Music has a powerful presence in our lives.
When there are celebrations and happy occasions, there’s joyful song.
Music is used for praise and worship.
When some of us feel sad, we turn to soothing melodies.
We need fast beats to exercise and slow tunes to inspire romance.
I enjoy listening to music when I feel angry or betrayed in some way.
I also enjoy the odd tune when I am cooking and unwinding after a long day.
We have music as a central part of our history and journey of being alive.
Every person on Earth has a soundtrack to their life story.
Songs are attached to intense moments along our journey.
Certain songs remind me of pivotal moments in my life.
Each stage and chapter are perfectly paired with a music sheet that contains songs and melodies that can stir up vivid memories and emotions.
Music education was one of my favourite subjects to teach when I was still a grade schoolteacher.
I particularly enjoyed letting the children identify emotions that come up when hearing certain pieces of music.
Were they feeling sad or happy when that song played? Or maybe energized or calm?
How wonderful is the fact that melody can transport us to an emotional world of feeling and releasing?
I recently heard a song that I have not heard since 2002.
As soon as it hit my ears, a flood of old emotions rose to the surface.
Feelings I have not felt in quite some time.
It was like no time had passed and it was still 2002 and I was 20 years old again.
It took me a few seconds to snap out of the temporary coma that I had found myself in.
The song finished and I was left with a bit of reflection to do.
To create some context, 2002 was a hard year for me.
I had just returned home from living abroad for 6 months.
During my time overseas, I experienced quite a few intense moments including extreme heart ache and trauma that was quite a lot to digest for a 19-year-old.
I was in my first year of university and had to move to a new city, live on my own for the first time and do everything for myself independently.
It is no wonder that the musical hits of 2002 resonate with me on an intense emotional level.
Since 2002, I of course grew older and wiser.
Many more obstacles came into my life that I had to overcome, and life has moved on as it should.
I am confident to say that I have successfully moved on and grown from my experiences as a young adult.
And then you hear a song…
Man, I felt it.
I then proceeded to play some other songs from the same year to gage my reaction.
I felt an emotion that I cannot quite explain accurately in words. Some sort of mix between nostalgia, longing, heart ache, and most oddly, relief.
I wish we had a better education of emotions in school. There are so many emotions we cannot explain because we are never taught the proper vocabulary for them.
Professor Marc Brackett is the Director for Emotional Intelligence at Yale university and the author of Permission to Feel.
In a recent podcast I was listening to, he explained how extremely difficult it is for us to deal and work through our emotions, if we cannot name or describe them.
In conclusion, I realized that we could go through life working through our traumas and aspiring to self-growth, but sometimes tough emotions are tricky to identify and name, and they can surprise you when you least expect it.
I am grateful though that I felt some sort of feeling of relief mixed in with the tinge of pain.
That gave me some peace of mind.
The pain I felt listening to those songs in the present day was more of a nostalgic/remembrance type of pain and not the same pain I felt when I was 20 in 2002.
To me, that serves as a sign that even though there will always be memories that hurt, they can become easier to bear & reappear in healthier ways.
I did not get lost in the hurt; I felt a sense of empathy towards my younger self for having had gone through those difficult emotions at the time.
I also felt gratitude for music and songs that help as feel, deal and heal.
All emotions should be identified, named, and felt.
Something to keep in mind for my weekend playlist.