As I’m sitting up in my bed listening to Mazzy Star’s Seasons of Your Day, I suddenly feel a wave of contentment wash over me.
Maybe it’s the music; maybe it’s because the kids are asleep and it’s only 10:12 p.m. (this is actually early for our household… don’t get me started); maybe it’s because my littlest love just became one year old; or maybe this is just supposed to be my opportunity to breathe.
A moment from my past comes to mind… I was young (probably under 10 years old) and was spending the afternoon with my sister. I only recall a few details about this particular day, but I’d still consider it a “core memory.”
A core memory, for those of you who have not seen Inside Out, refers to a memory from your past that has shaped your personality. (Also, what are you doing with your life? Hop on Disney+ and watch Inside Out ASAP.)
I wouldn’t say this experience shaped my personality per se, but I do think it changed my life—not in any obvious way; this shift was a bit more subtle.
I tagged along with my sister to her friend’s house. They are almost 15 years older than me, so at this time they must have been in their mid-20s. This makes sense looking back. For basic mathematical reasons, I always think of them as older than me, so imagining them at 25 (now having lived through those years) is odd. They were so young with so much life yet to live.
You know when you’re at the end of a good movie, and you’ve become attached to the characters, and wonder what happens to them next? Thinking about the past is like that, only you know what happens next. And the future is awesome and tragic and terrible and amazing. It’s a special kind of magic. And there’s still so much more to be seen.
In this movie, my sister and her friend (the adults) were chatting (maybe in the kitchen), so I wandered into the living room. I think I had a purpose for going in there; perhaps I left something in there and wanted to grab it, or maybe I had gone to the bathroom and was passing through to get back to the kitchen.
(memory is a shifty bird sometimes, isn’t it?)
Either way, I lingered in the living room for a moment.
The space was open and airy. It was a beautiful day. The bright sunlight and gentle breeze made their way into the room through the open windows and front screen door.
Mazzy Star’s Among My Swan was playing on the stereo; it was loud and filled the whole house. I didn’t know who Mazzy Star was at the time, but I liked it. I mean, it did sound a little weird to my adolescent ears (psychedelic folk rock wasn’t really popular amongst eight year olds in the early 90s). But it would come back to me later in life when the time was right.
The CD’s jewel case was propped open and standing up on top of the cabinet, silently announcing the record’s rotation on the afternoon’s soundtrack. Though I wouldn’t remember the band name or the album title upon leaving her house that day, the cover art would stick with me. I’d make the connection approximately five years later.
And that’s… it.
That’s all I remember from that afternoon.
It was just a moment in someone else’s living room, but it wanders back into my thoughts every now and then.
The sunlight, breeze-blown curtains, screen door, the music…
I felt hopeful. I felt excitement. I felt calm.
From that day on, I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by those things and consumed by those feelings again. I would see it in my mind so clearly and spend my early life dreaming of it. I would even experience bits and pieces here and there over the years.
My life’s trajectory had changed, and it wasn’t a result of any of the normal stuff… ya know, like parents’ divorce, a big move, hurtful words, or exciting news… it was a moment in between.