The songs of your life

I am a strong advocate of living in the present. The power of now has a lot to offer. But despite that, periodically, I step out to embark on a Magical Musical Tour of my life.


This happens most often when I’m driving alone in my car. I take a break from the news and turn on the music. The year and place I land during my Magical Musical Tour and the people I keep company with depend on the songs that play.


“I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles transports me back to February 1964. It’s a Sunday evening. My 13-year-old self is in the living room voluntarily watching—much to my parents’ astonishment—“The Ed Sullivan Show.” As the radio plays this song from yesteryear, I feel the tingling sting of my first love rising up in me. Despite an audience of 70 million watching in 1964, The Beatles are once again singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” only to me.


Songs from groups like The Beach Boys and Young Rascals invoke a single sing-along as I drive down the road. That brings me back to summer days as a newly-minted driver cruising around a popular lake with friends. We are on the lookout for cars filled with other friends, who we acknowledge with multiple honks as they pass us going in the opposite direction. Song artists like The Temptations, Sam & Dave, and The Supremes take me into teen dance clubs where there is never a still pair of feet, and everyone there is each other’s dance partner. After high school, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor, Carol King, and Cat Stevens accompanied me to college.


Today, the music of all these songsters takes me back to places, people, and times that I cherished then and that I continue to hold dear when I listen to their music. I witness that the music from my 93-year-old mother’s era has the same effect on her. In fact, when a random topic or word comes up in conversation, she often breaks out into a song, and many in her circle of friends join her.


The memories and emotions that people associate with familiar songs can be traced to the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is the last to fail. So, it’s not too late. Do it now if you haven’t taken a Magical Musical Tour of your own life!


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