For Everything There Is A Season
I have not listened to "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers since graduating college.
My 2016 Boston College grads feel me on this. That song might be on every single playlist I made those four years. It was the party song. It's a great workout track. We'd bump it on car rides—out of state, to the local grocery store, it didn't matter. On my 22nd birthday, my best friends threw me a party, and I stood on a table while I and a roomful of humans shouted "I NEVERRRRRR" at top volume. I don't remember a time when I didn't know all the words (honestly, does anyone not know all the words?).
It's not my favorite song by any means; I don't think it would even make my top ten. But it's ours.
Over the past eight months, I haven't been able to bring myself to play it. Maybe it's come on at a bar or party here or there, but mostly, if I hear that opening two-note riff these days, something in me just freezes up. This isn't the soundtrack to your life anymore, a voice whispers cruelly. You don't get this part of you back yet.
In a previous life, I was definitely a DJ.
I love music. Headphones, Spotify, new discoveries and old favorites—I've always found solace there, but now, it's become an outlet away from work. My introverted-extrovert self can shine—by myself, making mixtapes and playlists and something I can share with others. I love music and how it fits me. It's something to do. I spend a lot of time on it.
I've wondered lately—if I wasn't in book publishing, would I be in the music world? I'm not musically talented myself, but it's an industry perhaps I should have explored, considering how happy it makes me. I could have been in PR, written for Pitchfork, worked somewhere at a label or I don't know what. There were options. I could have tried for them. Maybe I would have been happy.
For all the struggles of my post-grad job search, and all the questions it's brought me, in my heart of hearts I know I picked the right path. Book publishing is a hell of a world and I love being in it. But what have I missed? What's going on in the music world I never knew? Is it possible to have FOMO—fear of missing out, that enigmatic gnaw at your heart that says you should be anywhere but where you are—is it possible to feel that for something I was never a part of to begin with?
Somehow, I don't want to know. It doesn't feel right to me, like a Cinderella-shoe life, just out of reach, moving further away from love the harder I try to make it fit.
My head dares me, look how cool and shiny it is, go after it, make it yours if you really love it. My heart says, quietly, maybe. But not now. And maybe not at all.
Because look around. Look at what you already have, and love, and find joy in. Those things are not broken. Is it the time yet to fix them?
For everything there is a season. This piece is a lot of words to explain that one simple thing. About the future, about looking forward, about patience and waiting. Not so simple, though, when some seasons have already ended, or when others look like they will never find ways to begin. Not so simple when you can hardly tell what "season" you're in when you wake up in the morning—sometimes I feel like a real-world veteran, other times like I'm on extended summer vacation and the semester is gonna start any day now.
For everything there is a season, and for us new grads, maybe 2017 was always to be the season of confusion, of feeling like we don't quite fit in, like our lives don't quite fit us. And there's no way to wrap it up all pretty. I think we—I—just have to ride it out.
I think meaning will come out of the madness later on. I think for every season, there is a soundtrack, and it won't match the ones that came before. I think this season will be one of many playlists, many discoveries, trying some things on repeat and others not at all.
And the thing is, what's past is still recent, and isn't gone yet, and probably won't ever be. Because I can envision what it might feel like to not skip "Mr. Brightside." I think I'll be out running, approaching the end of a long workout. I'll hear that two-note riff and think, This is what home felt like. I'll want to scream "I NEVERRRRRR" at the top of my lungs. Maybe I will.
And I'll smile, and keep running forward, and the next track will begin.