It occurred to me when I was driving the other day that being able to encapsulate this year in just words would be nearly impossible. Due to the sheer amount of things that have unfolded this year, I got the grand idea of creating a playlist in order to remember the beauty and stories that have captured and made me who I am this year.
Most of these songs are ones I have listened to at one point or another throughout the year. And all are equated with memories that have made me better because they happened. I, in no way, loved 2018; but it was a year that stretched me and grew me. In the end, I think that’s better than okay.
So! Without further adieu, here is 2018: Reviewed Through Song:
Wherever you Are - Ben Rector
I listened to this song when I began a big project over the summer that I am still working on. I was sitting outside in the blazing sun at the Village Bean and the wifi was cutting in and out, frustrating me. This song was the one from Ben’s new album that ended up playing the entire way despite the wifi issue and it carried me through the start of this project. I love the idea in the beginning of the song about Jenny saving for her own apartment and finding her own way. 2018 was about finding my way in the middle of disappointments, very real (to me) hurts, and finding deeper that I am not alone through it all.
My Thoughts on You - The Band CAMINO
I need another year for this, trying to teach my common sense to not waver with my confidence is one of my favorite lyrics from this song. I heard this for the first time in the living room of a friend while a group of us were playing pool earlier this year. This song is here because of the lyrics and the way the music makes me feel. When I hear this song, I am immediately ricocheted back to the way this year began and the feelings that were equated with that beginning.
Heavy - Anne-Marie
As the year moved forward, I continued to feel a heaviness on my shoulders that I couldn’t shake and that heaviness began to infiltrate into almost every relationship I valued and cared about. I love this song because of its upbeat nature, similar to the way I tried to live despite how hard it was for me at the time to allow that heaviness to be let go of. It was a consistent back and forth, sometimes things were great, other times I’d be in a deep valley. There was never a time when it just felt consistent, largely because of the heaviness that seemed to cloud me. When I was in an upward climb of good, the moments were upbeat and positive. Those moments of good managed to carry me through the valleys that continued to come and go as the year moved on.
You and I - Ingrid Michelson
This song is equated with one of my favorite memories of the year. A few friends and I went up to Maine for a weekend to help with some project-starts at our sister church in Carmel. We were able to clean up a garage of things with a great couple in our church and then have fun in a home that is now occupied by a couple that later got married this year. We prayed and exhorted over the people at the church and it was a powerful time and refreshing to get away for a little while. On our way home, we stopped in Portland for coffee and when we were finishing up the trip home, we played this song in the monster truck we drove up. The sun was setting and we were all singing at the top of our lungs with Ingrid. We finished the night in a hot tub with wine, joking around, and just talking. I will always equate this song with that memory and it’s one I won’t soon forget.
For the First Time - The Script
I chose this song because of the sheer amount of jobs I went through this year. “Man, these times are hard.” But… Actually. I finished up my time at Teavana with the store closing in January and then worked part time as a barista for a couple more months at Village Bean. In March, I began a job as a Photo Editor (and that was actually a lot of fun, but only seasonal) and ended up leaving for Iceland at the end of May with the knowledge that I was coming home to no job. And for the entire month of June, I didn’t work, but ended up finding a job I loved and stuck with until now.
All Time Low - Jon Bellion
I heard this song several times throughout the year. I will always find myself returning to Bellion’s authentic and refreshing lyrics in hard times. This song is here because of timing and the way the lyrics express a feeling of an all time low, which is exactly where I found myself between the months of May and June this year. See the following song for a part of the reason on why these months were so tough.
Red Red Wine - UB40
This is in memoriam of my very, very bad night in Iceland. This is a memory that is etched in my mind as a lesson on how bad it can get if I let bad mindsets and unhealthy choices get the best of me. I learned through this awful memory that grace, love, and forgiveness is a central part of the community I have taken root in. After experiencing this, I did the hard job of humbling myself and apologizing to the people I needed to and all was forgiven. But this memory is certainly one that isn’t clean from my own conscience just yet and I can only hope to learn and do better next time.
Stupid Deep - Jon Bellion
This song is the turning point in the playlist. A friend introduced me to this song about a month ago. We were going back to her house after spending the day taking photos in Portsmouth and drinking egg nog coffee. These lyrics are so similar to the feelings I was experiencing immediately after doing all the hard things in May and early June. The questions in this song are ones I consistently find myself privately asking. I think they’re the kind of questions that everyone asks inside their heads, but never actually ask out loud. That’s a huge reason why this song made it to this years list. For me, 2018 was a year filled with deep questions and things I never had the guts to ask or say. And I hope that moving forward, I can work on that and live bolder.
Cub - Roo Panes
I was given a nickname from God in July called “Little Lion” and it just stuck to me like the summer air. Lions are known for their confidence and their roar. I still remember sitting in the movie theatre parking lot when God whispered the nickname to me and I felt so special and seen — I was His Little Lion and my words were the warfare I was using as I declared it like He declared I was His that muggy evening. A friend of mine later introduced me to the song and said it felt like an anthem rising up. I still identify with the nickname Little Lion and I probably always will.
All that I’m Made For - Out of the Dust
This song wasn’t playing during this memory, but the words remind me of a very wise piece of advice I was given this year that has seriously carried me through. The piece of advice was that I cannot let the distractions of my mind (and heart) keep me from the purpose God has given me to carry out and pursue in my life. If I am pursuing what He’s called me to pursue, obeying as I go, and keep my eyes on the goal God has given me to achieve and run after, the people who need to be there will be there and the ones that aren’t won’t. It’s not about me. It’s about making Him known. This song expresses this principle and advice in such a light and beautiful way.
Flesh of My Flesh - Jon Lucas
This year was a year of dreaming despite the difficulties. Sometimes dreaming was the only thing I felt I could turn to. I shared this song with a friend the week I dog sat for a couple in my church over the summer. I had her over for the evening and we shared songs and dreams about our future weddings. I’ve always loved this song because of the feeling it induces about what I believe a flesh-love embodies. I am almost certain this year was partly about preparation for the future-season this song embodies for me. A promise I know and am confident God will keep. I imagine dancing to this song in the future, and so I placed it in here to embody the hope and faith I keep close that God will one day make this promise come to pass.
To Build a Home - The Cinematic Orchestra
Moving was the embodiment of autumn. Uncertainty, doubt, hurt, and confusion. This song is almost always played in television shows when something with a home or big life-event happens. This year, I moved from one home to another. Leaving a place and people I had invested in was hard. This song carried me through that season as I watched a home I loved turn empty, echo, and void. I kept thinking about homes and the multitude of memories that happen inside of them through this process. This song is a sentiment to that thought for me.
Don’t Let it Get You Down - Johnnyswim
November. The month of hell that started with Halloween. If you need a recap, you can read here. Resilience was the one thing. Joy was the other thing. This song is an upbeat piece of music that I truly enjoy listening to. Don’t let it get you down truly manifests the thought I continued to hold onto as the month kept bringing more and more bad news my way. The upbeat vibe is joyful and I learned to hold onto that joy in the midst of constant thanksgiving.
Fight On, Fighter - For King and Country
Finally, this song finishes out the year of music on a positive note. It’s serves as a reminder to keep fighting and to stay though hurt, through heartache, and through the multitude of life-change that will inevitably always come. There is so much beauty in staying through the hard stuff and fighting through it with people who will be there no matter what. I am a fighter and to let anything or anyone hose out the fire I hold within me is a disservice to both myself and anyone who is in line to see me ignite with the passion and the truth I carry within.
And 2018: That’s a wrap!