Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Music

This is a pretty random blog post, but it's something that I've been thinking about for awhile and been meaning to write down. 

I'll always associate certain music with different periods of my life. For some reason, there always seems to be some album or artist that speaks to me and my experiences of that time. There's a few gaps where I can't think of a good album to go along with that period of my life, but I feel like I can define quite a bit of my life by the music I was listening to at the time. Here's a brief list and some thoughts behind each one:

Summer 2009: Stars, Your Ex-Lover is Dead
- Fresh back from my mission, I was introduced to the Stars by a good friend, Kurt Daniels. A unique, light style but with heavy themes, far different and more eclectic than anything I had listened to pre-mission. A time of getting to know the post-mission me.

Summer 2010: White Stripes, Get Behind Me, Satan
- I had listened to the White Stripes before, but isolated out in the Badia, the raw simplicity of Meg and Jack White appealed to me and the fairly stark, simple conditions that I was living in. 

Fall 2010: Black Keys, Attack and Release
- Coming back from Jordan, where I was exposed to the Black Keys for the first time by Cyrus Roeddel, the continued rawness and difficulty of adjusting to post-Jordan life in luxurious Provo struck a chord within me. Besides that, it's just great music to run to. 

Winter 2011: Radiohead, In Rainbows
- I got in perhaps my first serious relationship this semester, causing me to reflect on my life, the relationship, and my imminent departure for DC and Jordan. Something about the esoteric, melancholic tones of Radiohead stood out.

Summer 2011: Local Natives, Gorilla Manor
- Aside from the fact that this was one of the four albums I had access to on my iPod Shuffle for the summer, the upbeat Local Natives matched well with a rather carefree summer spent in the nation's capital. 

Fall 2011: Andrew Bird, Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs and Armchair Apocrypha
- In Jordan, the abstract and almost incomprehensible lyrics of Andrew Bird combined with his globally influenced music went well with my difficulties in understanding the Arabic language and making sense of a very foreign culture.

Winter 2012: Mashrou' Leila, El Hal Romancy
- Fresh back from Jordan and ready to date, El Hal Romancy (The Romantic Solution) kept alive the spirit of the Arab culture that I had come to know and love. The combination of Western and Arab music traditions helped me retain the Arab world in my life while merging again into American life. 

Summer 2012: Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
- The raw, reckless, and rebellious sound of Wolf Parade, and especially their song "I'll Believe in Anything" fueled a summer of limited responsibilities, new friends, and lots of adventures. 

Winter/Spring 2013/Now: Noah and the Whale, The First Days of Spring
- I'll tell you after it's done.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cycle

I went to the BYU Final Film Cut Festival the other weekend. Usually, the student films are so-so, but I was really impressed by the line-up this year. I particularly liked one film, Chronicle of a Country, and not just because it takes place in France. Essentially a series of vignettes, the film sets out to discover what happiness means to French people. A man tells of the most happy moment in his life, when he was on an isolated Pacific island. An older gentleman tells of his biggest regret in life. What really stuck out to me, though, was the segment from 5:10 to 8:09. It's not a story like the other two; rather, a woman discusses what a moment of unhappiness is. I don't feel like I can express it any better than the woman can, so here's a link to the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzjfKfxQTuI

I've lived such a transient lifestyle over the last seven years. Live somewhere for a few months, pack up, go on an adventure, live somewhere else, change wards, change groups of friends, change majors, start a job, get married, lose contact with old friends- the list goes on. So many people have impacted my life for a brief moment, but always, always, time pushes me forward towards other people, places, and events. People come and go, and while I still and will always value those relationships and those places that have molded me, in many cases, the moment passes and the situation doesn't last.

That moment of passing, when we move on to the next stage of life, is a certain kind of death. Not a physical death, but a death in that things can no longer exist as they once were. We realize that a certain way of living is over- we will no longer be in certain places, take certain classes, be influenced by certain people. And when that realization hits us, that deep sadness sets in, a sadness that is a longing for a life that we've become comfortable and familiar with.

That's simply what life is. It's not that we live and die once; rather, we live and die a thousand times before moving on to the next stage of life. It's the process by which we become better, by which we perfect ourselves. A little bit of our old self dies, only to be reborn into something a little better, a little more experienced, a little more capable.

It's quite beautiful. The sadness fades into a renewed, richer happiness when we move on to the next stage, and progressively our lives take on renewed meaning. We move forward with faith knowing that what we left behind has made us into who we are and given us a taste of life, and what lies ahead will refine us even more.

"It's the end of a cycle, but maybe it's the beginning of a new one."