Music has always been an enormous part of my life. Each year, it seemed there was a "song of the summer" for me, usually the one I heard most at the community pool. One year, it was Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street", which remains an all time favorite of mine. Another year, it was Kansas "Carry On My Wayward Son", a favorite I now share with my daughter, who discovered it via 'Supernatural'.
I love sharing common music with my kids, and when they were younger, we'd sing along to Owl City or songs from 'Phineas and Ferb' in the car. My son and I now sing together to Fall Out Boy's "Immortals" and "Centuries"--a mark of his changing taste in music as he grows up more quickly than Mom's heart can stand. My daughter and I share Broadway soundtracks, and the song "For Good" from 'Wicked' becomes more poignant each time we sing it, as I face the fact that she is now an adult.
Back in the dark ages (the 80's), I used to wish there was a way that I could pick and choose the music I wanted without having to buy the whole cassette tape or record album. CD's came along, and with them the ability to burn music, but it was the advent of MP3 that for me was a gift from the gods. I can have all my 80's New Wave favorites like Thomas Dolby, Peter Murphy, Madness, and Duran Duran right alongside my Rush and Incubus, and my newer favorites like Of Monsters and Men, Fall Out Boy and 30 Seconds to Mars cued up in between. My childhood in the 70's is represented by John Denver and The Carpenters. (I am not ashamed! Those 8 track tapes in the van on our long vacations defined my need for car music.)
The streaming music function on my phone is the best thing that ever happened to me. I can't even drive to the store without my music. I have a subscription to Rhapsody, and whenever I hear something I like I just add it to my playlist. (Most recent addition: Bastille's "Pompeii" and "Bad Blood".)
Having my favorite songs at my fingertips saves my life on those long workday road trips when my next patient is 60 miles away. I can sing at the top of my lungs to save my sanity after the second visit to pronounce a death in two hours.
But more and more now, it's a way of recapturing youth: my own, and my children's. With these songs, I will always be twelve and on vacation with my parents and brother, fourteen at the pool staring down at the blue water from the high dive board, or sixteen and watching the first days of MTV.
Or in the car five short years ago, when my kids were still little in my eyes.