I got to thinking recently, about reminiscing.
It’s funny to reflect on something that literally means “to reflect.” Here is how it happened—I was sitting in my bed reading ‘Maid’ by Stephanie Land. The plot of the book is not relevant to what I am saying, but as a huge advocate for this woman and her story, if you have not read it or watched the Netflix series…you are missing out.
Ever since the 8th grade when my English teacher allowed us five to 10 minutes of reading time, Latin rootwork work, or free-writing, I have always played piano music as my choice of background noise.
“Studies have shown those who listen to classical music while working have significantly higher IQ’s than those who don’t,” I remember her saying.
If all I had to do to become “smarter” was play some classical music in the background while getting lost in a book, I could do that.
What’s interesting, though, is when you frequently listen to these types of instrumental playlists, you begin to learn certain parts of the music, the song. You recognize the increase in tempo, the slowing of notes and high-pitched ‘dings’ of the keys where a voice would sing in falsetto, if lyrics were applied.
Some of my favorites include River Flows in You by Yiruma, Colors of the Wind by Danny Wright, and Kiss the Rain by Yiruma, again (he’s great)—I’m linking a Spotify playlist here.
On this particular night, I was making progress in my book when a certain tune stopped me in my tracks—Beauty and the Beast playing on the piano.
Tale as old as time, song as old as Rhyme; Beauty and the Beast.
My brain filled in the missing words instantly as memories of Disney Scene-It (a DVD videogame we played with the TV remote) flashed through my mind, not being able to pronounce ‘Lumiere,’ the candlestick, and my mom busting out laughing. Her French knowledge, clearly never having rubbed off on me until that point.
I thought about the boy who took me to see the film when it came out in live-action. We were seniors in high school and he geeked out over the movie much more than I did—and that was saying something. I think about him now and the dresses I see him put on, no longer hiding it from himself, or his trusted Instagram followers. Growth.
I think about how Belle has always been, and will forever remain, my favorite princess. I could relate to her nerdiness—I bet she listened to piano music when she read too (actually, I’m certain she did). Belle did not lose a fancy shoe, or give up her voice to lead her to her Prince Charming. She simply listened, cared—and mind you, begrudgingly at first. I like that plot better.
We’re not talking about fairytales today, though, maybe another time. But, do you see how quickly I got lost in different thoughts? No longer reading the words on the page in front of me, but reflecting on different moments of my life and missing them, aching for them again, honestly.
But then, quickly, turning that ache into pride. Pride into cheerful memories that can hurt to remember, but in the best way possible. You remember who you were in the Fourth Grade, the Twelfth, Fifteenth—you realize there are no grades anymore, and you are left with the thought: At what age will I actually feel my age?
I’m 23 right now and sometimes I still stop in my tracks realizing it has been a full seven years since I received my driver’s license. It does not feel that long ago.
The saying slowly, but surely, starts to make sense when people mumble, “wow, I’m getting old.” And I know my readers with children and tuition and multiple homes are laughing right now thinking, you just wait. (And to that I say, check back with me in about 20 years and maybe I’ll have a book about it all by then).
I reached out to a few women who are close to me, requesting that they lay out to me, honestly, at what age they felt their age. Here is the first public response:
Is there a voice inside of you right now that is reflecting on how old you are and, how old you actually feel? Do you have unique experiences that you think would be beneficial to yourself or others if shared publicly on The Learning Curve?
Respond directly to this email with your answer. Be sure to let me know if you want your name included in the post, or to remain anonymous.