Playlists of the Past

Don’t you just love, sometimes, to listen to those pieces of music which will throw you back in time and enable you to relive memories, to feel the same as you once did, provoked by listening to music that made up your playlist at the time? The handy thing about having a digital music player is that in an instant you can call up a song which perhaps you haven’t listened to for months, even years, without having to root around in the attic for that long-lost CD or record. Digital music also avoids that once-familiar problem of remembering that you lent the CD to someone who is now taking a year out, in Siberia.

There’s something about music which for me encourages memories that are much more vivid than if I were to look at an old scrapbook of photographs. This is because, I suspect, I am one of those people who always has music on the go, in addition to being someone who listens to a particular favourite playlist, consisting of the same three or four artists, for weeks at a time. So the events that unfold are mostly accompanied by music, and I think it’s this entanglement of my thoughts and the things I listen to that enables me, later on, to bring back those thoughts and feelings through music.

The resurfacing of old thoughts and feelings can be quite useful, I’ve found, because, provided you can take a step back it’s an interesting self-experiment. Especially examining, through memory, the characteristics of that situation you’ve remembered. To look at what it was about those particular circumstances that produced those emotions. Observing how one reacts emotionally to different circumstances is, of course, difficult in the chaotic arena of Real Life, in which we are forced Deal with Things As They Happen. Looking (or rather, listening) back, though, I’ve sometimes found that it’s possible to stumble across another perspective on things that, although useless in changing the past, enables me to learn that little bit more about myself, the way I react to things, and might hopefully lead to a more cautious attitude in the future.