Lately, I have been thinking about the 80’s and 90’s. Well, mix tape songs in general. I have had many types of the Walkman allowing me to hear hundreds of cassette tapes in my life. Music has tagged along with me over the years while riding my bike, delivering newspapers, mowing the lawn, taking walks around the block or driving to the store.
I remember buying albums on cassette tapes. That was a lot of fun. Nothing was as cool as buying blank tapes and recording tunes onto them in order to make your own mix of songs you felt like hearing. I mostly did this for myself. In the middle to late 90’s specifically, I made them for car rides and for friends to check out. I would record songs off the radio (commercials included) and mix it all up for pure fun and enjoyment.
Then there was the dating period of making those “crush” mixes and summer love feelings. “Break up” and “I hate you” mixes would soon follow. But it is amazing how we can be our own DJ’s to express wonderful and sad emotions.
Some of my mixes were themed and others just purely mood driven. Perhaps, this is all just a passing phase but I am in a really good mood right now!!!
I like to put these same songs from the mix tapes onto playlists. Listening to them on my iPhone nowadays bring back some awesome memories that can be surprising! It’s like transporting back in time.
Back in the day, these tapes were a mandatory way to communicate how you felt about others and yourself at the time you compiled these track arrangements.
In this day and age, it’s all about playlists. I have made another hundred playlists for all of the same reasons. But recently, I found myself bored with the process a little bit and wanted to connect with someone and trade music ideas and playlists in a different way.
I casually spoke to some people in the music groups I belonged to on Facebook. They were merely music acquaintances. One of these members just happened to ask a random question one day saying that she wanted to follow others on Apple Music and get inspired. I saw that as an opportunity. We followed each other. I sent her a message. “Do you want to create a playlist with me? I’ll choose the opening track. Then we’ll spin off of it one track at a time per person. Make sense?”
Niki (her name) agreed and loved the idea. She thought it was great! Making a mix together sounded so cool to her. We gradually began to learn so much about one another while collaborating on several playlists. Both of us are good at determining track orders and how they should flow. We created some cool themes and moods. Not always on purpose.
Our themes have included songs you can drive fast to, songs about youth and spirituality, punks, cheerleaders, rebels, Gothic worlds, storms, wolves, ghosts and the list goes on and on. The two of us are friends now. Thanks to music, our lives got better the day we met during this scary time in the world. With social distancing going on, it feels like I am far away from all of my friends and family members. However, when you share something passionate with someone and can connect on another level, that distance can really bring you so much closer to that person.
Both Niki and I have suffered traumatic brain injuries. She learned about my brain surgery, my struggles with ADHD and my hip issues. I learned about her stroke, her challenge with severe memory loss and how she struggles to still paint and draw (among other works of art). We simply were destined to be friends and it literally came out of the clear blue.
As I mentioned earlier, we found one another in a Tool (music group) site on Facebook. Which was so weird because I only joined that group to talk about their new album. Unfortunately, the group failed to impress me and I felt out of place. I almost quit the group. Niki, a fellow Gemini, was the only one who stood out from everyone because she was positive, inspirational and had uplifting energy.
The appreciation of friendship is shared. This musical experience has made us both happy. Being able to send songs to each other without judgement is a good feeling. Nothing is weird or inappropriate. It’s wonderful to be able to relate to someone where kindness prevails.
In the end, I realized how good we have it in life. Each day is a blessing. These playlists and our conversations allowed me to reflect on life. Music is a universal language and clearly can bring people together. In these troubled times, its great to connect and share a bond.
I invite others to do the same. Take your passion and reach out. Connect to people. Don’t let this quarantine situation scare or depress you. Trust your instincts. There are folks out there looking for a friend like you. If you have stories similar to this one, I invite you to share them in the comments below. Peace, Love and Music. Thanks.